Ex-Police Scotland boss heads to Met

14 February 2018, 10:33

Sir Steve House

A former police chief who resigned after a woman was left critically injured in a car wreck for three days is being brought to Scotland Yard to tackle disclosure of evidence.

Sir Stephen House left Police Scotland in 2015 following outrage over the deaths of Lamara Bell, 25, and her partner John Yuill, 28, who lay undiscovered in the vehicle near Stirling despite a call from a member of the public.

Ms Bell was still alive when officers finally found her, but later died.

The force boss had faced criticism over his decision to put armed officers on routine patrols and large-scale use of consensual stop-and-search, but the couple's deaths brought dissatisfaction to a head.

On Wednesday Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick announced that Sir Stephen would start work in London on March 5.

A statement from Scotland Yard said: "One of his key initial tasks will be to co-ordinate the Met's response to the challenges raised recently in respect of disclosure policy and practice."

Thousands of rape prosecutions are currently being reviewed by forces across the country - including around 600 by the Met - in the wake of claims that officers may not have given all relevant evidence to defence teams.

This follows the case of student Liam Allan, 22, whose trial collapsed when it emerged that messages which cast doubt on the claims against him had not been provided to his lawyers.

In the past week Chief Constables Sara Thornton and Nick Ephgrave have both said officers may have to make greater use of artificial intelligence to sift through massive amounts of data that form part of investigations, to aid the disclosure process.

Mr Ephgrave said: "Longer term, we must pursue how technology, particularly artificial intelligence, can help us deal with the expanse of digital material more quickly and efficiently."

Sir Stephen is taking the job at a time when the capital's police force has the lowest officer numbers for decades and crime figures are rising.

Ms Dick said: "There is a huge amount of transformation taking place within the Met and at the same time we are dealing with rising demand and big operational challenges.

"Steve has a strong track record in tackling violent crime - particularly domestic violence, knife and gang crime - both within the Met and then with huge success in Scotland."