After hearing about British police taking 24 hours to an 80 year old woman's pleas for help during a hammer attack on her home (the assailant smashed windows and threatened to kill her) I decided to contact Thames Valley Police to get their side of the story. According to The Sun, the only newspaper to cover the story so far, a police spokesman said that they had more pressing calls to respond to. David Codrea looked for what those might have been but it seems the press in the UK isn't talking about what they could have been either. Can you think of a more important emergency call than a potentially fatal attack on an old, defenceless woman?
Today I received a reply to my request, "Can you provide some more details on this story? What were the calls considered more pressing that a potentially fatal hammer attack on an old woman? Is The Sun getting details of this story wrong?"
Here's what they had to say in full-
Thank you for your request for information dated 28/02/2007 concerning the press report of a hammer attack of an 80 year old woman.
This request will be dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Your request will now be considered and you will receive a response within the statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by the Act, subject to the information not being exempt or containing a reference to a third party. In some circumstances Thames Valley Police may be unable to achieve this deadline. If this is likely you will be informed and given a revised time-scale at the earliest opportunity.
There may be a fee payable for the retrieval, collation and provision of the information you request. If this is the case you will be informed and the 20 working day timescale will be suspended until we receive payment from you. If you choose not to make a payment then your request will remain unanswered.
Some requests may also require either full or partial transference to another public authority in order to answer your query in the fullest possible way. Again, you will be informed if this is the case.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your interest in Thames Valley Police.
I will of course post any more information that I receive from them. I wonder if the regular press has to wait 20 days for requests for information like this?