If I Were Commissioner……
……….I wouldn’t be in Rome for a start, I’d have sent a deputy and would be seated in the Metropolis trying to address the myriad of crises the Met seems to be plagued with, mainly of their own making.
I’d also be ashamed, deeply ashamed, to be head of an organisation that appears to treat their staff the way it seems they do.
Public Perception. Two very important words for a large multi-discipline organisation that is seeking to rebuild its tarnished image. Two very important words that the Met seems intent on ignoring.
You can forget that I’m one of your army of ex officers Bernie, I am now the public, and my perception is that I am appalled at the treatment that appears to have been handed out to Constable James Patrick. In fact I’m astounded that I could find myself in an appalled condition so many times in one week.
The first thing that appalled me was the publication of the Public Administration Select Committee report into #Crimestats. Apart from confirming what some of us knew, and most of us suspected, that crime figures were being manipulated in the Met, it criticised the Met for its treatment of Constable James Patrick, the person who brought this to their attention.
PC Patrick then had his first appearance at an Employment Tribunal. Bearing in mind he’s pretty new at this, he found himself representing himself against a fully fledged Barrister employed by the Met and briefed to oppose James’ application for Interim Relief. I’m no expert in Tribunals and Employment Law, but as I understand it, that would have protected James’ salary between his last day of employment and the full Tribunal hearing some time in September. A few paltry thousand pounds. Not much to pay out considering the atrocious waste of money elsewhere in the organisation. Unsurprisingly he lost that application, and had to go home and explain to his (innocent) wife and family the real consequences of that decision.
Wednesday saw his appearance on the BBC’s One Show programme. I make no comment about PC Patrick’s contribution, others can judge that as they see fit. What appalled me however was the effect this has clearly been having on his wife, she was distraught at one point, and why? What has SHE done that she has to suffer so?
The first appalling scenario for Friday was when James Tweeted that he had been threatened with further disciplinary action in light of his appearance on the One Show. He’s tendered his resignation and had it accepted, so what? Can you not take a little (justifiable?) criticism?
My jaw still hadn’t come up off the floor when James further Tweeted that minutes after the threat of further discipline he had been given the opportunity to terminate his employment earlier, be paid until his original end date, and the threat of further discipline would go away. He accepted this kind offer.
The BBC reported this event and an unnamed spokesperson from the Met made this response;
The Met Police said they were open to criticism but had a duty to protect staff and the public from unwarranted criticism and to maintain public confidence in the police service.
Now this sounds very much like the charges laid against James in the very first instance, that he had damaged public confidence in the police service. So presumably the Met’s intention was to Fast Track a disciplinary hearing and dismiss him for Gross Misconduct before his resignation date. It’s a pity they couldn’t be that efficient with his original case, dragging it out for approximately 18 months, for the actual hearing to last just 10 minutes. Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the Met would like to put me right and tell me openly, transparently what their intentions were. They haven’t been very open and transparent with me so far.
Am I the only person that thinks this is a bit like the Met sticking their corporate fingers up at the Public Administration Select Committee and saying “We run the Met, you don’t, we’ll deal with our officers our way. Keep out”? Or am I imagining that?
My third bout of being appalled yesterday was when it dawn on me, or least I suspect, that by terminating his employment with the Met earlier than anticipated will effectively rob him of his Appeal against the Disciplinary Findings. Or maybe I’ve got that wrong, if anyone can tell me better please?
Being appalled continued into the late evening when I was contacted by many (2 dozen or so) serving and retired Met officers who wished to express their disgust at the way the Met has treated James (or at least the way it has been reported) and wanted to know if there was a way they could contribute some money into a Fighting Fund for James. These are people who I don’t know, James doesn’t know them, but they are willing to donate towards the cost of Justice For James (#Justice4James looks quite good doesn’t it). Humbling.
And finally, in the early hours of this morning, I was contacted by a Supervisor from within the Met. I won’t say who they are for obvious reasons, but I have told James and he has confirmed to me that he knows this person. The exchange of views assures me that James hasn’t been deserted by everyone within the Met, some still care.
I am quite literally gobsmacked that the organisation can appear to treat one of its own this way (back to Public Perception). I have said it before, once James’ original disciplinary matter had been dealt with I am firmly convinced that the best way to approach the whole sorry #CrimeStats saga was to make James part of the Solution and not part of the Problem, but I guess it’s a bit late for that now.
Stay strong James, you have many ‘friends’.
NONE OF THE ABOVE WAS JAMES SPEAKING THROUGH ME. HE HAS HAD NO INPUT INTO THIS BLOG, IT IS ALL MY OWN THOUGHTS, MY PERCEPTION.