‘We should have done a better job’

Assistant Chief Constable Humberside Police Alan Leaver
Assistant Chief Constable Humberside Police Alan Leaver

THE Assistant Chief Constable of Humberside Police has apologised for the force’s role in the failure to protect Child F from Adam Hewitt, admitting “we should have done a better job.”

Alan Leaver, Asst Chief Con of the force, also confirmed that nobody from Humberside Police lost their job after disciplinary procedures took place.

The result of the police’s disciplinary procedures found that the officers involved in decision making had “no case to answer”, but that failings in senior management and decision making had occurred.

Some of the staff involved have since “moved on to other roles” or left the force.

“I would like to say to Child F and family how sorry I am, the opportunity to prosecute in 2007 was not taken when it should have been. There may have been an opportunity to prevent future occurences,” said Asst Chief Constable Alan Leaver.

“We should have done a better job in 2007. The investigation into Hewitt’s involvement with the first child’s injuries closed after 10 days. That was too soon. Whether a prosecution at that point would have kept Child F out of danger is a matter of debate.”

There was an opportunity for Humberside Police to reopen an investigation into Hewitt in May 2008 after a Finding of Fact hearing in the civil court found that he ‘could have been responsible for injuring the (first) child’, but the police did not.

“We did not take that opportunity when we should have done,” said assistant chief constable Leaver.

“Because of the findings of the serious case review we have implemented new ways of dealing with cases like this but it has to be said that serious mistakes were made.

“Still, you can have the best procedures in the world and the best staff in the world, but if you get people like Adam Hewitt who are determined to injure young children, it is very difficult to prevent and even prosecute. We do what we can and we will do even better in the future.

“We have introduced a number of changes following this, tightening up record keeping and supervisory procedures, and especially important decisions as to why investigations are closed.”

Commenting on the five year sentence given to Hewitt, Asst Chief Con Leaver said that while he was “always extremely reluctant to pass comment on sentencing”, he believed it was an “appropriate sentence”.