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Nuclear Meltdown at the Met - Part 1

Part 1 of an analysis of the Reichenbach Fall. An introduction to policing in the UK, consulting detectives and why the fallout from TRF for the Metropolitan Police will be catastrophic.

I examine:

  • Why Sherlock is not the only consulting detective in the world (sorry fan girls)

  • Why Sherlock was never supposed to be working on crime scenes with Lestrade

  • How Lestrade has set the Met police up for a enormous scandal after the fall

Part 2 - available here

Not the Only Consulting Detective in the World

Assuming that Sherlock takes place in the real world of modern day London, there are some police procedures I would like to point out.

Police in the UK do officially hire consulting detectives (but they are simply called “consultants”). Sherlock is definitely not the only consulting detective in the world; the Met Police have been using them for years. Although, don’t go away thinking there’s a consulting detective in every police station. They are infrequently used and rarely, if ever, mentioned in the media.

Sherlock is definitely a unique kind of consulting detective given his approach to crime solving. Most consultant detectives are retired police officers rather than civilians and have experience with police procedures. The police do not hire amateurs and they also don’t like to hire outsiders. Consulting detectives are expected to work as part of the police force and take commands from the team leader which may be an Inspector or a Sergeant. They certainly have to work strictly according to police procedures. In return they are granted access to police files, evidence and given a limited amount of legal authority, including sometimes the right to question suspects.

Consulting detectives need a massive amount of paperwork and high level official clearance. They are diligently screened and have to pass many security checks (not just the lacklustre criminal records check every employee gets upon starting a job with kids, the elderly or animals). If they weren’t screened so thoroughly any criminal can walk off the street and into a police investigation.

Private investigators by contrast have no special access to police information and they have no legal authority above that of a private citizen. Also some PIs have no experience with police procedures, which makes them unlikely candidate to ever be hired as consulting detectives. The evidence gathered by a PI will usually not be admissible in court if they haven’t done so through strictly legal channels.

Please note - private investigator and consulting detective are not protected terms. Anyone can self-style themselves as either of these titles, regardless of what official authority they have. Sherlock can legal be a consulting detective without any police clearance.

The police procedure is all about making sure the evidence gathered is able to gain a legal conviction in a fair trial. There is no point finding out the culprit if you cannot make sure he/she is legally convicted for something. To qualify police officers have to undergo a long, gruelling training as well as examinations, screening and psychological assessments because their job is incredibly demanding.

A consulting detective must be someone of at least the same calibre with the same knowledge of police procedure and the law.

Consulting detectives are usually only employed for specific cases where expertise is needed in one particular field or when extra detective manpower is needed in high profile cases. They need high level approval or at least high level acknowledgement: not just Chief Inspector level, Superintendent level as well (depending on the force). This is because: firstly, consulting detectives cost quite a lot of money and the police budget has just been slashed. Secondly and more importantly, these consulting detectives are about to be let loose on a police investigation, their actions, intentionally or otherwise can easily compromise and cripple the entire investigation. For example if they make a mistake with the police procedures, the entire case will be dismissed by the Crown Prosecution Service. They also have nominal access to a huge amount of sensitive police data and are well place to sabotage any investigation.

The use of consulting detectives is tenuous at the best of times. Political masters and police commissioners do not like to see the police force calling for outside help. The public would understandably lose confidence in the police force if they ever found out an investigation was compromised because of a consulting detective’s actions. There would be an independent enquiry at least and possible some sort of political fallout too.

“You Bloody Idiot”

Was Sherlock ever an official consulting detective?

I think not. When Sally and Anderson informed the Chief Inspector about Sherlock’s activities, he was shocked by this revelation. He clearly did not know exactly what Sherlock had been doing for his team or the full extent of the clearance and access Sherlock been given.

(Side note - The Chief Inspector's actual rank. As CID dont wear uniform so we can't read the rank bars. However as he appears to be DI Lestrade's direct superior I always assumed he's the Chief Inspector rather than Superintendent. Does BBC Sherlock ever mention the actual position?)

Sherlock does not follow police procedure, he wilfully contaminated crime scenes, withholds evidence and interrogates suspects in an unprofessional manner. He would not get official approval from the higher uppers. Additionally Sherlock would not pass any of the security checks needed if he did have a past history of any documented criminal activity (i.e. drugs). Lestrade is a seasoned detective, he knows Sherlock is not going to get approval from the top brass. It is unlikely he ever tried to get Sherlock official clearance.

The Chief is absolutely furious at Lestrade and for good reason. By omitting to inform his superior about Sherlock’s work, what Lestrade has done is not just against the police procedure but also highly illegal. This has compromised the integrity of the entire police division and if made public it will be a scandal of catastrophic proportions. It might not top the New of the World scandal regarding the newspaper bribing police officers for information, but it will be pretty epic given how famous Sherlock is.

Lestrade gave Sherlock unprecedented access to crime scenes and evidence in many different high profile investigations without clearing this with his direct superior. As a DI Lestrade can choose/appoint consulting detectives but he requires official approval (and checks) before inducting them into his team. He clearly hasn’t legalised Sherlock’s position and from the way Sherlock behaves on his crime scenes, hasn’t been able to enforce police procedures properly either. Legally, every crime scene Sherlock has ever visited is contaminated, the evidence obtained from which is should not be admissible in court (but this depends on the actual judge).

All the criminals who have been legally convicted due to the results of these investigations now have strong grounds for appeal. If this information is made public, the Crown Prosecution Service is about to be mired with this scandal despite the fact that they were genuinely unaware of the facts. The criminal courts are about to be buried under a flurry of appeals from criminals who are genuinely guilty but now have (quite a good chance) to get their convictions overturned and then compensated for their time in prison.

I am not questioning Sherlock’s capacity to be a good detective, I am pointing out that Lestrade has set his entire police division up for the scandal of the century even before the media called Sherlock a fraud.

The Evolution of a Quagmire

Lestrade appears to be a very pragmatic policeman who believes that the end justifies the means. He quiet rightly understands that Sherlock’s genius and expertise are exactly what the Met CID needs to solve those gruesome crimes. He’s not afraid to admit his own limitations and to accept that in terms of detection Sherlock Holmes has no equal.

However Sherlock, as I’ve said before, is never going to get clearance to become an official consulting detective even if he doesn’t want to be paid. It is not because the police generally dislike outsiders; it is because Sherlock has no respect for police procedure. He only cares about solving the case, not getting a criminal conviction. His barely disguised contempt for the police is not going to do him any favours at interview (and yes the police do interview potential consultants). He has also has no inclination work as a member of CID team under the command of the DI. As an official consulting detective his performance should (and would) be monitored by the division. Even if Sherlock does pass the primary screening, there is no way he would be able to continue holding the post given his current behaviour…unless Big Brother steps in?

An Informal Arrangement

At this point Mycroft looms ominously in the background and I definitely need to discuss his hand in all of this.

Lestrade clearly does take orders from Mycroft as we see in THoB. Mycroft may be able to actually get Sherlock approved as an official consulting detective from the Met but why would he bother?

Sherlock and Lestrade’s arrangement is informal and illegal but no one has ever questioned it. Mycroft might have ensured no one questioned it. They have evidently got by without any fuss for several years.

As an official consulting detective, Sherlock would be subjected to all sorts of constraints and scrutiny when he is on an active case (not much scope of coming and going as you please because you are delegated tasks). He’d also, heavens forbid, have to fill in tedious paperwork. Sherlock is not the most patient or tolerant of people, faced with these constraints he would definitely create a nice dramatic scene and then stalk off to do what he wanted regardless. This quite informal arrangement is beneficial to both parties and definitely beneficial to Mycroft.

There is not enough evidence to speculated whether Mycroft set Lestrade and Sherlock up in the first place but whatever happened, Sherlock and Lestrade ended up exactly where Mycroft wanted them. Informal crime solving keeps his younger brother out of trouble (and stimulated) but still retains the illusion of freedom that Sherlock craves. DI Lestrade is placed in a “malleable” position because Lestrade has wilfully flaunted police rules and the law in allowing Sherlock onto his crime scenes and Mycroft is privy to all the details.

Mycroft is the one person who can make or break Lestrade’s career. In Lestrade, Mycroft may or may not have found a kindred spirit but he definitely found a compliant helper to keep an eye on Sherlock; a helper who is willing to cut short his holiday in Florida at Mycroft’s whim.

Throughout years Lestrade has developed ways to work around Sherlock’s particularities and make sure that he records the information that Sherlock gives him merely as tip/leads rather than information gathered through examination of the crime scene (which is where Sherlock has been trampling). These tips/leads inevitably end up being proven true by the evidence; the culprit is caught and confesses (probably after Sherlock has unofficially destroyed their psyche), everyone is happy. This all works to the public’s advantage as dangerous criminals are hauled off the street and Lestrade’s division gets a glowing record.

I don’t think Lestrade is doing this for selfish reasons, I believe he’s putting the interests of the public before police protocol. Whether this is right or wrong you can decide.

All that Publicity and No one realised?

Sherlock has been in the papers in connection with Lestrade’s cases. However we don’t know what information the police have actually given the papers about the extent of Sherlock’s involvement. Firstly, they do not like to publicize the use of consulting detectives, it makes them look incompetent. Secondly, most of the information about police investigations is never released to the public because there is usually ongoing legal proceedings that might be jeopardised. This is why the law courts and the police find it so hard to cope with high profile media cases, where all the details spill out into the news before they can control the damage.

It is much more likely that Sherlock is portrayed as a private investigator who gave the police important/vital leads in cases. This is perfectly legal and commonly occurs. The police rely on leads, tips and information volunteered from the public. A private investigator is effectively a member of the public; they are not employed by the police and are not privy to the police investigation. If they choose to volunteer information to the police it is merely the act of a concerned private citizen doing their civic duty. Information sharing in this situation does not go two ways. The police would never inform a member of the public about the detailed proceedings of a criminal case or what they plan to do next.

Even if Sherlock is called a “consulting detective” by the papers, had The Chief Inspector seen this, he would assume it was self-styled and not official, given that he’s never been informed about this “Sherlock Holmes”.

Additionally in the press conference at Scotland Yard, Sherlock is merely thanked for making invaluable contribution to the case. No one mentioned he was ever present at the crime scene, interrogated suspects or engaged in any other police work without proper clearance. He is being honoured for being a good private citizen doing his civic duty by giving information to the police, not solving their murders for them.

I imagine The Chief Inspector, being the self absorb man he is, is vaguely aware of Sherlock’s existence but merely dismisses him as unimportant. He definitely did not see the bombshell regarding Sherlock’s actual role in the CID coming.

As for DI Dimmock and the unnamed detective in ASIB, they would have no reason to believe that Sherlock wasn’t an official consulting detective. As I said before it’s not unheard of to have a consulting detective on the team. No sane policeman would dream that Lestrade, the respected DI, had allowed a completely unauthorised private citizen to run amok through so many crime scenes and investigations.

DI Dimmock evidently “inherited” the Eddy Vancoon case from Lestrade. Sherlock expected Lestrade to be the investigating DI because the case is patently within Lestrade’s jurisdiction. As Dimmock already knows exactly who Sherlock is on their first meeting, I imagine Lestrade has already briefed Dimmock.

To reply to comments: It is not necessarily easy for anyone to discover whether Sherlock was official or not. From first hand accounts: personnel files in the Met are strictly confidential and can only be access by the designated HR people. Dimmock/another DI needs to start a police investigation into Sherlock before they can access his personal file (if he had one). You cannot just log into a database and gain information about every detective currently employed by the Met. CIs and Superintendents have information on their subordinates because DI are personally interviewed and hired by their direct superiors. The top brass would not have much information of other members of the team, nor would they have full access rights to every subordinate's personnel file.

DI Dimmock, as much as he dislikes Sherlock from the get go, managed to swallow his pride and work with Sherlock. He isn’t present when Sherlock examines the body; Dimmock evidently expects what every other police officer would: a consulting detective is acting strictly according to police procedure. This is an oversight on Dimmock’s part and he should really have checked that Lestrade had all of Sherlock’s papers in order but people very good at not seeing things they don’t want to.

I discuss the rest of Lestrade's team particularly Sally and Anderson in Part 2.

It would not do these characters justice to write off their hatred of as simply petty jealousy. I believe that there is a much more complex set of reasons for their unprofessional relationship with Sherlock.


( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 21st, 2012 10:28 pm (UTC)
Just wanted to say how much I enjoy all your meta. It places the series in the much broader context of real life modern Britain and I'm even learning things I didn't know (despite being a Londoner for 15 years). And it's invaluable insight for fic writers!

*off to read part 2*
Nov. 22nd, 2012 12:32 am (UTC)
Wednesday, November 21st, 2012
User dancy_dreamer referenced to your post from Wednesday, November 21st, 2012 saying: [...] by (Fanvid | Holmes/Watson | BBC) + Misc Meta: Nuclear Meltdown at the Met - Part 1 [...]
Nov. 22nd, 2012 06:37 am (UTC)
This is great reading but oick question... how did you get the name Gregson for the Chief Superintendant in TRF? I am curious because they don't name him in the end credits and I saw no name on his desk...

Now I know that Gregson was another one of the Scotland Yard inspectors in the original stories and that he did not get on well with Lestrade but as I said I saw nothing that ID the Chief Superintendant as being Gregson?
Nov. 22nd, 2012 10:22 am (UTC)
Thanks for pointing this out. I some how managed to get confused between the two. Going to change this now.
(no subject) - 2cbetter2 - Nov. 23rd, 2012 01:47 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wellingtongoose - Nov. 23rd, 2012 05:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - 2cbetter2 - Nov. 23rd, 2012 05:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wellingtongoose - Nov. 23rd, 2012 06:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - 2cbetter2 - Nov. 23rd, 2012 06:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Apr. 18th, 2013 10:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - 2cbetter2 - Apr. 19th, 2013 03:21 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wellingtongoose - Apr. 19th, 2013 11:03 am (UTC) - Expand
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Nov. 22nd, 2012 10:34 am (UTC)
I enjoy the fact that Sherlock gets to solve police crimes, I'm not criticizing the show about its realism. I'm putting TRF in the broader context of modern day London to show that there would be scandal at the Met.

The main problem is that Sherlock didn't find the suitcase by accident. He found because of information he gleaned from visiting a crime scene that he shouldn't have had access to. Yes Lestrade can twists the facts but that means he's forging official paperwork and that in itself is highly illegal. He obviously done it well because no one has thought to question the arrangement he has with Sherlock despite the media's attention.

Sherlock contributed invaluably to the police investigation in the Blind Banker but his involvement should have stopped with the discovery of the body. He shouldn't have examined the body/started ordering the DI around and running his own investigation on the side. In the real world he wouldn't have been allowed.

The point is when the top brass find out about what Lestrade has actually allowed Sherlock to and the sensitive/crucial information he has given Sherlock access to, the entire Met police are going to be embroiled in a scandal.

Yes I am aware the link goes to my tumblr, there is an option to comment via disqus at the bottom of each post.
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(no subject) - wellingtongoose - Nov. 22nd, 2012 12:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 22nd, 2012 07:51 am (UTC)
Agreed on all counts. What I find most difficult to believe is that the CS really didn't know the degree of Sherlock's involvement with the Met. The Ricoletti case was one big hit: surely, he must have noticed that Hat-Man was getting all the press focus?

One minor detail: Lestrade's superior is not Gregson. As Lestrade mentions in the scene, Gregson is a colleague who has also employed Sherlock as a consultant ("I'm not the only superior officer who did this. Gregson..." then he gets interrupted). My take is that Gregson, like Dimmock and Lestrade, is a DI.

The credits only mention "Chief Superintendant", so I don't think he'll be getting a name anytime soon...
Nov. 22nd, 2012 10:25 am (UTC)
The CS is basically a manager and he would have more than just Lestrade's team on his hands. Additionally we are never told exactly what the newspapers have reported about Sherlock. Yes he is an internet sensation but there is never any mention of an official collaboration with the police. Sherlock helps the police by providing tips and information not actually getting involved in solving the crime. It is certainly never mentioned the police shared details of their investigation with Sherlock.

Therefore the CS knows Sherlock exists but he does not know the extent to which Sherlock has access to the police investigations.

About Gregson - got rather confused, I think it was another fan article that named him as the Chief inspector/superintendent.

Edited at 2012-11-22 10:35 am (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 22nd, 2012 12:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Part II - A
As I said in part II: I do have a problem with Sally and Anderson not informing their chief superintendent straight away but I have discuss some reasons why they wouldn't have. None of these reasons justify the bad choice but we are all human and suffer from weaknesses. Until I end up in the same pressurised situation and have to make these choices I can't say that I would be better than Sally.

Sally is a DS putting in for a transfer is possibly but unlikely to happen within the Met. DS position are already over subscribed by applicant coming up from DC. She could have taken this route and she may even have tried but the transfer never materialised. It's not easy to move between forces without a promotion nor is it easy to move teams without a promotion. Forces tend to promote from within.
The other thing about leaving the team is that Sally and Anderson are effectively leaving their team short staffed for an indefinite amount of time. Criminal cases still need to be investigated but the procedure to hire a new DS is long and arduous. Also Sally is only to land her replacement in exactly the same problem as she has just run away from. We'd hope her replacement would be happy to inform on Lestrade but if you've just been promoted to DS would you really want to jeopardize your own career straight away?

Even if you had immediately informed on Lestrade - his demise would have reflected poorly on the entire team and the entire CID. It would not have been such a scandal but it would also have ruined everyone on the team's chances of promotion to a high level.

It's not a wrong decision to leave but it's not a good one either because you are effectively running away from the problem rather than attempt to help your DI find a solution (or at least cover his back for the time being).

Yes Sally did benefit from Sherlock's success and that is a contributing factor to her continued silence but we cannot discount her own obligations to her DI and the fact that she did faithfully support Lestrade.

In the end of the article I do talk about unprofessional behaviour. Sally's nasty to Sherlock, she really shouldn't be but once again she's human. Sherlock certainly does nothing to halt the hostilities given his abrasive personality and general contempt for the police. If you have been invited onto a crime scene you should at least respect the police officers and adhere to police protocol.
For example Sherlock refuses to wear protective clothing and therefore risks contaminating the scene in AsiP. It would take five minutes of his time and preserve the crime scene but he refuses to do so and Lestrade allows him to get away with it.

All the examples that you have presented about Sherlock crime solving I agree with. As you point out there no great difficulty in fitting Sherlock's conclusions into the police report but in doing so the person completing the paperwork is being deliberately misleading about circumstances.

Lestrade will face charges of fraud and dishonesty because he hasn't properly disclosed exactly what information Sherlock had access to during investigations or what Sherlock actually did during these investigations. Private citizens are allowed to inform the police but the police are not allowed to divulge details of an ongoing investigation to the public. Press conferences and official statements are released to the press but the actual details must be kept within the police or else risk jeopardizing the investigation.

By letting Sherlock onto crimes scene (or even just informing him that there has been a murder) is illegal.

This is not a problem with Sherlock running around on private cases like in ASiB and TOH but Lestrade had no jurisdiction to question a suspect on Cornwall without an ongoing police investigation.

In TBB Sherlock is the victim of a crime - he should be allowed into the investigation and given professional support. In this case what they did allow Sherlock to do is correct procedure.

(Deleted comment)
Re: Part II - A - wellingtongoose - Nov. 22nd, 2012 06:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 23rd, 2012 04:55 pm (UTC)
Re: Part II - B
I thought as you took the effort to write this I should take the effort at least reply :)

I have no problem with Sherlock doing independent cases, which most of the episodes are but he should never be privy to police investigations or police information, nor should his actions obstruct, impede or disrupt police work.

"No one has forced Donovan or Anderson to tolerate anything".

Yes, no one is holding a gun to their heads but as I explained in the meta there are a myriad of reasons why they wouldn't want to rat out their superior. They should have done it, but it was logical and understandable that they didn't. I think their characters are flawed and human, which makes them more realistic.

"To tattle to Lestrade's superiors *after* Sherlock had worked on twenty to thirty different high profile cases (as Anderson mentioned) was decidedly the wrong decision at the wrong time."

I think it was better that they eventually informed their superior rather then wait for the whole scheme to fall to pieces which it would inevitably do. At least now the CI can do some damaged control.

Lestrade has so far managed to make sure no one questioned Sherlock's presence too closely. It's not easy to find out people's employment status. You cannot just log onto a system and access all the personnel files of the Met, you need a very good reason before HR releases people's personal files (like an official investigation).

However given Sherlock's general inappropriate behaviour and attitude someone (most likely a police suspect) will eventually file an official complaint and then the whole house of cards will explode.

However Sally and Anderson's primary motive wasn't to tattle on their boss - they had to in order to fully inform the CI of the scope of the case they were talking about.

As for whether it was a bad idea we must remember that to detective no one is above suspicion even their own team members. It's really a better safe than sorry approach. The harm of not capturing Sherlock is he is really orchestrating huge crimes far out weighs the inconvenience to Sherlock of being questioned if he's innocent. This is definitely the correct thing to do for any police officer. Remember Sally has no idea that Sherlock is planning to fake his own death. Sherlock is definitely not a person who is actually in danger of really committing suicide.

We must remember that Sally is not just thinking about this kidnapping she is also thinking about the fall out from TGG when people have actually been killed. There is no evidence at the moment that Sherlock planned it but that case even more than TRF revolved around Sherlock and gave him the purpose and attention she thinks he craves.

In terms of circumstantial evidence: a good police officer cannot simply ignore the fact that young girl screamed upon seeing Sherlock whereas she was fine with every other person, or the seemingly miraculous way Sherlock reached his conclusion of where the location was.

As for lives at risk, the girl's younger brother is in intensive care. As far as we know it was Sherlock who said they have been poisoned with mercury. I assume the hospital then confirmed this. However mercury poisoning is very hard to diagnose (you don't get an elevated mercury level in your blood sometimes). It may also mask the effects of something much more deadly. Medicine may have progressed but there are many poisons that aren't tested for or can't be. If Sherlock has actually orchestrated this entire crime, what is to say that he hasn't put something more sinister onto the sweet wrappers? Just because the girl is medical fit at the moment does not mean her life is out of danger - children have a tendency to be compensate well and then deteriorate rapidly.

Continued in part II
Re: Part II - B continued - wellingtongoose - Nov. 23rd, 2012 04:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Re: Part II - B continued - wellingtongoose - Nov. 23rd, 2012 11:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 23rd, 2012 12:13 am (UTC)
Yeah, another meta!

I would have to agree with you that Gregson was talking spit when he claimed not to know what Sherlock was up to. From day one Sherlock has been working closely with the Met and if the Pilot can be considered Sherlock!canon then Anderson knew that Sherlock was going to be consulted before Lestrade even said it out loud. Also Dimmock and Carter 'consulted' Sherlock...with Dimmock taking it even further; as a DI himself Dimmock would definitely know if Sherlock was 'Official' or not.

Maybe as part of the Disgraced Detective' guise, Mycroft made Sherlock's NSY pass disappear to fuel the Met's disassociation from Sherlock.... after all Sherlock knew that his #2 important person was Lestrade and he would have his own sniper. It was all part of the Holmes' plans to make Sherlock die in disgrace.
Nov. 23rd, 2012 03:48 pm (UTC)
Hi thanks for the comment. I assume that you are replying to the comment above.

I do discuss why the Chief Inspector, and Dimmock wouldn't have realised that Sherlock is not officially commissioned. To reiterate: Dimmock basically got passed Lestrade's case. The murder of Eddie Van Coon evidently happened in Lestrade's patch (as Sherlock expect Lestrade to turn up). Lestrade's team was clearly indisposed so Dimmock "inherited" the case. He must have know at least about Sherlock as a frequent fixture of Lestrade's team. It's not uncommon to have a consulting detective on the team.

What Lestrade has done is so audacious (which explains the explosive reaction from his CI) that hardly anyone has thought to question Lestrade and Sherlock's arrangement.

It is not necessarily easy for anyone to discover whether Sherlock was official or not. From first hand accounts: personnel files in the Met are strictly confidential and can only be access by the designated HR people. Dimmock/another DI needs to start a police investigation into Sherlock before they can access his personal file (if he had one). You cannot just log into a database and gain information about every detective currently employed by the Met.

To add to that the CI is more a manager rather than an active member of the team. He does not scrutinise everything his subordinates do because he managed more than just Lestrade's team. Also he would have very little actual face time with his subordinates. The lack of supervision is another one reason why Lestrade has been able to get away with it.

It is unlikely that with Sherlock's behaviour towards the police that he would ever be authorised to work officially with the police. Lestrade may be desperate to solve cases by the management (I.e. Chief Inspector and his Superintendent) are not as affected by results and statistics. They are more concerned with making sure that their division adheres to police protocol and that the IPCC cannot fault them for wrong doing. The top brass have fairly secure jobs, the only thing that topples them is a scandal.

Lestrade and his superiors have different priorities. It is very unlikely that Sherlock would ever be approved as an official consulting detective.

Also it's not 1895, BBC Sherlock is set in modern day London. You cannot just waltz into a police department and demand they utilise your expertise. The CID is a highly trained professional body and not the amateur group set up by Robert Peel. Consulting detectives are almost always police officers who have left the force (mostly retired).

Mycroft may have the ability to provide and then revoke Sherlock's official status but why would he bother to get Sherlock an official status in the first place? Sherlock in a official role will be subject to scrutiny from the regulating bodies in the police force. Given how he behaves and the countless times he has violated police procedure, any police officer with a sense of decency will have reported him by now. In part 2 I suggested reasons why Sally and Anderson didn't report Sherlock because his presence was not official and is a secret.

If Sherlock is an official consulting detective - why have they not complained before? And they have plenty of evidence to get Sherlock removed. Even with Mycroft's influence it would be hard to justify allowing an untrained civilian to contaminate crime scenes, withhold evidence from the rest of the team, refusing to cooperate with the team leader and gallivanting off on his own adventures.
Nov. 23rd, 2012 12:39 am (UTC)
Re: Part 2
I don't have a tumblr so I will comment about part 2 here ^^

I think that Donovan and Anderson were looking for an excuse to take down Sherlock. Thus, the timing of their big reveal to Gregson, Sherlock showed Anderson up, finding the children using Bart's equipment while Anderson ended up looking a bit silly since he had dismissed the evidence found at the school.

So Donovan used her misplaced loyalty and ratted out Lestrade, to show solidarity with Anderson.

I think what bothers me the most is the lack of loyalty and honour portrayed by Donovan and Anderson... infidelity, deception and betrayal. Unfortunately these two characters are just written with no redeeming qualities at all and unfortunately they have spelled the doom of their division. *sigh*

I guess when big brother Mycroft steps in to bail out Lestrade then things should go back to normal at NSY...after all, Sherlock and Lestrade are supposed to re-unite for The Empty House XD
Nov. 23rd, 2012 04:21 pm (UTC)
Re: Part 2
Thanks for taking the time to write this comment too.

What I have to disagree with is that "Donovan and Anderson are looking for an excuse". They really do not need an excuse. They had enough reason and evidence to completely take down Sherlock and Lestrade in one go right from the very beginning.

Even if Sherlock was an official consulting detective: the unprofessional behaviour he has demonstrated and blatant contempt for police procedure is enough to charge him with criminal offences. Withholding evidence from the team, contaminating crime scenes, intimidating suspects and witnesses to name but a few. If Sally and Anderson reported they things, Sherlock would be fully investigated and tried. His first case would be thrown out by the Crown Prosecution Service, the murderer would get off scot free.

Mycroft may have influence with the police but the IPCC (as much as people like to call it inadequate) is effective in policing the police. Also there are internal regulatory bodies. They are not going to allow Sherlock to continue with his behaviour because it's their careers and integrity on the line if this actually ends up in the media into a scandal.

Sally and Anderson haven't file an official complaint though because Sherlock is still working with Lestrade until the very end.

I completely agree that Sally and Anderson lacked good judgement in not informing Lestrade's superior sooner. However they do have honour and loyalty, it is just misplaced. They choose to stick with their DI despite his actions being illegal and jeopardizing the integrity of the entire Met Police.

Donovan and Anderson finally had to inform the Chief Inspector because they couldn't let their suspicions of Sherlock rest. Their suspicions were misplaces but as all good detectives will tell you - never leave any stone unturned.

There was enough circumstantial evidence to convince, Sally a seasoned DC, that Sherlock need to be questioned. A good police officer cannot simply ignore the fact that young girl screamed upon seeing Sherlock whereas she was fine with every other person, or the seemingly miraculous way Sherlock reached his conclusion of where the location was.

Just to be pedantic: in order to identify without a doubt trace elements in a footprint you really need a mass spectrometer, which Sherlock basically doesn't have (it's a pretty large machine and costly to run). Sherlock has taken huge liberties with basic science, you cannot identify Clostridium botulium in particular on a light microscope.

If I was Sally, I would be very suspicious of how Sherlock managed to identify the location and be correct at the first possible guess. There are definitely many abandoned factories in and around London that would fit with the criteria.

It's really a better safe than sorry approach. The harm of not capturing Sherlock is he is really orchestrating huge crimes far out weighs the inconvenience to Sherlock of being questioned if he's innocent. This is definitely the correct thing to do for any police officer.

Sally and Anderson know perfectly well what the fallout of this whole fiasco will be, they are not naive. As the DS and Lestrade's second in command, Sally's careers is effectively ruined. She is the person who stands to loose almost as much as Lestrade in this whole scandal. On the show it is her suspicions rather than Anderson's that are bought to fore. Her decision is not based on hate or even trying to back up Anderson, she has everything to loose and very little to gain from this.

Re: Part 2 continued - wellingtongoose - Nov. 23rd, 2012 04:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Part 2 continued - bootoye - Nov. 26th, 2012 11:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Part 2 continued - wellingtongoose - Nov. 27th, 2012 10:27 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Part 2 continued - bootoye - Nov. 29th, 2012 12:27 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 23rd, 2012 10:40 pm (UTC)
I think I understand where you're coming from.

The point of ACD Sherlock Holmes was to entertain but unlike Harry Potter, it was never intended to be a fantasy where laws of physics/law that govern RL do not apply. In fact ACD worked very hard to explain how Sherlock made his seemingly "supernatural" deductions from the basis of logic. He also portrayed Sherlock as a man who adhere to the scientific method and a man who is governed very much by the laws and social customs of his time. There is no indication that Sherlock Holmes exists in a universe of his own.

In this type of fiction, the reader is lead to assume that the events of the story are happening in real life at the current time. In fact for someone unfamiliar with Victorian social customs, some things mentioned in Sherlock are confusing. ACD wrote them assuming his reader also adhered or at least understood the social conventions and laws of the era.

In the same way, BBC Sherlock takes place in modern London not in an alternative universe where the same law and social customs we understand do not apply. This is not fantasy, sci-fi or even a historical period drama. The show is very firmly rooted in RL, it makes references to the current political situation, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, ASBOs, the modern day NHS services, the prevalence of immigration and the Chinese community in London.

As for the judicial system: John gets sent up in front of the Magistrates court for vandalism and is predictably about to be handed an ASBO. The criminal trial set up for Moriarty is flamboyant but not impossibly unconventional.

There is nothing in the show to suggests that Sherlock BBC deviates away from RL in any significant way.

The inconsistencies between RL and Sherlock appear because of either unintentional oversight of the authors or deliberate acts to move the plot along. Nowhere is there a great chasm of differences nor is there a pattern/set of difference to guide the reader, which is a basis for all non-RL fiction.

Everything in Sherlock can potentially happen in RL and I have never said it couldn't happen in RL.

There is nothing to say that Lestrade couldn't have fiddled his paperwork and let Sherlock onto his crime scenes. The police force are not entirely transparent or as accountable as they should be. In Victorian era it was very believable that the amateur CID division at the time could use help from a private detectives who were usually more professional than they were.

Sherlock is very much set in RL and there isn't any set of rules by which Sherlock-verse deviates from the real world as we see in fantasy/sci-fi fiction. Therefore we cannot as viewers and readers pick and choose which parts of real life can be ignored.

If we merely went by what is shown, we would have to believe that there are only three DIs in the whole of London because we have only seen three, or that Sally Donovan is the only woman on the police force in the UK.

I am using my knowledge of RL to extrapolate how the show might pan out and analyse the motivations of the characters because they do not exist in a vacuum. This is one of the only ways in which we as viewers can actually logically deduce what is going on behind the scenes and inside the heads of the characters.

The assumption that Sherlock operates with RL is not false and is something ACD and the writers of BBC Sherlock positively encourage. Extrapolating using RL life knowledge and background is the only evidence based logical method of deducing what is happening behind the scenes.

Edited at 2012-11-23 11:18 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - wellingtongoose - Nov. 24th, 2012 01:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 27th, 2012 04:23 am (UTC)
Thank you for doing these! They are so informative and I am sure for you they are time consuming.
Nov. 27th, 2012 10:28 am (UTC)
Thank you very much!
( 33 comments — Leave a comment )



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