Hampshire Police top cop: ‘There is no apology for being proactive’

Andy Marsh
Andy Marsh
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THE chief constable of Hampshire Police defended the force’s actions in applying for an arrest warrant for the King family.

Andy Marsh also said in his letter that the Kings should now be by their son’s side.

13750_COMMISSIONER_16/3/13''Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Police and Crime Commisssioner, Simon Hayes. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (13750-055) ENGPPP00120130316142129

13750_COMMISSIONER_16/3/13''Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Police and Crime Commisssioner, Simon Hayes. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (13750-055) ENGPPP00120130316142129

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.’

He added: ‘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.’

‘Time to analyse decisions that were made’

HOSPITAL officials have defended their procedures amid probing questions from Hampshire’s police and crime commissioner.

Simon Hayes (pictured) said it was ‘time to analyse decisions that were made’ and he needed to be ‘assured as to the quality of the information given by Southampton General Hospital to Hampshire Constabulary.’

A spokesman for University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust said Ashya had undergone surgery to have the brain tumour removed on July 24.

Following this, doctors wanted to start Ashya on a combination of standard radiotherapy and chemotherapy, but Ashya’s family wished him to undergo proton radiotherapy instead.

He said: ‘The trust agreed with the family to refer Ashya for proton radiotherapy, as the family had indicated that they could fund it privately.

‘On August 28, during unsupervised leave on the trust’s grounds, Ashya’s family chose to remove him without informing or seeking the consent of medical staff.’

The trust said it was concerned for Ashya’s safety for several reasons, including that Ashya was dependent on a tube for food and his parents were not trained to use it.

A spokesman said the power cord to the food pump had been left on the ward. The feed pump does have a battery but it is only for occasional use.

The spokesman added: ‘If a nasogastric tube became displaced either accidentally or through vomiting there was a possibility that feed could enter the lungs with potentially fatal consequences.

‘Ashya has no gag reflex and the family are not trained to deal with the (potentially serious) complications of choking.

‘Ashya developed a temperature the previous day and there were concerns that he may develop an infection. The trust contacted the police, in line with trust policy, to alert them to the situation.’

Meanwhile, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said he was arranging for one of the country’s top oncologists to fly out to Spain to give the family advice on what was the best course of action.

Regarding the trust’s handling of events, he said there had ‘clearly been misunderstandings along the way’.

For the full story on Ashya’s parents’ release click here.