National Crime Agency releases statement amid claims sonar firm that searched for Nicola Bulley has been 'suspended pending review'

The National Crime Agency has released a statement amid claims that a specialist sonar firm involved in the search for Nicola Bulley has been ‘suspended’ from its database ‘pending review’.
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Specialist Group International (SGI), led by Peter Faulding, carried out an independent underwater search of a section of the River Wyre using sonar equipment as part of efforts to find the mum-of-two.

Claims that the firm has been ‘removed from the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) list of experts’ were first reported by The Times.

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The National Crime Agency has explained that its adviser database ‘is subject to continual review’.

Peter Faudling, head of SGIPeter Faudling, head of SGI
Peter Faudling, head of SGI

The NCA’s Expert Advisers Database (EAD) is used to identify and source experts who can add value to law enforcement investigations.

It is an internal database for use by UK law enforcement and covers a broad range of expertise including forensics and toxicology

An NCA spokesperson said: “The NCA does not employ, endorse or accredit experts on our adviser database. The database is subject to continual review and its purpose is to maintain a list of expertise UK law enforcement can draw upon when required.”

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The statement added: “We proactively seek feedback from customers regarding experts’ performance and contribution. The monitoring of performance equally applies to individuals and organisations who become involved in investigations without NCA engagement.”

Nicola Bulley, whose family described her as the "centre of our world"Nicola Bulley, whose family described her as the "centre of our world"
Nicola Bulley, whose family described her as the "centre of our world"

SGI arrived in St Michael’s on Wyre on Monday, February 6 to carry out a highly specialist scan of the river, near where Nicola went missing, over three days.

Nicola had last been seen walking her dog, Willow, along the river bank on the morning of January 27.

Police confirmed on Monday that a body recovered from the River Wyre on Sunday, February 19 had been identified as the missing mum-of-two from Inskip.

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Nicola’s heartbroken family paid tribute to her, saying: “She was the centre of our world, she was the one who made our lives so special and nothing will cast a shadow over that.

“Finally, Nikki, you are no longer a missing person, you have been found, we can let you rest now."

Specialist Group International was approached for comment by The Gazette and Lancashire Post.

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