AN inquiry has been launched into the failings of Essex Police in their search for a missing man.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) are probing the police investigation into the death of 47 year-old Michael Redmond, of The Vale, Vange.

The father-of-one was reported missing on Friday, July 5, and was last seen near the 13th hole of Basildon Golf Course in Clay Hill Lane, Basildon.

His body was discovered by officers and specially trained dogs in heavy woodland surrounding the site five weeks later on Monday, August 12.

It was their second search of the area, as police scoured the golf course in the early stages of their missing persons investigation.

An inquest into his death was due to open at Essex Coroners Court, in Chelmsford, today but was adjourned in light of the IPCC probe.

Essex Police referred the case voluntarily to the commission yesterday.

Chief Superintendent Luke Collison said: “I would like to extend my thoughts and condolences to Mr Redmond’s family at this difficult time.

"The search for Mr Redmond was both challenging and complex. The terrain that needed to be searched consisted of areas of dense woodland and covered an area more than 160 acres in size. In addition to the extensive search operation officers were simultaneously making extensive enquiries within the community and following up several lines of enquiry.

"None-the-less it is now clear there were shortfalls in the management and implementation of the search operation. These were identified as a result of an internal review commissioned shortly after Mr Redmond was found by specialist police search dogs.

"I am confident that the necessary measures are now being put in place to prevent such failings from happening again. However, it is clear that these shortfalls have caused Mr Redmond’s family additional anguish for which I apologise and accept that certain procedures should have been carried out more effectively."

A pre-inquest review has been scheduled to take place in June.

A spokesman for the IPCC said: "The IPCC has received a referral from Essex Police. We are continuing to carry out an assessment to determine the level, if any, of IPCC involvement."