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Gaia Pope: Dorset Police officer disciplined over missing teen probe Gaia Pope: Dorset Police officer disciplined over missing teen probe
(about 1 hour later)
Gaia Pope's body was found 11 days after she went missing in November 2017Gaia Pope's body was found 11 days after she went missing in November 2017
A police officer was disciplined over their handling of the search for a missing teenager who was later found dead, the BBC can reveal.A police officer was disciplined over their handling of the search for a missing teenager who was later found dead, the BBC can reveal.
The body of 19-year-old Gaia Pope was discovered 11 days after she went missing in Swanage, Dorset, in 2017.The body of 19-year-old Gaia Pope was discovered 11 days after she went missing in Swanage, Dorset, in 2017.
Dorset Police has now confirmed it issued an officer with a "final warning" after concerns were raised by the police watchdog about the search.Dorset Police has now confirmed it issued an officer with a "final warning" after concerns were raised by the police watchdog about the search.
A jury inquest into Miss Pope's death is scheduled to take place next year.A jury inquest into Miss Pope's death is scheduled to take place next year.
Miss Pope's disappearance prompted a major multi-agency search and rescue operationMiss Pope's disappearance prompted a major multi-agency search and rescue operation
Her disappearance on 7 November 2017 prompted a large-scale search by police, the coastguard and hundreds of volunteers.Her disappearance on 7 November 2017 prompted a large-scale search by police, the coastguard and hundreds of volunteers.
On 18 November her body was found by police close to where items of her clothing had been discovered two days earlier.On 18 November her body was found by police close to where items of her clothing had been discovered two days earlier.
A post-mortem examination concluded she had died of hypothermia.A post-mortem examination concluded she had died of hypothermia.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) subsequently launched an investigation into Dorset Police's handling of the search.The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) subsequently launched an investigation into Dorset Police's handling of the search.
The force said a private meeting was held with an officer about "conduct issues" that were raised in the resulting IOPC report.The force said a private meeting was held with an officer about "conduct issues" that were raised in the resulting IOPC report.
No other details about the officer's rank or the specific nature of their misconduct was revealed.No other details about the officer's rank or the specific nature of their misconduct was revealed.
Miss Pope's family have said they believe the way Dorset Police handled a rape allegation she made in 2015 was a crucial factor in mental health challenges that ultimately led to her disappearance and death. Clara Pope-Sutherland and Marienna Pope-Weidemann - Gaia's sister and cousin - have called for better police training
The force said it cannot comment on Miss Pope's case because of the forthcoming inquest. Miss Pope's family say they believe the way Dorset Police handled a rape allegation she made in 2015 was a crucial factor in mental health challenges that ultimately led to her disappearance and death.
Clara Pope-Sutherland, Gaia's sister, said: "It's too little too late for us, but hopefully it won't be for other people who go through those experiences.
"The authorities really need to start training, start understanding how to deal with these situations."
Marienna Pope-Weidemann, Gaia's cousin, said: "I think it's appalling that over the last 10 years the number of sexual offences reported to Dorset Police has doubled, while the number of charges has halved.
"Our community deserves so much better than that... [campaign group] Justice for Gaia is determined to effect change on a local level as well while we confront the national problem."
The force said it could not comment on Miss Pope's case because of the forthcoming inquest.
Next year's inquest is expected to last for about three months, with more than 70 witnesses taking part.Next year's inquest is expected to last for about three months, with more than 70 witnesses taking part.
Follow BBC South on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Send your story ideas to south.newsonline@bbc.co.uk.Follow BBC South on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Send your story ideas to south.newsonline@bbc.co.uk.