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 2014Home OfficeFAO Chris Blairs, IPCC Sponsor Unit2 Marsham StreetLondonSW1P 4DFDear Mr Blairs,Complaint regarding the conduct of Dame Anne Owers, Chair, Independent Police Complaints CommissionI 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 complaintThe essence of my complaint is that Dame Anne Owers
- has concealed and failed to investigate serious alleged wrongdoing by senior Police officers in the Metropolitan Police Service and in Thames Valley Police,
- has concealed and failed to investigate serious alleged wrongdoing by the Professional Standards functions of the Metropolitan Police Service and of Thames Valley Police,
- has concealed and failed appropriately to investigate serious alleged wrongdoing by Deborah Glass, former Deputy Chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, and
- has concealed and failed to correct systematic defective handling of “recordable conduct matters” by the IPCCcontrary 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 eventsIn 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 MattersOne 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 PoliceDame 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 CommissionerDame 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 officersDame 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 justiceIt 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 IPCCIn 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 GlassGiven 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 OwersIt 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 IPCCAs indicated earlier it is at least arguable that Dame Anne’s misconduct may constitute one or more criminal offences.
Actions requested of youI 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 WattEncCopy of letter to Dame Anne OwersccDame Anne Owers, Chair, IPCCKeith Vaz MP, Chair, Home Affairs Select Committee