Thursday, 25 July 2013

Adjourned Sine Die....

I never knew Keith Blakelock and by the time the Tottenham riots kicked off, ten years separated The Metropolitan Police and me, but I knew countless officers like him and I felt his loss like I was still a member of that force. One of those countless officers was a particularly good friend of mine, that friendship forged in two years of cadet training in the wintry peaks of North Wales, the wilds of Dartmoor, the February fog of River Thames canoeing expeditions and on the judo mats and in the boxing rings of the Hendon cadet training school.

He was killed in the execution of his duty by four young men in a stolen car. He tried to grab the keys from the ignition when the driver refused to turn off the engine. He got trapped in the window and the driver deliberately rammed him into railings in Oxford Street to shake him off. They were caught and convicted of a lesser crime than murder, which requires `malice aforethought` and served a paltry few years in jail - less than 4 paltry years. That one event shaped me in respect of law enforcement and my tiny part in it -  `Report of a Stolen car? So what? I'll do what I can but it won't be much`.

So I am heartened by the news that my first police force has run another suspect to ground, because this sort of crime cannot be left to gather dust. Its memory sits quietly dozing in the cerebral filing system of hundreds of ex coppers like me - quietly dozing but occasionally opening a cynical eye.

Perhaps the progress of science can achieve today what it was unable to do 28 years ago. Lets hope for no `high morals` corrupt practice. Lets hope they get this one home. A conviction must be `beyond reasonable doubt`, says our criminal justice system. May it be so in this case.

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