Friday, 21 February 2014

FUQQ.EU - Dame Anne Owers - Is Dame Anne Owers a fit person to be Chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission?

In my mind the Chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission has to act consistently in accordance with the Law and to apply it without fear or favour with an impeccable level of competence (based, in significant measure, on the advice of domain experts).

Sadly, I have come to the conclusion that Dame Anne Owers is not a fit person to be Chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Make up your own mind.

Below is my letter of formal complaint to the Home Office about Dame Anne's conduct.

When I mentioned the existence of this letter of complaint to an acquaintance his reflex response was that the Home Office would find a way to ignore it.

It is now three weeks and counting since I sent the letter to Mr. Chris Blairs of the IPCC Sponsor Unit in the Home Office.

Not even an acknowledgement yet.

Is my letter already languishing in the long grass?



30th January 2014

Home Office
FAO Chris Blairs, IPCC Sponsor Unit
2 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DF


Dear Mr Blairs,

Complaint regarding the conduct of Dame Anne Owers, Chair, Independent Police Complaints Commission

I wish to make a formal complaint to the Home Office regarding the conduct of Dame Anne Owers, Chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

The conduct to which this complaint relates raises fundamental questions about the integrity and competence of Dame Anne, as well as similar questions regarding the integrity and competence of the Independent Police Complaints Commission to investigate “serious corruption” by the Police.

I understand from the Direct Communications Unit of the Home Office that you are the person to whom I should direct my complaint.

This letter attempts to summarise a rather complex situation. I would be happy to provide fuller documentation to an Investigator appointed by you and meet with such a person at a convenient time and location to ensure that he/she fully understands the scope of my concerns regarding Dame Anne’s conduct.

The essence of the complaint

The essence of my complaint is that Dame Anne Owers

  1. has concealed and failed to investigate serious alleged wrongdoing by senior Police officers in the Metropolitan Police Service and in Thames Valley Police,
  2. has concealed and failed to investigate serious alleged wrongdoing by the Professional Standards functions of the Metropolitan Police Service and of Thames Valley Police,
  3. has concealed and failed appropriately to investigate serious alleged wrongdoing by Deborah Glass, former Deputy Chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, and
  4. has concealed and failed to correct systematic defective handling of “recordable conduct matters” by the IPCC

contrary to applicable Law and/or contrary to her duty as Chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

The effect of the alleged misconduct by Dame Anne is to conceal alleged “serious corruption” (in the definition of the IPCC Statutory Guidance) by multiple senior Police officers in the Metropolitan Police Service, Thames Valley Police and, in all likelihood, in other Police forces.

In my opinion the acts and omissions of Dame Anne may constitute the criminal offences of perverting the course of justice and/or misconduct in public office. Given that Dame Anne appears to have misconducted herself in association with others the possibility of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and/or to commit misconduct in public office also arises.

With regard to the possible criminal offences by Dame Anne and others I reserve the right to report these alleged offences to the Police in due course.

A complex series of events

In the following sections I attempt briefly to summarise the “serious corruption” on the part of named Police officers which has been concealed by Dame Anne’s misconduct and concealment of such corruption by the Professional Standards functions of the Metropolitan Police Service and Thames Valley Police, such Police misconduct also being concealed by the IPCC.

There is a lengthy sequence of applicable correspondence, copies of which I would be happy to provide, on request, to the Investigator you appoint.

During the period of that correspondence over some three years my understanding of the Police complaints system evolved from a position of fairly complete ignorance to one that I hope is accurate with respect to the applicable Law.

Sequentially I attempted appropriately to escalate my concerns with regard to my then understanding of how the system ought to work.

Recordable Conduct Matters

One category of Police misconduct is termed as recordable conduct matters.

Fully to understand the Law that relates to “conduct matters” it is necessary to read together relevant parts of the Police Reform Act 2002, The Police (Complaints and Misconduct) Regulations 2012 and the IPCC Statutory Guidance.

Since I assume that neither you nor any appointed Investigator is likely to be intimately familiar with the legislation it is expedient to refer you, at this stage, to the IPCC Statutory Guidance where the concepts of “recordable conduct matters”, “serious corruption” and “mandatory referrals” are defined.

The current version of the IPCC Statutory Guidance is available online.

Give the relationship between the 2002 Act, the 2012 Regulations and the Statutory Guidance I believe that the Statutory Guidance has, in effect, the force of Law.

The allegations regarding Thames Valley Police

Dame Anne’s misconduct has resulted in alleged “serious corruption” by senior Thames Valley Police officers being concealed.

On 28th October 2010, as a retired medical practitioner, I reported to Thames Valley Police a suspected murder on the basis of my understanding of the relevant postmortem and toxicology reports. This was recorded as a suspected crime by Thames Valley Police and given the Unique Reference Number 514 of 28th October 2010.

Despite repeated attempts to have this suspected murder investigated Thames Valley Police, so far as I’m aware, did nothing of any significance appropriately to investigate the matter. Thames Valley Police failed even to take the basic step of taking a statement from me accurately to record the basis for my concerns that caused me to report a suspected murder.

The officers of Thames Valley Police whom I consider may have perveted the course of justice are Chief Constable Sara Thornton, Deputy Chief Constable Francis Habgood and former Assistant Chief Constable Helen Ball (now a Deputy Assistant Commissioner with the Metropolitan Police Service). I wrote to each of the three named officers several times with a view to securing the action that I believed honest and competent senior Police officers would take.

Perverting the course of justice is “serious corruption” in the definition in the IPCC Statutory Guidance.

The allegations regarding the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner

Dame Anne’s misconduct has resulted in misconduct by the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner being concealed.

The prescribed person to whom misconduct by Chief Constable Thornton should be reported is Anthony Stansfeld, the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner.

I reported in writing to the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner the suspected “serious corruption” on the part of Chief Constable Sara Thornton.

The PCC is obliged by the applicable Law to report my concerns to the IPCC.

Mr. Stansfeld failed to do so, thereby concealing alleged “serious corruption” on the part of Chief Constable Thornton.

The allegations regarding Metropolitan Police Service officers

Dame Anne’s misconduct has resulted in alleged “serious corruption” by several senior Metropolitan Police Service officers being concealed:

I wrote in 2013 to the Serious Misconduct Investigation Unit of the Metropolitan Police Service with regard to suspected “serious corruption” on the part of Deputy Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball.

DAC Ball’s alleged misconduct is a “recordable conduct matter”. The MPS is obliged by Law, as I understand it, to record the allegation and is also required by Law to report the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey refused to record the matter, contrary to the applicable Law as I understand it.

I then wrote to Commissioner Hogan-Howe who also refused to record the matter as required by Law.

I consider that Deputy Commissioner Mackey and Commissioner Hogan-Howe have perverted the course of justice or, alternatively, have acted in such a way as constitutes “serious corruption” in the meaning of the IPCC Statutory Guidance.

The alleged conspiracy to pervert the course of justice

It is a matter of record that the Metropolitan Police Service (see Deputy Commissioner Mackey’s letter to me) and the Professional Standards function of  Thames Valley Police communicated on this matter.

Each, in my view, acted so as to conceal alleged serious corruption by officers named previously in this letter.

I consider that the Professional Standards functions of the Metropolitan Police Service and Thames Valley Police may have conspired to pervert the course of justice.

Failures on the part of the IPCC

In my view the IPCC had a duty to investigate the alleged “serious corruption” by Metropolitan Police Service officers and Thames Valley Police officers.

I wrote to the IPCC, in the person of Deborah Glass (with whom I had been in correspondence regarding the Hillsborough Disaster) setting out how I believed the Metropolitan Police Service was corruptly concealing “serious corruption” by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball.

I expected Ms. Glass to act in accordance with the Law and require that these “recordable conduct matters” (which, according to the IPCC Statutory Guidance are “mandatory referrals”)  be recorded by the Metroplitan Police Service, referred to the IPCC and that the IPCC would thoroughly investigate these allegations of “serious corruption”.

I received a reply from a junior member of staff to the effect that the IPCC refused to take action on my concerns.

Complaint regarding Deborah Glass

Given that I had written personally to Deborah Glass and that I considered that she had acted contrary to the applicable Law I wrote to Ms. O’Rourke (Secretary to the IPCC) and to Dame Anne Owers formally complaining about Ms. Glass’s conduct.

It seemed to me that Ms Glass had acted contrary to the applicable Law. That seemed to me to be gross misconduct on Ms. Glass’s part. And that remains my view.

The matters outlined earlier in this letter formed only one element of the complaint regarding Ms Glass’s conduct. Other elements related to the handling of the Plebgate affair and the Hillsborough Disaster.

I received a reply from Ms O’Rourke to the effect that the IPCC was going to do nothing about Ms Glass’s perceived misconduct.

Actions of Dame Anne Owers

It seems to me that a fundamental standard to be met by any IPCC Chair is compliance with the applicable Law.

Dame Anne has failed to meet that basic standard as I understand the Law that relates to “recordable conduct matters”.

Given that I wrote personally to Dame Anne regarding systematic concealment by the IPCC of serious corruption by the Police and the indication in letters from Ms. O’Rourke that Dame Anne was party to the decision not to investigate or correct Ms. Glass’s alleged misconduct there is no doubt of Dame Anne’s personal involvement in these matters.

Dame Anne has concealed, in my view, misconduct by Deborah Glass, the former Deputy Chair of the IPCC as well as failing to correct systematic actions by the IPCC contrary to the applicable Law.

The effect of Dame Anne’s misconduct is, in my view, to conceal:

  • the true facts of a suspected murder
  • the true situation regarding the Plebgate / SuttonColdfieldGate matter
  • matters relating to the Hillsborough disaster
  • perversion of the course of justice by senior Police officers in the Metropolitan Police Service and Thames Valley Police, among other forces
  • actions contrary to the Law by the Professional Standards functions of the Metropolitan Police Service and Thames Valley Police
  • misconduct by Deborah Glass, formerly Deputy Chair of the IPCC

As indicated earlier it is at least arguable that Dame Anne’s misconduct may constitute one or more criminal offences.

Actions requested of you

I understand that your role is as Commissioning Officer with regard to my complaint.

In the first instance I ask that you promptly acknowledge receipt of this letter.

I also ask that you appoint an Investigator to investigate the complaint against Dame Anne. Failure of the IPCC Chair to comply with the applicable Law, and to refuse and/or fail to correct misconduct by IPCC staff when asked in writing to do so is, in my view at least, misconduct of the most serious nature.

I ask you carefully to consider whether, in view of the seriousness of my concerns, it is appropriate for Dame Anne to be suspended pending completion of the Investigator’s inquiries.

I also ask you carefully to consider whether you have a duty to ensure that these matters are reported to a Police force independent of the Metropolitan Police Service and Thames Valley Police so that the possible criminal offences may be independently and thoroughly investigated. For the avoidance of doubt, I consider that such a referral is the appropriate course of action on your part.

You are likely aware that the Home Secretary has interests both with respect to the appointment of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner and the College of Policing. Given the allegations regarding the conduct of Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe and Chief Constable Sara Thornton (and her role with the College of Policing) I ask you to consider whether you should inform the Home Secretary of these matters.

In the interests of transparency I have copied this letter to Dame Anne Owers. I enclose a copy of the covering letter to Dame Anne.

I am also copying this letter and the letter to Dame Anne to Keith Vaz MP, in view of the Home Affairs Select Committee’s interest in the work of the IPCC.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully



(Dr) Andrew Watt

Enc
Copy of letter to Dame Anne Owers

cc
Dame Anne Owers, Chair, IPCC
Keith Vaz MP, Chair, Home Affairs Select Committee

Thursday, 20 February 2014

FUQQ.EU - Chief Inspector Jeremy Reakes-Williams: Why was the Reakes-Williams investigation into SuttonColdfieldgate so inadequate?

On 12th October 2012 officials from three Police Federation Branches met with Andrew Mitchell MP in Sutton Coldfield following events at Downing Street on 19th September 2012, "Plebgate".

Over time the matter became subject to investigation by West Mercia Police Professional Standards Department on behalf of Warwickshire, West Mercia and West Midlands Police.

Following an intervention in October 2013 by Deborah Glass, then Deputy Chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, the Reakes-Williams investigation became the subject of public disclosure and  discussion.

Below I attach my analysis of the Reakes-Williams investigation.

As you will see there are good reasons to consider the Reakes-Williams investigation as being grossly inadequate.

The following critique was sent on 13th November 2013 to the following:

Chief Constable David Shaw, West Mercia Police
Chief Constable Andy Parker, Warwickshire Police
Chief Constable Chris Sims, West Midlands Police
and the three corresponding Police and Crime Commissioners.

A copy was also sent to Keith Vaz MP, Chair of the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee.

See what you think.

After reading my critique do you accept Deborah Glass's assertion to the public and to the Home Affairs Select Committee that the Reakes-Williams investigation was satisfactory?



Critique of Reakes-Williams Investigation and related matters
by
Dr. Andrew Watt 2013-11-13

This document provides a summary of causes for concern regarding the competence and compliance with the applicable Law of the Reakes-Williams investigation into the conduct of Inspector Ken Mackaill, Detective Sergeant Stuart Hinton and Sergeant Chris Jones.

It seems to me that there are multiple material failures in the Reakes-Williams investigation, contrary to the information that the IPCC, in the person of Deborah Glass, has given to the Home Affairs Select Committee and the public.

The information available to me as a member of the public is incomplete therefore the list of identified “failures” is provisional and may require to be amended in the light of further information.

Given that I am compiling this critique on the basis of incomplete information the allocation of perceived failings to the Police or the IPCC may also require revision in the light of fuller information, as and when that may become available.

Failure to include possible conspiracy in the Terms of Reference

The January 2013 Terms of Reference related solely to Inspector Ken Mackaill.

After the referral of Detective Sergeant Hinton and Sergeant Jones the Terms of Reference for the latter two officers were, it seems, directed solely at the actions of each individual only.

Two of the three Terms of Reference are in the public domain. Neither refers to the possibility of conspiracy.

The three officers travelled together to the meeting with Andrew Mitchell, attended the meeting together and all gave statements of various types to the media.

I find it extraordinary that neither the Police nor the IPCC seemingly asked the obvious question of whether or not the three officers acted together or, in effect,  conspired together.

The IPCC Statutory Guidance allows for conspiracy to be considered, but if it is to be considered it must be explicitly expressed in the Terms of Reference.

That was not done and seems to me to be a glaring error by the Police and the IPCC.

The IPCC should have amended the Terms of Reference to include the possibility of conspiracy. The Appropriate Authorities should, in my view, have identified that failure when considering Chief Inspector Reakes-Williams report.

Failure to keep the Terms of Reference under review

In later paragraphs I identify issues which ought to have led to review of the Terms of Reference of the investigation, in light of evidence elicited.

I can find no evidence that the Terms of Reference were adequately kept under review. Nor, in fact, any evidence that the Terms of Reference were kept under review at all.

The unlinking of the Plebgate and SuttonColdfieldGate investigations

The text of the referral to the IPCC of 24th December 2012 regarding Inspector Ken Mackaill has not publicly been disclosed.

Deborah Glass has stated, however, that the investigations into Plebgate and SuttonColdfieldGate (my terms) were “linked” initially (oral evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee).

Subsequently, someone unidentified (but most likely Deborah Glass) unlinked the Plebgate and SuttonColdfieldGate inquiries.

I can identify no sound basis for the two inquiries to have been unlinked.

Unlinking the inquiries seems to me to have had seriously damaging effects on the investigation into the conduct of Inspector Mackaill, Detective Sergeant Hinton and Sergeant Jones.

It casts the potential significance of the actions of Sergeant Ian Edwards (referred to later in this document) into an uninvestigated void.

It potentially conceals a possible conspiracy between Metropolitan Police Service officers and Midlands officers, beginning no later than 21st September 2012.

The failure to interview Sergeant Ian Edwards

Sergeant Ian Edwards of the West Midlands Police Federation was instrumental in setting up the meeting held on 12th October 2012.

Bizarrely, he was not interviewed. Nor was he made subject of a disciplinary investigation.

The possible significance of Sergeant Edwards’ calls of 21st September 2012 for Mr. Mitchell to resign was neither recognised nor investigated.

Nor, so far as I can ascertain, were Sergeant Edwards communications with the three officers obtained or examined, arguably contrary to the requirement on the Appropriate Authorities expressed in Paragraph 12 of Schedule 3 of the Police Reform Act 2002.

The possibility exists that on or before 21st September 2012 Sergeant Edwards conspired with one or more Metropolitan Police officers, possibly one or more Metropolitan Police Federation officials, to smear Mr. Mitchell.

The possibility exists that Sergeant Edwards was an active participant in “setting up” Andrew Mitchell at the meeting held on 12th October 2012.

He is quoted, on ITV.com, as stating “Andrew Mitchell has no option but to resign. We hold the view that that his position is untenable. If he does not resign, then Mr Cameron has no choice but to sack him.”.

Sergeant Edwards’ actions required, in my view, to be thoroughly investigated both with respect to his statements on 21st September 2012 and in relation to the meeting of 12th October 2012.

Communications with the three officers and with the Metropolitan Police in the period 18th September 2012 to 12th October 2012 should be obtained under the duty in Paragraph 12 of Schedule 3 of the Police Reform Act 2002.

The failure to interview Jon Gaunt

The Reakes-Williams investigation, so far as I can ascertain, failed to interview Jon Gaunt.

Thus, so far as I can establish, Mr. Gaunt was not asked which media organisations he spoke to nor what he had led those media organisations to expect to happen after the meeting with Mr. Mitchell on 12th October 2012.

In other words, conveniently for the three officers, the question of what Jon Gaunt told media organisations to expect was never, so far as I can ascertain, adequately investigated.

The failure to identify the relevance of Julie Albray

On 11th October 2012 the Warwickshire, West Mercia and West Midlands Police Federations issued a Press Release about the planned meeting with Andrew Mitchell on 12th October.

Julie Albray was named as the media contact.

The Reakes-Williams investigation, so far as I can find, wholly failed to identify Julie Albray (possibly also known as Julie Horwood) as a potential participant in the events.

Julie Albray was, it seems, the media contact for the meeting. She should have been interviewed to ascertain what she had done and to what extent any relevant actions may have been on the instructions of the three officers, of Sergeant Ian Edwards or other Police Federation officials.

The possibility exists that colleagues of Julie Albray in XPR(UK)Ltd may also have played a part. That possibility was not investigated, so far as I can identify.

The failure to secure and/or consider potentially relevant documents etc

Paragraph 12 of Schedule 3 of the Police Reform Act 2002 imposes on the Appropriate Authorities a duty to obtain and preserve evidence.

One important document that, so it seems, the Reakes-Williams investigation failed to identify is the Press Release of 11th October 2012 jointly by the Warwickshire Police Federation, West Mercia Police Federation and the West Midlands Police Federation.

Further, so far as I can ascertain, no steps were taken to obtain or preserve emails, other documents or phone records of the three officers nor of Sergeant Ian Edwards, Jon Gaunt or Julie Allbray.

Nor, so far as I can ascertain, were any steps taken to obtain and preserve emails etc with regard to Sergeant Jones’s statement to Mr. Mitchell, “The Met doesn’t want a misconduct hearing.”. That failure, it seems to me, leaves open the possibility that Sergeant Jones (and possibly others) acted jointly with individuals in the Metropolitan Police to supress any investigation of possible Police corruption surrounding the original incident in Downing Street on 19th September 2012.

The latter seems to me potentially to be a hugely important failure of investigation.

Failure to consider Inspector Mackaill Daily Politics interview

Inspector Mackaill, around lunchtime on 12th October 2012, gave an interview to the BBC’s Daily Politics programme.

See
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19925933
for a recording of the Daily Politics interview.

The Reakes-Williams investigation, so far as I can establish, failed to identify the existence and/or potential significance of that interview.

Inspector Mackaill ostensibly wished to clear up an integrity issue. Yet he asks not a single question of Andrew Mitchell at the meeting later that day nor, after the meeting with Andrew Mitchell, does he report to the Professional Standards Department of the Metropolitan Police Service that one or more Police officers may be corrupt.

Inspector Mackaill should have been interviewed under caution regarding this Daily Politics interview and the Press Release of 11th October 2012.

My interpretation of this unexamined evidence is that Inspector Mackaill set out to destabilise a Government Minister for political ends.

Failure to consider the “expect fireworks” media briefing

An unidentified person told the media to “expect fireworks” after the meeting that the three officers held with Andrew Mitchell.

See
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xu42PUUjcfQ&list=PLXjqQf1xYLQ5mIhp84pR4D4M_3RLf_Eod
for the relevant comment, probably made by Michael Crick of Channel 4. The “expect fireworks” statement is at 1:40 in the recording.

The Reakes-Williams investigation could not be aware of the 16th October 2013 recording but it was, I believe, aware that the media had been led to expect something resembling fireworks.

The investigation failed to interview Sergeant Ian Edwards, Jon Gaunt and Julie Allbray as to whom they had spoken to and specifically ask what they had said to each media person contacted.

The investigation also failed, so far as I can ascertain, to obtain and examine documents such as emails among the three officers and between any of them and Ian Edwards, Jon Gaunt and Julie Albray. It seems to me that these are serious failures of investigation.

Failure to recognise the “Catch 22” for Andrew Mitchell

One of the most serious failings of the Reakes-Williams investigation, in my view, was the failure to recognise that Andrew Mitchell was, in effect, “set up” by Inspector Mackaill, Detective Sergeant Hinton and Sergeant Jones.

At the meeting, it seems to me that Andrew Mitchell had only three options:

  1. To stick to his story
  2. To refuse to tell the three officers what he had said
  3. To admit he had been lying about his alleged use of the words “plebs” and “morons”

Whichever way forward Mr. Mitchell might choose he was “toast”.

In one formulation Inspector Mackaill states, “As it currently stands, there is an implication that the officers’ accounts are not accurate. If Mr Mitchell is standing by that story then we have no alternative but to call for him to resign.”

In another formulation Inspector Mackaill states, “I think Mr. MITCHELL now has no option but to resign, he’s continuing to refuse to elaborate on what happened,”

The unspoken third option was in the event that Mr. Mitchell admitted he had been lying initially. If he admitted to having lied then, inevitably, he would have to resign.

Whatever Mr. Mitchell said (or didn’t say) Inspector Mackaill was going to call for Mr. Mitchell’s resignation.

Mr. Mitchell was set up. There was no answer he could give that could avoid Inspector Mackaill calling for his resignation.

Inspector Mackaill should be asked what answer Mr. Mitchell could have given to avoid him calling for Mr. Mitchell’s resignation.

Failure to consider possible misconduct in public office

So far as I can ascertain the Reakes-Williams investigation failed to consider whether or not the conduct of the three officers might constitute the criminal offence of Misconduct in Public Office.

That seeming failure seems to me to be a very serious omission.

Failure to consider possible perverting the course of justice

The comments made by two officers during the meeting with Andrew Mitchell show that they were clear that, if Andrew Mitchell was telling the truth, then one or more Metropolitan Police officers had lied and falsified an official document.

Further, those two officers recognised an obligation to report such possible/suspected Police dishonesty.

Inspector Mackaill heard all the discussion about those matters, it would appear.

Further, Inspector Mackaill, in his interview with Daily Politics clearly was aware of the issue of potential Police corruption.

None of the three officers formally reported suspected Police corruption as, according to their own comments, they had a duty to do.

It seems to be of the utmost seriousness, arguably amounting to perverting the course of justice, for Police officers to conceal suspected corruption by other officers.

It seems to me that the failure of the Reakes-Williams investigation to include this in the Terms of Reference and to appropriately investigate possible perversion of the course of justice (or alternatively “serious corruption” in the meaning of the IPCC Statutory Guidance) is a very serious failing indeed.

Further, the Reakes-Williams investigation, so far as I can ascertain, totally failed to establish exactly why the three officers failed to report possible Police corruption to the Professional Standards Department of the Metropolitan Police Service.

“Regulation 15” Notices

The documentation provided to the Home Affairs Select Committee refers on several occasions to “Regulation 15” notices.

So far as I’m aware there is, in the Police (Complaints and Misconduct) Regulations 2012, no such concept.

It is unclear whether the problem is simply a typo in the Smith/Reakes-Williams report which is picked up by more senior officers or is such as possibly to render void the notices under which Inspector Mackaill, Detective Sergeant Hinton and Sergeant Jones were interviewed.

If the latter is the case then use of any information obtained from the three officers may not be admissable in any future misconduct or criminal proceedings.

Conclusions

  1. There are multiple, material failures in the Reakes-Williams investigation.
  2. The effect of those failures is to render the investigation demonstrably inadequate.
  3. Responsibility for those failures seems to me to rest variously with the Police (in the persons of Temporary Detective Inspector Smith, Chief Inspector Reakes-Williams and the Appropriate Authorities) and with the IPCC (in the persons of Deborah Glass and Mr. Bimson).
  4. Deborah Glass and others gave a false impression to the Home Affairs Select Committee regarding the adequacy of the Reakes-Williams investigation.
  5. The failures in the Reakes-Williams investigation leave open the possibility of a longer-lasting and more widely scoped Police conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, possibly involving collusion between officials of the West Midlands and Metropolitan Police Federations no later than 21st September 2012 and possibly involving the Professional Standards Department of the Metropolitan Police Service both before and after the meeting of 12th October 2012.

It seems to me that both the Police and IPCC bear responsibility for aspects of the failures listed.

Without disclosure of further detail of the process the allocation of culpability must remain provisional.

Dr Andrew Watt
2013-11-13

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

FUQQ.EU Deborah Glass - Is Deborah Glass a fit person to be an IPCC Commissioner?

Is Deborah Glass a fit person to be an IPCC Commissioner?

Like many, when I have watched Deborah Glass making public presentations or giving evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee I've been impressed.

But, in my view at least, the reality is much less impressive. Indeed it gave me such cause for concern that I submitted the following formal complaint to the IPCC on 13th November 2013.

Notice that the letter also refers to a technique that, contrary to the applicable Law, the IPCC is using with the effect of kicking allegations of "serious corruption" by the Police into the long grass.

Shockingly, in my view, the IPCC refused to conduct an investigation into Ms. Glass's conduct.

That led me to lodge a formal complaint regarding Dame Anne Owers which is currently with Chris Blairs of the IPCC Sponsor Unit in the Home Office for formal consideration.

The issues of competence and integrity which I raise in the complaint about Ms. Glass seem to me to have potentially serious implications for the credible conduct of the Hillsborough Inquests shortly to begin with Lord Justice Goldring as Coroner.


13th November 2013

Dame Anne Owers, IPCC
Anna O’Rourke, IPCC

Dear Dame Anne and Ms O’Rourke,

“Plebgate” and “SuttonColdfieldGate” etc
1. Complaint regarding Ms Deborah Glass
2. Systematic concealment by IPCC of “serious corruption” by the Police

I ask Ms O’Rourke to read the relevant part of this letter as a letter of formal complaint regarding IPCC Deputy Chair, Deborah Glass.

I ask Dame Anne Owers, in the first instance, to consider point of concern number 2 above. I assume that, in due course, she will formally be asked to consider the complaint regarding Deborah Glass.

The issues are, as you will see, connected hence the letter being addressed jointly to you both.

Complaint regarding Ms Glass

The complaint regarding Ms. Glass can broadly be summarised under the following headings:

  1. Failure to investigate conduct of Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe in the aftermath of the Hillsborough Disaster (my letter to Ms. Glass of 5th July 2013, IPCC Reference Hillsborough, Deborah Glass letter of 23rd July 2013).
  2. Failure to investigate alleged perversion of the course of justice in the Metropolitan Police Service (my letter to Ms. Glass of 11th July 2013, IPCC Reference 2013/011365).
  3. Unlinking of the “Plebgate” and “SuttonColdfieldGate” investigations.
  4. Misleading the Home Affairs Select Committee and the public regarding the adequacy of the Reakes-Williams investigation.

Ms Glass appears to me to have made a succession of inappropriate decisions and/or misrepresented significant facts thus raising serious concerns about her actions:

  1. Ms Glass refused to investigate the conduct of the then Inspector Hogan-Howe at the Langsett Boys’ Club in Sheffield on 15th April 1989 and his subsequent concealment of potentially significant evidence. Could Ms Glass have been unaware of the potential importance that the most senior Police officer in the UK had, it seems, built his career on the concealment of discreditable conduct by a colleague, who has subsequently been identified to me as the then Chief Inspector Norman Bettison? It seems to me that Ms Glass made a significant error in refusing to investigate my concerns.
  2. I wrote personally to Ms Glass regarding the matters surrounding the alleged perversion of the course of justice by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball (while she was Assistant Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police). The reply from Ms. Crowley of the IPCC did not correctly apply the Law, in my view. A matter of this potential seriousness should not, in my view, have been delegated to a junior member of staff, particularly in light of the letter being personally addressed to Ms. Glass. My concerns about the integrity of Operation Alice were, in effect, ignored.
  3. The SuttonColdfieldGate investigation was, so I understand, referred to the IPCC as a linked investigation. In any case, Ms. Glass informed the HASC that the Plebgate and SuttonColdfieldGate (my terms) investigations were linked. The IPCC, presumably in the person of Ms. Glass, apparently unlinked the Plebgate and SuttonColdfieldGate investigations. On what basis? So far as I’m aware neither the Metropolitan Police Service nor the three Midlands Police Forces have seriously investigated the relevant evidence. If it was Ms. Glass who unlinked the investigations I ask for a justification for her doing so. It seems to me that the action of unlinking has the potential to conceal a possible conspiracy between officers in the Metropolitan Police Service and Police officers in the west of the Midlands. See the enclosed Critique.
  4. The Reakes-Williams investigation is demonstrably deficient, yet Ms. Glass told the Home Affairs Committee and the public that the investigation was satisfactory. The attached critique identifies multiple failings in the Reakes-Williams investigation. I believe that Ms. Glass misled the HASC and the public.

I can provide further information about the four elements of the complaint regarding Ms. Glass on request. However, the IPCC has, I think, the relevant documents already in its posssession and I think I have expressed enough of the facts for the basis of my concerns to be clear.

Of course Ms Glass should be afforded the opportunity to explain what happened.

In passing I wish to state that, having watched Ms. Glass give evidence to the HASC and make public statements on a number of matters, I have generally viewed her as intelligent and diligent. In other Hillsborough correspondence with me she has appeared to be efficient and to have a good grasp of the relevant issues.

Sustained concealment by IPCC of “serious corruption”

My understanding of the Law is that a recordable conduct matter regarding alleged  “serious corruption” (in the meaning of the IPCC Statutory Guidance) is subject to mandatory recording and referral to the IPCC.

In 2013, initially with the Serious Misconduct Investigation Unit of the Metropolitan Police Service, I raised concerns that Deputy Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball had perverted the course of justice with respect to Thames Valley Police URN514 of 28th October 2010, a report by me of suspected murder.

Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey replied to me refusing to record a “complaint”. Of course, I had not made a “complaint” I had written to report what I consider to be a “recordable conduct matter” with respect to Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ball.

I then wrote to Commissioner Hogan-Howe on 9th July 2013 indicating that such alleged “serious corruption” was, as I understood the Law, a mandatory referral to the IPCC.

Four months later I have received no reply from the Commissioner.

On 11th July 2013, having little faith in the integrity of the Commissioner, I wrote to Ms. Glass a letter entitled “Can the Professional Standards Department of the Metropolitan Police be trusted?”. My recollection is that the envelope was marked “Strictly Personal” since I viewed the issues raised in that letter as being of such seriousness that someone of the authority of Ms. Glass should consider the matters raised.

To my horror I received from the IPCC a refusal to allow an “appeal” against a refusal to record a “complaint”.  The letter was from Leanne Crowley and the IPCC reference was 2013/011365. I had not, in my own estimation, made a “complaint”. I had reported what I believed then, and continue to believe, constituted “serious corruption” in the meaning of the IPCC Statutory Guidance. It was my that this was a recordable conduct matter (not a “complaint”) and that remains my view.

In effect a letter sent personally to Ms Glass was diverted to a junior member of staff.

The effect of Ms. Crowley’s response is inter alia to conceal alleged “serious corruption” by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ball. At least that is my view.

This is not an isolated mistake of this kind by the IPCC.

When, on 28th October 2013, I sent by email an advance copy of a letter relating to multiple potential recordable conduct matters regarding events at Sutton Coldfield on 12th October 2012 I received an email from a Mr. Simon Roome again referring to a “complaint” when the matter in question was multiple conduct matters, in my view.

IPCC reference was 2013/017081.

Again a letter explicitly for Ms. Glass’s attention was diverted to or dealt with by a junior member of staff who, in my estimation, visibly failed to handle the issues raised in accordance with the applicable Law.

Further, IPCC 2013/013231 processed a supposed “appeal” regarding a supposed “complaint” regarding Thames Valley Police. Again, in my estimation, I had not made a “complaint”. I had reported a recordable conduct matter.

It seems to me that, systematically, the IPCC is allowing Police forces to conceal alleged “serious corruption” when a Police force incorrectly processes a “recordable conduct matter” as a “complaint” contrary, in my understanding, to the requirements of the applicable Law.

I ask that Dame Anne look into this seeming systematic failing on the part of IPCC staff and consider what action is required to remedy what appear to me to be systematic failings on the part of the IPCC in applying the applicable Law.

If my concerns are well founded it seems to me that the matters raised are of such seriousness as to require examination by the IPCC in accordance with applicable Law.

I ask that the IPCC exercises its powers to compel referral of the recordable conduct matters to which I refer herein. That seems to me to be a necessary first step.

Further, given that it seems inherently unlikely that I alone have been affected by the suspected failing on the part of the IPCC I ask that a formal investigation is carried out to identify any further such cases. I ask to be informed of the nature and scope of any such investigation and to be given a copy of any report produced.

It seems to me that if the IPCC is systematically concealing alleged “serious corruption” by the Police then something very serious is wrong within the IPCC.

If the IPCC should consider that the matters I refer to above are not alleged “serious corruption” and/or are not recordable conduct matters I would appreciate a detailed written justification of that position.

If the IPCC should consider that Police forces are correct in Law to “kick into touch” alleged “serious corruption” by the simple expedient of misclassifying “serious corruption” (a recordable conduct matter) as a “complaint” I would appreciate a detailed written justification of why that should be considered to be lawful.

If my concerns prove to be well-founded in Law it seems to me that something very serious has gone wrong in the process of the IPCC holding Police forces to account for alleged “serious corruption”.

If Dame Anne comes to the conclusion that my concerns have a sound foundation I ask that she informs the Home Affairs Select Committee in connection with its inquiry entitle Leadership and Standards in the Police.

Informal Resolution

My concerns regarding Ms. Glass’s conduct clearly raise matters of the Public Interest which may preclude Informal Resolution being the appropriate way forward or, at least, the way forward for all aspects of my complaint.

However, if it is possible to resolve one or more aspects of my concern by Informal Resolution procedures I am open to discuss that possibility.

Distribution of this letter

In the first instance I am copying this letter and its attachment to Keith Vaz MP, Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee in light of my concern that Ms. Glass may have misled the Committee and the relevance of the perceived systematic failures by the IPCC to the HASC inquiry into Leadership and Standards in the Police..

I reserve the right to distribute copies of this letter to relevant media outlets given the  potential seriousness of the matters raised herein. In the first instance I currently intend to give the IPCC time to consider the complaint about Ms. Glass’s conduct and the issue of the IPCC, in my view, acting contrary to the requirements of the Law and systematically concealing alleged “serious corruption” by the Police.

I would view any attempt by the IPCC to attempt to stifle public discussion of these potentially immensely important issues as being highly improper.

Actions Requested

In the first instance I ask that Ms O’Rourke acknowledges receipt of the complaint regarding Ms. Glass and that Dame Anne acknowledges receipt of the concerns regarding systematic concealment by the IPCC of “serious corruption”.

I appreciate that definitive consideration of my expressed concerns will take a little time and intend to afford the IPCC the opportunity to consider these potentially very important issues by thorough investigation.

Yours sincerely



(Dr) Andrew Watt

Enc
Critique of Reakes-Williams investigation and related matters

cc
Keith Vaz MP, Home Affairs Select Committee

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Is arming the Syrian rebels a criminal offence under UK Law?

Today I'm going to see my MP to ask him to table a parliamentary question about the legality or otherwise of arming the Syrian rebels.

The appointment was arranged a few days ago. Since then the UN has published figures suggesting almost 93,000 people have been killed in the Civil War, see Syria deaths near 100,000, says UN – and 6,000 are children. And today it is reported that the US plans to arm Syrian rebels on the basis of "intelligence" that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons, see http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/13/syria-chemical-weapons-us-confirm.

In this post I'll focus solely on the question of the legality of the UK Government arming the Syrian rebels.

In Section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2000 we find the principal definition in UK Law of what constitutes "terrorism", see Terrorism Act 2000: Terrorism - Interpretation.

I've analysed that definition in more detail in relation to the Iraq War here: Was the Iraq War "terrorism" in UK Law?.

For present  purposes we need only consider two questions:

  1. Have the rebels caused serious violence against a person or caused serious damage to property?
  2. Have the rebels done so in pursuit of a political ideology?
Many press reports confirm that the answer to Question 1 is in the affirmative.

Similarly press reports make it clear that there is a political ideology underpinning the acts of violence or destruction of property. For different rebel groups, the ideology varies.

The reason that I ask only two questions is that where firearms or explosives are used (see Subsection 1(3))  only those two tests need to be assessed.

My conclusion is that on the basis of the publicly available evidence that the Syrian rebels have committed acts of "terrorism" as defined in UK Law.

Next we need to look at Section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006 which is found here:  Preparation of terrorist acts

For convenience I'll post the full text as available from the UK Government's site this morning:

5Preparation of terrorist acts(1)A person commits an offence if, with the intention of
(a)committing acts of terrorism, or
(b)assisting another to commit such acts,
he engages in any conduct in preparation for giving effect to his intention.
(2)It is irrelevant for the purposes of subsection (1) whether the intention and preparations relate to one or more particular acts of terrorism, acts of terrorism of a particular description or acts of terrorism generally.
(3)A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for life.
Basically, assisting anyone else to commit acts of terrorism is a criminal offence in UK Law. It's difficult, for example, to argue that supplying arms is for purely humanitarian purposes.

The punishment for such an offence contrary to Section 5 is imprisonment for life. So it's not a trivial matter.

So, if my analysis is correct, those "assisting" Syrian rebels to commit acts of terrorism can be imprisoned for life.

Will David Cameron and William Hague be locked up? If the Law was applied equally and we had honest senior Police officers in this country (which isn't a given) it seems to me that Cameron and Hague (as well as many others) should be locked up, if they arm those in Syria who are committing acts of terorism.

But the criminality, as I see it, of arming the Syrian rebels may raise other interesting questions.

David Cameron is said to have promised his backbenchers a vote on the issue. See Cameron promises MPs vote on whether to arm Syrian rebels .

Would Members of Parliament who vote for the UK to commit offences contrary to Section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006 also be committing an offence?

A vote in favour of arming the Syrian rebels would be, on the face of it, "assisting" the arming of the Syrian rebels. I don't think that there's much doubt about MPs voting for arming the rebels having "assisted" them.


Can MPs be arrested for committing terrorist offences?

Are MPs immune from prosecuction on such matters?

Does "parliamentary privilege" extend to immunity from arrest and prosecution for a Section 5 terrorist offence? I suspect not.

It would be an interesting constitutional and legal debate.

An interesting political debate too. Not least after some of the flamboyant outpourings against terrorism from some Members of the House of Commons.

If the House of Commons did vote for arming the Syrian rebels could it fairly be called the House of Terrorists?

To attempt to answer the question let's look at the definition of "terrorist" in Section 40 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (see Terrorism Act 2000: Terrorist: interpretation

40 Terrorist: interpretation.

(1)In this Part “terrorist” means a person who
(a)has committed an offence under any of sections 11, 12, 15 to 18, 54 and 56 to 63, or
(b)is or has been concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.
(2)The reference in subsection (1)(b) to a person who has been concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism includes a reference to a person who has been, whether before or after the passing of this Act, concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism within the meaning given by section 1.
I have underlined the relevant parts of the Section.

MPs voting for arming the rebels would, at least arguably, have been "concerned in the ... preparation  ... of acts of terrorism", wouldn't they?

Is arming the Syrian rebels a criminal offence under UK Law? Yes

What is the punishment on conviction? Imprisonment for life.

It will be interesting to see how my meeting with my MP goes later today.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Was Dr. David Kelly murdered?

On 18th July 2013 it will be the 10th Anniversary of the day on which Dr. David Kelly's body was found at Harrowdown Hill, Oxfordshire.

Was he murdered?

I suspect he was.

I've recently begun what I hope will be a regular blog about the suspicious death of Dr. Kelly here:
Kellygate.com

I also posted extensively about Dr. Kelly's death on my Chilcot's Cheating Us blog. The posts about Dr. Kelly start in October 2010 here, Information sources about the death of Dr. David Kelly. I also post at some length about the Iraq Inquiry chaired by Sir John Chilcot. The blog's title, Chilcot's Cheating Us, conveys my opinion of the "inquiry" which Sir John Chilcot is running.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Was the Iraq War "terrorism" in UK Law?

Ten years ago the term "terrorism" was bandied around in conversation by some and appeared in various parts of the media in relation to the Iraq War.

Is there any meaningful basis for using the term "terrorism" in relation to the Iraq War?

In other words, was the Iraq War really "terrorism"?

In the ten years since the Iraq War started in 2003 I'm not aware of a single part of the UK mainstream media that has seriously examined the question of whether or not the Iraq War is or is not "terrorism" as defined in UK Law.

In case you're in a hurry to know the answer, I'll put you out your misery. Yes, the Iraq War was "terrorism" as defined in UK Law.

Let me explain why I think so.

The definition of "terrorism" in UK Law is to be found in Section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

For your convenience, I'll post a link to the official UK Government site where the text of the Terrorism Act 2000 is hosted, so that you can check whether or not there have been any changes since I wrote this post. The text of the Terrorism Act 2000 is to be found here: Terrorism Act 2000, and the text of Section 1 is to be found here: Terrorism: Interpretation .

Here is the full text of the definition of "terrorism" in Section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2000 taken from the UK Government's official site on 31st May 2013.

1 Terrorism: interpretation.(1)In this Act “terrorism” means the use or threat of action where—
(a)the action falls within subsection (2),
(b)the use or threat is designed to influence the government [F1or an international governmental organisation]F1 or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, and
(c)the use or threat is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious [F2, racial]F2 or ideological cause.
(2)Action falls within this subsection if it—
(a)involves serious violence against a person,
(b)involves serious damage to property,
(c)endangers a person’s life, other than that of the person committing the action,
(d)creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public, or
(e)is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system.
(3)The use or threat of action falling within subsection (2) which involves the use of firearms or explosives is terrorism whether or not subsection (1)(b) is satisfied.
(4)In this section—
(a)“action” includes action outside the United Kingdom,
(b)a reference to any person or to property is a reference to any person, or to property, wherever situated,
(c)a reference to the public includes a reference to the public of a country other than the United Kingdom, and
(d)“the government” means the government of the United Kingdom, of a Part of the United Kingdom or of a country other than the United Kingdom.
(5)In this Act a reference to action taken for the purposes of terrorism includes a reference to action taken for the benefit of a proscribed organisation.
If you're not used to reading Acts of the UK Parliament the quote of Section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2000 may be pretty opaque to you.

I'll split consideration of what Section 1 means into lay terms to help you understand what Section 1 says that "terrorism" is.

  1. What type of action?
  2. What intent?
  3. What is its rationale?
  4. Where does it occur?
Very simple, really.

I'll look at each of these four components in turn.

1. What type of action?

Section 1 says that the type of action is relevant. See Subsection 1(1)(a) which says that the types of action are specified in Subsection 1(2).

(2)Action falls within this subsection if it—
(a)involves serious violence against a person,
(b)involves serious damage to property,
(c)endangers a person’s life, other than that of the person committing the action,
(d)creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public, or
(e)is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system.
Notice Subsection 1(2)(a). Did the Iraq War involve serious violence against anbody? That's a Yes.

Notice Subsection 1(2)(b). Did the Iraq War involve serious damage to property? That, too, is a Yes.

Notice Subsection 1(2)(c) Did the Iraq War endanger a person's life? That, too, is a Yes.

Notice Subsection 1(2)(d). Did the Iraq War create a serious risk to the health of the public or a section of the public? Think the use of depleted uranium shells, as an example. That, too, is a Yes.

Notice Subsection 1(2)(e). Did the Iraq War interfere with or seriously disrupt an electronic system? That, too, is a Yes, I believe.

Notice the little word "or" at the end of Subsection 1(2)(d).

It's only necessary that one Subsection in Subsection 1(2) is satisfied. But, in my view at least, all five criteria are satisfied.

2. What intent?

When firearms are used it's not necessary to ask this question.

See Subsection 1(3) where that is stated.

3. What is its rationale?

This relates to the logical basis for the action in question.

In Subsection 1(1)(c) it is expressed like this:

the use or threat is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious [F2, racial]F2 or ideological cause.
The idea behind the Iraq War is, in my view at least, to advance a political or ideological cause. Specifically UK and/or US foreign policy.

4. Where does it occur?

Is there anything to indicate that because the Iraq War happened outside the UK that it isn't "terrorism"?

No. The opposite is true. It's made explicit that this definition of "terorism" applies across the world.

Subsection 1(4),

(4)In this section—
(a)“action” includes action outside the United Kingdom,
(b)a reference to any person or to property is a reference to any person, or to property, wherever situated,
(c)a reference to the public includes a reference to the public of a country other than the United Kingdom, and
(d)“the government” means the government of the United Kingdom, of a Part of the United Kingdom or of a country other than the United Kingdom.

makes it clear that action anywhere in the world can be "terrorism".

Conclusion

Action anywhere on planet Earth can be "terrorism" in UK Law (Subsection 1(4)).

The Iraq War meets the criteria specified in Subsection 1(1)(a).

The Iraq War meets the criteria specified in Subsection 1(1)(c).

Since firearms were used it's not necessary to examine Subsection 1(1)(b).

Since the criteria specified in both Subsection 1(1)(a) and Subsection 1(1)(c) are satisfied, THE IRAQ WAR IS "TERRORISM" IN UK LAW.

If you believe there is a flaw in my logic please feel free to post a Comment to express your question or concern.

Consequent Questions

 A host of important questions arise.

Here are a few examples:

Is Tony Blair a "terrorist"? Given the wording of Section 56 of the Terrorism Act 2000 here, Section 56, why hasn't Tony Blair been imprisoned for life?

Is Alastair Campbell a "terrorist"?

Was Lee Rigby a "terrorist"?

Why hasn't anyone in any of the UK Police forces acted to stop offences related to the Iraq War? Or offences related to Afghanistan? Or offences related to Libya?

Why hasn't Sir John Chilcot's Iraq Inquiry asked Lord Goldsmith about the relevance of Section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2000?

Why hasn't Sir John Chilcot asked Tony Blair (or a host of others) if they realised that the so-called "War on Terrorism" was itself "terrorism"?

 Do the British media, British Police and the Iraq Inquiry practice the "three monkeys" approach to justice? See no terrorism, hear no terrorism speak no terrorism?

I'll return to some of these related questions in future posts.