In a major police screw-up in London last year, police handed 18-month-old Audrey Nyanor over to a woman who was a complete stranger. Instead of providing a normal reaction, like perhaps saying, "Excuse me, that's not my baby," the woman, Ania Mulange, 31, took the baby.
The baby's mother, Cynthia Boakye, was being detained on charges surrounding immigration offenses. Officers, who were caring for the toddler, apparently thought Mulange was the mother and handed her over. For three long days the baby was missing before she was found with Mulange, who was detained under the Mental Health Act.
Can you imagine knowing not only that your baby was missing, but that the people you should be able to trust most were responsible for it? Mistakes happen, but that's awful. Perhaps more shocking -- after an investigation, guess what the consequence for the officers involved the major mishap is?
They have to attend misconduct meetings. That's it.
Fortunately the incident turned out okay, and the baby was returned safely to her mother. But what if she hadn't been? There was so much potential for devastation here that some misconduct meetings seem pretty paltry in comparison.
As a spokesperson for the Independent Police Complaints Commission, who investigated the incident, said:
When Cynthia Boakye found herself in police custody she had every reason to expect her baby would be safe. Yet officers at Walworth police station handed over her child to another woman with whom she had no connection whatsoever. This resulted in immense distress to Cynthia Boakye, who had to endure three days of the worst anxiety a mother can experience, before her baby was found.
And really, how do you make up for something like that? You can't. We're all human and we all make errors, but in this case it seems like the price for making such a giant one deserves more than just attendance at a couple of classes.
Do you think that attending misconduct meetings is enough punishment for these officers?
Image via BBC