‘We have no evidence to support random testing of people employed in the print trade; it’s discriminatory, and not what the public would expect,’ he had said at their last update meeting.
Excuse me. It’s a rational line of enquiry. Political correctness, be damned.
The MIR was littered with paperwork. She had a pile of statements to plough through; more late nights, and a fatter waistline – up to twenty-seven inches. She read though her pocketbook; there were also a few loose ends to tie up – interview the two women who were assaulted by Gilbert, was one – check up on Carol, was another. But thank God the anticipated outbreak of AIDS hadn’t materialised, that was one relief.
DI Andy Hillock had been carrying out an investigation into the allegations against DI Hemming. She had been interviewed. It hadn’t gone well.
DI Hillock read from his notes. ‘You established from Michael Mitchell’s phone records that he was the partner of your tom, Candice. Is that correct?’
‘And by a fine piece of detection, you traced her calls?’
He leant back in his chair, arms folded across his chest; a knowing sneer slunk onto his face. ‘And then you lost his cellphone?’
He tapped the table with his pen. ‘What does that mean?’
She could see he was forcing her into a corner. ‘The phone went missing from Mr. Mitchell’s locker.’
And then the strike. ‘So you weren’t bright enough to realise it was key evidence.’
‘It wasn’t evidence at the time.’
And then the climax. ‘You fucked-up.’
She started to protest, but he waved it away. The rationale: ‘while I could understand that DC James would not necessarily be aware of the implications ... you, DS Steel, should know better.’
‘If you say so.’
‘I do say so, and I will be recommending disciplinary action.’
Jackie jumped out of her seat, and glowered at him. ‘That’s unwarranted ... DCI Angers ...’ she stopped when he held up a hand.
‘I am the IO in this investigation, not DCI Angers.’
So she could expect a verbal warning. In a way it was a just outcome considering she’d bent the rules; but she couldn’t wait to see the back of DI Andy Hillock.
Later, Paul told her his interview was just as bad, if it was any consolation. The DI had waved away his protests; hadn’t been interested in what the asshole had considered “excuses”.
‘I told him fine, you want to take disciplinary action, it’s your decision, but I want it on record that I’m fully accountable for the phone going missing, not DS Steel.’
‘You didn’t have to do that, Paul.’
‘Jackie, he’s just a bully; an immature tosser.’
And a dirty piece of work.
She laughed; had to see the funny side. ‘Well we both agree on one thing, then. DCI Angers is a big teddy-bear by comparison.’