The Metropolitan Police is under investigation over its search for former EastEnders actress Sian Blake and her two children after their bodies were found at their family home in Erith, Kent. The 43-year-old disappeared on 13 December when she visited family in the Leyton area of north-east London with her two sons Zachary Bilal Kent-Blake, eight, and Amon Ben George Kent-Blake, four.

But they were not reported missing until 31 December, 18 days later, and murder detectives discovered their bodies at the family home on 5 January after the actress's car was found abandoned in Bethnal Green, east London.

Police spoke to Blake's boyfriend Arthur Simpson-Kent on 16 December but the 48-year-old is now thought to have travelled to Ghana after making his way to Glasgow and then Amsterdam before flying from the Netherlands to Africa.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission will now look at why it took so long for Blake's disappearance to be treated as suspicious.

A statement released by the Met said: "The Metropolitan Police has today, Wednesday 6 January, made a voluntary referral to the Independent Police Complaints Commission in relation to the Sian Blake missing person investigation.

"An initial review has highlighted some potential issues regarding the handling and grading of the missing persons investigation. The Directorate of Professional Standards was informed on Monday 4 January and is working with the investigation team to fully understand the timeline of police interaction with the family."

Post-mortem examinations on the three bodies were due to take place on 6 January at the Princess Royal Hospital at Farnborough Hospital.