We were all shocked and appalled as the extent of Lucy Letby’s horrific crimes was revealed, over the course of a trial that lasted almost a whole year.
In the immediate aftermath, it was important that the voices of the victims and their families were at the forefront of the media coverage that dominated the national conversation. Now that we are one month on from the trial, I want to reflect on how Cheshire Constabulary worked to secure justice for them.
Lucy Letby inflicted horror on innocent victims and their families, while they were already at a vulnerable time in their lives. The sentence given of fourteen whole life orders – one for each offence she was found guilty of – is a true reflection of the gravity of these crimes.
However, nothing can bring back the babies who were killed nor fully heal the lasting impact on other victims, and the emotional pain felt by all of their loved ones. My thoughts have always been first and foremost with them.
There is always another story behind the headlines. The verdicts delivered last month were the result of a six-year investigation by Cheshire Constabulary, and I cannot speak highly enough of every member of the police family who worked on what is known as ‘Operation Hummingbird’. I urge everyone to watch the documentary produced by the Constabulary where you can hear the team explain in their own words how we got from May 2017 to where we are now.
This result would not have been achieved without families being able to have faith in the Operation Hummingbird team. I have written to Detective Superintendent Simon Blackwell to commend him and his team for never losing sight of the victims and their families at the heart of this case.
The Operation Hummingbird team spent countless days and hours away from their own families, living out of suitcases in the pursuit of justice. Through all that time they had the unwavering support of colleagues across the Constabulary.
The team has also had the support of my office since the very start of the investigation. Additional resources from the Home Office have been required for several years for an investigation and trial of this magnitude. My office has supported the Operation Hummingbird team with bids and applications for further funding, as well as arranging accommodation for staff and officers working on the case and the families of victims.
We rightfully take notice when a force makes national headlines in a way that shows how policing sometimes falls short. So it is only right that we recognise when policing gets it right.
I am proud to be the Commissioner of a Constabulary that has shown itself to be thoroughly professional and relentless in its pursuit of justice for victims, all while under the national media spotlight and when the stakes were so high.
The public of Cheshire can be confident that their police service is one of the best in the country and is working day and night to make our county even safer.