New documentary The Detectives,premiering on Thursday 16 August at 9.00pm on ITV, tells the inside story of how detectives from Lancashire Police investigate serious crimes like armed robbery and domestic assault – from the first call to the crime scene, through to charging the suspects.
Made by the team behind ITV’s award-winning The Murder Of Sadie Hartley and focusing on the same force, the programme features extensive access to officers from the Force Major Investigation Team (FMIT) who operate across its major towns Blackpool, Preston, Burnley, Blackburn, and the wider county.
With close access to detectives, the programme brings viewers a unique perspective on police investigations and procedures, while delving into the personalities of the men and women who work together to meet the challenges of tackling serious crime. Cameras follow officers as cases unfold, gathering intelligence, going on house raids, building evidence via CCTV and other methods, and interviewing witnesses as they attempt to identify, track down and bring the perpetrators to justice.
In this programme, detectives investigate an armed robbery at a remote farmhouse where the owner was tied up and various items stolen including seven hunting rifles and his car. Detectives also seek the truth when a baby is severely injured during a shocking incident of domestic violence.
Officers are called to a farmhouse where the owner has been a victim of an armed gang who shot through one of his windows, and has had between £4,000 and £5,000 stolen, along with his gun collection. Det Sup Eddie Thistlethwaite says it is imperative that they catch the culprits and get the guns back as quickly as possible:“This is a serious job. There are significant firearms and ammunition outstanding from this. If they end up in crime hands it’s a big issue for us, so that’s the major priority with this issue. The victim isn’t physically massively injured but he’s been through a trauma so we’ve got to look after that victim but yeah the main thing is those firearms and the theft.”
Forensics find blood on a picture frame, which doesn’t belong to the victim. They also find more blood in a burned out Audi saloon found nearby. The countdown begins to find out whether the DNA in any of the the blood matches known criminals in the police system. If it does, the police will have a solid lead on at least one of the suspects – but for now, it’s a waiting game for the laboratory results. Det Supt Thistlethwaite says:“We’ll get lucky if it’s an offender’s blood but it’s hard to describe if it’s not… If it doesn’t come back we need to motivate our officers to keep digging.”
The blood comes back as belonging to David Jolley – who has previous convictions for violence and has recently been released from prison. Detectives set up a sting to arrest him when he goes to see his probation officer – but he fails to show up. Nor is he at his house, so officers are forced to continue their search. Det Supt Thistlethwaite says:“This guy’s a prolific criminal. He’s been thieving for many, many years. He knows that we’re after him and we use every available tactic. What we want is him safely arrested as soon as possible.”
In Blackpool, officers are responding to an emergency call – a one-month old baby has been severely injured in suspicious circumstances. The next morning detectives launch an investigation believing the child’s potentially life-threatening injuries may have been caused deliberately. They are hampered by the fact the child’s mother seems to be giving three different versions of events to officers. Her partner – the father of the child – is also missing.
Senior investigating officer Det Supt Andrew Murphy says: “It’s critical to the investigation because without his account we will not fully understand what’s happened. There’s also the risk of valuable evidence being lost if we do not have any contact with him for some time.
“At the same time we’ve got this issue around mum, because mum is a suspect in this case but also she is potentially a grieving mother and it’s balancing the dilemma between those two, two very important issues.”
Witnesses tell officers that the injuries happened when the mother was pushed against a door. Acting on intelligence, police search numerous addresses for a man called ‘Arta’ without success. But after gaining access to the mother’s phone, they get a breakthrough at a different address, where they arrest Tomasz Raszkiewicz for a separate offence. He matches the description of the baby’s father. Det Supt Murphy says:
“This could be really quite an important breakthrough we’ve been waiting for… Amazingly we have now realised that one person that we arrested in Central Drive is actually the person that we we want in respect of the really serious assault.”
As well as interviewing Raszkiewicz, specialist interviewer Det Sgt Matt Normanton is sent in to interview the mother’s brother, who says he saw the incident but has changed his story. The detective’s intention is to build a picture of the incident from both men’s accounts. He says of the brother:“He’s frightened to death of Tomasz, he’s admitted that. He said he wanted to protect his sister that’s why he’s not told the truth at the beginning, but he’s also very frightened of him.”