Plebgate: watchdog says police watered down conclusions of investigation

The Guardian:

The row over the Plebgate affair has escalated after the Independent Police Complaints Commission indicated that three forces had watered down the conclusions of an investigation into a meeting between thePolice Federation and Andrew Mitchell last year.

Hours after David Cameron said his former chief whip was owed an apology, it emerged that the IPCC’s deputy chair, Deborah Glass, had written to confirm that an initial investigation had concluded that three officers from the Federation who met Mitchell should face a misconduct hearing. In a letter sent on Wednesday to Ron Ball, the police and crime commissioner for Warwickshire, Glass wrote to clarify her position, 24 hours after the IPCC had issued a report on the Plebgate affair.

She said: “We had no concerns about the quality of the investigation carried out by West Mercia police. It was the conclusion we disagreed with. In that regard, I note that in the first draft report submitted to the IPCC in July the senior investigating officer did in fact conclude that there was a case to answer for misconduct, although their final report, submitted in August, did not.”

It is understood that the call for a misconduct hearing was dropped after more senior figures in the three forces said they disagreed with the initial findings of the West Mercia investigating officer. The Warwickshire, West Mercia and West Midlands police forces said that it had been decided that the three officers should not face misconduct proceedings.

What’s the betting that the three police forces all say the report was changed “on legal advice”?  And, if the public outcry is sufficient, they’ll suddenly find alternative legal advice, just like the Care Quality Commission did.