All Change


Following the tragic case of Nicola Bulley earlier this year, I suggest that major, high-profile police investigations will never be the same again. We can’t go back to how things were – the genie is well and truly out of the bottle. But does our police service, already reeling from almost daily criticism, realise this? I think they are still trying to hold back the tide and revert to how they would like to manage investigations, but they will undoubtedly fail.

Sure, in the Nicola Bulley investigation Lancashire Police didn’t get everything right, but I wasn’t comfortable with the level of criticism they faced whilst the investigation was ongoing. They were certainly hampered by a number others who got themselves involved and either through a lack of media training or a desperate desire to increase their own profile, became way too central to the story. Whether it was the usual ex-police officers who felt the need to talk constantly to every media outlet out there about all the errors they thought were being made (yawn). Or the well-meaning owner of the specialist diving company who for reasons I can’t begin to understand decided to comment on areas way outside his expertise. Then we had all the TikTok/YouTube brigade and others turning up at the scene in an attempt to increase their followers and likes – and make no mistake, although some are amateurs, for others this is big business.

To me, the errors made all come down to openness and transparency – if the local police had been straightforward from the beginning the investigation would not have gone so off-track. One of my pet hates for a number of years has been the unwillingness of police forces to release all their information about cases they have failed to solve for years. What is there to lose by revealing much more of what they know? I think this should be the case in many current investigations too. Don’t you?

The public – especially in our social media/technology age – are their main means of getting results, so why not show more trust? And in the Nicola Bulley case, if they had revealed what they knew and the reasons for their theories earlier, it would have saved the family being subjected to having to reveal certain aspects of their lives to the media.

We have a large number of people at home with the time and interest to make huge breakthroughs in these cases, but they are still looked down upon by the professionals. When police forces are struggling so badly as they are so stretched and short of resources, I can’t understand why they don’t share much more information. When the public are treated like adults, they tend to behave much better when they feel they aren’t being told the whole story. As well as solving cases, it will also start to re-build some of the relationships between the police and public which have broken down so badly in recent years.

I can’t see it happening yet, can you? But it will – and much sooner than many of us think.

The post All Change first appeared on UK True Crime.

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