Plebgate and Kenyongate

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Plebgate and Kenyongate

Plebgate and Kenyongate

  • Crime and Parliamentary affairs reporter TIM HICKS draws some parallels between the Plebgate and Kenyongate affairs

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Real Whitby readers will be incredulous at the latest ramifications of the “Plebgate” affair in which Mr Andrew Mitchell MP lost his job as Chief Whip.  So far eight people, five of them police constables have been bailed as part of an investigation codenamed “Operation Alice”.  Four of them are police constables who are also suspended from duty.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24230733

Mr Mitchell met Inspector Ken MacKaill, of West Mercia Police, Detective Sergeant Stuart Hinton, of Warwickshire Police, and Sergeant Chris Jones, of West Midlands Police – acting on behalf of the Police Federation which represents rank-and-file officers – at his constituency office in Sutton Coldfield, to give his account of what happened.  Speaking after the meeting, Inspector MacKaill claimed Mr Mitchell would not provide an account of the incident and called for his resignation.

However, Mr Mitchell had secretly tape recorded the meeting.  The transcript of the meeting revealed that this was not so and the three senior Officers are now accused of jointly giving a false account of a meeting with Mr Mitchell i.e. of lying

Quite apart from the fact that three senior Officers apparently acting in joint enterprise lied, in order to damage an innocent third party by misrepresenting his comments, discredit him and force him out of his job – a despicable act in itself – it is even more concerning that all three Chief Constables took no action against them and all three Officers walked away scot free, without having to face misconduct proceedings, or any official censure of any sort whatsoever. The clear implication being that it is OK for a Police Officer to lie and if he does and is caught, he will face no censure.

Understandably, the IPCC questioned the “honesty and integrity” of the Officers, and said the Chief Constables had been wrong to conclude they had no case to answer for misconduct.

To quote the BBC’s Mark Easton:   “The question is bound to be asked – did they act in the best interest of the public or the best interest of their police force? 

The Prime Minister says his former chief whip, Andrew Mitchell, is owed an apology after what he called the “unacceptable behaviour” of Police Officers in the so-called ‘Plebgate’ row. A spokesman for Number 10 said:

Incidents such as this do bring people to question their trust in the police.”  But he went on to stress that the majority of officers “operate to the highest standards and do a very dangerous job on behalf of the public“.

So what is the situation in the North Yorkshire Police?

Detective Superintendent Heather Pearson of North Yorkshire Police has been publicly accused of lying in respect of allegations of serious criminal offences she made against me and falsely threatening me with arrest.

Heather_Pearson

This was in relation to (a) an investigation I was conducting into Councillor Jane Kenyon, which the police have subsequently conceded was part of a “legitimate public interest” for a journalist; (b) a £175,000 property fraud in which Detective Superintendent Pearson and other police officers from North Yorkshire are alleged to be implicated, and (c) an attempt to abuse Police powers and use criminal law to censor the press, to prevent criticism of North Yorkshire Police.

PENNINGTONS_LETTER

The response of North Yorkshire’s Chief Constable Dave Jones to this matter has been the same as that of the Chief Constables of West Mercia, Warwickshire and West Midlands Police.  He has ignored it and failed to take any action, despite having received a formal complaint which has been ‘suspended’ (i.e. swept under the carpet).

In summary, despite overwhelming evidence of corruption, North Yorkshire Police has simply stonewalled the complaint and maintained its right to silence, and Detective Superintendent Pearson will face no action for misconduct.

CC.D.JONES_02

The actions of Chief Constables in failing to act impartially when faced with misconduct by senior officers in their respective Forces is perhaps why Association of Chief Police Officers’ chairman Sir Hugh Orde said the incident demonstrated the “critical” need for a fully independent police investigation system and suggested that the time may have come for an independent Police Ombudsman such as they have in Northern Ireland.

The Chief Constables of West Mercia, Warwickshire and West Midlands Police will justify their actions to the Home Affairs Select Committee on the 23rd of October 2013. They, at least, have had the honesty, integrity and strength of character to justify their decisions in public, rather than just maintain their right to silence – and that is to be respected.

Should Chief Constable Jones choose to respond to these allegations we will publish his response in full.

corruption_definition 

 

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7 Comments

  1. Brian Dodds October 17, 2013 at 5:49 pm - Reply

    Excellent article Tim, judging by the name mentioned it appears there is cause for considerable concern over the integrity of the nations police forces. I believe there are a lot of decent, hard working police officers out there but there are also a lot of the other kind, mainly, it appears, among the higher ranking officers. I have contacted Robert Goodwill before and asked him to raise a question about a totally independent body to investigate matters of this sort, but he, being the good little tory that he is, doesn,t want to endanger the possibility of a knighthood when he retires, so nothing came of it. Hopefully if people keep digging at it something might eventually get done, but I won,t hold my breath in anticipation.

    • Tim Hicks October 17, 2013 at 6:14 pm - Reply

      Hi Brian,

      Thank you for your kind comments.

      I agree that the vast majority of policemen and women are good, kind, caring, heard working, brave persons of integrity. However, in any large barrel of apples you will always find people like Detective Superintendent Pearson and the issue is how you deal with them.

      Officers like Sir Robert Mark upheld the standard and took action over corrupt police officers. Chief Constable Jones is inadequate to this task.

      You always have to believe that you can force change and that you can make a difference. hence the efforts of Real Whitby to highlight corrupt police officers like Detective Superintendent Pearson.

      Best regards,

      Tim

  2. James Miller October 18, 2013 at 11:07 am - Reply

    This situation is extremely worrying for people that are concerned about the amount of corruption amongst the so called guardians of freedom in the UK.

    The ‘Plebgate’ affair certainly raises more questions than are being answered by anybody at all. Is Mr Mitchell lying? Are groups of police lying or, the most likely IMHO, are both sides being economical with the truth?

    If the last theory (and alas it will almost certainly remain a theory for the forseeable future) is correct then once again I am obliged to ask a question that I have asked in many places for many years, ‘Who is guarding the guardians’?

    This is particularly a valid question in Tim’s case. The police are supposed to protect people going about there lawful business. The politicians, particularly those who were or are in a position to influence the police, are supposed to enforce a decent standard of behaviour from that body and make sure that individual officers do not abuse their (many) powers. But, in much of North Yorkshire particularly, the two groups of ‘guardians’ appear to have formed some sort of unholy alliance to safeguard each others’ interests even if it entails stomping on the rights of the individual citizen. This is institutional. If the police are politically neutral (allegedly) then why did all the richer political parties sponsor candidates for the positions of crime commissioners throughout the land during the recent and derisory elections?

    And one last rhetorical question. Is North Yorkshire one of the most corrupt political areas in the country? Probably.

    • Tim Hicks October 18, 2013 at 3:14 pm - Reply

      Dear James,

      Thanks for your comment.

      In the Plegbgate affair, the transcript of the tape recording of the meeting does prove irrefutably that three police officers lied about what was said.

      Although we are all supposed to be equal under teh law, however in North Yorkshire this does not appear to apply if you are dealing with the Chair of the Police Authority. The fact is that North Yorkshire Police treated me as a criminal and tried to arrest me for harassment, because I properly pursued an investigatininto Councillor Kenyon which was in teh public interest.

      Best regards,

      TIm

  3. Tim Hicks October 18, 2013 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    Hi Paul,

    The issue in the Plebgate and Kenyongate affairs is the refusal of Chief Constables to take actiopn against corrupt senior police officers such as Detective Superintendent Pearson. In my view the ordinary rank and file are straight, and when they aren’t they are dealt with. Hopwever, no Chief Officer will take action against a senior police officer.

    Hopever I do agree that turning a blind eye to corruption is a corrupt act even if it is an act of omission.

    Thanks for your comment.

    Best regards,

    Tim

    • Tim Hicks October 21, 2013 at 10:37 am - Reply

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks for your comment. By ordinary rank and file officers I mean the Uniform Branch Constables.

      My comment is on the refusal of Chief Constables to take actiopn against corrupt senior police officers such as the officers in the plebgate scandal who are an Inspector, Detective Sergeant and a Sergeant.

      Best regards,

      Tim

      • Tim Hicks October 21, 2013 at 2:18 pm - Reply

        Hi Paul,

        In the case of Mr Ian Tomlinson, I completely agree with you. I also agree that the police will generally not take action against one of their own unless there is no alternative. look at the case of Detective Superintendent Pearson.

        However, I still feel that most Constables are straight. COnsider the case of PC Sara Widrington, who disarmed a gunman while off duty.

        Best regards,

        Tim

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