Tag Archives: kidnap

Everard murderer was known to police colleagues as ‘The Rapist’. How long can Cressida Dick stay in post?

Cressida Dick: Platitudes outside a court must not save her from the consequences of her failure to root out corruption and crime among her officers.

How did a man who was nicknamed ‘The Rapist’ three years before joining the Metropolitan Police manage to pass its vetting process, let alone get into a position where he could kidnap, rape and murder Sarah Everard?

Those are the questions that should be forcing Met Commissioner Cressida Dick out of her job now, yet she seems secure in her post. For how long?

Wayne Couzens, who last week admitted raping and murdering Sarah Everard, was given the unsavoury nicknameby colleagues at the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, which he joined in 2011, because he made some female colleagues feel uncomfortable, according to the Evening Standard.

The paper also reported that Kent Police took no action in 2015 after it was alleged that he had been seen driving around Dover, naked from the waist down.

And the Met – which he joined in 2018 – received further accusations of indecent exposure by Couzens on two further occasions. Neither of them were investigated properly in the days before he kidnapped, raped and murdered Ms Everard.

We’ve heard this story before: it isn’t such a long time since PC (yes, he’s still on the force) Oliver Banfield was convicted of assaulting a woman while she was walking home – just as Sarah Everard was when she was kidnapped, raped and murdered. His colleagues on the Warwickshire force had initially ignored the complaint and would have done nothing about it if the victim had not found CCTV footage that could be used as evidence.

The BBC has reported that the Independent Office for Police Conduct said a total of 12 gross misconduct or misconduct notices had so far been served on police officers from multiple forces in relation to the Couzens case, including about the handling of two separate claims that Couzens had indecently exposed himself; the Banfield case wasn’t a single instance of police turning a blind eye to the crimes of fellow officers – it is an epidemic.

Ms Everard’s murder sparked a wave of protest across the UK that was put down mercilessly by police forces – most notably the Met and Avon and Somerset Constabulary. An independent Parliamentary committee has found that both forces breached the fundamental rights of protesters but neither has accepted the finding and nothing will be done to improve procedures.

Indeed, women across the UK have cause to be even more concerned that the Tory government is bringing in a law to reform criminal investigations and justice – that will put women like Sarah Everard in even more danger.

Two-faced Cressida Dick, who presided over the Met Police throughout, and who supported police in their despicable mishandling of the Sarah Everard vigil, hypocritically voiced platitudes of regret over the murder and anger over the crimes of her now-former officer after attending court.

She said she felt “sickened, angered and devastated” by the crimes: “They are dreadful and everyone in policing feels betrayed.

“Sarah was a fantastic, talented young woman with her whole life ahead of her and that has been snatched away.”

But that hasn’t saved her from the court of public opinion:

This Writer is willing to suggest that public confidence in the Met – and in policing in general – has never fallen so low (although it will fall further if the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is allowed to become law in its current form).

Dick has presided over a quantum plunge in the reputation of the police, ignoring one scandal after another and allowing her force to become a cesspit of corruption and crime.

Meanwhile, the successful investigation of crimes against the public has suffered. How can it not? We can’t trust the police to do their job and we’re living in fear that they will commit crimes against us themselves.

It is a poisonous situation and Cressida Dick has done much to create it.

How long are we going to allow her to continue worsening it?

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Kidnap, rape and death of Sarah Everard means the police service is BROKEN. Can it be fixed?

This casts a huge shadow over the UK’s police services – not only because of the crimes admitted by PC Wayne Couzens but because of the way police across the country tried to suppress public protest.

Couzens, of Deal, has admitted kidnapping and raping Sarah Everard in a hearing at the Old Bailey (although he appeared by video link from Belmarsh Prison).

He also accepted responsibility for her death but did not enter a plea on the charge of murder.

Ms Everard, 33, went missing while walking home in Clapham, south London, on March 3. She was reported missing by her boyfriend on March 4 and her body was discovered hidden in an area of woodland near Ashford, Kent, on March 10.

Couzens…

pleaded guilty to kidnapping Ms Everard “unlawfully and by force or fraud” on 3 March.

He also pleaded guilty to a second charge of rape between 2 and 10 March.

So now we know that the man who murdered Ms Everard was indeed a police officer.

This fact raises serious questions about the trust we place in our police services – as does the way police across the UK handled the public reaction to this crime.

Remember the Clapham Common vigil that police officers deliberately escalated into a full-on confrontation? They kettled peaceful attendees – most, or all, of whom were women – provoked a violent confrontation and arrested them when they protested.

They were transmitting a very clear message to all of us:

Women in the United Kingdom should fear the police. Officers are able to kidnap, rape and murder them and when this causes protest, the protesters will be arrested.

That is what the police service now represents, and while the Conservative government may not be said to be directly responsible for the criminal behaviour of these uniformed thugs, it is certainly clear that the politicians in charge have done nothing to prevent it and everything to suppress protest against it.

A review of the incident by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) subsequently insulted all the women who took part in the vigil when it cleared the Metropolitan Police of any inappropriate behaviour.

It stated that the force “was justified in adopting the view that the risks of transmitting COVID-19 at the vigil were too great to ignore” and that it was therefore perfectly reasonable for burly uniformed policemen to inflict violence on defenceless women.

On March 14, a further public event – this time a protest demonstration against the policing of the Sarah Everard vigil – attracted a much more low-key police response but even then the officers attending could not hide their priorities.

They clustered around a statue of Winston Churchill that they had (allegedly) been told to protect “at any cost”:

On March 16 allegations emerged that a police officer guarding the scene where Sarah Everard’s body was found had shared an “inappropriate” message about her death with colleagues on WhatsApp.

We were told that it was believed the “inappropriate graphic” contained offensive comments about her death.

The family of Ms Everard were informed of the incident but we were not told whether they had received the grovelling apology that they deserved.

The incident also served as a reminder that only last year, two policemen caused a scandal when it was revealed that they had taken selfies of themselves with the bodies of two murdered women and shared them on WhatsApp.

While we were all told at the time that “lessons have been learned” it became crystal clear that this was not true and that all women could be sure of getting from the police was contempt.

Four days later – March 20 – a serving police officer who assaulted a woman while she was walking home late at night (a direct parallel with what happened to Sarah Everard) using police techniques walked free after magistrates let him off with a fine and a curfew. He was excused community service because his lawyer said it would be hard for him to work with criminals, even though he is now a criminal himself.

The first thing Warwickshire police had done on receiving the victim’s complaint was to ignore it.

The victim then had to undergo an uphill struggle to get that police service to take her seriously, and it is unlikely that she would have had any justice at all if she had not been able to find CCTV footage of the assault.

It showed that Oliver Banfield, 25, hurled a stream of misogynistic abuse at Emma Holmer, 11 years his senior, as he tried to employ techniques he learned from police training to drag her to the ground and put her in a headlock.

I stated at the time: “Apparently this has been described as an ‘unlawful arrest’. I’m sure you can think of a much better description for what is clearly a hate attack against a woman.

“And let’s remind ourselves that Sarah Everard was ‘just walking home’ (the words have been used as a slogan ever since the incident) when she was attacked” by another serving policeman.

I added: “Two incidents cannot suggest that such behaviour is epidemic in the UK’s police. But they are enough to instil fear in every woman who has to walk home in the dark because they know they cannot automatically rely on the police to keep them safe.

“When a trust is betrayed, it can be extremely difficult to win back. Sometimes it is impossible. It seems clear that the police – and the justice system – isn’t even bothering to try.”

It is clear that we can no longer trust the police to uphold the law and protect us against crime. That contract has been broken by the police themselves.

Today, the police are able to commit crimes against us with impunity, with protests silenced by heavy-handed colleagues and suppression by both individual police services and the government, and their actions whitewashed by so-called watchdogs.

This cannot be allowed to continue.

This corruption must be purged. But how can it be done when nobody who is in a position to do it can be trusted to?

Source: Sarah Everard: Wayne Couzens admits rape and kidnap – BBC News

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Police kettle women for trying to ‘reclaim’ the streets after policeman arrest for woman’s kidnap and murder

Kettled: hundreds of people – mostly women – were kettled on Clapham Common by police – mostly men.

Could there be a more strident declaration that the UK is backsliding culturally?

After a police officer was arrested and charged for kidnapping and murdering a woman, a vigil was organised on Clapham Common in memory of the deceased and as a mark of defiance against those who would put women in fear for their lives while just walking down the street.

In response, Metropolitan police officers kettled participants – boxing them in so they could not move freely – and then arrested them. Here’s how they carried out the second part of this operation:

The message is clear: in Tory Britain in the 21st century, women should feel afraid – all the time. The police will enforce it.

Possibly worst of all is the fact that the police acted this way not only after one of their number was arrested for the kidnap and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard, but also under the orders of a female commissioner, Cressida Dick.

Dick’s tenure has been controversial from the start – often due to racist behaviour by her officers. This incident has renewed calls for her resignation, with accusations of sexism against people of her own gender.

As I understand it, police say they acted as they did in order to enforce Covid-19-related laws on social distancing. It is unclear how they can say kettling people is consistent with that claim.

My understanding, again, is that people gathered on Clapham Common in spite of the fact that a planned vigil had been cancelled due to difficulty in securing police co-operation. Organisers of the cancelled event, Reclaim These Streets, have released this statement:

Women across the country are deeply saddened and angered by the scenes of police officers physically manhandling women at a vigil against male violence*.

From the start, Reclaim These Streets set out to work closely with the Met to ensure this vigil could go ahead safely, so women could stand together peacefully and safely to remember Sarah Everard and all the women lost to male violence.

The Metropolitan Police failed to work with us despite the High Court ruling yesterday that a vigil could potentially go ahead lawfully. In doing so, they created a risky and unsafe situation. It is their responsibility to protect public order, public health and the right to protest – they failed tonight on all accounts.

All the time they spent fighting us on a legal claim that the Judge agreed should not have been necessary and was caused by the Metropolitan Police’s stance, they could have been working with us to ensure the vigil went ahead in a safe way. The Judge was clear and the Metropolitan Police conceded minutes before the hearing that there was no blanket ban on protest under the current law. They then had an opportunity – and a responsibility – to work with us safely and within the law.

This week, of all weeks, the police should have understood that women would need a place to mourn, reflect and show solidarity. Now is the time for the police and the government to recognise that the criminal justice system is failing women. Tonight it has failed women again, in the most destructive way.

Possibly the most chilling comment on these terrible events came from Boris Johnson, who said he would do “everything I can to make sure the streets are safe”.

He’ll probably impose an armed curfew.

Whatever he does, it will probably backfire because people are angry.

One commentator – aptly – described the situation: “Peaceful protest against violence against women is broken up by state violence against women.”

If that’s how people are seeing it, then in a country that is a seething cauldron of frustration due to Covid-19 restrictions, I fear that feelings are going to boil over and we could see some real confrontations.

And people are seeing it that way:

The woman pictured being arrested, above, is Patsy Stevenson. She was interviewed afterwards and her words capture the feeling of the moment:

Note that she said the next thing that should happen is another protest – and bigger.

With the authorities reacting not only inappropriately but violently – against the victims, I can only see this situation getting worse.

I hope I’m wrong but I know how the current government mistreats ordinary people. Tories will not understand that they cannot expect us to comply with what they say when what they do is harming us.

*Some readers may object to the characterisation of “male violence”. If you are one such person, my advice is simple: get over yourself. These events happened after a woman was attacked and killed by a man. The scenes on Clapham Common involved many men attacking many more women. And the worst of it is that all the men involved have police uniforms. Women have been left in fear for their lives not only because they don’t know whether the next man they see is going to attack them but also because they now know they cannot trust the police to protect them. Many men are saying that they have nothing to do with attacks on women and wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing, and that may be true. But that doesn’t mean that no men are responsible for such attacks. Perhaps, until a way is found to ensure that women can once again walk the UK’s streets in safety, all men should take responsibility and try to help, rather than whining that it’s nothing to do with them.

Source: Sarah Everard: Met criticised over Clapham vigil policing – BBC News

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British Government admits it played a role in kidnap and torture of a man in Libya

Abdel Hakim Belhaj.

This is shameful and shocking, and reflects badly on the New Labour government of Tony Blair.

This Writer could not justify criticism of the current government’s diabolical human rights abuses without also condemning abuses exposed about a previous government.

The fact that I am no fan of Tony Blair’s foreign policy makes it easier, too.

But I will ask this: Would Theresa May have been so keen to admit government wrongdoing if it had been her own government, and not one run by a rival party?

I would suggest not. And I notice that the UK taxpayer is picking up the bill once again.

Still – she has apologised, and has accepted that it was wrong that the UK Government contributed to the detention, rendition and suffering of Abdel Hakim Belhaj and Fatima Bouchard; shared information about them with its international partners; and missed opportunities to relieve their plight.

The actions of her own government may be judged by the same standard.

The British Government has accepted it played a role in the rendition and torture of a Libyan man who was kidnapped and held by Colonal Gadaffi’s forces.

Abdel Hakim Belhaj, 52, and his wife Fatima Bouchard claimed they were returned to the brutal regime in 2004 through a joint M16-CIA operation following Tony Blair’s infamous “deal in the desert” with the Libyan dictator.

Source: The British Government has admitted it played a role in the kidnap and torture of a man in Libya – Mirror Online


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Police release Yulia Skripal ‘statement’. Nobody believes she made it

Yulia Skripal (right) and her father Sergei: Held under duress?

Salisbury poisoning victim Yulia Skripal, who was released from hospital earlier this week, has in turn released a statement via the Metropolitan Police. It’s just a shame that she didn’t write it.

I could be wrong, of course. But there seem to be contradictions and nuances of language that suggest I am not.

Here‘s the statement:

“I was discharged from Salisbury District Hospital on the 9th April 2018. I was treated there with obvious clinical expertise and with such kindness, that I have found I missed the staff immediately.

“I have left my father in their care, and he is still seriously ill. I too am still suffering with the effects of the nerve agent used against us.

“I find myself in a totally different life than the ordinary one I left just over a month ago, and I am seeking to come to terms with my prospects, whilst also recovering from this attack on me.

“I have specially trained officers available to me, who are helping to take care of me and to explain the investigative processes that are being undertaken. I have access to friends and family, and I have been made aware of my specific contacts at the Russian Embassy who have kindly offered me their assistance in any way they can. At the moment I do not wish to avail myself of their services, but, if I change my mind I know how to contact them.

“Most importantly, I am safe and feeling better as time goes by, but I am not yet strong enough to give a full interview to the media, as I one day hope to do. Until that time, I want to stress that no one speaks for me, or for my father, but ourselves. I thank my cousin Viktoria for her concern for us, but ask that she does not visit me or try to contact me for the time being. Her opinions and assertions are not mine and they are not my father’s.

“For the moment I do not wish to speak to the press or the media, and ask for their understanding and patience whilst I try to come to terms with my current situation.”

It was immediately criticised by former ambassador to Uzbekistan (now an influential blogger) Craig Murray. On Twitter, he wrote:

On his blog, he expanded on his concerns:

“There is also the very serious question of the language it is written in. Yulia Skripal lived part of her childhood in the UK and speaks good English. But the above statement is in a particular type of formal, official English of a high level which only comes from a certain kind of native speaker.

“’At the moment I do not wish to avail myself of their services’ – wrote no native Russian speaker, ever.

“Nor are the rhythms or idioms such as would in any way indicate a translation from Russian. Take “I thank my cousin Viktoria for her concern for us, but ask that she does not visit me or try to contact me for the time being. Her opinions and assertions are not mine and they are not my father’s.” Not only is this incredibly cold given her first impulse was to phone her cousin, the language is just wrong. It is not the English Yulia would write and it is awkward to translate into Russian, thus not a natural translation from it.

“To put it plainly, as someone who has much experience of it, the English of the statement is precisely the English of an official in the UK security services and precisely not the English of somebody like Yulia Skripal or of a natural translation from Russian.”

Many others have picked up on the strange use of language.

https://twitter.com/TimeForceCop/status/984153611658723330

As a writer, I avail myself of such words quite often. But then, I am a writer and I like to exercise my command of my own language. I don’t hear other people using that expression unless I am in rarified company, so I think these critics are right.

And then there’s the discrepancy between the phone call, in which Ms Skripal described her father’s health as “fine”, and the statement, in which she said he was “seriously ill”. Has he had a relapse?

We can only conclude that Ms Skripal’s words are not her own and that she is not free to go about her own business.

In effect, the UK government has kidnapped this poor woman, is attributing words to her that are not her own, and is most likely trying to indoctrinate her into believing its unlikely claims about what happened to her, while depriving her of access to alternative viewpoints.

It seems clear, then, that the government are the bad guys in this situation. But so, it seems, is the Russian government.

Are there any good guys?

Of course, the best indication of what happened to the Skripals would be offered by the record of their medical treatment.

It is significant that no information about that has been released to the public and no staff at Salisbury District Hospital have been at liberty to discuss the matter since one doctor wrote to the papers, informing them that nobody had been exposed to any kind of nerve agent at all.

The hospital is on lockdown, under the orders of the UK government, it seems.

But this is a matter of public interest and we have a right to know – especially as this case is being used to create hostility between our country and Russia.

It affects us all.

We demand the facts.


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UKIP candidate in bizarre call for Barack Obama to be kidnapped – Pride’s Purge

Barack Obama delivers his verdict on the UK Independence Party.

Barack Obama delivers his verdict on the UK Independence Party.

It’s a while since we’ve heard any nonsense from UKIP. Here’s Tom Pride:

No really, I kid you not.

A UKIP parliamentary candidate has called for US President Barack Obama to be kidnapped:

UKIP Would Be MP Calls For The Kidnapping Of President Obama

Oh Britain – you had your fun at the European elections.

Now please tell me you’re not really thinking of voting any of these cranks into office.

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Tories accused of kidnapping dementia sufferer to vote for them in Newark

It seems Conservative Party representatives have lowered themselves as far as kidnapping the bewildered in order to get votes.

The following was passed on to Vox Political by a person who wishes to remain anonymous, apparently after seeing it in a Daily Mirror comment column. I’ve edited it a bit for grammar and spelling:

“Just want all the people of Newark to know exactly what they voted for regarding the Conservative win recently.

“My 89-year-old nan, who suffers from dementia, who requires three visits from carers per day as she can’t remember how to cook, wash clothes or take her own medication (lacking in basic life skills), last Thursday evening was approached by a Conservative associate who knocked on her door.

“If you had a five-minute conversation with this lady it would not take much intelligence to work out the fact that she’s not only vulnerable but her mind is elsewhere! The man who knocked on her door was caught by her carers escorting her to his own vehicle with the intention of escorting her to vote.

“Fortunately her carer arrived at exactly the same time, who informed said man that not only should my nan not be getting into a stranger’s vehicle, but that she also suffers with dementia.

“So worried was her carer that she even attempted to block the car he had smuggled the lady into – she positioned her own car so this male was most definitely blocked in.

“However this man then reversed, to exit the street with the old lady inside – kidnapped.

“The carer subsequently rang family members and the police who are at present doing their investigations. The most worrying thing is, due to the lady’s mental health, this man could have been anyone.

“But for goodness’ sake, how low will Conservatives stoop to get one extra vote? The mind boggles.”

If this is true, what does it say about the despicable attitude of the Conservative Party – and right-wing politicians generally – to the elderly, sick and disabled?

They try to put these people into early graves – and have the arrogance to demand that their victims vote for them.

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