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The Mike Nash Interview …. part two.

October 29, 2013

We are publishing the second section of Rosie Barnes’ interview of Detective Inspector Mike Nash earlier than planned. This is to coincide with Depth of Despair, Bill Kitson’s first thriller featuring Nash being selected for the Amazon UK Kindle Autumn Harvest. The promotion lasts until Thursday October 31st, and you can download Depth of Despair for only 99p.

Rosie. I see you have a photograph on your wall. Is that your son?

Nash. Yes, it is, but I don’t want his name made public.

Rosie. I understand: I know you are a single parent. How difficult has it been for you to raise your child whilst holding down a fulltime job in CID?

Nash. It has been tricky on occasion, far more so when he was younger, but I’ve been far more fortunate than most people in a similar situation. By that, I mean that my parents left me fairly well-provided for, and I was able to use some of that money to send my son to the same boarding school as I attended. That means I can arrange with my colleagues to fit my work and holidays around school terms. I have the utmost admiration for any parent struggling to bring up children on their own and trying to hold down a job without the advantages I had. To cope with it seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year must be exhausting.

Rosie. Earlier, we touched on your leadership of what, to be honest, is a very small team. At times your resources must be stretched almost to breaking point. How do you feel about policing policy and the constraints placed on you and your fellow officers by budget cutbacks?’

Nash. At the rank of Detective Inspector, I have no influence in policy-making decisions. That being so, it would be unfair for me to comment on those decisions.

Rosie. But you must have an opinion, surely.

Nash. I do, but those opinions are my own, and certainly not for publication. All I will say is that with resources being so limited, at least we don’t have the threat of redundancy hanging over us.

Rosie. How do you like to relax when you’re off duty?

Nash. That question isn’t as easy to answer as you might think. Because I could be called to a major incident at a moment’s notice, and because once a serious crime has to be investigated I could be at work twenty-four hours a day, it would be unfair for me to become involved in anything that demands commitment at a set time. For example, I would love to play cricket, but could not commit to a club when I might have to spend over half the Saturdays during the season working. I enjoy reading, listening to music, walking and cycling, all of which I can enjoy without commitment. More recently, I have begun growing fruit and vegetables in part of my garden, which is both challenging and rewarding.

Rosie. I feel sure our readers would be keen to learn about the events leading up to your award of the Queen’s Police Medal. What can you tell them about it?

Nash. Very little at this point in time, I’m afraid, because some of those events involved people who are still awaiting trial, and therefore they are currently sub-judice. I’m afraid your readers will have to remain patient until Mr Kitson has written an account of the case. For the present, all I am able to say is that I am very lucky to be alive, and that sometimes, help can come from the most unexpected source.

Rosie. That last statement is rather cryptic. Would you care to explain, or elaborate it?

Nash. No, I’d rather not, thank you.

Rosie. Returning to a subject we touched on earlier, your name has been linked with several women in the past. Are you in a settled relationship at present? And if so, do you have any plans to marry?

Nash. I’m sorry, but my personal life isn’t a subject I wish to discuss, either with regard to any past relationships, or my current arrangements. That isn’t purely down to my wish for privacy. Other people’s feelings have to be considered too. All I will say is that it would be expecting an awful lot for a woman to become involved in a long-term relationship with someone who has a job like mine. It could entail me being absent for long periods of time and working extremely anti-social hours. There would also be the worry that they could receive a phone call with the worst possible kind of news. Let’s just leave it that I’m very lucky at cards.

Rosie. What about your career? Do you have any unfulfilled ambitions regarding promotion, to the rank of Superintendent perhaps, or even Chief Constable?

Nash. No, I don’t. I believe I’m well-suited to the job I do, and I don’t think I would be at all comfortable in either of the roles you mentioned, nor do I think I would be particularly good at them. I think there’s a tendency in this country, whether it is in the professions, in public service or in industry, to promote people beyond their ability or area of expertise. I think I know my limitations, and have no wish to exceed them. Apart from my own feelings, I believe I can be of more use to my employers and the general public doing what I do now.

Rosie. Finally, an issue that never seems to go away and always has the capacity to cause controversy. What are your views on capital punishment? Are you in favour of it, or against it?

Nash. My views on hanging might vary from those of other officers, but I believe that life imprisonment, especially whole of life sentences, can be a harsher punishment.

Rosie. That’s an unusual point of view. What do you base it on?

Nash. If you were to study the Old Bailey case files for the 18th and 19th centuries, when many felons were sentenced to death for what today would be little more than misdemeanours, they were given the option of transportation, first to America until the War of Independence, and afterwards to Australia. Interestingly, given those options, many of the convicted men and women elected to be executed rather than face what was the equivalent of a life sentence.

Rosie. Surely, with the advances in science and technology that we read about so often, the case for capital punishment is stronger than ever?

Nash. I don’t agree. I assume you’re referring to DNA and the like? Although that technology can place someone at the scene of a crime, it cannot interpret their motives and can only establish their actions to a limited extent.

Rosie. It sounds as if you have a specific instance in mind?

Nash. That’s correct, there was such a case. A man had been convicted of what you would call a capital crime, and served a long number of years in prison as a result of the DNA evidence that seemed to establish his guilt beyond doubt. However, when the full facts emerged, they told a totally different story. If you or your readers want to learn more, Kitson has described what happened very accurately in a book entitled Minds That Hate. My point is that if there had been capital punishment at the time, the miscarriage of justice would have been irreversible. The spectre of wrongful conviction haunts every conscientious police officer. How much greater would that fear be if the subject had been executed?

Rosie. Thank you very much for your time, Inspector Nash – sorry, Mike, and for answering my questions in such a full and frank manner. I’m sure our readers will be fascinated by them.

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