Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The West Midlands Serious Crime Squad

This bastion of truth, honesty & integrity exploded into a national scandal in the late 1980`s which led to it`s breakup by the Chief Constable of the West Midlands, Geoffrey Dear.  Two sets of actions led to a new breakthrough forensic test, which is now used by Police extensively, of a series of armed robberies and a terrorist campaign that saw twenty one people lose their lives and six innocent men framed by the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad.

    This squad had it`s origins going back to 1952, where it was known as the Special Crime Squad, and was to assist the CID in outbreaks of various crimes.  By the end of the 50`s, it was now the Birmingham Crime Squad.  When different forces amalgamated, the Birmingham Police joined up with the West Midlands force in 1974, and the squad became known as the WMSCS.  Where everything unravelled was the arrest and charge of a man called Paul Dandy whom had allegedly confessed to serious crime.  An investigation revealed that a number of other cases had suspects "Confessing" in written statements.  Some cases collapsed and some men were jailed.  The forensic test that showed the confessions had been tampered with was the ESDA test, that examined the sheets that were underneath the one being written on and bringing up the impressions.  No impressions meant the sheets were separated and incriminating remarks were written in later.

    The terrorist campaign was the Birmingham pub bombings in which twenty one people died.  Six Irishmen were arrested at a Lancashire port, ready to catch a ferry to Belfast.  These men were taken to the West Midlands, where the WMSCS were waiting for them.  The six allegedly confessed but their spokesman, Paddy Hill, said that they were repeatedly beaten and tortured.  They were convicted at Lancaster Crown Court and jailed for life.  I have stood in this court which also saw the notorious "Mr Asia" murder trial.  The six served 16 years in prison before they were cleared and released.  Paddy Hill stated that despite the many cops the six came into contact with over the remand, trial, appeals etc, they were NEVER threatened or assaulted by the vast majority.  The only violence came from the WMSCS.  This violence emerged when it was revealed that they used torture to get confessions, such as wrapping plastic bags around their heads and suffocating them.  Medical evidence supported this.  I did a short stint on a forensics course and one woman commented that two former members of this squad were on a course she was on.  She said that they were "Absolute pissheads!"   Of course questions were asked politely and the suspects responded to this courtesy by spilling their guts.  Yeah right.