In the early hours of this morning I read that the nice Andrew Mitchell MP has ‘challenged’ Sir Bernard Hogan-Who to release all of the #Plebgate evidence into the public domain.
According to an article in today’s Torygraph Mitchell has written to BHH and told Sir Bernard that he must publish transcripts and records from the Met’s private hearings relating to the officers involved in the Plebgate row.
It is claimed in this Torygraph article that nice Mr Mitchell has been allowed to attend the private disciplinary hearings, and take notes of the evidence heard there. WTF?
Following the end of the hearings, Mr Mitchell wrote to Sir Bernard challenging him to release full transcripts of all the hearings.
In his letter, Mr Mitchell said that he had heard evidence in the hearings that should be put in the public domain, including that the Met’s own investigation had established that: “one of the PCs who obstructed my exit from Downing Street on 19th September 2012 was texting [their] involvement in the affair as it became public (21st September 2012) and claiming “I can topple the Tory Government”, and that the hearings had produced evidence of exchanges between officers suggesting that they were “colluding with the Police Federation to fan the flames for political reasons”.
Mr Mitchell included in his letter “While I wish to say that the way these hearings were run was undoubtedly fair and proper I am deeply concerned that they were held in private and were not open to public and journalistic scrutiny”, and, “I am deeply concerned that if any of the information is withheld, and any hint of a cover-up is left in the public mind, a signal will be sent that the police can get away with doing this to people who would have no chance to fight back and public confidence will be yet further undermined.”
Serious allegations Mr M, very serious indeed.
I’m not privileged to those hearings,I have no idea if Mr Mitchell’s claims float or not, but what the f*** was he doing there? When did it become acceptable practice to have a serving (tarnished) MP sit in on Disciplinary hearings that he was involved in?
More to the point, when did it become even vaguely acceptable to have ANYBODY sit in on a Disciplinary hearing that is embroiled in unresolved legal proceedings concerning the very same issue?
‘Private Disciplinary Hearings’, there’s a clue there, PRIVATE (except to the privileged few)
I do hope that PFEW will challenge this when they’ve finished their conference. I’m sure that the release of this new twist was entirely coincidental and NOT aimed to coincide with Conference, Mitchell wouldn’t do that, would he?
You are both well aware of the total furore that has erupted in past months about the alleged ‘fiddling’ of crime figures.
I am aware Mr Winsor that your HMIC recently published an interim report on the matter and I am in the process of digesting it. To help you with the rest of your report, and to better inform Sir Bernard on how it’s done I thought I’d put together a little montage of genuine ways in which crimes have been ‘distorted’ or ‘misrepresented’ over a large number of years.
It will also help the public to better understand what all the fuss has been about but because the majority of it has been about Rape allegations, but it exists in so many other areas as well.
In no particular order
Criminal Damage (Value under £20) for many years that would have been No Crime’d by Force Policy since the early 70s, but a crime had still been committed (allegedly).
House/Shop/Car window smashed – No Crime, window broken by stone thrown up from passing lorry/bus/car wheel.
Attempted Burglary classified as Criminal Damage. Arguments will rage forever over this one, but we all know it happened.
Post Sentence Visits to convicted felons in prison to ‘Clear Up’ some outstanding crimes. A dubious practice designed solely to influence the Clear Up Rate, I doubt that any outstanding stolen property was ever recovered and restored to the victim.
Bringing prisoners out of prison to the police station cells and driving them round so that they could point out the houses they had burgled. See my previous comments above.
A local prolific burglar for example dies, suddenly he seems to have been credited with a large proportion of the unsolved crimes, shown as Cleared Up. Dubious to say the least.
Theft Person being classified as No Crime, property lost in the street. The nature of ‘Dipping’ is that the victim is frequently unaware of the offence at the time of commission, that is no reason to record it as Property Lost, if there is some credible evidence that it has been stolen then the appropriate classification should be used. However, there are tales such as this “Known Dipping.. CID sent out a memo. We Had to ask the question. If it ‘could’ have have fallen out, the bag was open. report it as Loss in the street! Even though it was at the bottom of a bag”
Now this one’s rapidly becoming a favourite of mine. Theft of a large bird from garden premises, classified as No Crime – bird flew away. It was made of concrete.
Fraud was never properly investigated for years because it was no-one’s priority crime.
I have heard recently of one Attempted Burglary being classified as No Crime because “a trapped, enraged bumblebee caused the damage to the window?”
Assaults with counter allegations were frequently classified as No Crime instead of two or more assaults, even one would have been better.
Assaults where the victim refused to substantiate the allegation even where there was corroborating evidence in the form of CCTV footage. Shouldn’t be No Crime’d. It;’s still a crime, it’s just the victim doesn’t want to go to Court.
Burglaries in bedsits, hotels or offices with multiple victims that all went down as one burglary.
Offences of Criminal Damage by Graffiti were frequently classified No Crime if they could be cleaned off.
A whole road of cars damaged – one Criminal Damage with 24 victims. 24 Crimes same venue?
“Another favourite was number plates stolen…..no they fell off. Both front and back. No crime”
“Kited cheques with obvious intent – No crime, victim referred to bank. And… obvious frauds using cloned cards etc – victim referred to bank.”
“A certain concert venue somewhere in South London where people were never dipped, they just danced so hard that their phones fell out of their pockets/handbags and were lost. No crime”
“I tried reporting Crim Damage. Occupants in lounge, saw group walking past , making a noise and saw one throw a brick to someone on opposite footpath. Over threw and it smashed glass in door. I put it in as crim damage but got memo saying it was an attempt burglary. I tried to argue my corner but crime desk wouldn’t have it. Strange decision.”
“I retired 2 years ago having spent my last 4 years in the Met heading up the XXXX Crime Management Unit. All crime classification change requests came through my team. I have seen all manner of stupidity. The range is incredible. From a DS who became an internet expert on the thermo-dynamics of sealed double glazing units and how a sudden drop in overnight temperature can cause them to shatter! He wanted an attempted burglary no crimed. Unfortunately, the dets already explained how the victim actually disturbed the suspect walking down the shingle path below the window, and found the brick used to smash the window too…..! The other extreme being the self appointed “hate crime champion” for one borough who liked to remove Racial flags (on undetected crimes of course..) on the basis the Mr Ahmed (sic) must have been mistaken in his belief that the only reason he felt he was the victim of race crime was because none of his white neighbours had dog shit continually posted through his front door. Sadly, I have too many stories like these, as well as more about those who were too spineless to respond to official reports of such corrupt practices. Believe me PC Patrick is very brave, but his story merely scratches the surface.”
“I remember a smash and grab at a pet shop where an expensive Macaw parrot was stolen there were no witnesses no CCTV. The D/S on the crime desk wrote it off as No Crime putting it down to the parrot making a successful escape from captivity after the shop front window was broken by, as mentioned earlier on this post a stone thrown up by a passing vehicle!”
Sir Bernard, PC Patrick has given the more analytical version and I have given you actual examples from current or former officers. May be you could explain to the public exactly why you didn’t invite PC Patrick to become part of the solution, and continued to oppress him, eventually instigating further disciplinary matters during his period of Notice?
Mr Winsor, your team have completed the first part of their study, maybe they would like to look for examples such as these when they do the next part.
Mind you Mr Winsor I’m disappointed that you didn’t mention on Radio 4 the other morning that you have already met with Constable Patrick. Gives people the wrong impression.
Maybe, Sir Bernard, you or Mr Winsor would like to contribute to the James Patrick Fighting Fund, if you have a Paypal Account it’s easy;
From within your opening screen (after logging in to your account) choose Send Money
Send it to the following email address
justice4pcpatrickAToutlookDOTcom (see what I did there?) (substitute an “@” and a “.” as appropriate)
Enter the amount in GBP you wish to send
Click on “I’m sending money to family or friends” This option should be free of charges unless you pay by Credit Card and the money ends up in exactly the same account as if you had pressed the Donate Button.
A little more complicated and it only works for Paypal account holders but every fee that we can reduce is more for the Fighting Fund
I try not to be too much of a Conspiracy Theorist, but sometimes it’s easy to fall into that mode. But sometimes things happen that just lend themselves to ‘Conspiracy’.
I have thought hard over whether I should even write this blog, but I’ve decided that I should, the truth (Conspiracy or not) is too important to be ignored. My mind is a jumble at the moment so if this blog seems a little more disjointed than normal, please forgive me and bear with it.
Nobody can deny that there is a crisis in the Met at the moment. Bernard Hogan-Who (Bernie the Ostrich) is under fire from all directions. So what is he doing about it? Well one thing he certainly isn’t doing about it is leading his Force out of this crisis with their heads held high. The vast majority of the Met have nothing to be ashamed of and he knows it.
Two of Bernie’s highest profile problems of the moment (I would suggest) both involve Constable James Patrick.
Firstly we have the travesty that was his Discipline Hearing, for a so-called offence of Gross Misconduct that had to be downgraded to Misconduct after a review by an external Force. As you will be aware this centred on James’ blogs that he later consolidated into a book and sold, 100% of the proceeds going to charity.
You will find James’ own full version of the hearing here, and his Notice of Appeal here.
It was alleged that James had failed to register a Business Interest.
Now that the proceedings are over I ask you Met Police, why is it necessary to register a Business Interest if 100% of the proceeds are donated to charity, and the publishing of the book is self-funded? You have found him Guilty. Simply, where is the Business?
The Met alleged that by publishing this book James had damaged Public Confidence in the Met. Where is the evidence for this? If James’ book was so damaging, why did you not instruct him to remove it from sale? You found him Guilty yet you permitted a continuance of the ‘offence’ by not instructing him to remove it from sale.
James was not served a full Disclosure pack because there were documents in existence that weakened the DPS case against him, so they were withheld. James found these documents, one of them clearly states that the Met doesn’t actually have a policy on its officers and staff writing books. I have read it, it exists, yet you still found him Guilty of Misconduct.
The Met claims it does not know the cost of these proceedings as it doesn’t record such information. I don’t believe you Met. Years ago enquiries/investigations/operations were routinely costed if for no other reason than Management Information. Have we taken a step backwards? I simply don’t believe you.
The evidence was reviewed by an external Force, except that external Force has been unable to identify any information regarding that review. Did it even happen, or did the Met just claim that in order to save face?
Then there were the ‘Welfare’ visits. Were they really for his welfare? I don’t know, but I’ve never heard of that happening in the Met, not for someone facing Discipline, phone call from Line Manager maybe, but not visits from an outside Force. The Met have the resources to go and visit themselves anyway if they really wanted to.
6,000 pages of evidence, 136 submissions by James and a Board in front of a Chief Inspector from an external Force that lasts 10 minutes max. Does that sound like a fair hearing, or does it sounds like a pre-ordained result.
There are other issues around James’ hearing which may or may not come out in the fullness of time, but suffice it to say he is angry and feeling very low and let down right now. He does not wish me to discuss them so I will respect that wish.
The second problem involving James is #CrimeStats. What on earth is Bernie playing at? I’m not suggesting that #CrimeStats warrants James receiving immunity from his pre-existing Discipline Issues, but all that has happened just makes it look like James is now being dumped on from an even greater height than before. Where is the protection that a Whistle-blower should enjoy? Bernie has admitted that James’ allegations contain a truth that should be heard, so why isn’t he hearing it? Why hasn’t he arranged for someone with loads of Scrambled Egg to sit down with James and take a proper debrief from him? Have an enquiry by all means but why not include the man that kicked it all off? Answers on a postcard please Bernie.
Now we have the TSG 6. I’m not going to dwell on that subject for very long, you can find the whole story here if you haven’t already read it. I defy anyone to read that transcript and not form the opinion that DPS have acted unethically and most probably unlawfully. Their sanctions? Almost none. What kind of a message does that send exactly? Where can the integrity of DPS investigations be found after that little sage?
There are others who Tweet regularly (and they will know who they are) who have told me how they have been stitched up by Professional(?) Standards. If this is true this must be a VERY worrying development.
Other officers, from other Forces to the Met have received similar, unacceptable treatments at the hands of the Professional(?) Standards Departments, although I fail to see how this could be a joined-up policy across the country.
Then we enter the world of shredding. Has all this vital information regarding corruption been shredded? I have no idea, but Bernie hasn’t exactly denied it. Personally I’m reasonably comfortable with the shredding, but I would be VERYuncomfortable if nothing could be found on the servers or the backups either. The Met ceased to rely on bits of paper years ago, but the servers get backed up regularly, as is best practice, so where is the information?
Several different Operation names have featured in the press recently, some of which are allegedly marked SECRET. Who would have access to these SECRET files in order to leak them? Why hasn’t the Met gone stratospheric in an attempt to identify those responsible? Just who DID leak them and why?
Finally, I want to know just how willing this government is to tackle the subject of corruption. I emailed a certain Mr Vaz recently after corruption became an issue in of the HASC sessions with Bernie. I proposed to him a viable method for Police Forces around the country to demonstrate to their public the estimated levels of corruption within their Force and what they proposed to do about it. SILENCE. I left it a few days and then I tweeted him to ask him if he had received my email. SILENCE. I know at least one other ex-police Tweeter has received the same SILENCE from Mr Vaz. It is simply not good enough, people are trying with the best intentions to solve problems and they’re not being listened to or taken seriously.
Whistle-blowers getting dumped on and corrupt officers going unhindered? Please tell me that this is not where the Met finds itself today. Please?
I’m sorry this has been a bit of a disconnected rant, I sincerely hope that there is NOT a Conspiracy out there, and these are just the ramblings of an old fool and nothing more serious, but I do think we all deserve some answers, and soon.