One Rule For Them And Another For Us

So here I am sat in a hotel on the outskirts of Derby, what better than write something for my reader, good evening.

I was minding my own business today when I came across a post from Police Oracle regarding Nick Gargan’s impending discipline hearing, that should have kicked off about a week ago.

It seems like Disclosure Issues can be sorted if you’re a Chief Constable

The original hearing was meant to take place in April but was delayed to address ‘disclosure issues’
A chief constable facing allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards female members of staff will face misconduct proceedings in June.

The original hearing for suspended Avon and Somerset Chief Constable Nick Gargan was set to take place on April 20, but was delayed when it became apparent that disclosure issues needed to be addressed.

At a preliminary hearing held on April 24, the chair of the misconduct panel Dorian Lovell-Pank QC listened to representations about whether some documents could be disclosed and made the necessary directions to the legal teams.

The date for the full hearing has now been set for June 29, with the chair stating 10 days should be set aside for the full case to be heard.

HMI Wendy Williams and independent member John Rickard will hear the case and provide their findings in a report to Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens to help inform her decision on the outcome of the proceedings.

Ms Mountstevens said earlier this year that she had hoped to hold the hearing in January or February but had faced delays including finding a convenient date for all of the panel to meet and CC Gargan requesting an extenstion to the deadline by which he had to provide a response to the allegations he faced. 

A consultation was held over whether to hold the hearing in public, but this was ultimately decided against.
CC Gargan was suspended in May 2014. 

Courtesy Police Oracle

My first thought was around the Disclosure issues. I’m pretty certain that we can all quote a few cases where abuse of the Disclosure rules has been an issue, not resolved, and ultimately led to resentment, and allegedly, sometimes a perverse verdict.

Secondly it was pointed out that it had been decided to hold the hearing in private, despite new rules which came into place on 1st May stating that Discipline HeRings would now be held in public unless “it was inappropriate to do so”.  A second example of Double Standards? Or maybe it truly was inappropriate, although I can think of thousands of Criminal cases of a similar nature that are most definitely held in public.

Finally, an absolute lulu came to me.

HMI Wendy Williams and independent member John Rickard will hear the case and provide their findings in a report to Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens to help inform her decision on the outcome of the proceedings.”  Why is Sue Mounstevens having anything to do with this enquiry, let alone be involved in the decision-making after this;

Sue Mountstevens apologises after telling Chief Constable Nick Gargan the name of a whistle-blower who complained about him 

Ms Mounstevens was investigated and found to have committed a “Serious Error of Judgement” for which she later apologised to the alleged victim.

So how can she now still be involved in the discipline process?  I’m obviously getting too old for this malarkey, I just don’t get it.

So there you have it, Double Standards or not, this does NOTHING for Public Confidence and Transparency, in short supply in Avon and Somerset it seems.

I’m certainly no fan of Mr Gargan but I am a fan of Fair Play, so Sue, if you can tell me how this constitutes Fair Play I promise to post your reply unedited.

Sue & Sophie – What Have We Learnt?

Sorry to keep banging on about it, but I happen to think it’s important. We’ve now had about 48 hours since the news broke that Sue Mountstevens and Sophie Khan are part of the panel looking at Undercover Policing.

Now that the initial hullabaloo has almost died down, what have we actually learnt?

Firstly, we have learnt that I have now been #BlockedBySophieKhan.

Secondly, we have learnt that this panel has been in existence since July 2014 but we are only being told about it now.

We have learnt that the full makeup of the panel is this;

1. Alex Marshall (Chair) College of Policing
2. Stephen Otter HMIC
3. Sophie Khan People Action Centre
4. Sue Mountstevens Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner
5. Richard Martin Metropolitan Police
6. Christopher Nathan University of Warwick
7. Jon Boutcher Bedfordshire Police
8. David Tucker College of Policing
9. Gordon Ryan College of Policing
10. Kerry Robinson College of Policing
11. Rob Beckley College of Policing
12. Joe McGuigan HMRC
13. David Carrigan Independent Advisory Group
14. Dr Chris Nathan Warwick Interdisciplinary Ethics Research Group *Duplicate by CofP
15. Bob Satchwell Society of Editors
16. Prof Ben Bowling Dickson Poon School of Law
17. Peter Jukes Media consultant
18. Tom Gash Institute for Government
19. Chris Green Merseyside Police
20. Mick Creedon National Lead Organised Crime
21. John Dilworth Crown Prosecution Services
22. Dr Bethan Lofthouse Centre for Criminology
23. Shaun Sawyer Devon and Cornwall Police

We have learnt that The members of the panel are unpaid volunteers and are not part of the formal Governance structures of the College of Policing.

We now know the Terms of Reference of the panel;

This group will review, challenge and provide feedback on the standards for undercover policing. It will also consider the leadership, management and supervisory frameworks and the way undercover policing is presented to the wider public. It will identify what evidence might assist in developing future practice. Members will support each other in the challenge process.

It will aim to

• Improve public confidence in the use of undercover policing tactics.
• Identify lessons from operations (not live ones), public inquiries or reviews, and make recommendations to the police service on how they should be addressed.
• Review and assess new and emerging undercover policing standards against tests of proportionality and necessity as well as wider judgements of social acceptability and practical applicability.
• Review the evidence base for good and effective practice in undercover policing including cost/benefit analysis.
• Advise on such issues as the ‘Neither Confirm Nor Deny’ policy, Agent Provocateur, Intelligence Deployments and other potentially sensitive or contentious areas.
• Make suggestions about the areas of undercover policing that merit deeper research or analysis.
• Assist in, and guide, the way undercover policing is described and presented to the wider public and consider how wider views and feedback might be gathered from victims of crime, practitioners and those affected by undercover policing.
We have now seen their first set of Minutes, please note this are not the Minutes of their first meeting, but their SECOND.
We have learnt that they had a third meeting in February, but we have not seen any Minutes for that meeting yet.
Most worryingly, we have had it confirmed that all Non-Police members of the Scrutiny Panel will not be subject to the Code of Ethics.
Reinforced by
College screengrab 2
Most amusingly we have learnt that somebody has attempted to launch a government e-petition in an attempt to get Sophie’s appointment to the panel reversed, but it was rejected due to the inclusion of the word ‘Appointment‘.
We have learnt that the appointment of Sue Mounstevens to the panel was made at exactly the same time that she was being investigated for her ‘serious error of judgement‘ in telling Nick Gargan the identity of the person(s) who had made allegations against him.  We know that she did this because an enquiry has subsequently found that she did and she has apologised for it.
We have also learnt that the Right Honourable Theresa May MP has also commissioned an enquiry looking into the area of Undercover Policing, and that the College Panel are aware of this as it’s referred to in the Minutes of their October meeting.
We know that the College are not awfully keen to answer questions put to them about the appointment of Sophie Khan in particular, and eventually went completely silent on the matter.

So, all in all, I think it’s safe to say that we have learnt that the College are either naive in extremis, or simply arrogant and don’t give a stuff for the morale of the Front Line, Public Expenditure (duplication of effort?) and the vetting (or lack of) participants on their panel, who I assume will have access to some sensitive information at some time (not a live op I realise that, but damage can still be done), bearing in mind that Sophie Khan’s Raison d’etre is to sue the Police. “Good Night all. I’m off to bed. Will be dreaming about suing the police as always. Sweet dreams to you all. I love my job so much :)

I’ll leave you to decide which it is, but suffice to say I’m glad it doesn’t involve me directly, and I can only imagine the thoughts of those officers expected to subscribe to this nonsense.

College Chaos And A Safer London

No, the two aren’t necessarily connected, just two items of insanity floating around Twitter last night.

Firstly the College of Policing (CoP) has announced a national scrutiny into undercover policing;

http://www.college.police.uk/News/College-news/Pages/National-undercover-scrutiny-.aspx

Included in the panel are the Police Action Centre aka Sophie Khan and PCC Sue Mountstevens.

Can CoP really be that naive or are they merely flexing their muscles with an opening kick in the nads for the troops on the (shrinking) Front Line?

Where do I begin? Sophie Khan? Why on earth would any right-minded person or organisation include Sophie Khan on any scrutiny panel into such a vital part of modern day Policing? She is prone to gross over-generalisations and exaggerations, on an almost daily basis.

I fully accept that I’m talking about a couple of years ago but her historical Twitter T/L does not make comfortable reading for CoP surely;

She seems very anti-police, one of her old tweets was “Good Night all. I’m off to bed. Will be dreaming about suing the police as always. Sweet dreams to you all. I love my job so much :) ”

On the 7th of April 2012 she posted the following comment on Twatter: “Met Police aren’t just racist while on duty, they are racist off duty. They’re members of BNP scum. Well done on being the most hated.

This is a suitable person to be engaged by CoP for such an important piece of work? Many of us who have dared to disagree with her and challenge her extreme views merely get ‘blocked’ as she seems unwilling to engage with her critics. This has directly led to the Twitter #hashtag #BlockedBySophieKhan. CoP really believe that this is a suitable person for their panel?

That leads me to Sue Mountstevens, Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset Police.

She is not without controversy either;

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-29838505 after a Disciplinary Hearing found that she had committed a Serious Error of Judgement.

In May 2014, Avon and Somerset’s Chief Constable Nick Gargan was suspended over allegations he made inappropriate advances to female staff.

The Police and Crime Panel found Sue Mountstevens breached her own code of conduct by telling Mr Gargan who had made the allegations.

Engaging Ms Mountstevens on such a high-profile panel as this, so soon after her gross faux pas sends a terrible message to Police ‘Whistleblowers’ and the like. Not only are they treated appallingly but those that betray them are seemingly only guilty of an error of judgement, and then deemed worthy to sit on a panel passing scrutiny on Undercover Policing.

Exactly what kind of vetting has/is being conducted on these people? Does anybody at CoP even care?

Fortunately I got out before the inception of CoP, but many of my friends remain and I can only despair, as far as I’m concerned this is the end of the road for any slight credibility that CoP had. For me that has died completely after this charade.


Then we have the nonsense that is Bernie Hogan-Who claiming to be a Can Do Leader and that London will be a safer place with a smaller, reduced Met.

http://content.met.police.uk/News/Commissioner-Transform-British-policing-to-keep-the-public-safe/1400030449171/1257246745756

Sir Bernard said: “If you had any doubt, if my officers had any doubt, then let’s be clear – the Met is a ‘can-do’ organisation, and I am a ‘can-do’ leader. A smaller Met can make London safer.”

“But we need to spell out, like the military has, that we can’t promise to tackle everything the world throws up within a shrinking budget. If we try to fight on all fronts, we’ll fail on some. If we’re not clear what’s beyond our reach, how can others take responsibility?”

I can only agree with a lot of what he said, but make London safer with a smaller Met? Really? I guess we’ll all have our views on that, but I don’t see how that’s doable with the scale of further cuts still to come. His reference to the Armed Forces is valid, they also have been slashed to the point where I fail to see how they could be effective if the wheel truly came off. Not because they are incompetent, I have the highest respect and regard for them, there just aren’t enough of them. The outbreak of war would not be the finest hour to recommence recruiting.

IMG_0220

Or maybe