Category: Law

Former Met boss retired days after report found he had case to answer in Stephen Lawrence probe

Telegraph:

Former Metropolitan Police commander Richard Walton would have a case to answer for misconduct in relation to an incident during the Stephen Lawrence inquiry of 1998, the Independent Police Complaints Commission has concluded.
The report by the police watchdog found that Mr Walton would have a case to answer over a meeting he held with an undercover officer during which it was alleged he obtained information about the family of the murdered black teenager and their supporters.
The report said his actions could have potentially undermined the public inquiry into the case and public confidence in it.
I thought this outrageous loophole had been closed ages ago.  Or does the Met believe that the rules simply don’t apply to senior officers?
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Met police treatment of journalist confirms it as a ‘rogue force’

The Guardian:

Robbins’s response is now being examined by the Advertiser’s lawyers and the newspaper has 28 days to ask the Independent Police Complaints Commission to investigate the matter.

I sincerely hope the publisher, Local World, decides to do so. It is, quite simply, unacceptable for the Met to treat a journalist like this.  I am beginning to wonder whether the Met is becoming a law unto itself. Witness its use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to access reporters’ communications data. Witness its over-use of police bail against journalists. Witness its policy of unhelpfulness towards crime reporters.

Add on the cover-up over the death of Ian Tomlinson. Add on also the misleading statements told about the police killing of Mark Duggan.

Surely, and I use the word advisedly, the Met is now best described as a rogue force.

Met police hindered inquiry into private eye’s death, says victim’s brother

The Guardian:

Scotland Yard has been accused of obstructing an independent inquiry into one of the biggest scandals in its history, which saw a man murdered allegedly as he was about to expose corrupt officers.  The inquiry into the murder of private eye Daniel Morgan – found with an axe embedded in his head in March 1987 – was ordered by the home secretary, Theresa May, in May 2013.

Police promised to cooperate with the inquiry but delayed handing over any case papers for 18 months.

Alastair Morgan, brother of the murdered private detective, has accused the police of obstruction and exacerbating the pain of his family. He has fought for nearly three decades for the truth about those who killed his brother, and those who shielded them. He said: “They have delayed and obstructed the panel.”

A senior backbench MP also criticised the Metropolitan police, blaming the force for delaying the start of the inquiry. Labour MP Tom Watson said: “It is extraordinary that a case involving police corruption has taken nearly two years to yield even a single document. Even for the Met it is a remarkable state of affairs.”

“They are clearly refusing to cooperate with an inquiry that is in the public interest and has the authority of the home secretary.”

The article highlights one extraordinary event which has never really been explained:

The inquiry potentially offers fresh embarrassment for Rupert Murdoch. In 2002, the NoW placed under surveillance the head of the Morgan murder investigation, former detective chief superintendent David Cook – allegedly on the orders of an executive.

The paper followed Cook, “blagged” his personal details from police databases, and tried to access his voicemail and that of his then wife.

Why did the NoW threaten the Cook in this way?  Surely not as a favour for someone within the Met.  That would be a conspiracy theory too far.

Masons colluded, Hillsborough court told

The Guardian:

Senior South Yorkshire police officers who were freemasons orchestrated a “masonic conspiracy” to shift the blame after the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, the inquests into the deaths of the 96 victims have been told.

Maxwell Groome, a constable at the time, said that after the disaster at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday’s football ground, “the word” inside the force was that freemason officers held a meeting to blame superintendent Roger Marshall.

I wonder what will come of this extraordinary claim?

Police investigated woman after she questioned handling of mother’s death

The Guardian:

Police investigated the political beliefs of a grieving woman – including her views on human rights and the war in Afghanistan – after she complained about the police’s handling of the death of her mother.  The police also claimed that the woman appeared to be mentally ill and placed her on an official register for vulnerable adults without consulting any medical professionals. They later conceded that she was not mentally ill.

Internal police documents reveal how Sussex police compiled a 14-page secret report on Eccy de Jonge, a philosophy academic, shortly after her 83-year-old mother died in a road accident.  The police carried out “full intelligence checks” on de Jonge and gathered comments she had posted on media sites.  They scrutinised how she spoke up “a lot about a lot of things” and regularly commented on “news articles and blogs, with common themes including social welfare, human rights and the large number of civilian deaths in Afghanistan”.  Her apparent opposition to the merger of two London colleges in 2002 was also recorded.

According to the documents, officers said the investigation was necessary to establish if de Jonge, 50, had “anti-police feelings”, was mentally unstable or posed a threat to their safety.  The officers concluded that, while some of de Jonge’s comments implied “a negativity towards the government/political figures”, no evidence had been found that she was “anti-police”.

Murder of woman by estranged husband was preventable, says report

The Guardian:

Merseyside’s assistant chief constable Ian Pilling said: “There were shortfalls on the part of Merseyside police. In particular, there was a failure to recognise the risk posed to the victim by her killer, who had threatened to commit suicide.

“Individual officers appeared more concerned regarding the threat of self-harm on the part of Paul Holmes rather than about recognising the potential for him to pose a real and significant threat towards Rebecca.”

Pilling said the force fully accepted the IPCC’s recommendations and many of them had already been implemented.  He added the force was powerless now that Inspector Abram had retired: “The force has no power to prevent a police officer retiring in such circumstances.”

My emphasis.  The absurd rule allowing retirement to avoid disciplinary proceedings should be charged.

Letter shows Mitchell was repeatedly stopped by police a year before Plebgate

The Guardian:

Andrew Mitchell was repeatedly denied entry on his bicycle to Downing Street by armed police officers more than a year before the so-called Plebgate incident in September 2012, prompting a formal complaint by No 10 to the Met.

“restricted” letter from the head of security in the prime minister’s office to the Met’s diplomatic protection group in June 2011, released by No 10, warned that there was “no just reason” why Mitchell should have been prevented from entering Downing Street on his bike.

“I am writing formally to complain about the conduct of your officers who manage access into the rear of Downing Street at D11,” John Groves, the head of security and business continuity in Downing Street, wrote in a letter on 7 June 2011 to Inspector Ken Russell of the Met’s diplomatic protection group (DPG). Groves added: “I cannot see any just reason why access was refused.”

This really is all very odd.

UK police failing to record 20% of crime – report

The Guardian:

The police are failing to record as much as 20% of crime – equal to three-quarters of a million offences – including 14 cases of rape and some serious sexual offences, according to the first official inquiry into the integrity of the police crime figures.

The interim report by Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Tom Winsor, was ordered by the home secretary following claims of widespread fiddling of the police recorded crime figures by a whistleblower which have been endorsed by MPs.

Winsor says that his initial results from 13 out of the 43 forces include the two biggest forces, the Metropolitan and the Greater Manchester police, and so cover 60% of total police recorded crime. A final report covering all the forces across England and Wales is to be published in October.

There are Chief Constables receiving “bonuses” for cutting crime.  Why aren’t all IPCCs addressing this?

Police watchdog investigates officer who Tasered man during strip search

The Guardian:

police force is fighting to block the release of CCTV footage that shows one of its officers firing a Taser at a naked man in a cell – despite a court agreeing it could be published.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating five officers in connection with the incident and is also looking at why the Wiltshire force did not inform it about what happened.

A Bristol crown court jury on Tuesday cleared the officer who fired the Taser, PC Lee Birch, of assault causing actual bodily harm and misconduct in a public office. The IPCC will now examine if Birch and four colleagues breached professional standards.

At the end of the trial, media organisations including the Guardian asked for the CCTV footage of the incident, which was shown in open court, to be released. They argued it was in the public interest for the footage to be published.

Neither the trial judge, the prosecution nor defence objected to the release of the CCTV footage. The man hit by the Taser, Daniel Dove, 23, told the Guardian that he was happy for it to be published.

But after taking instructions from the chief constable of Wiltshire, Patrick Geenty, police representatives said the force would be asking the Crown Prosecution Service not to allow the footage to be released.

I look forward to hearing both Patrick Geenty’s reasoning for suppressing the CCTV footage and the IPCC’s verdict.