The Public Cost of The James Patrick Disciplinary Investigation

As you all know PC James Patrick of the Metropolitan Police has been facing Disciplinary Proceedings for approx 18 months (forgive me on the exact length of time, but it’s about that).  Initially he was told that he was facing a charge of Gross Misconduct and as such faced losing his job if found guilty.  This charge, to the best of my knowledge and belief, related to the publication and sale of his book, The Rest is Silence and the associated, alleged, ‘Business Interest’  Once more, please forgive me if this is less than 100% correct, but that is my understanding.

Then the evidence was reviewed (I believe) by an outside Force and AFTER that review the charge was reduced to one of ‘simple’ Misconduct, the consequences of which are slightly less dire, but still have unwelcome and complex ramifications.

I’m a simple soul at heart, easily pleased, I live in a world of black and white (can I still say that?). I don’t do grey. So why has it taken so very long to proceed with this case? In my world it is not complex. Was there an undisclosed and unauthorised Business Interest?  A lot has happened to James since, and a lot has been said since, but if you strip it back to its barest bones did the publication and sale of James’ book constitute any kind of Disciplinary Offence?  How on earth has it been allowed to drag on so long?  I have known complex fraud cases come to Court and be dealt with more efficiently than this, and all the time James has got the potential consequences of this action hanging over his head, and that of his loyal family.  That is the (high) personal cost that James and his family are continuing to pay every day.

What about the cost to the Public Purse?  How much has this protracted enquiry cost the London Council Tax Payer?  So, I thought I’d ask.

I submitted the following request to the MPS;

Dear Metropolitan Police Service (MPS),

It has been well reported in the media that one of your officers,
PC James Patrick, has been the subject of Disciplinary Proceedings
concerning an alleged offence of Gross Misconduct.

Enquiries by MPS Directorate of Professional Standards have been
ongoing for quite some time.

Today I read that these proceedings have been ‘downgraded’ to
Misconduct.

Could you please tell me the total cost of this investigation to
date?

I specifically do not require any personal information, or complex
breakdowns of cost, just one simple total amount please.

Today, I received their response, and to say that I was astounded is a mere understatement, my flabber has seldom been so ghasted.  Gird your loins, here it is in its entirety;

Following receipt of your request, I have conducted searches to locate
information relevant to your request. These searches failed to locate
information of the description specified by your request
DECISION
Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) investigations are not
routinely costed by the MPS. The investigation into PC James Patrick has
accordingly, not been attributed a cost. Furthermore, should a member of
staff endeavour to calculate the cost of this investigation, there is
insufficient information held by the MPS to undertake this calculation.
For example, police officers are required, each day, to complete a duty
state. The duty state records the activities performed by a police
officer. This record does not contain sufficient detail to allow the time
spent by a police officer on a particular investigation to be calculated.
This is largely because police officers tend to be involved in more than
one investigation at any given time and the duty state does not record
each activity performed by an officer and attribute this activity to a
particular investigation. Moreover, it should also be noted that no record
of duties exists for members of police staff. Other costs connected to an
investigation such as the equipment and information technology used in an
investigation and other tangible resources are also not attributed to a
particular investigation by the MPS, which makes calculating the cost of
this investigation impractical.

Having considered your request, I have found that the requested
information cannot be provided as it is not held by the MPS.

So there you have it, they don’t bloody know.

When I last worked in the MPS every enquiry had a Resource Code that it was costed against. I had to show on my Duty State every separate enquiry that I had been involved in during the day and the number of hours for which. Why? Nobody seems to take any notice. Or is it simply that this enquiry has got so disproportionately expensive that the MPS are embarrassed by its cost.

I am seriously considering appealing this decision, comments on a postcard please.

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34 thoughts on “The Public Cost of The James Patrick Disciplinary Investigation

  1. Really what did you expect.It’s only a recent requirement that C/Insp. And above we’re able to do joined up writing remember turned down by your local force and told to apply to The Met they will take always take you?

  2. Those who started off this witch hunt against James and allowed it to rumble along are guilty of misconduct in public office. That is all.

  3. Agreed they will know the cost down to the last penny. Every enquiry I ever worked on was costed. I suspect it is so huge they are afraid to disclose it.

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  5. Load of bollocks am from Yorkshire so I say it like it is. Hogan Howe was a sgt in my force and left as a ch insp thank god. Don’t think he saw an angry person in his service, how he got to met com I will never know but I have a good bloody idea keep up the good work xx

  6. Retired(andEverMore)Angry –

    Excellent, I suspect the web you’re weaving round ’em will eventually be able to be tightened so much they may even be forced to squeak..!

    Another follow-up here also:
    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/when_did_the_met_discover_that_o

    I agree, even if the Met is persuaded to drop the reduced misconduct case, they should be hounded to discover the costs of the casual bullying which seems so rife and which is meted out so unthinkingly and with no sign at all of responsible supervision.

    Until they’re forced into punitive compensation, they’ll carry on bullying without forethought. Until the cost of their mistakes becomes so onerous it even affects their bonuses, supervision of those initiating the bullying won’t improve.

    If even the supervisors of those initiating obviously trumped-up gross misconduct charges and pursuing such unwarranted bullying month after month, won’t take an intelligent stand against their feral subordinates, how can trust in their judgment be retained?

    (PS: came across this too.. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8266014.stm)

    • Thank you. Do the Met really not know the cost of an enquiry, particularly one which has become of higher profile? I suspect not. Unless they’re saying that they will investigate every allegation to the nth degree in the name of transparency and to appease Liberty? In times of austerity when all resources are being cut back? I think not. I suspect that the Met knows exactly how much this enquiry has cost and that it is totally disproportionate. Time will tell

  7. I can’t imagine either of them receiving anything that might be described as Credit. Meanwhile I still await the outcome of my Review into the FOI request for the cost of these ludicrous proceedings. Absolutely nobody actually believes that the Met don’t know the cost

  8. Yes, exactly.

    Readers should also note that – even though the cost to the Met of the ludicrous and unwarranted gross misconduct proceedings, as well as the associated ‘contracted-out’ (via Essex police) doorstep bullying against an employee in their ‘care’ and his young family, must be exorbitant and represent a criminal misuse of dwindling police resources – the Home Office edict referred to (in The Independent today) may eventually ensure the most vulnerable of future rape victims should also suffer less targeted bullying after reporting such traumatic experiences.

    Yet, if a Home Office minister can – at a stroke – issue an edict foreshadowing such a major reversal in the treatment of those reporting rape, why the delay?

    And why hasn’t the Met taken this initiative itself since last November 19th, when they were reminded of the consequences of current recording practices?

    Could it be that, despite the protestations by Bernard Hogan-Howe in his response to the PASC committee that the “welfare” of rape victims (and of his bullied & silenced employee, PC Patrick) is at the forefront of his concerns at the Met and informs various subsequent enquiries, his understanding of the word “welfare” has now been shown to be completely at variance with any dictionary definition?

    No doubt BHH will soon demonstrate his concern for the “welfare” of his bullied employees by crediting James and Dr Rodger Patrick with having brought the police service up short before its management drifts further into dishonesty with empty public expressions of concern and openness:

    http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/WrittenEvidence.svc/EvidenceHtml/4041

    Q11 James Patrick: ..where a victim is vulnerable or has any of the vulnerable characteristics, including the use of drugs or alcohol, or mental health, or even their age—these are protected characteristics of vulnerable victims—those are the people who would be targeted to try to make them back out of the allegation.
    ..
    Q35 Dr Rodger Patrick: ..the balance of probability standard became applied to all victims, not just witnesses. In effect, we were going back to the old system where a victim had to prove that actually a crime had occurred and they were a victim of it. Under an evidential crime recording standard or a balance of probability standard, the victim becomes a suspect.
    ..
    Q59 Dr Rodger Patrick: ..You need to look at that again and go back to victim sovereignty, so that, when somebody reports a crime, it is their right to have it recorded and investigated. If it is found to be false later on, then they can be charged with the offences.

  9. I do hope your FOI re the JP misconduct proceedings yields fruit but, from the experiences of Dr Rodger Patrick many moons ago, the (lack of) ease with which you’re able to extract useful info in a timely manner, in response to some(/many?) of your requests, still seems to indicate what he called a “professional body” approach..as opposed to a “democratic model”.

    Anyone would think there’s still a slight reluctance to “allow” the public..to hold officials to account.

    Perhaps the Home Office, police top brass, ACPO, HMIC, IPCC etc still don’t feel it’s any of our business and that the casual bullying of PCs is all in a days work and quite justified if it means information embarrassing enough to “bring the service into disrepute” can be suppressed or blamed on the messenger rather than highlighted and addressed.

    [If only FOI requests were dealt with fully & speedily, in line with a “democratic model” – otherwise questions may return to fester, eg:
    “Sir, I asked the Commissioner of the Met Police to conduct an audit to see if police spies lied in court back in October 2011 at a meeting of the Metropolitan Police Authority..”
    http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/letters/article4027892.ece%5D

    2.5 ..the Home Office ceased publishing the validation tests they carried out on the police recording rates in the British Crime Survey (BCS). A FOI request established that they ceased asking the relevant questions in the 2006/7 survey despite the fact that the results in 2005/6 indicated “under recording” was increasing

    4.1 ..the way regulators addressed “gaming” when it was uncovered..HMIC were aware as early as 1998 that post sentence admissions, Prison Write Offs, were being converted to TICs and that the practice was prone to abuse.

    4.2 ..the force was struggling to cope with a marked rise in gang related murders..“skewing” of resources in favour of more affluent areas ..appeared..that it could have contributed to the rise in gang related crime.. The paragraph referring to this was omitted from the published version of the report.

    7.2 ..the decision by the Information Commissioner not to alert the public to the risk they had been exposed to demonstrated a tendency towards a “professional body” approach to regulation, as opposed to a “democratic model” where information is made available to the public in order for them to hold officials to account

    8.2 ..many of the documents relied upon preceded the enactment of the legislation. Anecdotal evidence would suggest such candid documents are being shredded.

    8.4 ..this will be to no avail if the regulators themselves are not committed to making their findings public

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmjust/96/96vw11.htm

    • In a week when the Police have been labelled Institutionally Everything I suspect that the Met are suffering from Institutional Paranoia. Why they don’t just answer the questions I really don’t know. They are not doing themselves any favours if they maintain their idiotic view that the don’t know the cost of the proceedings.

  10. Yes, the minute questions are avoided, more arise. Either the original reasons for silencing an employee pending gross dismissal proceedings were justified or not.

    As the gross misconduct charge was judged unwarranted by an independent police force, the prolonged 15-month suppression and silencing must also have been unwarranted. And the 15-month threat of a job loss and consequent stress to a young family was also therefore unwarranted.

    Furthermore, the lies concerning business interests fed to the press about him by his employer were unwarranted. If an employer can so easily smear a member of staff in the national press (http://elector8-2.blogspot.co.uk) and deliberately fail to correct it, they cannot be considered fit for purpose as an employer.

    And the sudden claims of concern by Bernard Hogan-Howe to a House of Commons Select Committee for the “welfare” of his employee must surely amount to misleading Parliament.

    Even BHH immediately understood, given no concern had been expressed for the welfare of James or his family by his employer throughout the period the Met had silenced him, that arranging and authorising vindictive visits in the dark late on 2 (perhaps 3) consecutive Friday nights by 2 uniformed officers from another force was quite justifiably seen by the Select Committee as potential attempts to interfere with evidence given under Parliamentary privilege.

    Certainly the visits were brazen signs of disapproval and fury that such evidence had been spotlighted so publicly – the first visit being merely 3 days after the committee session. Fury that the then year-long silencing of the messenger by the Met top brass had been so neatly sidestepped. Welfare didn’t come into it.

    Had BHH meant an earnest word about getting to the truth about fiddled crime figures and promising to arrange meetings with James to clarify his evidence – especially considering that James had already established methods to extract data from the statistics which could have helped to identify the ‘gaming’ forces and perhaps even particular ‘distorting’ management interventions – then the specific experience and talents of the messenger would hardly have been summarily wasted and PC Patrick re-assigned to stare at streaming CCTV output 5 days a week.

    If the “welfare” of rape victims exhibiting the most vulnerable characteristics was anywhere near the forefront of the Met management, immediate steps would have been taken to halt their further suffering.

    Had the “welfare” of victims featured at all, officers recording crimes would immediately have been ordered by edict to record reported rapes as crimes without 72-hour delays and not to persuade anyone reporting rape to withdraw allegations.

    The Home Office has recently issued a similar edict. Why didn’t the Met management take the lead and issue one months ago? Why didn’t ACPO?

    Yes, the minute edicts are avoided, more should arise..

    • You make some valid points. Welfare of the ‘accused’ officer has never been in the forefront of the Met’s thinking, there were, in my opinion, serious problems with the original Gross Misconduct charge, and they now come across as an organisation who simply has to have its pound of flesh. Too stubborn and proud to halt the proceedings completely.

      They simply have to learn that they are no longer operating in the Dark Ages, the world has moved on, it is a much different place now and they have to grow and evolve with it.

  11. Yes, quite. They’d better be quick too..!

    “Last month, the High Court delivered a landmark ruling that systematic failures by the police to investigate serious violent crime can constitute a breach of the victim’s rights under the European Convention, in particular, Article 3, freedom from torture and inhuman and degrading treatment.”

    “The claim was brought by the victims of the serial rapist John Warboys against the Metropolitan Police who failed to investigate their allegations properly and thus failed to stop him attacking again.”

    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/03/coalition-cant-ignore-fall-sexual-and-domestic-violence-prosecutions

    The ‘Nark’ Ages can’t be relied on to persist indefinitely..

    In “The Government Response to the Stern Review” of March 2011 (3 years ago)..
    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/97907/government-stern-review.pdf
    ..the Ministerial Foreword by Rt Hon Theresa May MP & Lynne Featherstone MP stated that the Government had
    “announced..funding over the next three years for centres which provide specialist care to ensure that those traumatised by rape..receive the specialist support they need”
    and, on page 17,
    “The Government agrees entirely and has made clear its commitment to supporting specialist services for victims of sexual violence to ensure all their needs are met properly”
    The 3 years of promised Government funding have elapsed.

    Apart from ‘requesting’ that the 72 hour delay in reporting rapes as crimes be eliminated, I wonder if the Government has ensured those facilities now exist, to provide the currently prescribed post-rape victim care response – at least for those rape victims with any protected characteristics (“the people who would be targeted to try to make them back out of the allegation”).

    Or do the words of ‘Imelda May’ smack of disingenuous “concern for welfare” waffle too?

    Dear MPS –

    For the sake of the vast majority of your genuinely wonderful employees, please effectively supervise any remaining bullies stuck in the dark ages and intervene to halt the resources they’re wasting – resources which could otherwise help those your public would view as vulnerable while under your jurisdiction (eg: whistleblowers) or in your care (eg: those reporting rape).

    If you’re “too stubborn and proud to halt” and insist on proceeding down cruel, dark alleys, where “welfare” has become a hollow word, the application of unfair and unwarranted pressure on victims will soon be exposed and become punitively expensive if viewed as systematic failure by the High Court.

    – Thank you

  12. If further proof was needed of the criminal waste of scarce police resources squandered on the casual bullying, suppression and silencing of PC Patrick and the lies about him fed to the press since 2012, the evidence below shows that the Met already knew, long before the publication of such smears – in The Independent on Wed 5th Dec ’12, for example – that they had no valid grounds whatsoever to accuse PC Patrick of contravening any policy relating to business interests at that time (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/officer-faces-inquiry-over-book-expos-8387074.html):

    http://www.met.police.uk/foi/units/directorate_resources.htm
    > Commissioner’s Policy Forum Minutes > link: ’16th January 2013′
    > http://www.met.police.uk/foi/pdfs/how_we_make_decisions/corporate/dor_comm_policy_forum_16january2013.pdf

    “Commander Professional Standards explained..in November 2012..there was no policy to cover circumstances where MPS blogs were amalgamated and published in book form, or where proceeds of published material were donated to charity, or where comments were made on Twitter.”

    It is quite clear that the specific circumstances of PC Patrick’s book of amalgamated blogs awoke the MPS to the fact that he had managed to embarrass them without even flouting any existing policy – so they’d better get together and invent something smartish. However..

    “The Director of Legal Services advised that the MPS could not prevent its officers or staff from writing books on the basis that the content was embarraassing to the MPS, but that it was possible to prevent damage to the organisation. One option was perhaps to require material to be submitted to Management Board for approval before publication.”

    Of course, fiddling crime figures has serious repercussions for victims and resource allocation and so is what damages the organisation – not the messenger pointing out how self-defeating it might be.

    Nevertheless, all the MPS were concerned about was how to retain control of embarrassing material: “I know, let’s ignore the welfare of rape victims and the risk of further inadequately policed riots (they may as well have said) and lie to the press about whistleblowers (I mean, who cares about their welfare, they’re hardly human anyway, spilling all our beans) by saying this one has transgressed policies we’ve not yet formulated, let alone implemented. All in favour, say Aye!”

    “The Forum agreed that any revised policy on publication of material should not adversely impact on evidence-based policing and that for instance the results of research should not be subject to restriction.”

    The Forum appeared unable to imagine that investigations undertaken and revealed by whistleblowers can also amount to valid research specifically related to evidence-based policing. And that it is precisely the habit of denying the evidence revealed by such research which most threatens and undermines the effectiveness of policing.

    The unwarranted public accusation relating to business interests against their employee amounted to one of financial and contractual impropriety and remains uncorrected and without apology in the public domain to this day.

    Can the Met management be seen as even vaguely ‘fit for purpose’ as an employer if they’re content to conspire to treat employees entrusted to their care in this absolutely shabby and outrageous way?

    • This is a totally valid point, thank you. No matter how ‘generous’ I try to be it is difficult to view the Met as anything other than bullying at worst or lost and incompetent at best. The discovery of those documents should make for an interesting discipline hearing.

  13. Hi, thanks. Yes, I didn’t find those documents myself but am incredulous that the honest & long-suffering 99% of Met officers seem continually not just to be let down by pockets of management unwilling to address crime-recording deficiencies perpetuated for their own pecuniary benefit but also periodically to be undermined by similar pockets willing to conspire dishonestly against a whistleblower merely having the temerity to point out the iniquity of that unwillingness..!

    People may think the EU interferes with our ‘sovereignty’ in a myriad unaccountable ways but it clearly looks as though, left to ourselves, those in various management positions here feel far too unaccountable themselves and, what’s worse, feel free to bully those entrusted to their care in ways which deprive some honest employees – those clearly more honest than their managers – of even the little personal sovereignty each must retain: the right to speak the truth and to speak up for rape victims or others suffering as a direct result of the suppression of that truth.

    As we so love the EU, it may be high time the High Court delivers another landmark ruling – that systematic failures by police management (to investigate dishonest internal conspiracies to bully, suppress & silence those who expose, for example, how victims of sexual crimes are sometimes mistreated and left uncared-for) can also constitute a breach of the victim’s rights under the European Convention, in particular, Article 3, freedom from torture and inhuman and degrading treatment – but furthermore, treatment at the hands of those in whose care they’ve been entrusted, those hypocritically claiming concern for their “welfare”..!

  14. Sorry, only just saw your video reference. Will view after work asap. From first 2 minutes though, my thoughts are that large organisations here often just seem to suffer lamentable, unaccountable, dishonest & hypocritical supervision of staff. Any dishonesty below is sometimes compounded and amplified by further dishonesty above. I can’t see how people can argue otherwise or how large organisations can claim transparency to be a low priority or an unjustified interference – or that those, like your good self, relentlessly pursuing FOI requests, are merely a nuisance..!

    • I’m quite used to being a nuisance. However once you view past the first few minutes from 15-40 approx makes absolutely terrifying viewing. Once again the Met appears to have held its foot up in front of the gun barrel.

  15. Well, many thanks for that link. Have seen an hour of the video between other things tonight (remaining 15mins tomorrow) and totally agree that it’s “simply mind boggling” and that it does indeed seem “like anything is possible these days”. The higher echelons of the MPS are clearly a complete law unto themselves – rather like GCHQ & the NSA.

    Apart from anything else, it’s quite clear for a start that Alan Gibson, as he was specifically mentioned, should be fired for his dismissive response to the enquiries from the MP for Wells. He’s quite clearly an obstacle to the truth and should have no place in that vital organisation.

    If Hogan-Howe hasn’t yet poked his head into those matters and sorted them by now, he too must represent a prime obstacle to justice – so should also go. There’s no excuse for allowing personnel files to be manufactured or not immediately helping to identify the culprits.

    There’s an increasingly rancid smell emanating from the Augean Met stables. The stable managers must be cleaned out asap.

  16. Today I received a reply from the Met regarding my request for them to Review the FOI Request re the cost of this farce.

    They upheld the original finding – they STILL don’t know how much this enquiry has cost because they don’t cost each investigation.

    Their reply is here;

    The MPS response advised the following

    * Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) investigations are not
    routinely costed by the MPS.
    * The investigation into PC James Patrick has accordingly, not been
    attributed a cost.
    * Furthermore, should a member of staff endeavour to calculate the cost
    of this investigation, there is insufficient information held by the
    MPS to undertake this calculation.
    * Police officers are required, each day, to complete a duty state.
    * The duty state records does not contain sufficient detail to allow the
    time spent by a police officer on a particular investigation to be
    calculated due to the fact that officers tend to be involved in more
    than one investigation at any given time and the duty state does not
    record each activity performed by an officer and attribute this
    activity to a particular investigation.
    * no record of duties exists for members of police staff.
    * It would be impractical to calculate costs relating to the use of
    equipment and information technology

    Your correspondence dated 20/02/2014 indicates that

    1) You ‘do not require IT costs and other such expenditure in relation to
    this enquiry’.

    2) My understanding is that Police Officers are required to show on their
    Duty States a Code which relates to individual enquiries that they have
    been working on each day, and how many hours they have spent on each.

    3) If it is not possible to provide me the information requested it may be
    possible to tell you the total number of Police Officer hours expended on
    the investigation.

    The information requested is not held by the MPS. Even discounting costs
    that are not connected to staff time, this information is not held.

    Furthermore, the MPS response explained that information recorded on duty
    states does not contain sufficient information to identify time spent on
    the investigation to which your request relates. It follows that the MPS
    are unable to provide the total number of hours expended on the
    investigation. Combined with the fact that police staff are not required
    to record the time spent working on specific investigations, the MPS do
    not hold the information requested.

    As advised in the original MPS response, even if it were possible to
    calculate the staff time involved, this task would be likely to exceed the
    appropriate cost limit.

    I have seldom heard a greater LOB

  17. Mmmm..

    So, either job recording has sunk to the level of crime recording – or a mole is required to check: any moles surfacing soon?

    Either each duty state is useful (and time can be roughly apportioned per task) or it isn’t. If not, they’re pointless.

    If required to be of use for management, they must contain sufficient info’ to trace the approx. total time spent per job.

    Duty states are either useful or useless. ‘Tis one or t’other. Who can arbitrate between the opposite horns of this dilemma – or is this a job for a whistleblower (any more due to blow soon?).

    • My point entirely. I have tried to recruit a mole without success. Nobody seems to want to answer the question by DM for me. A new blog will appear soon with my most recent thoughts on the issue and after that the Information Commissioner. I absolutely refuse to believe that any enquiry is not costed. In this day and age it would be financial folly not to keep to tabs on the cost of an operation, if only to decide when/if to pull the plug on it. In the light of things that have become public in the last couple of weeks I find myself not believing a single word emanating from the Met’s corporate mouth.

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  19. Yes, looking at some FOIs, it’s surely pretty clear what a sham the whole thing is. There should at least be an ultimate appeal process presided over by a judge or a visibly independent ombudsman..

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