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Who deals with weird/extreme crimes? (Research for a novel)


PsychoPoet
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Hi all, I wonder if anyone can give me any advice. I am writing a trilogy of horror novels which feature unusual and disturbing crimes. All three novels feature the same protagonists (well, those few who survive that long) but the storylines are unrelated.

I was wondering if the police in Britain have any procedures in place for such crimes? To put it into context, the first novel has a sci-fi theme in which a young woman commits brutal murders while showing strength and resilience which are far beyond the human norm. By the end of the novel, these unusual and shocking crimes have captured the nation's attention as you would expect, and I wanted there to be a special unit of detectives or special duties officers assigned to track the woman down and deal with her. It becomes obvious that the only way to deal with her will be to kill her.

In a sense, it's kind of like Whitechapel crossed with The X-Files and Ultraviolet (the Channel 4 series from the 90s) with elements of Supernatural.

So what would Britain's finest do in such a situation? Would they convene a special team to deal with this person? What would the police response be to a woman who is 'armed and dangerous' without her even carrying a weapon? (I hear that the police treat female criminals leniently but am not sure if this is true.) What would the police do if the were put in a situation where they had to kill the perpetrator - would they get issued guns, or would they have to make her death seem like an 'accident'?

My thanks in advance for anyone who can help with these strange enquiries.


Sorry, I don't know how to edit the above post. I should like to state again that the mortality rate for the officers involved in this trilogy will be fairly high. If anyone here knows what 'Delta Green' is, I'm talking THAT kind of casualty rate.

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special unit of detectives. ive heard it all now. The country is on the bones of its arse matey. Area CID is about as glamorous as it gets. Some fat dougnut eating slug is about as good as it gets . We would probably lock her up, then the CPS would NFA her as its not in the publics interest and there were ID issues as the CCTV was a bit grainy.

But seriously. There are no special Detectives. Some forces have major incident teams, but they are no better qualified than your area CID.

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Hi mate, thanks for the reply. I have heard that the CPS tends to stick two fingers up at the police force's hard work. I was actually planning to have a couple of discussions about this. One was about the newspapers possibly turning her into some kind of folk hero as they tend to do with female villains, although her crimes get so bad the papers revert to spreading fear like they usually do.

Another conversation occurs where a character remarks to his superior that she'll probably walk straight out of court and into a TV presenting job. Again, the crimes are so bad, the story does not ever try to turn her into a sympathy figure.

You've also given me a new angle to work from: we can get into the politics of an under-funded and under-staffed unit which is not equipped to face a threat like this. That would explain how the unit takes several casualties.


Does South Yorkshire Police have a major incident team?

Also, what would it take for a force to be issued with firearms? Could these be issued under exceptional circumstances even if the criminal does not carry a firearm themselves? A couple of scenes highlight the killer's strength.

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They wouldn't issue guns to cops who weren't trained. They would more than likely use the armed officers on overtime. Just look at how the search for Raoul Moat was run and you'll get an idea of what would happen. They may bring in special advisers such as profilers etc if deemed usefull.

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Just a minor point, but I suggest you avoid the use of the word "superior" when referring to police officers with rank.

Lower ranks have SUPERVISORS, not superiors. A subtle difference, granted, but it winds me up no end when people refer to my superiors when, invariably, they are anything but.

Although many quite clearly believe otherwise!

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The joy of writing is that you can just make one.

Special unit created to face unprecedented threat, higher ups upset by it because it breaks all the rules, ground floor troops hate it because it gets special perks, the unit is cobbled together on a shoe string and is barely holding together.
Whatever you fancy.

If your looking for investigators with guns then you are getting close to MI5 type officers. But a rag tag band of firearms, ex firearms, detectives given basic firearms training etc thrown together to stop this or that. It all works.

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I would imagine south yorks have amajor incident team. Most city forces do.

Excellent point by someone regarding the MOAT hunt. They would never arm an entire force. Instead armed officers from all over the country would be moved. at the end of the day, a warranted officer can be moved anywhere at anytime.

Never heard of it happening myself but you always have the armed ofrces to fall back on. I know the RAF were used in the hunt for moat, albeit just aircraft searching and 2 fighter yets for thermal imaging. I would imagine if the police ver lost control (mass rioting) there would be plans in cobra for the armed forces to take over to maintain law and order. (far fetched but no doubt these plans would exist).

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Wow, lots of good replies, thanks everyone. In the novel, I was planning to have a group of people calling the killer a hero, so in that respect it would parallel the hunt for Moat. It lampoons trends in social media where 'haters gonna hate'. Maybe I could get some kind of social commentary into the plot. After all, it's interesting to think what would happen if a woman went on a major killing spree in the UK. How would we react? Would it change the way we see the people around us? The media would milk it for sure.

So how would police officers react if they were on this kind of case? Do weird or inexplicable crimes happen often, perhaps ones that are not reported to the press or the public in case it caused fear or derision?

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many horrendous crimes go unreported. mainly to protect the victims. If joe public knew half what was going on they would be fearful. the details are published in stats etc but for eg, murder goes down as violence, the same as slapping someone. the details of the circs of each crime are never published. A hell of lot of the worst crimes ive seen / heard about have never made the media.

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Hi ScouseJon. Could you possibly PM me with one or two examples of these crimes, preferably the weirder and more frightening the better? I do not intend to actually use these crimes to inspire my work, I would not do that to the victims or betray your confidence, I just want to know what kind of stuff is actually going on.

I'd like people to let me know what they think about the following portrayal of a police force in this novel:

* South Yorkshire Police (SYP) receive reports about brutal murders, which are investigated as normal.

* The first eyewitness reports of a young woman leaving the crime scene reach SYP and they try to locate her as a witness.

* Another murder is committed, this one particularly horrible, and the same woman is spotted leaving the scene.

* SYP face conflict: they lack the resources, they lack faith in the CPS and they are starting to come in for criticism from the media due to the shocking nature of these unsolved murders.

* SYP also faces internal conflict as some are skeptical that a young woman would commit such crimes - some people think she would lack the strength or inherent aggression, others just say "Women don't do things like that".

* Therefore, the investigation is already getting bogged down by politics of different sorts.

* Officers investigating the murders actually encounter the young woman and report this in via radio. Both officers are brutally killed.

* The media causes a storm about these deaths, scaring residents of South Yorkshire's towns and cities and criticising the police.

* SYP begins to receive funding to restructure its major crime unit. Two experienced CID detectives who once broke a violent drugs gang are called in, along with an outspoken and aggressive police chief. Gradually, more CID men are called in: a super-intelligent man who people call Spock, a detective who is like a British version of an old-school American private eye, plus a detective whose reputation is legendary but who follows his own rules.

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