Royal Commission – Policing & Sam Hallam
You may be asking yourself who is Sam Hallam?
Sam Hallam aged 24 was released from custody last week having served just 7.5 years of a life sentence for killing a trainee chef in London which was proven in the Court of Appeal he did not committ. Now those of you who are Police Officers or Public and who have not followed this in the news should be asking some questions but then so should those of you who did follow it and understand the issues.
The Sun newspaper suggests that Sam was jailed on the basis of 2 witnesses who placed him at the scene. Sam allegedly was playing football with a friend but that friend denied this. There was no DNA linking him to the crime scene.
Sam’s case was supported by the actor Ray Winstone who stated “Someone must answer for this outrageous miscarriage of justice. The killer is out there because the Police involved in this case did not do their job. Who will answer for the miscarriage of justice?”
Sadly 15 months ago Sam’s father tragically committed suicide it’s believed through the stress of Sam behind bars.
Now we make no apology for mentioning this evidence from a newspaper cutting as this is likely to be the only evidence you will hear currently on this crime.
But there is more in common with these two cases than you may first appreciate. Issues we wish to highlight is that of blame without proper recourse for the Police Service and the striking similarity to that of PC David Rathband which we will seek to explain under the alleged Governments cloud of austerity and 20% Cuts to the Police Service.
Without doubt both cases are astonishingly terrible, indeed Sam’s compelled with the loss of his father during serving the 7.5 years. Sam’s appeal case balanced on photos taken on 2 phones which were seized as part of evidence by the Police. On one it allegedly showed photos of the friend he played football but whereas Sam had stated one day it was actually the following day he had played with his friend. On another phone it showed photos taken on the night of the murder at a pub and at his grans house 2 miles away from the scene.
The Polices have stated that technology was not available at the time to establish and bring into court this evidence.
PC Rathband also served part of a life sentence although be it shorter than 7.5 years but he also committed suicide because of what was believed to be the crime against him. He had been shot in the face by a Roul Moat who had taken revenge on his ex-girlfriend and her new partner and then fled. He shot PC Rathband as he was searching for Moats car. Shot point blank in the face with a shotgun PC Rathband suffered terrible agonising injuries resulting in the loss of his sight and on-going pain in his face from shrapnel. After a number of days Moat killed himself in front of several Police Officers who had surrounded him in a field negotiating with him. Again like is to follow in Sam’s case an investigation looked at how Moat came to be armed and shot his ex-girlfriend and her partner and their domestic history. Last year PC Rathband sadly committed suicide from what was believed to be the breakdown of his marriage, his blindness and the lasting pain he suffered in his face leaving behind his wife and 2 children.
Again we recognise that both cases are astonishingly terrible but we ask who is to blame if anyone?
In most cases that are published within the ensuing media frenzy the Police Service is ‘always’ first in line to be blamed.
In both of these cases we believe because mobile phone data was not examined and proper offender case management not in operation both requiring technology to improve.
But look deeper and engage. The Metropolitan Police have stated that they did not have any technology to produce the evidence of Sam’s mobile phone.
Domestic violence occurs much more often than the Police or indeed the public like to believe. There has been much change in not only the investigation of but protection around Domestic Violence but still people are killed.
The media and in turn the public are often too quick to lay blame firmly at the Police Services door without understanding or examining the systems that are in place. Systems which the publiic have been consulted on as the main stays of British Policing.
20% cuts to the Police Service has already developed into the loss of 16,000 Police Officers some from the front line but more from those ‘back office’ jobs such as those that deal with the records of Domestic Violence the government would have you suggest are dispensable.
If nothing else these two cases and no doubt many others will have and sadly continue to have negative coverage for the Police Service. We are not saying they shouldn’t be highlighted but let’s put it into perspective. Are the Police always to blame?
Senior Police Officers from A.C.P.O Ltd have already appeared in the media and stated that 20% cuts will mean the Police Service withdraw from some aspects of their work. They simply will not be able to do everything communities are asking of them. It will take a strong leader to 1) Make that list of jobs and 2) Speak up and protect their teams when it fails, and lets agree it will, it’s only a matter of time. You can only get less with less remember.
Of course technology is expensive to keep up to date with and if the Police Service is to maintain its fight against crime so too should it have the funds to purchase such equipment such as that which the Metropolitan Police have stated they did not have at the time.
Not knowing the full story as the Sun have not printed it, in Sam’s case surely the question has to be asked what his legal team did to progress this mobile phone enquiry. They were employed at no doubt an expensive rate to represent Sam through the judiciary process. Remember Sam’s mobile phones would have been in storage accessible to them through the appropriate channels. If they knew this then surely they would also be accountable?
Well what can be done in both of these cases to improve the future for our communities and help to reduce such reoccurrences is a Royal Commission into Policing. We have doubt that ex-Police Commissionaire Sir Stephens report commissioned by the Labour party will go far enough and include much of what is required to secure a proper reformed Police Service and will have little legal binding on Parliament to act.
We know that 20% Cuts are taking its toll on our Police Officers and Staff and affecting sickness rates which is why the Home Secretary cleverly announced funding of up to £500,000 to the 2 Police rehab homes. This was warmly received but falls extremely short of the actual number of Police Officers who will require the service in years to come bearing in mind that one of Winsors proposals is for fitness testing with the threat of the sack if not fit.
We believe we are at a cross roads and following the Police Federation Conference this week a time of reflection from the pace of the cuts and Winsor proposals.
On balance Society requires either a change in its high expectation of the Police Service or the Police service is properly funded following a Royal Commission which will adequately and fairly establish what this expectation is. We see today that West Midlands Police are promoting their Business Partnering for Police (BPP) seeing back office posts filled with the private sector. Some Police Forces have already contracted out certain custody roles within thier cutody suites where suspects are housed following arrest. But we ask is this really an expectation of our communities or idiologies of a certain elite few? There is no doubt in our mind that Public Consultation is key to the future of British Policing and its reform.
In the current climate this expectation is only set to become higher as other services are reduced by cuts. The Police Service is currently the last 999 service which will deal with everything else refused by others. This expectation falls under a duty of care established from other expensive legal enquiries which again we do not denounce but it’s a question of cost and when you are being cut to the bone and beyond its relative. But money isn’t everything? The Police Service currently relies on an astounding amount of good will too.
Over the coming weeks we are planning to write to the Police Federation, the Association of Chief Police Officers Ltd, the Home Secretary Theresa May and Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper to highlight why we believe a Royal Commission and proper engagement with the public is imperative to not only protect the Public in our communities but our Police and the warranted office of Constable.
If you have some suggestions on the future of the Police Service why not forward them to us or make a comment below either way NOW is the time to get your voice heard. We will include any constructive comments and ideas within our communications with the Police Officials we are writing to.
|Print article||This entry was posted by ProtectOurPolice on May 21, 2012 at 15:14, and is filed under Uncategorized. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|