Me­dia ap­peals help cut crime

Nottingham Post - - OPINION -

JUST over a year ago, a man went on to the streets of Ilke­ston look­ing for a woman to rape. That man, An­thony Dealey, found his vic­tim at 3.40 in the morn­ing as she walked home.

Dealey forced her to the floor, raped her, throt­tled her and left her for dead af­ter steal­ing from her hand­bag.

The ef­fects of this at­tack will never leave his vic­tim who po­lice praised for her part in help­ing to catch the man who treated her so cru­elly.

De­spite ev­ery­thing, the woman was able to pro­vide an ac­count and a de­scrip­tion which helped po­lice to put to­gether their me­dia ap­peals to catch the rapist.

And the de­tec­tive in charge of the case, De­tec­tive Su­per­in­ten­dent Gareth Mead­ows said those ap­peals played a key part in bring Dealey to jus­tice.

Mr Mead­ows said that the re­sponse was over­whelm­ing and it was the pub­lic that led them to the cul­prit.

This is, thank­fully, un­sur­pris­ing. Ilke­ston is a proud town and an at­tack like this tar­nishes its name and its peo­ple do not want some­one like Dealey dark­en­ing their streets.

It is in se­ri­ous cases like this that the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the of­fi­cers and those that they po­lice is at its strong­est.

When there is no clear CCTV, de­tec­tion is more dif­fi­cult and the de­tec­tives rely on as­sis­tance from the pub­lic to as­sist them in find­ing the crim­i­nals they chase.

When a vul­ner­a­ble per­son has been at­tacked and left for dead in a com­pletely ran­dom and un­pro­voked at­tack, this spurs the pub­lic will to get in­volved and help is forth­com­ing.

Some­times it can slow down an in­ves­ti­ga­tion if too much in­for­ma­tion comes for­ward as it all has to be eval­u­ated and that takes more time. But that, of course, is a good prob­lem to have as there is at least a chance that some of the tip-offs will bear fruit like the in­for­ma­tion in this case.

What this case also shows is that well-pre­pared me­dia ap­peals also work.

We in the me­dia are happy to be used in this way as part of our con­tri­bu­tion to mak­ing our streets safer.

In fact, we would like to see more.

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