Crimewatch’s Nick Ross remembers Jill Dando during CBE ceremony
Former Crimewatch presenter Nick Ross paid tribute to his “utterly committed” late co-host Jill Dando as he collected a CBE in a ceremony at Windsor Castle.
The broadcaster, 74, said he believed meeting victims while working on the popular BBC programme had changed both his and Dando’s views on how to tackle crime.
Ross also said the original show had been “shutting the door after the horse had bolted”, making him less interested in seeking justice and more focused on trying to prevent offending.
He was speaking after being made a CBE for services to broadcasting, charity and crime prevention by the Princess Royal on Wednesday.
Ross credited Crimewatch with helping to break several high-profile cases but said it was “very difficult to imagine” how the programme as it was first made would work now.
During his time on the show, viewers came forward with details that assisted investigations into crimes including the murders of James Bulger and Sarah Payne after the programme appealed for information.
But the broadcaster said a decline in ratings, as well as the loss of a “sense of occasion” around the airing of TV shows caused by the rise in streaming options, has weakened the chances of gaining valuable information.
He said: “At first I treated it like a journalist, but in the end you do get swept in – you can’t help but get swept into it, and particularly the more you meet the victims of crime. You quickly realise the coverage of crime increases the fear of crime and there’s not much you can do about that. And a recognition too that we were largely shutting the door after the horse had bolted.
“The criminal justice system is retrospective and so as we went on I, and I think one or two others, became more interested in crime prevention than in seeking justice for what has gone wrong in the past.”