THE performance of three police inspectors during a missing person investigation where a man was eventually found dead was "unsatisfactory", an investigation has shown.

Essex Police referred the case to the The Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) after the man's death in March last year.

His family had reported him missing to the force eight days before he was found after they had not seen him for nearly a week.

He was classified as high-risk by Essex Police within 24 hours but was sadly later found dead.

The IOPC investigation found four police officers may have behaved in a manner which could justify disciplinary proceedings as evidence indicated they may have failed to accurately record or assess information about the man.

The four officers were interviewed and witness accounts were taken from their colleagues and police staff.

Incident reports and data relating to connected incidents were also assessed - as we as Essex Police's own policy and professional guidance.

There were evidence officers made assumptions regarding the man's lifestyle and circumstances with other details discarded which may have indicated he was at risk of harm.

This mean there was a delay in resources being deployed to assist with the search.

Investigators said a call handler would benefit from individual learning and three inspectors responsible for reviewing the incident and assessing whether the individual should have been categorised as a missing person may have a case to answer for misconduct.

However, Essex Police disagreed and an alternative arrangements were put in place.

A spokesman for the IOPC said: "After reviewing our report, Essex Police agreed that the call handler would receive management action in the form of a debrief.

"The force was of the opinion that the three inspectors had not breached the standards of professional conduct and had therefore no case to answer for misconduct.

"However, they considered that their performance had been unsatisfactory and proposed that all three would receive management action, to address their performances issues.

"We considered their proposed action and agreed they were appropriate.

"Essex Police also identified some wider learning opportunity for the management of future cases and advised they would progress this within the force."