Thursday, 5 May 2011

I was dreamin' when I wrote this, forgive me if it goes astray

Sean O'Neill of The Times has written an interesting piece today (which you can read HERE if you are a Times subscriber; if you are not then it is worth a Pound), having had exclusive access to a copy of the IPCC report into the Met failures in the Night Stalker case. Or, to be absolutely accurate, the IPCC's report into one failing which occurred in 1999 in the Night Stalker case.

I am not going to rehearse my views on the other, later, Night Stalker failures in this post. If you wish to read them, simply click on the 'March' posts over on the right. But I am still mystified that no journalist, no MP, no Councillor or no victim has asked the question as to why the IPCC were so narrow in their approach. It is a question I asked last year both of my bosses in the Met and the IPCC investigator. I was not given any sort of answer, let alone a compelling one. My experience of IPCC investigations (in a completely different but equally flawed investigation which I took over in 2005) is that, notwithstanding their original terms of reference, they will allow a large degree of mission creep if they feel there are skeletons to be found. And so they should. But in the Night Stalker case 1999 was the beginning and the end; if it didn't happen that year then it might as well not have happened at all.

The Met's line on this still seems to be that 1999 is all we need worry about. Perhaps they are all just avid Prince fans? They also replied to an enquiry to their Press Bureau about the 'learning' review that it was being conducted by NPIA. Which is interesting - I wasn't aware that the NPIA did reviews; their business plan, website and publicity material certainly make no mention of this function. Perhaps they are diversifying in light of the threat to their very existence? Or perhaps the Met meant there is a debrief planned which will be held or even facilitated by NPIA at their Bramshill site. I know that DSU Simon Morgan organised such a day some time ago, in his role of heading the learning exercise. I don't know when it will take place, or even if it already has, because I wasn't invited, even before I retired - though I would gladly contribute to such an event now, free of charge. Indeed, I'd probably even pay to be there. It feels somehow wrong, perhaps even (immodestly) a waste of what I can offer, that neither the Met nor the IPCC have asked for my input. I was asked, in May 2009, to look at the Night Stalker investigation and make suggestions to resolve it. I looked, reported, was given the authority to change and we were successful pretty quickly. I have therefore studied the case, its strategies and tactics, and its leadership very carefully. Understandably as a result I have many, many views on how it was led and progressed before May 2009, which I am sure would assist the 'learning', but nobody is asking for them.

If things are still as I think they are, the Met's answer citing the NPIA was clever, was not untrue, but neatly sidestepped the issue of who exactly in the Met is leading the review. Which, I still maintain, is an area which needs to be explored alongside the question of the extent of the IPCC investigation.

The difficulty I continue to encounter is that I want to answer questions which nobody seems prepared to ask.

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