metro police
I was listening to a podcast a while ago about what constitutes a successful business, and the guy being interviewed said that every business problem is essentially a trust problem. If people don't believe that a product or service is reliable and that they can trust it, they won't buy it, or if they do, they won't come back. And so one of the major goals of every company should be to create conditions where customers and potential customers really can trust that the product or service does what it says it does.

Amongst other things, he identified clarity and competence as being key. If a business can't be clear on what it does and what it can offer, it will not be successful. If a company cannot demonstrate ongoing competence, again it will not achieve success.

What goes for a company actually goes for any organisation, and I am reminded of this when I think of the Metropolitan Police's investigation into what happened in Salisbury on 4th March 2018. As a taxpayer, and indeed a concerned citizen of Salisbury and Britain, I want to be able to trust The Met in what it is doing. I want to have a high regard for this organisation, but to do so requires clarity and competence on their part. But unfortunately, over the last few months we have been presented with the exact opposite - ambiguity and incompetence.

Briefly, here are ten of the ways that The Met has acted in this way.
1. They have released precisely no CCTV footage of Sergei and Yulia Skripal on 4th March, even though it does exist and would surely have been helpful to the investigation.

2. They have never explained who the two people seen walking through Market Walk at 15:47 were, and whether they have been ruled out of inquiries.

3. They have not provided a coherent explanation of the role of Detective Sergeant Nicholas Bailey, or why he has not returned to work for Wiltshire CID since March.

4. They failed to include the timestamps on some of the images they released on 5th September when they formally accused two men of the attempted assassination of Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

5. They appear to have doctored the image from at least one CCTV camera (which you can see here), but offered no explanation why.

6. They have never completed the timeline for the movements of the Skripals on the morning of 4th March and so have never confirmed where they were between 9:15 and 13:30.

7. They failed to include in their timeline that Mr Skripal fed ducks with some local boys at 13:45, handing bread to them, which puts into doubt the claim that Mr Skripal had at that time been poisoned, even thought this is important, and footage exists which shows it.

8. They presented a timeline which shows that the Skripals went to the Mill Pub, then onto Zizzis, whereas all early reports and witnesses suggest the opposite.

9. They failed to identify the suspects as Anatoliy Chepiga and Alexander Mishkin, despite millions of pounds of resources, and they have since failed to either confirm or deny whether they believe Bellingcat's identification of these men to be true or false.
That's nine. Can we make it up to ten? I think so.

In his press conference of 5th September, Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu stated the following:
"I will now go through their movements in detail: At 3pm on Friday, 2 March, the suspects arrived at Gatwick airport, having flown from Moscow on Aeroflot flight SU2588."
Looking at the images of the two men coming into Gatwick, which The Met presented in its press conference, you will see the same claim again. They state:
"CCTV1 = image of 'Petrov'/'Boshirov' at Gatwick airport at 15:00hrs on 02 March 2018"
(Here is the image of Petrov).
But there are two astonishing things about this.

Firstly, the timestamps on these images (famously) both state 16:22:43. So according to the Met's caption above the image, they arrived at 15:00hrs, but the images themselves actually show them arriving at 16:22:43.

"Ah," you say, "but the plane landed at 15:00 and this is the two men having gone through customs just over an hour later."

Except that this is not the case. Take a look at the screenshot below, which is from the Flight Tracking website, Airportia (I am indebted to "Sam" for pointing this out). Not only does it show that the plane landed at 15:58 (this is defined as when the first door opens after arriving at the gate), but it actually shows that it was only due in at 15:45 (I have highlighted 2nd March):
flight data
You can go to the actual page here to see for yourself.

So let's see if we can get this straight:
According to The Met, the two men arrived at Gatwick airport at 15:00, on a flight that was due in at 15:45, and which landed at 15:58. Clear and Competent? Or not?
Do you still have any trust left in them to investigate this case properly?