Angry dog-walkers are threatening to hang on to the bodies of murder victims unless the police act more quickly to return them. A spokesman for the Ramblers Association said their members were fed up with having to hassle the police to get the corpses back after officers had finished with their forensic inquiries.
‘We found the bodies, and the police are abusing our goodwill by holding on to them for an unacceptable length of time,’ he said. ‘Sometimes we don’t get them back at all, and when we do get them back they are often not in the condition that we found them in.’
The law states that anyone who finds a body must declare it to the coroner within 14 days. The coroner can then choose to bring in the police, but many dog-walkers are increasingly tempted to keep the find to themselves. ‘Nothing beats making a really good find’ said Bert Perlman, of Leicester. ‘But all the pleasure is being sucked out of it with the job’s-worth mentality of the police.’
Many police forces admit that the whole business of processing dead bodies is not as fast as they would like it to be, but claim they are setting new targets for returning the finds before they are fully decayed. ‘Frankly our hands our tied by petty government regulations and endless red tape. These days you can’t even dig up the body of a missing kidnapped heiress without some busy-body wanting to get the police involved. The problem is that with so many corpses being passed over the police station counter, it’s difficult to process them all what with with all the lost keys, empty wallets and wheel-less bicycles.’
In order to reduce the workload of the police, a number of forces have issued new guidelines to dog-walkers. Henceforth, any ramblers that find severed body parts in the woods or on waste ground, are requested to just put a home-made notice up on a nearby lamp-post. ‘That way, anyone who has lost an arm or a leg can claim it back directly from the finder without the police having to get involved.’
17th June 2009