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Our detectives answer your questions
Alert message sent 22/06/2020 11:43:00
Information sent on behalf of Humberside Police
We’ve all watched TV and film detectives grilling suspects to work out whodunit but as part of #OpGalaxy we’ve turned the tables and put them in the hot seat.
After we offered you the chance to ask our detectives your burning questions about how we solve crime and conduct investigations, you responded in your droves.
Unfortunately, there were just too many for us to provide answers to all your questions but we’ve tried to cover all the topics you’ve asked about.
Many of you were curious about who we investigate, when and how we do it, how we decide on what someone is charged with and when you should get in touch – especially when it comes to drugs.
So, join us as we duck under the police tape and Ask The Detectives:
TIME TO INVESTIGATE
How do you pick which crimes get dealt with and what people are charged with?
Detective Inspector Tom Kelly from the Grimsby CID team said: The short answer is we don’t – all crimes reported to us get dealt with.
“How we deal with different situations varies on a number of things, including if someone is in danger or a risky situation, if someone is vulnerable and needs additional support, when an incident happened and, of course, what has happened.
“If you call us as a crime is happening or someone is in immediate danger, we will try to get officers there as soon as we can.
“But no matter what, our investigation starts the moment we find out about a crime – it’s just sometimes the work is going on behind the scenes.”
He added: “When it comes to deciding what an offender is charged with, that can be done by police but the usual process is to work with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) who review the evidence and use that to determine what the most appropriate charge will be.
“Where we have recommended a charge, it will still be reviewed by a CPS lawyer before the case goes to court.”
You can find out more about how we investigate crime from DI Kelly here.
What proportion of crimes, in Humberside area, rely on forensic evidence for conviction? And how does that compare with UK stats?
This is a great question but unfortunately the data isn’t readily available for us to be able to give you an accurate answer.
What we can say is that while forensics are a fantastic tool and do play a big role in securing convictions, they are not the only option open to us.
Detective Inspector Kerry Bull from Grimsby CID said: “There are a number of offences – burglary for example - where a small number of offenders are responsible for the majority of the crimes reported to us and forensics can help us link those offenders to crimes.
“That’s not always feasible though. For example, exposure to the elements or things that have been touched by lots of different people can make finding any relevant evidence difficult.
“We also consider things like are their similarities to previous crimes and is it likely anyone will have seen or heard anything?
“We store details of every offence that’s reported to us and that information is used by our team of intelligence officers and force analysts to find patterns that can help us pinpoint who is responsible.”
A LIFE IN CRIME Aside from 'solid leads' (have I watched too much TV?), does a 'hunch' play a significant role in investigations?
Detective Inspector Andy Crawforth from Beverley CID said: “A ‘hunch’ is a term that is definitely used in police TV dramas to represent our suspicions, which is what leads us to investigate and gather the evidence we need to form the grounds for arrest.
“We can’t operate on suspicion alone – we need to be able to justify our actions – but we often find if something doesn’t feel right it usually isn’t. With experience you can pick up enough detail to form a reasonable suspicion and arrest when appropriate.
“Reading people’s behaviour and non-verbal communication is large part of being a detective – how and when things are said, rather than what is said can be really significant.”
Was it easy to get to where you are? What is the actual career like?
Detective Inspector Tom Kelly was really keen to answer this one!
He said: “I think it’s a brilliant career. It’s extremely rewarding and can send you all over as you’re investigating crimes.
“There’s nothing like the feeling of knowing you have got justice for a victim or made them feel safe.
“It’s not an easy job to get into. Every detective starts out as a PC and when you’ve built up your experience you then have the option of sitting the National Investigators Exam.
“To do this you need to have shown you are a good investigator and be supported is this put forward? by a senior officer.
“Then you complete an intensive 7 week training course, which includes specialist interviewing skills.
“Once you are a detective you have the option of working in a number of specialist departments, as well as working your way up through the ranks with further exams and interviews.”
How do you feel when you've executed a successful raid and taken a large amount of drugs and cash of the streets?
The unanimous response to this was “Fantastic!”
Every team across the force talked about the satisfaction of knowing the difference successful operations make for the whole community – removing drugs and those involved in drug-related crime from communities, seizing cash to ensure it doesn’t end up in the hands of criminals and stopping the antisocial behaviour that comes with this kind of crime were all high on the list.
But top of the list was how rewarding it is to hear first-hand from people living and working nearby about how glad they are their concerns have been listened to and acted on – and the difference this will make to their daily lives.
What’s the average length of time from commencement of investigation to arrest? On TV, everything is done and dusted in an hour!
Detective Inspector Simon Vickers from Bridlington CID said: “Although there are some investigations which are fast moving and lead to an arrest within an hour, contrary to our favourite soaps or TV drama there sadly aren’t any investigations that are concluded within that kind of time frame.
“The timeliness of an arrest from the start of an investigation can depend on a number of factors such as the risk the suspect poses to the public, type of evidence that we need to secure and the number of people suspected to have been involved.
“In some cases there is a significant amount of detailed investigative work that has to be completed in order to identify someone suspected of being involved.
“Making an arrest as important as it is, is only the tip of the iceberg. Investigations can take a day or months before they reach a conclusion or result someone being charged. In some very complex cases investigations can take years depending on the material that needs to be gathered.
“There is a perception that once someone has been charged that’s the end of the matter until the defendant appears at court.
“The reality is that elements of the investigation are still in progress, especially when there is forensic or digital evidence involved, and a lot of extra hidden investigative actions continue.
“The Criminal Procedure Investigation Act means that we have to make reasonable lines of enquiry even if new information we receive points away from our suspect. This can mean officers spending hours trawling hours of CCTV, which wouldn’t make for the most exciting episodes of EastEnders.
“On a serious note, what’s most important for us is that victims and their families understand what is happening with their investigation and why. It is vital that they feel supported and that they absolutely stay our main priority.”
WHAT HAPPENS TO..?
Can you tell me what happens to jewellery recovered from premises that you are not able to return to the victims?
Detective Inspector Wendy Lusby from Scunthorpe CID said: “We always do everything we can to try and get stolen property back to its rightful owner – and there are things you can do to help make it more likely we can get your things back to you should the worst happen.
“We recommend that you register your valuables on www.immobilise.com, where you can log serial numbers of things like bikes and electronics and upload pictures of unique items such as jewellery.
“Unfortunately, we can’t always find out who items belong to. They are then sent to auction and the proceeds are used to in crime prevention initiatives.”
SUPPORTING VICTIMS: Do social services actively work alongside the police in support of victims of domestic violence? Do the police continue to support victims when social services work directly with perpetrators for the safety of victims?
Detective Chief Inspector Becky Dickinson from our Protecting Vulnerable People team said: “There are lots of different partners we work with to support victims of domestic abuse and their families.
“The agencies we work with depend on the needs of the individuals involved and there’s no one size fits all approach. What’s important is that victims know that we’re here, we will listen and we will do all we can to help them and the wider family.
“An important part of our work around domestic abuse is monitoring what is being reported to us and what is being reported to our partners, so we can give victims the best possible protection.
“We’re also doing a lot of work with partners to try and understand more about what stops victims and their friends and family from contacting us, so we can find ways of reaching out to them, as well as putting them in touch with other agencies that can offer them support.” Get help and support
DRUG RELATED CRIME I see lads dressed like drug dealers, in high end cars, who never wear seat belts, they are always on the phone as they get in the car and always drive off speeding. The thought is that it would be easy to engage with the owners of the vehicles for road traffic offences and then search vehicles and “run interference“ on the low level trading…
This kind of behaviour is something that all our officers are always on the look-out for and we do proactively stop drivers and collect intelligence about those we suspect to be involved with drug-related crime.
We also have a dedicated Road Crime Team whose role is to target criminals using our roads.
Sergeant Will Knapp said: “I know sometimes people get frustrated when they have reported things like drug dealing to us and it appears that we’ve not acting on it.
“But just because you have not seen us at the address doesn’t mean we have not targeted the people responsible – it may be that to make the biggest difference we have to take a different approach.
“In some cases, this might be my team targeting the offenders bringing drugs into the area or moving cash or weapons around.
“As a result of stops we have carried out in the last six months we’ve made more than 70 arrests, seized class A drugs worth approximately £190,000, £75,000 in cash, cannabis with a street value of £39,000, as well as weapons and ammunition.” Find out more about the team and their work.
We've been reporting drug deliveries to our neighbour for quite a while - giving dates, car details etc so hoping he'll be investigated. How much detail do you need us to supply each time and if you did pay a visit but found nothing, is it worth continuing to report?
Detective Inspector Rich Osgerby, whose team is responsible for targeting drug-related and organised crime in Hull and the East Riding said: “The short answer is yes!
“All the things you have been telling us about are the kind of details we need, so firstly I want to say thank you for your help so far.
“Please don’t ever put yourself at risk but any information you can share with us safely is really valuable when it comes to putting together plans on how and when to target people we suspect of being involved in this kind of crime.
“Even if we have targeted an address before and not found anything, that doesn’t mean that property or those people are no longer of interest to us.
“That’s why continued information is so important – it means that the next time we go we have a better chance of success.
“Only this week we have had some excellent results in the disruption of organised crime on the North Bank with the discovery of a huge cannabis factory. This was directly as the result of information coming from people in the community so please keep the information coming in!”
If you know an area has a high number of drug related offences, why haven’t you cleaned them up sooner?
Detective Inspector Phil Booker, whose team leads on targeting organised crime groups in northern Lincolnshire, said: “We target our operations to try and make the biggest possible impact.
“We want to make sure that when we carry out warrants we do it at the point where we are going to cause the maximum possible disruption to their activities –arresting as many of the key players as possible, seizing cash and taking drugs and weapons off the streets.
“This often means we need to target multiple addresses simultaneously – sometimes in different areas of the country – and this takes time to plan.
“It may mean that you report things to us and don’t see action straight away but it’s worth the wait in the long run, as doing it this way means we can make a long term difference.”
You can find out more about how we tackle organised crime
Am I right in thinking there is no criminal or legal redress for the landlord if their property/ properties are being used to deal drugs?
Detective Inspector Paul Gibb from Hull CID said: “Not necessarily. If we can find evidence connecting the landlord to what’s happening in their property, such as active knowledge or allowing it to happen they could be charged with permitting the use of premises under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
“If you believe the tenants are committing offences it’s also important that you let us know.”
HOW CAN WE HELP? Which crime/category gets you the most info from the public?
Detective Inspector Vicky Huyton from Scunthorpe CID, said: “We’re really lucky in this area – you’re great at getting in touch with us when you think something’s not right.
“You’re also always willing to help when we make appeals for information and witnesses to specific incidents – particularly when we ask for your help in find missing people.
“Lots of people get in touch with information about antisocial behaviour and drug-related crime and this is so important to us. It helps us decide where our officers need to be and when, so we can disrupt and catch offenders.”
When I see a drug deal and have a car number what is the quickest way to contact you?
Unless someone is in immediate danger, always call our non-emergency 101 line. You can also call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 if you’d rather not give your name.
Do you know that the overwhelming majority of the public have great respect for the system of policing in the UK, and admire you for what must seem like a thankless task most of the time? And how can we make you feel more appreciated?
Thank you. Keep up the good work!
Messages like this mean to the world to us and we love reading your replies to our news on social media pages and My Community Alert.
We always want you to let us know if we’re not getting it right – but it’s also great to hear when we are.
Message sent by
Sarah Howson (Police, Senior Communications Officer and Business Partner, Humberside)