Report 7 of the 8 December 2011 meeting of the Strategic and Operational Policing Committee, outlines the methodology and outcomes of the pre and post investigation review of Operation Minstead. This will identify the errors that were made during the investigation, address criticisms made in the public domain by ex-DCI Colin Sutton, identify the lessons learned and outline a full action plan going forward including implications for training programmes.

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Operation Minstead

Report: 7
Date: 8 December 2011
By: Assistant Commissioner Serious Crime on behalf of the Commissioner


The attached report outlines the methodology and outcomes of the pre and post investigation review of Operation Minstead. This will identify the errors that were made during the investigation, address criticisms made in the public domain by ex-DCI Colin Sutton, identify the lessons learned and outline a full action plan going forward including implications for training programmes.

A. Recommendation

That Members note the contents of this report.

B. Supporting information

Operation Minstead is the investigation into a series of rapes and burglaries perpetrated by Delroy Grant between 1990 and 2009. This paper deals with a number of specific issues raised by the MPA.

The Reviews conducted into the operation:

1. Operation Minstead was reviewed four times by the Serious Crime Review Group (SCRG). These were in November 1999, November 2003, June 2005 and August 2009. An interim review report was also conducted in May, 2009. The Serious Crime Review Group has not undertaken a further review of this case since Grant’s arrest and conviction.

2. Following Delroy Grant’s arrest the IPCC conducted an independent enquiry (following a voluntary referral by the MPS) of the events of 1999, when an opportunity to identify Delroy Grant as a suspect was missed. The IPCC report has been made available as a public document.

3. Detective Superintendent Simon Morgan, who was the Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) for the inquiry from 2003, undertook a ‘fact finding’ inquiry, immediately following the arrest, into the actions of the officers who had been involved in the 1999 event. The inquiry was pertinent to the evidence gathering stage of the case against Grant and formed part of the post arrest investigation. Detective Superintendent Morgan’s report was submitted to the IPCC.

4. A detailed assessment, analysis and report was undertaken by Detective Chief Superintendent Hamish Campbell in March and April 2009 following his posting to the Homicide and Serious Crime Command. Together with the SCRG’s report in May 2009, it identified the issues that required addressing and the additional investigative strategy necessary to identify and arrest the perpetrator of these offences.

5. The potential shortcomings were fully accepted and understood by the senior officers within the Specialist Crime Directorate from the start of and throughout 2009. Four areas were identified within this revised strategy, namely:

  1. Line command and resilience thereof
  2. Better and stronger organisational senior management support for the investigation
  3. Support of the current reactive investigative initiatives
  4. Development of a supportive proactive strategy

6. The proposed strategy was successfully implemented. It involved, amongst a range of other elements, introduction of both Gold Group and senior detective oversight, considerable additional resources, a new Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) and two Investigating Officers (IO’s).

7. Following the arrest and conviction of Grant, the primary aim was to ensure dissemination of the issues and learning already identified to assist and benefit Investigating Officers & Senior Investigating Officers. A de-brief of key members of the Operation Minstead team (past and present) facilitated by Detective Superintendent Morgan was also conducted.

Investigative errors within the inquiry

8. The single critical error was the failure of a few officers to deal correctly with a line of enquiry which could and should have led to the arrest of Delroy Grant in 1999. That matter has been fully reported to the MPA and the IPCC address it in detail within their published report.

9. There is no other specific event which can be identified as an error, and from which it can be assured or assumed it would have led to Delroy Grant’s arrest. There is not a list which delineates a list of ‘errors’ at each stage of the 19 year enquiry.

10. Hindsight now provides clarity to certain lines of enquiry which, it is suggested, should or should not have been pursued. The lines of enquiry that were adopted and devised were constructed from what was known or assessed to be the facts of the case at the time.

11. Certainly such hindsight has enabled learning and guidance to be disseminated which will assist in guiding more effective lines of enquiry and appreciating the risks in setting investigative strategies or setting criteria to consider people as suspects or not.

12. Grant’s known offending period spanned nineteen years - 1990 to 2009. His known offending behaviour was, during certain periods, neither prolific or even occurring, thus other MPS priorities took over and resources were diverted and utilised elsewhere. The last known rapes committed by Grant were in 1999. In the following ten years he did not rape anybody else. In a seven year period, between 2000 and 2007, only 32 burglaries were ascribed to Grant. Within this same period, between March 2005 and November 2007 there were no offences at all.

13. Cognisance of this offending pattern is essential, especially when determining a surveillance strategy. The eventual successful strategy to arrest Grant was based on:

  • an increased offending pattern
  • the decision to include and investigate all burglaries, (irrespective of whether defined as Operation Minstead or not)
  • the ability to analyse and predict where offences would likely be committed
  • a developed investigative tactic regarding the offender’s increased use of cash machines
  • a coordinated deployment and greater alignment of staff and resources from within the Homicide Command and elsewhere across SCD and the MPS.
  • the implementation of a long term, incremental, tactical surveillance operation that contributed to the ultimate success of the inquiry and the arrest of Grant.

Comment made by Ex DCI Sutton

14. Ex DCI Colin Sutton makes a number of observations on his internet website. Little purpose is served in addressing each of the personal observations therein. The website commentary does not provide any points which were not already known to the enquiry team.

15. Colin Sutton was specifically identified and selected by DCS Campbell to transfer to the Operation Minstead team and provide additional critical thinking and support. He commenced his duties in April 2009 and he was subsequently appointed as the SIO for the enquiry.

16. During his attachment Mr Sutton reported directly to DCS Campbell on his observations and provided an astute analysis on certain aspects of the case. Those observations together with contributions from officers in other specialist domains were all factors which led to the success of the investigation and contributed to the development of the successful strategy as described in paragraphs 6 and 7.


17. The report presented to the MPA in May 2011 articulated the issues surrounding the investigation of the serial/stranger sex offender, rapist, murderer. Such enquires are complex, frequently protracted and are not immune from investigative error. This conundrum is appreciated and understood within the SIO community across all UK police forces.

18. To assist in future development and learning arising from Operation Minstead a specific lecture has been devised by DCS Campbell. Titled ‘From the Yorkshire Ripper to Operation Minstead - The Suspects in the System’, it seeks to address some of the investigative pitfalls that can occur and provide guidance to current and future SIO’s. It provides an historical context to such serial/stranger offences (particulary in the MPS region) across a range of homicides and sets out the common failings as well as addressing the actual points from Operation Minstead.

19. This talk (and another relating to the actual review process of Operation Minstead) has been delivered as follows;

  • MPS SIO training conference/seminar 15.7.2011
  • National Review conference, Cardiff - 11.10.2011
  • 9th National Conference for SIO’s - 3.11.2011
  • A further presentation is shortly to be delivered to all Detective Sergeants & Detective Inpectors within the Homicide Command
  • The SCRG have already appraised their staff of matters
  • The MPS Crime Academy have attended the above conferences and will further disseminate key learning points about the case into the broader CID training programme
  • The presentation has also been delivered to ACPO leads in SCD
  • An article is being prepared for publication in the NPIA Journal of Homicide and Major Incident Investigation.

20. This delivery of training and presentations, across both the critical mass of relevant IO and SIO officers within the MPS and, at a national SIO level and Review officer community has been the key element in delivering the learning. Such training is not simply within the context of the Operation Minstead enquiry but more broadly in respect of the investigation of ‘stranger’ offender.

21. Some of the key learning points encompass;

  • Effective engagement of senior oversight in long running unsolved investigations
  • Management of Lines of Enquiry in tracing the 'stranger'
  • The management of HOLMES - addressing the 'suspect eliminated' rationale
  • Recognising the issues that affect long running investigations.

22. A further point, equally identified by the IPCC, is the due diligence that must be constantly exercised by all staff in undertaking enquires. Whilst officers were not willful in their actions, they certainly performed below the minimum investigative standards expected and equally the level of oversight and supervision was poor. This led to the opportunity to identify Grant being missed - with all the tragic consequences for victims - and for which the MPS has accepted responsibility and apologised for.

C. Other organisational and community implications

Equality and Diversity Impact

1. There are no known implications in respect of this report.

Consideration of Met Forward

2. Delivery of training addresses key outcomes of fighting crime and increase confidence in policing.

Financial Implications

3. No known financial implications.

Legal Implications

4. There are no known legal implications relating to this report.

Environmental Implications

5. No known environmental implications.

Risk (including Health and Safety) Implications

6. No identified health and safety implications associated with the report.

D. Background papers

Members will be cognisicant of the circumstances of Operation Minstead and that is has been subject of three separate briefings to the MPA during 2011.

  • Full Authority meeting on 31.3.2011. Deputy Commissioner Godwin provided an explanation of the background to the crimes and police investigation.
  • Briefing Paper was submitted to members in May 2011. That paper provided a detailed explanation of the circumstances of the crimes, critical events during the enquiry, the ‘missed opportunity’ and identified future work.
  • A personal briefing to MPA members on 14 July, 2011. This provided a fuller and detailed explanation on a wide range of matters relating to the crimes committed by Delroy Grant.

Relevant papers and notes have already been made available. A re-reading of the May 2011 report will assist MPA members with the background to the case.

E. Contact details

Report author: Hamish CAMPBELL QPM (Detective Chief Superintendent, Homicide and Serious Crime Command) , MPS

For information contact:

MPA general: 020 7202 0202
Media enquiries: 020 7202 0217/18

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