The first decision had been easy. Riaz needed protection. In the short term, this would either be until his attempted assassin was caught or until they’d exhausted all leads and felt there was nothing further to be done. After that he’d be relocated to another city probably, possibly even another country. He’d also get another lecture on leaving previous identities behind, though with his experience the day before this probably wasn’t necessary.

Riaz couldn’t tell them any more than he’d already done. When they’d finished talking to him at the station he’d be taken to a safe location and be protected there while investigations proceeded. Rose’s murder, not just the actualité but the method, had given a lot of weight to Jon’s theory and that gave him sway with his boss and with the rest of the chain of command. Everyone was now showing a much more active interest in the case. Jon didn’t have carte blanche to do whatever he wanted nor did he have an unlimited budget, but his suggestions would get much more attention.

He decided that Sally should arrange somewhere for Riaz to go for the time being, and that she could lead the team assigned to look after him. The investigation into the armed robbery she’d started the previous day had soon confirmed that it appeared to be the work of the same gang responsible for the other robberies. Once established, it was handed over to the team that had been formed to find and apprehend them. This new detail would be boring in its execution, especially compared to the robbery case, but it needed doing by someone. Anyway, the experience would be good for her, and while the team that had been assembled for him to tackle the Dawkins murder followed up on any direct leads and searched for others, he would be free to continue investigating his one lead from the other direction – the arrival of Gomez – though he had little faith that it would take him anywhere.

This was the second decision that needed to be made. How to continue his search for Gomez. He was in favour of continuing a pretence that Riaz was still at large, using his ID and debit cards to try to draw Gomez into a trap of some kind, though he hadn’t got as far as working out exactly what that trap might entail. He didn’t personally look like Riaz. He had the same colour hair and a very similar build but was quite a bit older, and facially not like the man at all. Not nearly enough to pass for him close up, or even at a distance if you got a good look. The idea had merits, though his superiors thought it best to just leave a trail rather than try to actually impersonate him. They were sure they would be able to find more closely fitting candidates if that became necessary, and possibly one more experienced in working undercover.

It was agreed. The hotel Riaz had chosen was one of several in the same street. They’d have no difficulty in taking a room overlooking the hotel’s entrance. A small team could keep a lookout from there, and they’d put someone in the room itself. These human eyes would be supplemented by cameras at either end of the road linked to facial recognition software so that if Gomez did appear they’d be alerted. In the meantime, they’d take Riaz to a safe house and leave him with a round-the-clock team to protect him. Arrangements would be made straight away, no point in delaying till the next day. Besides Gomez may have already visited the hotel by then if they did, learned of Riaz’s departure and not return. Worse, he might learn of the manner of Riaz’s departure, which would negate all hope of any pretence working. His supervisors left him to organise the details of the operation. Such trivial tasks were not for them to be involved with.

He found Sally, who had been summoned to the office but not to the meeting, and tasked her with arranging protection for Riaz. As Jon had expected, she didn’t seem very keen on the task, but did at least appreciate that as organising it was primarily her responsibility, any credit for its successful accomplishment would also be hers. Jon meanwhile started organising things for the hotel.

It took several phone calls to arrange the vehicles, equipment and manpower he needed for the surveillance operation. Things were winding down for the day, now it was ending. The station was, of course, in operation twenty four hours a day but many of the people he needed to talk to in order to make the arrangements were on a permanent day shift. He had to leave messages and wait to he called back wile they or their deputies were tracked down.

Slowly everything fell into place. He was lucky in securing the services of a D.S. Halligan, who had a lot of experience of organising this kind of operation. He delegated the detailed planning of the manpower roster to him, as well as gratefully accepting other advice on what was needed.

Jon didn’t want to be included in the roster himself, preferring to remain free to follow up any leads their observations might provide or that might come in from other sources. The detectives that D.S. Halligan arranged to cover the various shifts that would be needed were generally pleased to have been included. It would be an easy assignment for tem. Sitting in a hotel room or a van to watch a street would make a nice change from trudging around the busy London streets to interview witnesses and to pick up people wanted for questioning. It would be boring, no doubt, but for the most part they’d have company to chat to as they watched and waited.

Once everything was arranged it would take a couple of hours for it all to fall into place. There was nothing more to do at the office so Jon decided to go home. He’d check the arrangements at the hotel the following day – a Friday – to be sure he was happy with everything before heading back into the station again.