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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 19 February, 2003, 18:40 GMT
Damilola's parents back police unit
Richard Taylor
Damilola's father attended the new police unit's launch

Damilola Taylor's parents and victims of the Soho nail bomb are backing a new police unit which will aid major investigations and critical incidents.

The Metropolitan Police's Cultural and Communities Resource Unit (CCRU) will make use of the life skills, backgrounds and talents of officers and civilian staff.

The concept has been used successfully for some time on an ad hoc basis according to the service.

Both the Soho nail bombing and the Damilola Taylor murder investigations benefited from the involvement of gay and black police officers.

Still confident

Damilola died from a stab wound to the leg in November 2000. No one has been convicted of his murder.

Speaking at the launch of the unit, which took place on Wednesday, Mr Taylor said: "People were not able to come out to assist the police but then because they heard their own language they came out.

"That is something that should be encouraged within the city of London and in the UK generally."

He went on to say he was still confident his son's killers would be brought to justice

'Innovative approach'

The unit, which is part of the Specialist Crime Directorate, will streamline the process of calling on the skills of staff to deal with gun crime, murder and hostage-taking.

Senior investigating officers will be able to seek assistance from the CCRU on a 24-hour basis via a confidential database which records the talents of volunteer staff.

Damilola Taylor
Black officers helped in the Damilola inquiry
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Bill Griffiths, head of the Met's Serious Crime Group, said: "It makes sound operational sense to utilise the skill base available within our organisation to aid contact with the various communities we serve, particularly in the investigation of critical incidents.

"Most recently, the Damilola Taylor Report highlighted the involvement of black police officers in that investigation as an innovative approach to seeking information and engaging community involvement."

The CCRU will not replace family liaison officers and independent advisors.





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SEE ALSO:
Criminal justice under scrutiny
09 Dec 02 |  UK News
At a glance: Damilola CPS report
09 Dec 02 |  UK News
Soho remembers humanity's shame
25 Jan 01 |  UK News


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