Listen Vairy Carefully…….I Wheel Say Thees Only Wernce

There have been those recently on Twatter who have challenged me, questioning my attitudes towards corruption and wrongdoing, particularly within the Police Service.

Those of you who have read my blogs recently should be familiar with my opinion.  Those of you who know me personally, in the real world, know exactly what my views are.  If you don’t know me but would like to get know my views over a sociable cup of coffee (latte please, no sugar) I’m here, not hiding, come and talk to me.  I do not hide behind an anonymous Twatter account like some of my critics do, so come and talk to me.

If you don’t like what I write, don’t read it, simples.

If you don’t like the tone of my Tweets, Unfollow, Block or Mute me, simples.

I have had far more experience of corruption and wrongdoing than the majority of my critics and I make no apology whatsoever for the fact that I see no reason at all why Police Officers should be subject to a lower level of proof than the General Public.  Why on earth should there be a two tier system?

Look at my bio, I was a Forensic Auditor after I left the Met. Look and see what a Forensic Auditor’s job involves (not to be confused with Forensic Accountant, a totally different job and they earn shed loads of money).  “An examination and evaluation of a firm’s or individual’s financial information for use as evidence in court. A forensic audit can be conducted in order to prosecute a party for fraud, embezzlement or other financial claims. In addition, an audit may be conducted to determine negligence” or corruption or wrongdoing/malpractice.

There’s also the thorny subject of EVIDENCE.  If Evidence exists people tend to get charged or summonsed or disciplined.  If insufficient evidence exists then it doesn’t reach the Threshold Standard and stops there, just the same as it would for you or your favourite aunt. But if the evidence is there then I fully support pursuing the offender and subjecting them to the appropriate process of the law, there should be NO favouritism pro or anti Police.

I do hope that’s cleared things up a little.  If it hasn’t, BLOCK OR BE BLOCKED, your choice, rant over.

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And the Melton Mowbray For 2014 Is Awarded To……The Met

I don’t have many proud days in my life, but 3rd July 1972 was one of them, I joined the Met.  16 weeks later I passed out of Henditz Training School and that was another.  In 1995 I was presented with my Long Service and Good Conduct Medal by the Commish (it should have been 1994 but the Commish’s Researcher got the dates muddled up and the whole of my intake got our medals a year late), finally in 2002 I was not only presented with my Exemplary Service Certificate but my OCU Commander had actually had it framed for me.

They were all proud days.  There have been a few others along the way, but they’re the ones I value the most.

Fast Forward, it is now 2014 and I’m ashamed to admit that I was ever in the Met.

I haven’t got the foggiest idea what my mother, wife and children think I got up to for 30 years.  Comments from Mrs Angry suggest that she believes at least some of the vitriol that abounds at the moment, but then she is a Daily Fail reader, so I suppose I should understand that.

I am not blind, naive or stupid. I know that some bad things happened.  I do not condone them, excuse them or possibly even forgive them, but I do know the scale of these wrongdoings.  One of the Commissioners bravely (?) put a figure of 250 on the number of corrupt officers in the Met.  Was he right?  I’m not completely certain, personally I would say it was less than that, but 250 out of, let’s say, 35,000 at that time.

Less than 1%

Is that too many?  Of course it is.  Put into context (I hope, but I know that some will disagree with me), what percentage of the population at large has a criminal record, or criminal inclinations?  The most recent answer to this that I could find was ;

It is estimated that at least twenty percent of the working population has a criminal record and one in three men under 30 have criminal convictions

Much, much higher than 1%.

I then came to actually be ashamed of the Metropolitan Police Service itself, as I gradually learnt more ‘stuff’ that serving officers might not necessarily get involved in, for obvious reasons..

Here are just a few examples of the MPS Arcade of Shame.

PC Keith Wallis – lied in an attempt to discredit Andrew Mitchell in the #Plebgate saga.  The long-term effect that has had is that people remember the lies and Andrew Mitchell has gained support as a result of what was seen as his unfair and vindictive treatment at the hands of the Metropolitan Police.  It was all one big conspiracy against him.  Well hopefully the full truth will come out during the Libel actions.  I do not condone the actions of Keith Wallis, not for one second, but neither do I believe that we have heard the full, true, account of what happened from Mr Mitchell.  Time will tell.

The presentation by Tessa Munt MP – I won’t labour this, I blogged about it here, but it appears that the main witness (a Police Officer) allegedly, maybe, possibly lied on oath, or was mistaken, 25 times during his prosecution evidence.  Just as worrying (or maybe even more worrying really) Ms Munt alleged this about the MPS itself

“The MPS also tampered with personnel or staff records to produce false records for the six TSG officers. In 2013, as part of disclosure in part 20 proceedings, it came to the six TSG officers’ attention that their staff records had been tampered with. In March 2010, following their acquittal by unanimous verdict at the trial at Kingston Crown court, they were told that no internal disciplinary sanctions or actions were to be brought against any of them. They have discovered, some six years later, that a false account has been created for each of them on their personnel records, illustrating that a finding of guilt was made against each of them, that “words of advice” were given to each of them in 2009 and that the complaint was substantiated.”

If this allegation is true I would suggest that it has not been achieved without some Management involvement somewhere along the line. Or maybe it simply just isn’t true.

The Ellison Report – An enquiry into allegations of corruption and other matters pertaining to the Steven Lawrence Murder Investigation.  It appears that the Met DPS did not disclose information/evidence/intelligence  that they held when all such information had been requested. Moreover in 2003 a Mass Shredding of documents pertaining to corruption within the Met allegedly took place, with no other copies supposedly available.

The Daniel Morgan Murder – Like Steven Lawrence another MPS murder investigation littered with allegations of Police Corruption and the family insisting that successive senior officers from the Met have lied to them rather than admit to corruption being a problem.  I have to say I don’t know the truthful answer, but these allegations refuse to go away and the victim’s family and the population at large deserve to hear the truth, whatever that truth may be.

James Patrick – Three strands to this one.  Firstly I asked them how much the Discipline Enquiry had cost so far, you’ll find that story here if you haven’t read it yet.  The Met answered my Freedom of Information request by saying that they couldn’t answer it because they do not routinely cost individual enquiries.  I appealed, questioned the response and got the same answer back again.  Now I have to say that when I retired in 2002 all enquiries/investigations/operations were allocated a cost code amongst other reasons in order that Management could keep tabs of the costs and decide  whether or not it was getting more expensive than it was worth.  I have spoken with officers still serving who have told me that the situation is even worse now and one has to account for absolutely everything.  In addition the Met is able to put a cost to the #Plebgate investigation and the Madeleine McCann investigation, so why not the James Patrick investigation?

Secondly we have this that James included in his blog on 24th March;

“Throughout the misconduct process it has been denied that there were any senior level discussions about me, or policy deficiencies relevant to my case. It was discovered on the 19th of March 2014 that significant material does indeed exist. On discovering this, and immediately serving it on the misconduct meeting Chair, the reaction from the MPS has been aggressive; implying that I am the person whose integrity is in question for trying to discover the truth, and threatening me with potential discipline for defending myself.”

More lying/prevarication or Fudging, but certainly not the truth it would appear.

If we go back right to the very beginning James was disciplined for Gross Misconduct – selling a book of his blogs.  An external Force (Warwickshire I believe it was) conducted a review and determined that the case amounted to no more than simple Misconduct, James was no longer facing the sack, and his Discipline Panel would be chaired by an Inspector, not a Commander.  Much different.

Finally, James discovered that a document existed that informed DPS that no policy actually existed on the writing of blogs or books by MPS officers.  Furthermore the Director of Legal Services advised that the MPS could not prevent MPS staff from writing blogs/books merely because the content was embarrassing to the MPS.  So how is that Misconduct or Gross Misconduct?  DPS knows this now but is still continuing to discipline PC Patrick. How is that ethical?

The single word ‘Vindictive’ keeps going round in my head and I can’t make it go away.

One final thought on James:-  He has tendered his resignation, presumably the Met have accepted it.  As the proceedings against him have been downgraded to Misconduct, meaning the worst that can happen to him is a written warning, why have they not saved everybody the bother and expense and just discontinued the proceedings?  Vengeance Is Mine sayeth BHH.

Gagging Orders – Finally, last year I had reason to ask the Met about so-called Gagging Orders.  One of the questions I asked them was this;

2) How many senior officers in the Met, current or resigned/retired above
the rank of Chief Inspector are currently subject to such, similar,
‘Gagging Orders’ or similar agreements?
NB ‘Gagging Order’ any agreement voluntary or imposed by a Court not to
divulge the terms of any settlement etc.
For the avoidance of doubt I am specifically NOT requesting names or
circumstances, just a total number, broken down by rank if that is
possible.

The answer I got back was this;

Firstly:- Q2) Could you please clarify the term ‘Gagging Order’?

Then subsequently it looked like this;

Q2:  The Metropolitan Police Service neither confirms nor denies that it
holds the information you requested as the duty in Section 1(1)(a) of the
Act does not apply by virtue of the following exemption: Section 40(5) –
Personal Information / Absolute Exemption

A Freedom of Information Act request is not a private transaction. Both
the request itself and any information disclosed, are considered suitable
for open publication.

This is because under Freedom of Information any information disclosed is
released into the wider public domain, effectively to the world, not just to an individual. To confirm or deny whether personal information exists in response to your request could publicly reveal information about an individual or individuals, thereby breaching the right to privacy afforded to persons under the Data Protection Act 1998. When confirming or denying that information is held would breach an individual’s rights under the Data Protection Act 1998, Section 40(5) becomes an absolute exemption, and there is no requirement for me to provide evidence of the prejudice that would occur, or to conduct a public interest test.

Why not? What have they got to hide? Something going on or a simple denial would do the job.

I haven’t got enough years left in me to back through all of the Met’s Freedom of Information requests (between 2005 – 2010 there are over 730 PAGES of requests), but I have looked at a few, and it does seem that they either don’t answer many or sometimes don’t appear to provide a wholly accurate answer.  It is for all of the above reasons that I give them the Melton Mowbray for 2014.

Of course, if you, my reader, can think of any more reasons why the Met would qualify for this year’s Melton Mowbray please add them to the ‘Comments’ section below.  I moderate almost anything that doesn’t advertise shoes and handbags.

What is going on in the Met today is tragic, but I honestly believe that it is not too late.  This organisation I was once a proud member of can rise again, but it needs to face the truth and the reality, only then can it rebuild into its rightful place as a world leader of Police FORCES.  It really is time to stop the lying, stop avoiding the questions you really don’t want to answer and rebuild the honest and ethical way. Every time Bernard the Ostrich denies the obvious, or claims to have no knowledge, just makes that day a little bit further away.

Total Policing

Please forgive me.

I do try not to write more than one blog in a day, it plays havoc with me quill, but one of our number (you know who you are you naughty little person you) sent me this today, and once I had finished spluttering coffee into my bottle of Quink I thought that today would be the perfect day to share it with you.

 

TOTAL POLICING

Total Policing means;

  • A total war on crime, total care for victims, and total professionalism from our staff.

Our objectives are;

  • to cut crime, cut costs, and continue to develop the culture of the organisation. We will achieve this with; humility, integrity and transparency. 
  • we will develop making the Met the best police service in the world.

The highlighting is mine.

There are no prizes for guessing whose website this was plundered from, but anyone thinking that Bernard Hyphen-Who and his Senior Command Team are acting with any of those qualities can form an orderly queue.

A Sad, Sad Day

A sad day for James Patrick, his family and friends. A sad day for democracy and fairness.  A SAD DAY FOR THE TRUTH.

James, you a good, brave man and I publicly salute you. The Met is losing a true champion.

So James wrote some blogs. So what?  He amalgamated those blogs into a book that he published at his own expense. So what?  He went on to sell a few copies of the book and gave the proceeds to a Police Charity. So what? He told the world about Crime Stats being fudged. So what?

A document disclosed as a result of an FOI request reveals that the Met didn’t even have a policy to deal with serving officers who wrote blogs and books. So how the hell can they deem that to be Gross Misconduct?  An interesting concept what?

In my opinion (and that of many others) James didn’t write anything in his blogs that wasn’t the truth.  I didn’t always agree with the way he worded some things, but that doesn’t matter. He’s perfectly entitled to word things how he wants. Did he fib? No, I don’t believe he did.

He told the world about Crime Stats. Did he fib?  Again, no I don’t believe he did. I can only speak for the Met but it’s been going on for decades.  Way back in the 90s the Met conducted monthly (I think it was once per month) Ethical Audits of CRIS, the computerised Crime-Recording system.  Why would they do that if they believed that all was hunky dory?  Even Bernard Hogan-Who agreed that there was a truth that needed to be heard.

The Met is in turmoil. It needs people like James to help them get out of this self-induced mire that are sinking into.  James may ‘only’ be a Constable (no disrespect intended James) but ethics and an analytical brain like his are what the Job needs not some Direct Entry Superintendent from Aldi or Lidl telling everyone how they should be Policing.

We are currently just past the middle of March.  How many times have the Met shot themselves in the foot this year already?

We have heard about a mass shredding of information in 2003 that has only just surfaced.

We have heard about the 6 TSG officers and how they were treated by the Met DPS

We are hearing about the Lawrence murder investigation, the Daniel Morgan murder investigation and how corrupt cops might have influenced those enquiries.

Undercover cops, a necessary part of policing, but did they act unethically?  Whether they did or didn’t the Met is reeling from it.

All of these horror stories and what do the Met do? They persecute the one person displaying ethical qualities, that’s what they do. An easy target, this corruption business is way too difficult, put it back into the Too Difficult Box.

The saga of James Patrick is told admirably in his latest blog (how apt).

I tried to find out how much this sorry saga had cost the public but the Met tried to tell me that they didn’t know because they don’t record that information.  I don’t believe them, they know I don’t believe them and I have passed my concerns on to the Information Commissioner to investigate, and meanwhile submitted two more requests about this sorry tale.

So, to sum up, it’s Monday morning, the Met has apparently bullied its greatest champion for years into submission.  The Disciplinary Investigation continues because James is too honourable to resign before it concludes.  Some time ago, someone pointed the finger at James, and his like, implying that they may be Organisational Terrorists, a brutal term in any occupation, and not one that should EVER be laid at the feet of a Whistleblower.  Who are the Organisational Terrorists now?

James, you are indeed an honourable man, you certainly don’t deserve to have been treated the way you have, and if there is anything at all that I can do to help you in the final weeks and months of your career I certainly will, you know how to get hold of me.

There is also a swell of support for you and your plight within a certain Facebook group, whose name we may not mention.

Good luck, good health, I salute you.  A sad day for the Met and policing in general. The lunatics are most definitely running the asylum now.

The Truth, The Whole Truth And Nothing Like The Truth

Last month I wrote a blog about the cost to the public purse of the disciplinary investigation into PC James Patrick.

If you haven’t already read it, you can read it here.

The result of that FOI request was that the Met could not tell me how much that enquiry had cost because that information was not recorded anywhere and for them to calculate it would push my request over the cost limit (£450).

I didn’t really believe that because in the latter days of my time in the Met every enquiry was costed, partly to monitor overtime and predominantly for Management Information (very important).

How on earth can Management make decisions about whether any enquiry is proportionate and Value For Money if they don’t monitor costs. Surely they still do that don’t they?

So I requested that they conducted an Internal Review of the original request and review based on that principle.

Today I got my response.

They have carried out a Review and upheld the original findings, the information is not recorded anywhere and would not be economically viable to calculate it.

I have two big problems with that;

a) Madeleine McCann. The Met can not only state how much that enquiry has cost them, (£4.7 million as at August 2013), but they can also estimate how much it will cost into the future. They estimate that Operation Grange costs in excess of £6,300 per day. Someone has provided these figures (and more) from somewhere so I don’t believe they’re not being recorded.

b) Plebgate. The Met have provided regular updates on the cost of this enquiry. In October 2013 DAC Pat Gallan revealed that the enquiry had cost £237,000 at that time, and it’s still going. Somebody has to have told her that figure. It has to be recorded somewhere.

So why isn’t the cost of the James Patrick investigation recorded?

I for one don’t believe it. Next stop Information Commissioner.

Maybe in the light of recent adverse press publicity the Met, amongst others, would like to grasp the nettle, deal with the issues identified properly once and for all, and embrace the TRUTH, and TRANSPARENCY.  Is that really asking too much.  Met Senior Management has suffered from Institutional Paranoia for far too long.

A Rather Unprofessional Professional Standards

Gobsmacked, disbelieving, dismayed, betrayed, saddened, incredulous.

These are all feelings that I have felt over the past few weeks

I’m not going to identify the cases, you’ll either know them or you won’t, so don’t bother asking me as a refusal often offends.

The first is a relatively simple disciplinary matter in the Metropolis that has grown into something much bigger and more complicated than it needs to be. I don’t pretend to know ALL of the details because I most certainly don’t, but the behaviour of some of the officers from Professional Standards appears to fall short of the accepted norm. A document circulated on Twitter this week makes me question the validity of this particular disciplinary process completely.

My personal opinion, and it is exactly that, is that the Met are rather hoping that the officer in question will simply resign. Not sure that’s going to happen.

One word that has been used by others to describe the actions of the DPS officers is ‘bullying’.

The second case I have been made aware of recently will have to remain under wraps. It’s a disciplinary case from a force outside of London and the officers concerned have been treated appallingly. As they haven’t given me the appropriate permission to ‘go public’ I’m afraid I shall have to ask you to take my word for it that this, again, has all the hallmarks of a Force hoping that it can ‘persuade’ its officers to quietly resign and go away.

Finally, on 19th March, a Parliamentary debate took place concerning the behaviour of the Metropolitan Police, specifically, officers from the Directorate of Professional Standards.

In this debate Tessa Munt MP outlines the treatment that 6 Met Territorial Support Officers have allegedly received at the hands of the Met DPS.

Unfortunately the video is approximately an hour and a half long, but a transcript also exists. As Tessa Munt is protected by Parliamentary Privilege, and the video and transcript are both in the public domain I would invite you to view/read them and form your own conclusions.

I have provided links to both below.

 

 

Here is the video

 

Here is the transcript.

Once you have viewed or read them, maybe you will understand the emotions at the beginning of this blog post. If what you have read today concerns you in any way please feel free to share this blog with your friends and followers.

What on earth is the problem with Professional Standards at the moment? I know they have a job to do, but why have they seemingly departed from the Professional’?

If there has been wrongdoing, by ANY Police Officer, then the officer(s) responsible should be dealt with appropriately, but Police and Public alike rely on Professional Standards to do their job properly. Neither Police nor Public can have confidence in the system if SOME DPS officers are going to dig up the goalposts and start running off the pitch with them, for that is what is rumoured to be happening.

I am getting quite sick of saying it but all I want to see and hear is the TRUTH. Is that really too much to expect from a supposedly professional organisation?

Well I’ll Be Wonga’d

I was watching a programme recently on the telly box about folk much less fortunate than I am.

Some of these folk had not much more than £1 a day to feed themselves, and possibly their kids as well. I could sympathise with some of them whilst others left me shouting at the telly in frustration.

But when my initial grumpiness subsided I realised that a pattern was beginning to emerge. A lot of these folk were in the situation they were in through bad choices, and one of those bad choices was a Payday Loan.

It sounds quite simple doesn’t it, borrow a relatively small amount over a short period until you get paid or your Giro comes in. What could possibly go wrong? Plenty it would seem, with much pain and grief for some of the people taking loans this way.

This prompted me to take a look at Wonga.com and, to be honest, I was shocked.  The example provided on the front page of their website was:-

Borrow £150 for 18 DAYS and repay£178 or 365% Interest Fixed PLUS a £5.50 admin fee and all of this with a REPRESENTATIVE APR of 5,853%.  Not a typo, nearly 6 thousand per cent APR interest.

If a man in a grubby mac with a dog-eared book called at your door and offered you a loan at a mere 200% interest you’d tell him where to go, but if the lender wears the cloak of respectability that’s aright then.

This got me thinking about a very under-used word – Usury.  What does it mean?  It is the practice of making unethical or immoral monetary loans intended to unfairly enrich the lender. A loan may be considered usurious because of excessive or abusive interest rates or other factors. Someone who charges usury can be called an usurer, but the more common term in English is loan shark.

Intended to unfairly enrich the lender?  Excessive or abusive rates of interest?  I have no idea but 5,853% APR seems mighty high to me.

Last year Wonga rejected claims that its interest rates are extortionate. Wonga’s chief operating officer Niall Wass said the firm’s advertised representative annual percentage rate of 5,853 was in fact ‘very misleading’. ‘What we actually charge is one per cent a day,’ he told Sky News. ‘On average for 17 days the average first time loan is £180. So on average people pay £36 for their loan.’

An un-named source said “The reality is we charge 1% interest per day, with an average loan of 16 days – meaning that a typical Wonga customer pays 16% interest across their loan.”  1% per day? And the Bank of England interest rate is what? Half a percent per annum?  Still sounds like a very expensive loan to me no matter how you try and dress it up and make it look more attractive.

So whether it counts as Usury or not, what are the British government doing about Usury and Loan Sharks?

In the United Kingdom, usury laws once capped interest rates at 12% per year, then at 5% per year. But these laws were repealed completely in the mid-19th century.

Many other countries have a cap on interest rates. In Germany, lenders cannot charge more than 20% interest a year. Italy brought in a legal definition of usury in 1996. US states all set their own caps on interest rates, some higher than others, and a Consumer Financial Protection Agency was created last year to supervise this at the national level. Payday loan interest rates are capped at 60% in Canada. Under Sharia law, the charging of interest is forbidden entirely.

So what is the British Government doing about it? Naff all it seems

Wonga is the UK’s largest payday loans company. Its new head of Public Affairs used to be an advisor to David Cameron, leading to accusations that the company is lobbying its interests with government. Wonga reportedly paid for meetings with Conservative ministers (allegedly).  “They paid in excess of 1,000 GBP to have a 15-minute talk with someone from government. That’s not right; you’re using your influence because you have money and because they want money for their election,” noted John Robertson, a Labour Party MP.

All over the country access to payday loan websites has been blocked from computers in public buildings such as libraries in an attempt to prevent people being tempted by instant cash that will plunge them into debt.   Local Councils are taking it seriously, why can’t Central Government?

Wonga apparently makes more than £1 Million profit each week, but in 2012 gave just £10,000 to each of three charities.  This at a time when 1,000 PER DAY were apparently downloading the Wonga app onto their iPhones.

I’ve had enough.  I can’t get my head round it.  Gideon had his budget yesterday, he had ample opportunity to address the crisis known as Payday loans, but I didn’t hear them mentioned once.

It’s a good job we’re All In This Together.