Police have apologised to the family of a missing 88-year-old woman after it emerged a possible sighting of her was not followed up by officers.
The body believed to be that of Janet McKay, who suffered from dementia, was discovered in Clydebank yesterday, nine days after she was seen leaving her home in the Knightswood area of Glasgow.
The last reported sighting of her had been on CCTV leaving a bus in Clydebank on the day she went missing.
But Chief Superintendent Andy Bates has now said that a member of the public informed police last Friday of a possible sighting of Ms McKay, but that the information was not passed to call handling centres or to the inquiry team.
Officers have apologised to Ms McKay’s family and the issue has been referred to the Police Investigation and Review Commissioner.
The latest incident follows a review of Police Scotland’s procedures launched after the deaths of John Yuill and Lamara Bell, who lay undiscovered for days despite a sighting of their crashed car being reported to a police control room.
Mr Bates said: “This morning officers discovered the body of a woman in the Clydebank area. Formal identification has yet to take place but we believe it to be Janet McKay who was reported missing last week. Janet’s family has been informed.
“Since she was reported missing last Wednesday an extensive investigation and search has been conducted by my officers throughout the local area.
“On Friday evening as part of our inquiries, a member of the public provided us with information of a possible sighting of the missing person. This information was not passed to the call handling centres nor was it passed to the inquiry team.
“On Tuesday further information about this potential sighting was received through the call handling centre who immediately passed it to the inquiry team. Following further extensive inquiry a body was discovered. We have kept Janet’s family fully informed.
“I would like to apologise to the family for any distress caused at this difficult time and take this opportunity to express my condolences to the family and friends and thank those members of the public who supported the search for Janet.
“This incident has now been referred by Police Scotland and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service to the Police Investigation and Review Commissioner for investigation.”
Chief Constable Sir Stephen House last month announced he will stand down earlier than expected following sustained public and political criticism over call centre failings, and controversies over stop-and-search and armed police patrols.
A Crown Office spokesman said: “The Crown Office is aware of the circumstances relating to the death of Janet McKay and in particular an issue relating to the search for her.
“On this basis the Lord Advocate has referred the matter to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner for investigation under statutory powers.
“A post-mortem investigation will be held early next week.”