Wiltshire Police are being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission following the discovery of a Chippenham man in the River Avon just hours after he was reported missing.

The force is being investigated in a bid to find out why there was a five hour delay between a call reporting 62-year-old Anthony Slade, of Unity House, as missing, and the time a police officer was sent to the hostel to interview staff.

IPCC commissioner Rebecca Marsh has passed her condolences to the family and friends of Mr Slade, who was found lying face down in the river in Monkton Park on Thursday, September 23.

She has also announced that an investigation will be carried out over the next few months.

“I have decided that the IPCC will independently investigate Wiltshire Police's handling of this call about Mr Slade using our own investigators,” she said.

“Our investigation will seek to establish the reasons for the apparent five-hour delay in dealing with the missing person report, including the actions of the control room staff in grading the call.

“We will also look at whether a risk assessment was carried out.”

A member of staff at Unity House – a hostel for homeless single adults – called Wiltshire Police at around 1.20am on September 23 to say Mr Slade was missing.

There were warning signals on the police national computer about Mr Slade which indicated he was a vulnerable person and, around ten minutes after the call was made, a control room operator radioed police on duty to pass on the concerns.

At around 7.20am – five hours after the original call was made – an officer was sent to the hostel, which is opposite the police station in Wood Lane, to take details about his disappearance. Mr Slade was then reclassed as a grade one missing person.

At around 11am a man who was walking his dog discovered a body in the river, which was later identified as that of Mr Slade, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.