THE chief constable of Hampshire Police has said he believes the family of Ashya King should be by his side in hospital.
Chief Constable Andy Marsh has released a letter stating that today’s situation ‘is not right’ and he does not support Ashya’s parents being separated from their desperately-ill five-year-old son.
His frank comments come as Brett and Naghemeh King are being held by police in Madrid while a Spanish court decides whether to grant a British extradition request.
Ch Con Marsh said: ‘Since they have been found, Ashya has been taken to a hospital and is receiving medical care and Ashya’s family have released information into the public domain that they did not choose to make available during the search period.
‘It is my view as Chief Constable that the situation today is not right. Irrespective of what has happened it is our view that Ashya needs both medical treatment and for his parents to be at his side.
‘Our intent was to secure his safety not to deny him family support at this particularly challenging time in his life.’
He added: ‘It is my view that we need to stand back and ask the question; what can be done quickly to achieve the best for Ashya?
‘This needs to be the right balance between ensuring that he continues to get the best medical care and to enable his family to be with him at what must be a very difficult and scary time for a little boy who, potentially, has limited time.’
But Hampshire’s most senior officer defended the force’s actions in seeking a European Arrest Warrant during the search for the family.
He said: ‘His parents were not contactable and it was not known whether or not his parents had the ability to provide appropriate medical care. This remained the case until Ashya was found in Marbella, Spain, 48 hours later.
‘Hampshire Constabulary has no jurisdiction in Continental Europe and in order to make sure that we were doing everything that we possibly could to locate Ashya, we applied to the Crown Prosecution Service for a European Arrest Warrant.
‘That application was based on the medical advice received. We knew that if granted, this warrant would enable us to engage other police forces from across Europe in the search greatly increasing the likelihood of success.
‘The evidence that we presented was assessed by the Crown Prosecution Service and the European Arrest Warrant was awarded by a judge on the strength of the medical evidence and the level of concern for Ashya’s safety.
‘There can be no doubt that the European Arrest Warrant was critical to find Ashya and as Assistant Chief Constable Chris Shead made clear in his statement on Sunday, Hampshire Constabulary makes no apology for being proactive. We would far rather face criticism for acting proactively than not and risking a child’s life.’
But he said the force will offer ‘full support’ to the Crown Prosecution Service if they decide prosecution is appropriate in this case.