the apology made by the police to the family of Simon San yesterday was a very public, and very humiliating, admission that all is not right in the Lothian and Borders force.
In frank terms, Deputy Chief Constable Steve Allen admitted serious failings in the investigation of a brutal killing which rocked Edinburgh last August – key of which was the refusal of officers to treat Simon’s death as racially-motivated.
DCC Allen said “sorry” three times as he outlined the ways the takeaway driver’s family had been let down. It was the very least he could say to the grieving Sans, on behalf of the entire force. And to be fair, DCC Allen did so with a humility and dignity which seems to have been appreciated.
What is less clear is whether or not Simon’s father and mother, his sister and other relatives are entirely satisfied by what the authorities will do now – nor if the rest of us should be.
Following a lengthy inquiry every police officer is to be given additional training on how to deal with potential “hate crimes”. That’s a start, but is it enough?
No details have been provided of punishments handed out to the officers involved, even though their decision not to treat Simon’s death as having a racial element seems to have defied not just logic but also the evidence they had to hand.
With an incident so serious it won’t wash to say that the four teenagers involved in the incident were quickly rounded up, and that the investigating team then had plenty of other crimes to attend to.
It is clear from the testimony of his father, Trieu Seng San, that Simon’s family are still struggling to come to terms with his death.
Unfortunately, nothing can be done to add to the prison terms which were handed down to his attackers – a paltry five years for John Reid and half-year sentences for two of his accomplices.
With that ruled out, the Sans at least deserve to know the authorities are genuinely sorry and won’t let it happen again. The former is very clear, the latter unfortunately less so.
As the creator of the violent, drug-addicted, thieving Trainspotting crew, we always thought that Irvine Welsh must have some dark, disturbing skeletons in his closet.
A secret life in organised crime or a hidden crack cocaine addiction would have been no shock.
But nothing could have prepared us for the awful truth about this die-hard Hibbie: he likes to pose as a Jambo and once even applied to be manager of Hearts. That really is going too far.