I wrote at the start of March about the case of an 80 year old woman who was threatened in her home by an attacker with a hammer. She called Thames Valley police and they took 24 hours to respond. When questioned about the incident they responded by saying that they had "more important" calls to deal with.
More important than a potentially fatal hammer attack on an old and defenceless woman? David Codrea searched for what would surely be an interesting news story about these more important crimes but turned up nothing.
I wrote to Thames Valley Police and asked just what those calls were- and if they disputed any of the details of the story that The Sun had written about the incident. Here's their reply-
I write in connection with your request for information dated 28/02/2007 concerning the Sun website report of a hammer attack of an 80 year old woman and calls considered more pressing.
Your request for information has now been considered and I am not obliged to supply the information you have requested.
Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires Thames Valley Police, when refusing to provide such information (because the information is exempt) to provide you the applicant with a notice which: (a) states that fact, (b) specifies the exemption in question and (c) states (if that would not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption applies.
The exemptions applicable to the information are:
Section 40 – Personal Data and Section 30 – Investigations and proceedings conducted by a public authority.
Section 40(2). Information requested consists of Personal Data which relates to a person other than you.
Section 30(1). Ongoing Investigations and the release of any further information could prejudice future investigations/proceedings.
I am unable to make comment on The Sun website article in relation to your request.
In accordance with the Act, this letter represents a Refusal Notice for this particular request.
In other words, they aren't talking. Surprise, surprise.
So, there you have it- British police leaving a defenceless old woman to the mercy of an enraged hammer-wielding attacker. And refusing to tell the public just what was so important that they didn't bother responding for 24 hours.