|“||That could have been the beginning of the end for us. The perfect excuse to call time on this unit. We're the awkward squad and Strickland has to fight for us every single day!||”|
— Sasha Miller, Prodigal Sons
|Unsolved Crimes and Open Case Squad|
|Name||Unsolved Crimes and Open Case Squad|
|Formed||9 December 2003|
|Parent Agency||Metropolitan Police Service|
|Legal Jurisdiction|| England, Wales and Northern Ireland|
(Scotland is headed by Glasgow UCOS)
|Headquarters||Scotland Yard, Victoria Embankment|
|Employees|| 1 Police Officer|
3 Retired Police Officers
|Agency Executive|| DAC Donald Bevan (2003-2004)|
DAC Robert Strickland (2004-2015)
|Head of Unit|| DSI Sandra Pullman (2003-2013)|
The Unsolved Crimes and Open Case Squad, simply known as "UCOS", was set up on 9th December 2003 by DAC Donald Bevan for the purpose of solving cold cases, like the name suggests. The team consists of three retired police officers who are lead by a detective officer, who, in turn, is coordinated by a senior officer. It was disbanded by AC Cynthia Kline in 2015 after their apparent mishandling of a case that turned out to be a cover up by senior Police Officers. Shortly after however, DAC Robert Strickland got promoted to Assistant Commissioner and reassembled UCOS. Since all four current members left to pursue other career options it can be assumed that Strickland recruited a brand new team to continue solving cold cases for years to come.
Initially used as a form of demotion for DSI Sandra Pullman after seriously compromising a police mission by shooting a dog and not realising that the main hostage had critically injured himself by jumping out of a window, Bevan tasked her to recruit three retired police officers since they "didn't have the resources" to hire full-time working officers. Pullman, realising she does not have much of an option, decides to seek out her old "Guv'nor" and mentor, Jack Halford. At first he mocks the idea of solving cold cases, calling it the "Unsolved Crimes and Waste of Time Initiative", but eventually warms to the idea and agrees to aid Pullman in interviewing potential candidates. After interviewing at least six candidates, they find ex-DI Brian Lane and ex-DS Gerry Standing. Pullman did not like Halford's choices but eventually agrees with them.
In 2012, Jack Halford decides that he has worked for UCOS for too long, serving almost nine years, and resigns. To prevent his colleagues from talking him out of it he does not tell them until the actual day that he is retiring, having already sold his house, forcing them to let him leave. Brian Lane later discovers the real reason why Jack is leaving - liver cancer - and confronts him about it - Jack tells Brian to not tell the others until after his death.
Following Jack's departure Sandra is tasked with finding a suitable replacement for him but she can't bring herself to do it. Eventually, after complaints from Gerry over the now-increased workload that he and Brian are getting, Sandra decides to at least make an effort to find somebody. Sandra would later recruit Steve McAndrew onto the team. Gerry warms to the Glaswegian Scot very quickly but Brian does not, finding him to be greatly irritating. To try and sort things out, his wife, Ester, decided to invite him round for dinner where Steve explains to Brian how he never met Jack but heard great stories about him. He then went on to say that he didn't come to replace Jack, or even make friends, but rather to do a job - Brian then apologises and the two become friends.
In 2013, Brian pays a visit to one of his old colleagues, Commander Embleton, during his retirement party. Brian assaults him leading to a formal disciplinary notice from DAC Robert Strickland and temporary suspension from UCOS. Realising his mistake he tries very hard to continue solving cold cases for the team but Sandra is not too pleased when she finds out. After the disciplinary hearing Brian confronts Embleton over Anthony Kaynes' death, which he admits to, and secretly records his confession. He then gives this recording to Kaynes' mother which results in him being permanently dismissed from UCOS.
A couple of days later Sandra would be tasked yet again to find a replacement and, after being recommended by Brian, decides to recruit recently retired Daniel Griffin fresh from the murder squad.
A few weeks pass and Sandra herself realises how long she has led the UCOS and contemplates on leaving, even having a vision of her old mentor Jack Halford to persuade her. Initially Gerry is not too keen at the idea because he feels abondoned by his former colleagues all leaving, but he later encourages Sandra to "go where the fun is" and to "not look back".
The following day Strickland introduces the team's new boss, DCI Sasha Miller. The team, at first, are slightly hostile towards her - in particular Gerry - for taking a completely different approach to their former leader. Noticing this, Sasha confronts the team about it, she acknologes that they and Sandra Pullman were very close and that she has big shoes to fill. It takes a while but the team manage to accept her as their new "Guv-nor".
There has, so far, been four different offices used as the UCOS Headquarters.
- The first incarnation was simply a vacant computer office that was still in the process of being renovated. It is the shortest serving headquarters, appearing exclusively in The Chinese Job.
- After being established as an official team, UCOS were moved to a much larger facility allowing better work space. It appeared between ID Parade and Congratulations.
- In 2007, UCOS were moved a second time, presumably because the team were gaining positive reputation from the hierarchy. This incarnation appeared between Casualty and Big Topped.
- In 2008, UCOS were moved once again for a fourth time, this time to a more compact but arguebly more professional room. This headquarters consisted of three desks, two facing each other with the third sitting perpendicular, an area for investigating (three large boards and a table with a map of London printed on top), an archive room storing various files including open case reports (2012-), a corner that was mainly used for making tea and coffee in and a second isolated room that acted as the leader's main office. There were also two interrogation rooms located just outside the main office. This incarnation was first seen in Spare Parts and served as the headquarters until its temporary disbandment in 2015. It has had minor expansions every few years.
List of Agency Members
Head of Unit
- Unknown (2015-)
- Ted Case (2015) - acting head until DCI Sasha Miller recovered
- DCI Sasha Miller (2013-2015, 2015)
- DSI Sandra Pullman (2003-2013)
- Ted Case (2015)
- Fiona Kennedy (2014, 2015)
- Dan Griffin (2013-2015)
- Steve McAndrew (2012-2015)
- Gerald Standing (2003-2015)
- DCI Karen Hardwick (April 2007; briefly)
- Brian Lane (2003-2013)
- John Halford (2003-2012)
- Izzy Clarke (2003-2004)
- Its coordinator was DAC Donald Bevan (2003-2005), who also founded the squad, and was later succeeded by DAC Robert Strickland (2005-2015). When Strickland gets promoted to Assistant Commissioner, there is presumably another coordinator after he re-instates UCOS.
- There has only been two known leaders in its lifetime - DSI Sandra Pullman (2003-2013) and DCI Sasha Miller (2013-2015), although there is presumably a new leader after it was reinstated as DCI Sasha Miller moved to the Honour Killings Unit to become a DSI.
- UCOS uses a slightly modified version of Microsoft Windows as their operating system for their desktop computers - the rest of the MET presumably uses the same software.
- Wages equated to around £800/week (£41,600/annum) when it was first set up - it may have risen since then however.
- It was originally set up as a way of punishing DSI Sandra Pullman for compromising a mission but in fact proved to be the complete opposite, to the point where many other senior squads within the MET were offering her places on their teams due to her commendable work at UCOS - only one however would become successful in recruiting her.
- UCOS has a somewhat mixed reputation within the MET as some highly praise it for its dedication and skill in solving cold cases that they couldn't otherwise have done, whereas others loathe it for repeatedly embarrassing numerous police officers and divisions for succeeding where they failed. When helping set up Glasgow UCOS, Gerry Standing informed Steve McAndrew of the mockery that UCOS constantly received in its early days.