It is always good to get away from it all completely for a couple of weeks, I hope that, like me, you have managed to get some time with your family and friends over the summer period. I can recommend the Massif Central, the volcanic heart of France, and the West Coast, where I continued my struggle with the waves; they always seem to win! I also found myself climbing a fantastic extinct volcano by the Puy de Dome, and doing a 1.6 kilometre long zip wire that went off the top of the mountain at Super Besse, before heading across a lake at over 100 kmh! It made Exec Group seem a doddle!
I was very touched to visit Pegasus Bridge, scene of an audacious airborne assault the night before D Day on 5th June 1944, which was incredibly evocative and made me reflect on the sacrifice made by previous generations that allow us to police a democracy. It was also striking just how young the men that fought were, while their battle hardened ‘veteran’ Commander, who had previously fought across France in WWI, was the same age as me! He took a tin of marmalade with him on the raid; it had been presented to him by his team so that he could breakfast properly as D Day dawned!
While I was away I was delighted to get calls about the result of the Hinckley ‘Operation Milestone’ murder trial. This has been a long and challenging investigation that rightly drew the highest of praise from the trial Judge. I have visited the family during the long months where there was much that we knew that we couldn’t share with them.
While the result will not bring back Hayley, the brilliance, determination and resilience of the investigative will at least allow them to know what actually happened that night.
I attended one of the first briefings after the murder took place; to see the evidence brought together over the intervening months and years has shown a team doing their duty to local people.
I am very proud of everyone who has contributed to an investigation that has been tested to the full, but not been found wanting.
While I was away the court case involving Lord Janner began. The team have followed the evidence without fear or favour. It is now for a Court to decide what justice is in this case after the appearance in court of the defendant on Friday.
A busy week looms, with the challenge of catching up on operational incidents and correspondence of all sorts. I also have meetings on collaboration, developing 101 nationally, and a variety of radio interviews on all sorts of topics.
The worrying thing is that, while I was away, I missed all that sort of thing!