Racing against the clock to find missing Margaret

BedsSergeant Nicola Barlow-Cook has been with Bedfordshire Police for 23 years. She tells us what it’s like to lead the search for a missing person who is living with dementia…

On 13 February, at about 7.30pm, Bedfordshire Police Force Control Room (FCR) took a call from a man reporting his 80-year-old mother, Margaret, missing. Margaret and her friend travelled back to Bedford on the same bus but were then due to get on to separate busses to return to their respective addresses. Margaret did not arrive home.

I was alerted to Margaret’s case by the Force Control Room; Margaret had been deemed ‘high risk’ because her family suspected she had early stage dementia. She had not been seen for a number of hours, so it was vital that our search was methodical but that we acted as fast as possible. I took responsibility as Bronze Commander, which means I coordinated the search.

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Still a lot to give

I was diagnosed with MS over 20 years ago. Simon

But I didn’t disclose it at first.

At the time I didn’t feel comfortable. I was working in a physical job, a job that I loved and a job I thought would be taken from me.

I carried on my duty serving the public and fighting crime, confiding in a few trusted team-mates – ones that I knew would understand and could take over when I had flare ups.

I still had a lot to give. I could still do my job and do it well. It was simple – I played to my strengths and had good support from family friends and colleagues. It was important that I kept control of the situation. Continue reading

Lives destroyed in the blink of an eye

Why do people kill?

Homicide can be categorised into many different crime types – domestic violence, terrorism, organised crime killings, child death, assisted suicide, corporate manslaughter, assault driven by intoxication…. to name but a few.

It’s an unpleasant list, each with their own motivating factors, and somewhat perversely each carrying different levels of abhorrence.

For murder detectives, our motivation in each case is the same.

To lose a loved one through a crime is without doubt dreadful beyond words, what we try and deliver is the very best service and investigation we can at this time of tremendous loss. Continue reading