Tag Archives: IPCC

‘Errors’ in Met’s VIP paedophile probe Operation Midland – BBC News

bbc-breaking-news

I’m fascinated to see what will happen to police officers responsible for fouling up this investigation.

My guess is: Nothing.

Meanwhile the victims will continue to suffer the effects of what happened to them, for the rest of their lives.

Numerous errors were made in Scotland Yard’s investigation into paedophile allegations against VIPs, an independent review has found.

The decision to abandon Operation Midland should have been taken “much earlier”, Sir Richard Henriques said.

He found “grave” errors in the handling of historical sex crime probes against high profile figures.

Five officers have been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission as a result.

Source: ‘Errors’ in Met’s VIP paedophile probe Operation Midland – BBC News

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Edward Heath ‘child sex abuse’ allegation to be investigated – properly?

If these allegations turn out to be correct, Heath will be another high-level Tory who has escaped justice. It is past time the public started demanding answers and forcing convictions where they’re not forthcoming.

The police watchdog is to investigate Wiltshire police’s handling of a child sex abuse claim allegedly made against former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath in the 1990s.

The force is to be probed after allegations made by a retired senior officer were referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

An IPCC spokesman said it is to investigate “allegations concerning Wiltshire Police’s handling of an alleged claim of child sexual abuse made in the 1990s”.

He added: “It is alleged that a criminal prosecution was not pursued, when a person threatened to expose that Sir Edward Heath may have been involved in offences concerning children.

“In addition to this allegation, the IPCC will examine whether Wiltshire Police subsequently took any steps to investigate these claims.”

Heath, a Conservative, was prime minister between 1970 and 1974 and had a home in Wiltshire county. He died in 2005.

Source: Edward Heath ‘child sex abuse’ allegation: Investigation to be held into Wiltshire police handling of alleged claim in the 1990s – Crime – UK – The Independent

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How do you fight disability hate crime if the police are the perpetrators?

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An attack on a disabled man is being investigated by the local police and crime commissioner and the Independent Police Complaints Commission – because the victim said it was committed by on-duty police officers.

Bedfordshire’s police commissioner has said the alleged attack may have been a disability hate crime, but the force has stirred up anger by refusing to suspend the two constables while the investigation takes place.

Faruk Ali, who has autism and learning difficulties, allegedly suffered the assault as he stood in his slippers, next to the dustbins outside his family home.

He says – in a story confirmed by neighbours – that he was grabbed by one policeman, pushed to the floor, and thrown against some wheelie-bins before being chased screaming into the house. There, family members said the assault continued and one of the officers punched the victim.

The two accused policemen did not immediately report the incident to their superiors, and it is understood they have claimed they thought Faruk Ali was committing a robbery (in his slippers, remember).

The Disability News Service has the full story.

All I can say is the people of Luton, where the incident took place, had better hope they have a good commissioner; experience suggests the IPCC will be as much use as a bucket of whitewash.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Police: ‘To protect and serve’ their own interests?

Unfit to wear the helmet: How deep does corruption run within our police? Do most officers still uphold the law without prejudice? Or do they use the uniform to pursue their own personal vendettas against innocent members of the public?

Unfit to wear the helmet: How deep does corruption run within our police? Do most officers still uphold the law without prejudice? Or do they use the uniform to pursue their own personal vendettas against innocent members of the public?

When did you lose faith in the British police?

Was it after Plebgate, the subject of a considerable controversy that has resurfaced this week? Was it after Hillsborough? Do you have a personal bad experience with officers whose interpretation of their duty could best be described as “twisted”, if not totally bent?

The Independent Police Complaints Commission says that the row involving whether former Conservative Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell used offensive language against a policeman who stopped him from riding a bicycle through the gates of Downing Street should have led to disciplinary action for the officer involved, along with others who supported his story.

IPCC deputy chairwoman Deborah Glass questioned the “honesty and integrity” of the officers involved and said that West Mercia Police, who investigated the affair, were wrong to say there was no case of misconduct for them to answer.

Now, there is plenty of evidence that this police complaints commission is anything but independent, and that it provides verdicts as required by its superiors – either within the force or politically. But the weight of the evidence that we have seen so far suggests that, in this instance, the conclusion is correct.

The Plebgate affair began less than a month after serious failings were identified in the police handling of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989. It was revealed – after a 23-year wait – that serious mistakes had been made in the policing of the infamous FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, during which events took place that killed 96 people and injured a further 766.

In addition, post-mortem reports on the deceased were falsified and the police tried to blame Liverpool fans for the disaster.

These were both events that received national news coverage – but what about the local incidents that take place all around the country?

Sir Hugh Orde, chairman of the Association of Chief Police Officers said, “130,000 police officers are delivering a good service” – but are they really?

This blog has already mentioned the experiences of several people here in Mid Wales who have had unsatisfactory experiences with the police, including victims of serious physical, psychological and sexual abuse who were told to go back and suffer more of this personal hell by policemen and women who either couldn’t care less or were complicit in the crimes. Years later, attempts to get justice fell on the equally deaf ears of officers who didn’t want to know.

And this week the front paper of my local newspaper (the one I used to edit) carried the headline ‘Hello, hello, what’s going on here then?’ over a story about two local police officers who, while on duty, seemed more interested in having sex than upholding the law.

One was an inspector; the other a (married) constable. The inspector, prior to her promotion, had been instrumental in sending a friend of mine to prison on a particularly unsavoury child sex charge. There was no concrete evidence and the case hinged on the opinion of a doctor that was hotly disputed by other expert testimony. But my friend’s path had crossed this policewoman’s before and she had failed to gain a conviction on the previous occasion. It seems clear that she had not forgotten him.

I have always believed that the jury convicted my friend because its members were worried that he might be guilty – despite the lack of evidence – simply because he had been accused. “There’s no smoke without fire,” as the saying goes. It seems likely now that this conviction reflects the policewoman’s preoccupations with sex, rather than any criminal activity on the part of my friend.

It also seems to be proof of the fear raised by Andrew Neil on the BBC’s This Week – that police have been sending innocent people to jail and letting the guilty go free.

My friend is still inside, by the way. He has maintained his innocence throughout the affair but, having been released on parole and then dragged back to jail for a breach that was more the fault of the authorities for failing to give adequate warning against it, he is now determined to serve his full sentence rather than face the heartbreak of having his freedom stolen with another excuse.

Who can blame him?

Good luck with the IPCC cover-up brigade, Mr Mitchell! If YOU were a ‘pleb’, you’d need it…

Andrew Mitchell: Either you believe him when he says the police log of 'Gate-gate' (or 'Plebgate') was false, or you believe him when he admitted abusing a policeman and apologised "profusely" for it. I prefer not to believe a word he says.

Andrew Mitchell: Either you believe him when he says the police log of ‘Gate-gate’ (or ‘Plebgate’) was false, or you believe him when he admitted abusing a policeman and apologised “profusely” for it. I prefer not to believe a word he says.

The announcement that former Coalition chief whip Andrew Mitchell has made a formal complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission about the so-called ‘plebgate’ row almost made me smile. Almost.

Having had experience of this organisation and it’s amazing cover-up tactics, supporting police officers who deny the existence of any laws that conflict with what they’ve done, I view the affair with scepticism.

If the outcome goes badly for him, it will confirm the IPCC’s position as principle rubber-stamping organisation for police behaviour – no matter whether they have behaved rightly or wrongly.

If it comes out in his favour, for me, it will confirm that the system works only for privileged members of society such as Mr Mitchell – those in influential positions – and not for ordinary citizens like the rest of us.

The facts of the case are completely unimportant to the outcome. Inconsequential.

For the record, it relates to an incident on September 19 last year, when it was alleged that the then-Chief Whip swore at police, calling them “plebs” (of all things) when they refused to open the Downing Street gates for him to cycle through on his pushbike.

Mitchell resigned his position but CCTV coverage later cast doubt on the accepted version of events and four people, including three police officers, have since been arrested.

Now, in a letter to the IPCC, Mr Mitchell has accused the police of a “dishonest and illicit attempt to blacken my name and destroy my career”.

Personal experience tells me he’d better have a mountain of evidence to back up that claim.

My own experience, as outlined in previous Vox articles, related to an incident in which somebody illegally published information identifying an alleged crime victim, in an attempt to blacken a suspect’s name, prior to a trial. I reported this, quoting the relevant law down to the section and paragraph, to the police – who flatly refused to investigate, claiming that the law had not been broken by ignoring the references I had given and referring to a different section of the same legislation – a section that was totally irrelevant to the nature of the crime.

You see, prosecuting this individual would have been inconvenient as it would have weakened the case against the suspect they had lined up for trial. Easier to flout the law, apparently. One law for us… another law for them.

I made a full, detailed complaint to the IPCC, quoting the relevant legislation with a printout of it from the government’s own website, pointing out where the officer involved had gone wrong, and explaining why I believed the error was intentional.   All I got for my efforts was another flat refusal to acknowledge the facts. The investigator spoke with the officer and decided that his interpretation of the law was correct – despite having it quoted to them, in black and white, by me!   For me, the only way forward from that point would have been to hire a lawyer and get a judicial review, but that costs money and I simply don’t have enough. Again, it’s one law for us… another law for them.

Mr Mitchell, on the other hand, does have money. But since he is, by definition, a member of “them”, any success he may enjoy will not affect the fact that is the theme of this article, which is (one last time):

It’s one law for us… another law for them.

Actually, now that I have a police commissioner, I might take the case to him and see what he makes of it. At least, that way, he’ll have something to do. The outcome will show whether his appointment – and that of all the others – really was the waste of time and money that the vast majority of Britons believe it to have been.

Bettison’s resignation shows yet again the double standards of our justice system

Why is it permissible to investigate possible misconduct by Sir Norman Bettison after he has retired, but not permissible to investigate misconduct by other retired police officers? Is it because the allegations against him are related to the high-profile Hillsborough tragedy, and nobody will care about YOUR case?

Sir Norman Bettison’s resignation as chief constable of West Yorkshire Police has infuriated me.

You might be surprised at this. You probably think it’s exactly what he should have done after he was accused, in Parliament, of boasting about fabricating stories to blame Liverpool supporters for the Hillsborough disaster, while he was serving with South Yorkshire Police in 1989.

I’m not angry about that. I’m angry because the Independent Police Complaints Commission released a statement after Bettison’s announcement, saying that it will continue to investigate his alleged part in the Hillsborough cover-up. The statement said: “We can, and in this case will, investigate criminal offences and misconduct matters after an officer has retired or resigned.”

This is not what you would get, if you tried to allege misconduct against a retired police officer. Believe me – I know!

That’s why I say this story demonstrates the difference between what happens in a high-publicity case, when a large number of people create a fuss, supported by people who are in the public eye, and what happens when an ordinary person goes to the police with an allegation of misconduct against a retired officer.

If you have read this column before, you will be aware that I have had dealings with the police over allegations by my disabled girlfriend (and her disabled mother) against a man who abused them mentally, physically and sexually. Their complaints to the police, made separately, went uninvestigated and the mother was actually sent back into an abusive environment by officers at her local police station.

When they made a joint complaint a couple of years ago, they wanted misconduct investigations launched into the behaviour of the police officers who had been involved in these incidents (which took place over a 28-year period, starting in the 1970s).

The response was that these investigations could not possibly take place – because many of the officers involved had since retired. In a face-to-face interview with an investigating officer on May 12, 2010, he told us: “Those who have retired don’t come under police conduct rules.”

In other words, any police officer – who may have committed crimes or acts of misconduct, but has since retired – will always get away scot free.

That’s the justice we got.

That’s why the IPCC’s unctuous and hypocritical attempt to ingratiate itself with the public by leaping to the attack on this high-publicity issue fills me with fury. Faced with such flagrant double-standards, the only rational response is disgust.

One law for us, another law for them – my experiences with police corruption

I can’t say I was surprised when I read ‘Dyfed-Powys tops corruption allegation list’ in the County Times at the end of May. Why should I be surprised? I’m one of the people who made the allegations!

“Dyfed-Powys Police has topped the list of police forces with most corruption allegations for its size in England and Wales,” wrote CT reporter Emma Mackintosh.

“In the Dyfed-Powys force area, there were 146 allegations against officers. With 2,100 police officers, that gave the force a ratio of 69 complaints per 1,000 officers, the highest in Wales and England and more than twice the average.”

Only 69 complaints per 1,000? You might think those are good odds. But then, you might never have got on the wrong side of one of the officers to which these complaints relate!

A buddy of mine did, a few years ago. As a result, he was arrested and prosecuted for a particularly nasty crime – but I’m not referring to that. My complaint was about a crime related to the allegations against him, but committed by someone else, in an attempt to swing public opinion against him.*

That’s when I made my complaint. I know a thing or three about the law and I knew that an offence had been committed (contempt of court, as it happens – someone had publicised information that they shouldn’t have). I gave full details of what had happened and how, and not only did I refer to the relevant section and paragraph of the legislation – I quoted it verbatim.

The response was a flat refusal to investigate and a claim that the law had not been broken, with a reference to an irrelevant section of the same law.

You see, prosecuting this individual would have been inconvenient as it would have weakened the case against my friend. Easier to let them flout the law and get away with it, apparently. One law for us… another law for them.

“In the Dyfed-Powys force, of the 146 complaints made, only 16 found their way to the IPCC,” writes Emma. Mine would have been one of them. I made a full, detailed complaint, quoting the relevant legislation, pointing out where the officer involved had gone wrong, and explaining why I believed the error was intentional.

All I got for my efforts was another flat refusal to acknowledge the facts. The investigator spoke with the officer and decided that his interpretation of the law was correct – despite having it quoted to them, in black and white, by me!

For me, the only way forward from that point would have been to hire a lawyer and get a judicial review, but that costs money and I simply don’t have enough. Again, it’s one law for us… another law for them.

So the crime went unpunished, the perpetrator went scott free and my friend was imprisoned. He was later released by the Court of Appeal, after a hearing in which the presiding judge actually demanded to know whether the prosecutor had any concrete evidence at all! That wasn’t enough to save him at the retrial and once again he was sent down. You see, the alleged crime was one of which people tend to be found guilty merely because they have been accused.

“The IPCC has said it wants clearer information on what constitutes police corruption, with 631 complaints made in Wales between 2008 and 2011,” Emma continues. I don’t know why. My experience indicates this Independent organisation (that’s what the ‘I’ stands for) will just toe the police service‘s line, no matter what.

“Responding to the findings, a Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson said: ‘Dyfed-Powys Police notes and welcomes the report’s findings which will inform future practice locally. “’The force acts proactively to prevent corruption and where it is alleged investigates such cases thoroughly and professionally. “’We are reviewing our policies and procedures in line with national recommendations following various reviews into this subject area.’”

On past experience, I very much doubt that.

*I apologise for the necessary vaguenesses in this story. It is about criminal acts which were committed by people who have not been brought to account, and if I made my story any clearer, I might be the next person in front of a judge!