MORE training and extra staff are being taken on by Essex Police after an inquest heard a specialist search team had failed to find a missing man for several weeks.
Officers first launched a search for Michael Redmond, 47, at Basildon Golf Course on July 12 last year, after his family had reported him missing on July 5.
However, the first search, which included the use of police dogs, was unsuccessful so a second took place on August 12, when Mr Redmond was found at the 13th hole.
At an inquest into his death at Chelmsford Coroner’s Court yesterday, Essex Police said they were improving search procedure following complaints from Mr Redmond’s family, which were upheld by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
The IPCC found there was poor communication between various senior officers involved in the investigation and confusion over which areas of the course had or had not been searched.
As a result, training is being improved for senior officers in dealing with missing persons and a new computer database will be used during investigations.
Search area: Basildon Golf Course
The number of special search officers will also increase from four to 16, while increased training in dealing with people with mental health issues will be offered.
Relatives of Mr Redmond will also work with police on developing training around missing persons.
The inquest heard Mr Redmond of The Vale, Vange, had been agitated and paranoid for weeks in the lead up to his death.
The inquest heard he reported 11 incidents to police between June 12 and July 4 last year of him either being followed or attempts to break into his flat, but no evidence of this could be found.
He was reported missing by his family on July 5 last year after he did not return home from a gym session at Club Kingswood, Basildon.
Appeal: Poster during the search
Emma Smith, who works at the gym, and had known him for seven years, told the inquest: “He was completely out of character in the last few weeks before he disappeared. He was very agitated and I almost did not recognise him.
“He was scared of being followed, but he would not tell me by who, and he was scared for his life.”
The inquest heardMr Redmond was taking the anti-depressant amitriptyline, which can cause potentially fatal high blood pressure, fast heart rate and a toxic syndrome.
Toxicology tests showed extremely low levels of cocaine in his body.
A police investigation deemed the death was not suspicious as there was no evidence of trauma or head injuries, although pathologist Dr Nathaniel Carey, could not completely rule out asphyxiation.
Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray ruled the death was an accident with the combination of the two drugs killing him.
Michael Redmond claimed his flat was broken into just days before he went missing.
The court heard police were called to his flat on July 2 and in the early hours of July 3.
Det Sgt Andy Glister said: “Officers were unable to find any evidence to support events as Michael reported them.”
Mum: Maureen Redmond
His mum, Maureen Redmond, complained to police that a sergeant who witnessed his erratic behaviour on July 4, 2013, should have used powers available to him to section Mr Redmond under the mental health act for his own welfare.
She spent the whole day on July 4 with him as he tided up his damaged flat and reported concerns about his behaviour to police, but they took no action.
However, this complaint was not upheld as a number of criteria need to be met before police can attempt to get someone sectioned.