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Monday, 2 July, 2001, 15:28 GMT 16:28 UK
When the police get their man
Retired Det Supt John Jones - former head of south west London murder squad - gives an insider's view on how the police will be feeling now the jury has returned a guilty verdict in the Dando trial.

The feeling of euphoria when the "guilty" verdict is given is immediate and almost overwhelming. The months or years of painstaking work, keeping your team on track through disappointment and criticism, the sleepless nights, the moods swings and the self doubt - they are all over.

You look at the person in the dock, usually standing expressionless, and you look at the victim's family and friends, and, just for a moment, you feel good, really good - like a modern day knight of the Round Table - then dignity and modesty hopefully return.

You look towards the press benches and identify those who criticised you and your boys and girls, and you think "Up yours!" and you smile slightly to those who have supported your work throughout.


Just for a moment you feel good, really good - like a modern day knight of the Round Table

The prisoner is taken down and the barristers and solicitors from both sides chat together amicably. Their game is over, their objectivity intact.

You cannot be so objective. How would the barrister have felt if his client had been acquitted and then killed someone else? A rhetorical question since you already know the answer.

The pub across the road is full of journalists, detectives and family members. You have done your bit for the microphones and the news cameras. Your gaze takes in the animated members of your team. You feel a fatherly pride.


For yourself you feel a new loss. This terrible case has been your life for a very long time.

You drink coke for the moment, keeping your wits about you and circulating in a warm friendly ritual, delighted with the relief that has come to those who have lost a loved one although you know that tomorrow the pain of their grief will return.

For yourself you feel a new loss. This terrible case has been your life for a very long time. The detectives who worked with you have become your family. Tomorrow most of them will be back at their divisional offices, back to the routine of less notorious and less serious crime. You will be back 'in the frame' as they call it, waiting for the next inevitable murder.

The coke is not really what you want to be drinking. You ring the pub back by the local nick, arrange a private room, sandwiches, entertainment.

Tonight your temporary family are going to join you in getting plastered and you are very happy to pay the tab.



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