by James Durose-Rayner
When a man released on police bail is murdered, Don Chaps, the deputy director of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), is encouraged by his superiors to find a reason for the killing, beyond the standard, drugs related likely motive. But there’s another reason why senior officials want Chaps on the case; they want him to eliminate South Yorkshire Police’s internal funding crisis and raise the number of convictions at the same time. With the aid of his executive director, Chaps creates a covert task force which will work solely on achieving these two targets.
Based around a series of true events. The BBC’s current affairs programme ‘Panorama’ undertook a sixty minute documentary / exposé surrounding an elite government task force that went undercover in Sheffield over a period of twelve months. Their remit was to use the Proceeds of Crime Act to fill up the police federations coffers using illegally gained intelligence, on one hand overlooking – and in some cases encouraging – major criminal activity such as murder, kidnap and torture; whilst on the other, surreptitiously acquiring pre-bargained guilty pleas from defendants then reneging on deals, which culminated in some of the heaviest sentences ever handed out in the UK. But the programme was never aired.
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From Episode 10:
‘We had got wind of the situation when Tony noticed the police accessing The Contractor’s record on the NPC and then forty-five minutes later when I got a call from Chief Superintendent David Trenchill at the ‘Y’ Divisional HQ. Trenchill was an eloquently spoken fellow with an extremely nice manner, but you couldn’t help feeling he was being condescending.
“David Trenchill here,” he said whilst on the phone. “We understand that SOCA have a marker on a certain individual that has come to our attention regarding the publication of some illicit magazine aimed at causing extreme aggravation and embarrassment to certain parties.”
I needed to write that down and read it three times before I even knew what he meant.
Trenchill suggested a meeting and wanted to come down to the S1 office and see me, but I kicked that in the head straight away as the last thing I needed was some nosey out of town copper seeing what we were up to, especially as we had just kicked off a file on one of their paid police informers. I say paid police informer rather than grass, as that is what separated the likes of Danny Mackie from John Beeney, as the former was paid and the latter was not.
“I have tried seeing you before,” I said.
“Oh yes,” he replied. “The Kipper and the Corpse case.”
What was this, fucking Cluedo? “Excuse me?” I asked.
“The man that Dr Farooque had stated had had a cardiac arrest, and someone at your end putting two and two together and coming up with five, or in this case a death in suspicious circumstances. It’s what we term a Kipper and the Corpse – Yes, unfortunately I was busy that day.”
I could have said more, but I wanted to see how the land lay before I hit him with a couple of savage haymakers and we organised a ‘meet’ half way or so he claimed; at the Doncaster North Services on the M18 at five o’clock, giving me plenty of opportunity to waste lots of my time stuck in rush hour traffic coming in and out of Sheffield.’
James Durose-Rayner has over twenty years’ experience in journalism. He is a member of the Writer’s Guild and the editor of NATM, the UK’s leading specialist civil engineering journal. His writing has been featured in over 210 magazines and his debut indie-novel, S63: Made in Thurnscoe, published in 2001, received positive reviews. In 2015, I Am Sam (Clink Street Publishing) and itv Seven (New Generation Publishing) followed to more affirmative acclaim. Durose-Rayner currently divides his time between the UK and Cyprus.