October 28, 2020

THIS IS NO JOLLY: Top cop says this will not be a holiday

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Merseyside Police Chief Constable Jon Murphy

Jon Murphy, the UK’s top police expert on gangland activities, arrives on Monday morning, and will meet Police Commissioner David Baines to hammer out a plan of action for the next six weeks

“I am coming with two colleagues, and we will sit down with David Baines, and be followed by a team of 15 or 16 detectives,” Mr Murphy told iNews in an exclusive interview yesterday.

Mr Murphy insisted his officers will not be treating the trip as “a jolly”

“We want to have some very tight terms of reference, gaining a clear idea of what local police require from the Merseyside force,” he said.

“My role will be two-fold. To get a proper understanding with David Baines, agreeing what we’ll do and what he needs. The other thing is that my officers will be going into potentially hostile areas, and I will need assurances and protection for them.”

Earlier this week, in the wake of a nine-day spate of five gang-related murders, mostly in West Bay, Commissioner Baines sought aid from Mr Murphy, Chief Constable in Merseyside. He also heads the “crime business area” under the nationwide Association of Chief Police Officers, which aggregates top authorities across the UK in a series of specialities.

The “crime business area” includes 11 different categories, including serious and organised crime, intelligence, drugs, violence and public protection, which itself focuses on domestic violence, guns and gangs.

Mr Murphy moved immediately to dispel fears that his 20-strong group might repeat the hotly criticised experience of 2007-2009’s Operation Tempura, headed by Senior Investigating Officer Martin Bridger of London’s Metropolitan Police.

Mr Bridger and his team spent nearly $10 million, lodging only four modest charges against Deputy Police Commissioner Rudolf Dixon, who was quickly acquitted on all counts. Tempura ended when a judicial review quashed Mr Bridger’s arrest of Grand Court Justice Alexander Henderson on charges of misconduct. Justice Henderson subsequently won $1.27 million in compensation.

“I won’t comment on what past police operations may or may not have done,” Mr Murphy said, “but this absolutely will not be a ‘jolly’. I want terms of reference from the commissioner. My officers are professionals, experienced and trained, and the last thing I want is an open-ended commitment.

“This is not a blank cheque. This is not open ended, and I want my men back on the job here because we have our own problems,” Mr Murphy said.

“The investigation team is competent, and while you have some very competent people in Cayman, [Merseyside] has very significant experience, preparation and training,” he said.

The Liverpool team, he said, worked with a range of social services, recognised that, while they provided an immediate law-enforcement solution, only a long-range plan addressed the problem.

Liverpool Football Club. Mr Murphy says sport is a great way to bring youngsters together.

“Everybody needs to recognise that gangs are a problem in every city. Enforcement is important, and we will provide that, but long-term needs are for other resources.

“All our experience tells us that unless other social services are involved”, success would be limited, he said. “You need basic long-term services as well as investigative and forensic personnel. In Merseyside,” he continued, ”we work with the Department of Education, with social services and other social professionals. We have 7,000 people involved. I have 65 officers involved full time just with the schools, working with kids.”

Local football clubs, including Premier League Liverpool FC and Everton FC, offered training and police-supported coaching.

“Sports is always a great way to being kids together and diversify activities,” he said, pointing to New York City’s “midnight basketball” programme that reduced crime.

The only way to achieve a long-term success against gang violence, he said, is “if everybody is willing.” Police, especially, “recognise a broad response is necessary and that we need to be socially adept.”

The team’s six-week visit, Mr Murphy said, could be extended, but not easily.

“That is something that will be open to negotiations,” Mr Murphy said, suggesting that a small number of officers could remain if required. “We don’t want to leave the Cayman Islands in difficulties, but I need my people back on the job here.”

 

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