A police force has referred itself to the watchdog over its investigation into the disappearance of a mother-of-two from a seaside town.

Sussex Police have been accused of “significant failings” over its probe into the whereabouts of Georgina Gharsallah, who vanished without a trace in 2018.

Her disappearance from Worthing aged 30 is being treated as a homicide inquiry and a £10,000 reward has been posted for information.

Missing posters for the mother can still be seen throughout the West Sussex town.

Now Sussex Police has confirmed it has made a voluntary referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) in connection with the investigation.

Ms Gharsallah’s mother Andrea Gharsallah said: “I welcome the self-referral.

“There were significant failings, particularly around the matter of CCTV.

“I will shortly be meeting with the Chief Constable, Jo Shiner, and I shall make my views as Georgina’s mother and as a citizen known to her”.

Georgina Gharsallah missing
Family and friends gather in Worthing last year for a candlelight vigil to mark the birthday of missing mother Georgina Gharsallah (Michael Drummond/pa)

Earlier this month, Sussex Police said a “full review” of the investigation had been carried out and that the findings and recommendations had been shared with Ms Gharsallah’s family.

A force spokesperson said: “Over the last two-and-a-half years, a number of leads from people purporting to have information on what happened have been spoken to, over 70 potential sightings of Georgina investigated, 1,000 house-to-house inquiries have been conducted and locations Georgina frequents searched.

“We continue to appeal to the public to report information to the police or Crimestoppers.”

Former DCI Clive Driscoll, who has supported the family and was the officer who secured the convictions in the Stephen Lawrence case, said of the IOPC referral: “I welcome this investigation and hope that it brings some comfort to the family of Georgina.

“We want to find her and find out what happened to her and to do so, we need to restart the investigation.”

An IOPC spokesperson confirmed the watchdog had received a voluntary complaint referral from Sussex Police in connection with the disappearance of Ms Gharsallah.

They added: “In order to fully assess the complaint referral, the IOPC has requested additional documentation from Sussex Police.

“Once we have received the extra information, we will then thoroughly assess all the material in order to determine the level, if any, of our involvement.”