Highways England outperforms Police in Hate Crime Investigation


Article Overview:


“F..off, you F.. P.ki” were the words used by a construction worker towards me, sparking a complaint and subsequent ‘investigation’ by the Police and Highways England.

The word investigation is in inverted commas because that was what I thought the Police were doing. As it turns out, I’m not so sure now.

I had previously written that I was pleased with both the Police response and the response of Highways England. I am pleased to report that I am delighted with how Highways England have dealt with it, but am confused as to why Northamptonshire Police were ostensibly still looking for the offender when Highways England had found the alleged perpetrator, had informed me that he had been interviewed and that he had confessed to using abusive language.

I found how the Police proceeded a little strange in this case. Way back in the day, when I was a Police Constable, dealing with a complaint like mine should have been a straight-forward procedure. Receive the complaint, take a statement, find the alleged offender, interview said offender and then take appropriate action.

The Police had been really good at the point of calling me to let me know that they were still looking into the matter, but they didn’t seem to go beyond that. The matter dragged on for weeks and I have my doubts as to whether the Police would have found the offender if Highways England were not involved.

The lack of an effective Police response is perhaps the worst aspect of this story. Victims of crimes depend on the Police to keep them safe and when something goes wrong; to investigate the incident thoroughly and to put a case forward so that the case can be dealt with in the courts so that ultimately the victim is able to achieve a sense of justice.

The cohesion of our society depends on victims feeling they can achieve a sense of justice. My in-laws on the day of the incident said to me “Don’t bother reporting it”, I would be wasting my time and that “the Police will not take it seriously”. They were dismissive of my belief that the matter would be taken seriously. I fear that they might have been correct.

The question now is will I waste my time reporting it to the Police again? The answer is yes because if we stop believing in the integrity, honesty and sincerity of our Police force then society will start to break down. The alternatives to not reporting it would be to do nothing and feel a sense of anger or deal with it myself in a more immediate and direct way, which would have got me into trouble.

In this case, I feel I have received justice only because of Highways England’s intervention. That is disappointing. As an ex-Police Constable, I know that this was not a difficult case.

Highways England asked me what outcome I would like to see. I informed them that I did not want a pound of flesh and that that I definitely did not want the man to be dismissed. But that I did want him and his company (Arbus) to understand that this was completely unacceptable.

The man whilst (understandably) refusing to accept the racial element (despite two witnesses saying that there was a racial element) had admitted that he had used abusive language. He apologised in a letter to me. The fact that Highways England and Skanska (the company that awarded the contract to Arbus) had got involved, sent a strong message that this type of behaviour would not be accepted – Brexit or no Brexit.

Highway England, Skanska, Arbus, the offender and I all learnt a lot from this incident. The thing that I gleaned from the Police response is that they still need to up their game.

My advice to anyone in similar circumstances – don’t give in – report these matters to the Police and then keep an eye on it – don’t assume they are taking it anywhere nearly as serious as you are.


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