Monday, September 28, 2009

Damned for whatever..its the new Blue.

I think the articles in the Mail today are telling in that we as Police, whatever the failings of the entire criminal justice system, if it goes 'belly up ' it always seems to be portrayed as our fault.We just cant get it right.

We do get it right,week after week, but that doesn't make news.

The Rachel Nickell enquiry is,in one way,an example.
The job is apparently likely to be sued because we failed to deal with the paranoid schizophrenic 3 years earlier prior to his attack in 1992.Our man at the Yard Mr Yates states that 'more could and should have been done' Again some 16 years after the event these hindsight goggles are as sharp as ever.

Now this job was so long ago and I don't have access to all the details of what was and wasn't done at the time (and the Mail is as vague on detail) but whatever the officers did they clearly didn't have access to the team crystal ball during that period.

That sounds flippant and I don't intend it to,as a number of innocent people have either lost their lives or have been badly affected by this individuals actions.

But at that time 3 years prior to Rachel Nickel being murdered did the police have 'sufficient information' to arrest, interview, demand DNA from this individual? Was the 'information' in a form that could be used without identifying the informant? The venue was not clearly identified. Back in 1989 was there the forensic advances to assist with this? Was the victim,if identified, willing to pursue the allegation? At that time, what was his previous history?

If we had willing witnesses,victim, scene, good forensic( the sort of stuff CPS still demand today) and we STILL failed to act then we can throw ourselves on our sword.

I am not saying the shambles regarding the 'honey trap' and STAGG does us credit but it was done, based on research, with the best intention and with the approval of the CPS who,as ever, never seem to be subject to public vitriol when a case goes wrong.

The next article is regards the fatal shooting of Clare Nernal back in 2005. She was brutally shot, at short range, in Harvey Nicolls store by an ex boyfriend.The whole tone of this article is that it somehow remains the fault of the police.I recall at the time that the Courts were blamed for giving him Bail but that clearly doesn't suit this article

Background: The Harassment Act 1997 was designed to deal with Stalkers like this.

However it has become a catch all piece of legislation that everything from 'he looked at me the wrong way' to 'he held a knife at my throat and threatened to gut me' gets reported under this Act. Borough units are plagued by low level 'Harassment' a lot of which is usually dealt with by telling some people to grow up or get a life... suitably phrased naturally. However amongst the dross are cases that require more attention. Even amongst the other cases it can be hard, without omniscience, a degree in clinical psychology to get it right every time. In this case he was arrested and 'warned' He breached this and was arrested. The background MUST have been sufficient for police to recommend his remand in custody. That is OUR recommendation and not CPS at first hearing,for a spell in Belmarsh to result.That he is then given bail,returns home,returns,pleads guilty and then does this act of senseless violence CANNOT be blamed on police or OIC.

Again if we had that Team Crystal ball hooked up in the office things could be different. We don't and it wasn't.

We shovel a lot of...stuff... day in and out. Those that actually sign for and investigate are low in numbers compared to the volume that comes in. When the wheel comes off I would like other aspects of the system to be put under scrutiny. We always seem to be the default position for criticism.

I am not saying we are always right or correct but we are a damn sight better than we are portrayed.