Cops investigating own officers after missing man blunder

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By Michael MacLeod

POLICE are investigating their own officers after they searched for 10 weeks for a man lying dead just 10 feet from his front door.

The blunder saw cops hunt far and wide for missing Alan Goulden, 64, using search dogs, horses and divers.

In an unprecedented move, the search even saw Lothian and Borders police take out a full-page advert in a national newspaper.

But tragic Mr Goulden, a top cop’s father, was lying under a bush in his own Edinburgh garden.

His body was found in a badly decomposed state, but a post-mortem examination found no suspicious circumstances into the death.

But the force is under pressure to explain how their search teams missed Mr Goulden’s body so close to his front door in South Maybury.

Last night his family were said to be “steadfast in their support of the police,” despite the two and a half month hunt.

Now Strathclyde police are investigating the tactics used by their east coast colleagues in a bid to find out how thoroughly the garden was searched.

Temporary chief constable Tom Halpin of Lothian and Borders admitted they were still looking for answers.

He said: “We appreciate that there a number of questions that have been raised as a result of the discovery of Mr Goulden’s body so close to his home.

“At this time I would like to reassure people that we have ordered an external review which will look at all of our procedures in respect of the search for Mr Goulden.

“While we cannot make any further comment until the findings of the review are published, I would like to reassure people that we will follow the recommendations closely, with a view to informing any actions we may take in future.”

Mr Goulden was last seen walking near his home early on August.

The former RAF serviceman worked in a packaging plant in the city and lived in the South Maybury flats with his partner.

His friends and family became increasingly worried when he did not return home and a major police search – which included a poster campaign – was mounted to find him.

Later, police brought in divers to search the River Almond and comb Cramond Island, as well as specialist dogs to try to track down the missing man.

Hundreds of drivers in the west of the capital were also stopped as part of police inquiries.

Mr Goulden’s family were “steadfast in their support of the police,” according to Mr Halpin.

He added: “I would like to express my sincere and heartfelt condolences to Mr Goulden’s family, at what I appreciate is a very difficult time for them.

“This is a tragedy which has affected us all, not least because Mr Goulden’s son is a serving police officer with Lothian and Borders Police.

“I would like to reiterate our support for Mr Goulden’s family, who have been steadfast in their support of the police during what has been an extremely distressing time for them.

“Their bravery and spirit in the face of testing circumstances has been remarkable, and we all share their loss at this very difficult time.”

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