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, IPCCAnna O’Rourke, IPCCDear Dame Anne and Ms O’Rourke,“Plebgate” and “SuttonColdfieldGate” etc1. Complaint regarding Ms Deborah Glass2. Systematic concealment by IPCC of “serious corruption” by the PoliceI 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 GlassThe complaint regarding Ms. Glass can broadly be summarised under the following headings:
- 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).
- 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).
- Unlinking of the “Plebgate” and “SuttonColdfieldGate” investigations.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 ResolutionMy 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 letterIn 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 RequestedIn 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 WattEncCritique of Reakes-Williams investigation and related mattersccKeith Vaz MP, Home Affairs Select Committee