With Cambridge having a reputation as a pleasant and liberal sort of place, you'd have thought Cambridgeshire Police would be staffed by highly professional officers striving to protect the population, wouldn't you? Ha! How wrong you'd be.
Standards inspectors have compiled a damning report based on evidence they discovered while examining the force. Their investigations revealed that DNA samples, including blood and urine, were stored in improper conditions in fridges and freezers alongside food such as a half-eaten takeaway meal. Legal cases can be won or lost according to findings based on DNA samples - so they really do need to be kept very carefully, very properly and free of contamination. "This raised the prospect of miscarriages of justice and had serious implications for the administration of justice and maintaining public confidence in forensic or DNA evidence," inspectors said.
Perhaps even more worryingly, it seems that some officers have little concern for the welfare and well-being of people in their care- "We are overdue a death in custody," one member of staff told them. They also found instances of inmates left without food for 12 hours or more and closer inspection of cells revealed that a swastika carved into one wall, noticed during an earlier inspection, had not been covered up - it was only dealt with after inspectors complained. Some cells proved to be in a "dangerous" state of disrepair and several ligature points - from which an occupant could commit suicide by hanging - were discovered. Officers were also found to be muting, or completely ignoring, cell alarms. Inspectors watched as a group of officers laughed while watching CCTV footage of one inmate smashing his head against a cell wall - nice to know police find civilians being injured funny, isn't it?
The Chief Inspector of Prisons Dame Anne Bowers stated that: "Urgent improvement was required to bring these suites up to a satisfactory standard." However, Deputy Chief Constable John Feavyour has been quick to claim: "The people of Cambridgeshire can be reassured that this report gives a view of how some things were nine months ago, and not how they are today."
He added that accusations of disrespectful attitudes and lack of care amongst officers has caused "great distress." Ooh, diddums. Come on man, you're the Police - you must be above reproach at all times. The Police exist to protect the public - be they lawful or criminal, and if any officer is neglectful or fails in doing so then they shouldn't be in the job.