Image Or Loyalty? Who Would Be A Whistleblower?

Who Would be a Whistleblower?  Not many, it takes a particular type of person.

Who would be a Whistleblower in the Met?  Not very many at all, and after the recent shenanigans I would be entirely surprised if anybody at all within the Met thought it it was worth the risk and aggravation.

After James Patrick’s stirling efforts in exposing the sham that is called Crime Statistics (amongst other things) the end result was that he felt that he had no other alternatives, so he resigned.  Baroness Jenny Jones asked Boris and The Met questions about their Whitsleblowing policies, all of which were met with wishy washy (if any) answers.  Requests to the Met under the Freedom of Information Act were either refused or responded to with confusing and contradictory answers.

Then Jenny Jones asked Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey if he could provide ONE single example of a Whistleblower in the Met feeling that it had been a ‘positive experience’.  Not one single person who exposed wrongdoing  does not feel their career was negatively impacted or that they were treated fairly despite 1,121 reports being made through its internal reporting system ‘Rightline’ in the last four years.  NOT ONE out of over 1,100 cases.

That is a damning indictment of the Met and its Management.

The Metropolitan Police is quite clearly more concerned about its image than it is with being loyal to its officers and staff, particularly those 1,121 people who put their heads above the parapet.

Craig Mackey, told the Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee that rewarding whistleblowers “is to effectively inculcate them and to provide some support around them in terms of the process around it.”  Well that all sounds a bit pink and fluffy to me.  Thick old me didn’t have a clue what ‘inculcate’ meant so I went away and looked it up.  The Oxford Dictionary defines it thus ;”Instil (an idea, attitude, or habit) by persistent instruction:“, so there you have it.

So, I ask you again, “Who would want to be a Whistleblower in the Met?”

Come to think of it, can anyone provide me with a single example where anyone in the Police Service ANYWHERE has had a ‘positive experience’ whistleblowing?

Can anyone provide me with a single experience of anybody in the Public Sector (NHS, Local Govt etc etc) that has had a ‘positive experience?

I’m here all week to take our replies, I thank you.

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Psssst….Met….How Happy Are You?

In a week which saw the Daily Fail pronounce that morale in the Police Service has never been so low, I thought I’d take a look.

The somewhat smaller print reveals that we are talking about Police Staff, but I’m sure Police Officers’ morale is not much better, however this study was based on a sample of only 3,335 people across the country.

70% of the staff surveyed  (from 999 call takers to detention officers and crime analysts) claimed that an increased workload is the main reason why they are stressed,

76% of them  have felt increasingly stressed over the last year.

Around 60% blamed job insecurity for their worries, with three quarters of those surveyed saying they have seen job cuts and redundancies in their area of work since 2010 (no surprises there then).

Almost two thirds (63%) said job cuts had hit morale, while 55% suffer from anxiety, 48% say they are demotivated and 47% suffer from insomnia.

Half had concerns about lack of support from management while 52% were worried about their pay and cost of living. A further 35% said they had a “bad” work-life balance.

I had a quick look at staff satisfaction surveys a while ago so I thought I’d take a look back myself, however, there’s so much data to plough through that I’m restricting my study to the Met, the largest single Police Force in the country.

The first thing that struck me was that having remained constant between 2007 and 2010, the questions were revised in 2011 and again in 2012, so I presume they’ll keep rewriting the questions till they get the answers they require.

There were some surprises though, to be honest, between 2007 and 2011

I am encouraged to share my ideas and suggestions has gone up from 50% to 63%

I am treated with fairness and respect has gone up from 55% to 63%.

In my team we build trust by listening and responding has gone down from 77% to 68%

In the new questions for 2011 there were some good, and some really bad responses;

I have confidence in the management team leading the organisation – 28%

I willingly do more than is normally required of me at work to help the organisation to be successful – 83%

I understand how I can contribute to the success of the organisation – 70%

I still intend to be working for the organisation in two years time – 71%

and strangely – I am optimistic about my own future here 37%

The organisation is good at retaining the right people – 16%

I get a sense of personal fulfilment from what I do – 66%

In the all new 2012 version there are some corkers

Taking everything into account, senior leaders in the MPS are doing a good job – 21%

I feel that decisions made by senior leaders in the MPS are based on true evaluation of what is best for the organisation and the communities we serve – 19%

I have trust in the senior leaders in the MPS to lead with integrity – 27%

If I contacted the MPS as a member of the public, I would be confident of receiving a good service – 34%

Processes for career development in the MPS are fair – 19%

There are many, many more psychobabble questions and answers and the responses, to be fair, are actually graded between Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree, so the figures above only represent some sort of average.

I’m guessing from the latest published survey responses that the MPS SMT are rapidly thinking up some new questions as there are some big questions there that have had poor answers.

So, on the whole, I’d say that the Met is probably 4/10 happy, maybe 5 on a good day. Could do better.

They’re Changing The Guard At Buckingham Palace

And this has naff all to do with Christopher Robin and Alice.

The senior management the Ever-So-Slightly-Unhinged Branch at New Scotland Yard have got together and finally managed to make a decision.

This decision has caused a slight uproar among Royal and Diplomatic Protection Department officers charged with guarding the Queen and her family, including high-profile members Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

Prince Charles was sufficiently miffed at learning of the proposed changes that he raised them with senior Met officers at Assistant Commissioner level.  Who is that today? Cressida’s on her bike, who knows?

An immensely powerful post ACSO, previously inhabited by some exceedingly fine folk, with the occasional moron thrown in for good measure.

In their usual manner the Met took absolutely no notice of anyone, including the future King of England, and went ahead regardless.

The Met said the move is not about cost-cutting and insists there will be no impact on the safety of the royal family. But it will affect the security of all senior royals, including the Queen, Prince Philip, Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.  [Isn’t that a tad contradictory?]

Now SO14 officers, who work very long hours, are threatening to operate under European Union 40-hour-week guidelines after some of their colleagues were bluntly informed by email that they were “no longer in post”. Nice to see that the Met is still a ‘Caring Employer’, an Investors in People Gold Award can now only be a mere formality.

The personal protection officers have been told effectively it is over to them to sort it out – what exactly does THAT mean?

Lesser Royals, such as Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, have apparently already had their security details either reduced  or removed.

A ‘senior source’ was happy to be quoted as saying “Obviously it raises serious concern about the effectiveness of the department and will have an impact on the safety of the royal family. For the first time it seems Scotland Yard is putting a price on protecting the royal family. In the past this was not even a consideration — security came first.”

In my opinion, for what it’s worth, the security of the Royal Family should ALWAYS come first, regardless of cost.  Do NSY envisage removing Personal Protection Officers from defunct Prime Ministers and Home Secretaries?  Will the Commissioner now surrender his armed driver?  I doubt that, but who knows what goes on in that strange place that NSY has become.

The Evidence I Shall Give Shall Be The Bollox, The Whole Bollox and Nothing But The Bollox

Well, it’s nothing to do with Evidence really, I just fancied the Title, but it does have an awful lot to do with BOLLOX with a a CAPITAL B.

I’ve been nice to the Met for a couple of days now, so I guess it’s time for a change, so this one’s for you…….or at least your SMT and/or Decision Makers.

I’ve been mulling for a few days now, mulling about the Met Police’s Facebook post about it’s latest Passing Out Parade. It’s a cracker.  On 14th July 2014 the 144 latest recruits Passed Out at the end of their training at…….West Ham Football Club

Passing Out

I’m sure they all felt very proud, they have survived 25 long weeks at Henditz, and as a special reward they get to Pass Out not on the Parade Square at Hendon but in a Car Park at West Ham FC.

The reason for this?

“This was only the second time the parade has been held in a public place. The break with tradition is part of the Met’s bid to open doors to it’s traditions and give members of the public the opportunity to take pride in their police service.”  Totally admirable if I believed a single word of it.

I may just have the answer, remember Henditz, and it’s fantastic Parade Square?

parade ground 1

 

Well, now it’s more like this

peel centre

So maybe a Car Park in Upton Park suddenly seems more appealing??

MPS Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, said “…..Their family and friends should be extremely proud of them all. The parade recognises their commitment and I wish them every success for the future.

“The idea for holding the parades in public originally came from Toronto and as a public police it makes sense to hold the parade from time to time for all to see.”

Nothing to do with a chuffing great Building Site then Bernie?

And why West Ham?

Serious lack of judgement there by somebody I suggest.  Does nobody do their homework any more.

Chris Hobbs (@obbsie) does, he does his homework and sometimes I get to see it, and thank you Chris for showing this particular piece:-

West Ham FC is owned by David Sullivan and David Gold.

David Sullivan has recently made it into headlines writ large for loaning £1million of West Ham’s money to a man called David Hunt. On the 4th May 2014 The Independent carried this headline:-

West Ham owner’s £1m loan to crime boss

The wealthy co-owner of a Premier League football club made a £1m loan to a company controlled by David Hunt – three months after a High Court judge named Mr Hunt as the head of an organised crime network.

David Hunt – nicknamed “Long Fella” – was officially exposed last summer in a judgment by Mr Justice Simon after the crime boss brought an unsuccessful libel action against The Sunday Times.

A catalogue of damning claims emerged during the trial, including allegations that Scotland Yard viewed Mr Hunt’s gang, which had operated with impunity for more than 20 years, as “too big” and “too dangerous” to take on. During a covert operation codenamed Blackjack, the Metropolitan Police placed bugging equipment in a car showroom, which picked up an attack by Mr Hunt in which he had slashed the face of a man named Paul Cavanagh, who had upset an associate.

Mr Justice Simon also concluded that Mr Hunt had attacked and threatened to kill Billy Allen, a property developer, in 2006. He also ruled that Mr Hunt had engaged in money-laundering.

Two months after Mr Sullivan’s company made the loan to Mr Hunt’s firm, our sister newspaper The Independent revealed a secret Metropolitan Police report – codenamed Operation Tiberius…….The report by the Met’s anti-corruption team names four Met detectives “associated” with the syndicate, one of whom is high-profile and has given evidence to Parliament. Operation Tiberius reported that corrupt officers betrayed the Met by telling the Hunt syndicate about tracking devices placed on its vehicles, leaking information about police inquiries and carrying out checks on police intelligence databases.

I don’t normally have much time for the Daily Mail but they have previously reported this:-

A vicious crime boss, his corrupt police cronies and a scandal that could have been buried for ever

As the Sunday Times revealed, three Met detectives are claiming that David Hunt, an East End businessman named by a judge last week as the head of an organised crime network, had used corrupt officers inside Scotland Yard to help him evade justice for some three decades.

Astoundingly, the Met had tried to throw the book at these three detectives who finally got onto his tail — one of whom, DCI David McKelvey, the former head of the crime squad in Newham, East London, had his career ruined and suffered a nervous breakdown as a result.

These detectives had warned Scotland Yard that Hunt had taken out a contract to kill them and that he had links to corrupt officers and council officials.

But instead, the three found themselves the target of what Mr Justice Simon called a ‘misdirected’ inquiry into baseless allegations of corruption — an inquiry which had ‘undoubtedly assisted’ Hunt in his efforts to avoid prosecution after he was arrested for blackmail, threats to kill and witness intimidation.

You can read much, much more in either or both of these items together with the Sunday Times, I apologise for the heavy use of Copy/Paste but they can tell the story so much better than I can.

The Grauniad reports the libel action like this

Criminal boss loses libel case against journalist who exposed him

David Charles Hunt appeared mild-mannered and courteous giving evidence at the high court. He felt crucified, he said, by the accusation that he was the head of a criminal gang whose associates included Terry Adams and Reggie Kray.

A series of police investigations, surveillance operations and intelligence reports on Hunt were referred to in evidence during the libel case.

One such intelligence report – Operation Houdini, dated 7 August 2006 – into Hunt, Terry Adams, the head of the Adams family, and two others, laid bare the alleged scale of Hunt’s activities.

So, to return to my Bollox, who on earth at the Met thought it was a good idea to enter into a contract with a businessman who has lent money to an alleged, if not proven, corrupter of police and head of a serious and organised crime syndicate?  Was that really your finest hour?  Were there no other football clubs available on that date.  Wembley, Spurs, Arsenal?  Any number of places in Norf Larndarn would have been more suitable and convenient I’m sure. Not Criminal but Naivety at its very best, surely?

I am in no way saying that the owners of West Ham United FC are engaged in any kind of criminal activity, but I do expect the Met to be scrupulous in its dealings with others. Mr Sullivan has seemingly entered into a business transaction with someone who has been labelled a crime syndicate boss, corrupter of police and allegedly ordered the killing of 3 police officers.  Those are the allegations, I have no idea where the truth lies, but does it seem like an appropriate transaction for the Met to enter into.

David Gold seems to have no part to play in this as far as I can see, but he was previously married to a lady called Beryl Hunt.  I have no idea if she is related to David Hunt or if it is a mere coincidence.

All I do know is, it’s Bollox.

Connect The Met–WTF?

With apologies to Bernard Rix for (almost) nicking his blog title, he’s obviously far more polite than I am.

In the last week two odd things have happened, or at least they seem odd to my warped way of thinking.

James Patrick abandoned his Employment Tribunal.  That in itself isn’t odd, but the circumstances surrounding it are.  As far as I am aware (serving officers or Police Staff please correct me if I’m wrong) the Metropolitan Police Mission Statement still adheres to the

Mission, Vision and Values of the Metropolitan Police Service policy

i.e.

we will strive to:

  • treat everyone fairly;
  • be open and honest;
  • work in partnership; and
  • change to improve. “

There’s only four items in that list, how difficult can it be to stick to them?

Ask James.

  • Treat everyone fairly – Do you think James feels that he’s been treated fairly?  I can think of many, many other people who don’t think that they’ve been treated fairly.  Whatever else Grandma B and others think of my blogs I have always championed Truth and Fairness.  I can’t say that I’ve seen an awful lot of ‘Fairness’ going around within the Met hierarchy, but I have heard many complaints of bullying, oppression, corrupt/unlawful practices.

 

  • To be Open and Honest – Ask James, has the Met been open and honest with him?  Ask anyone who regularly makes Freedom of Information requests of the Met.  I certainly haven’t encountered much Openness and Honesty.  It seems like they go to almost any lengths to avoid answering the most mundane, and reasonable, questions, and then trip over and contradict themselves, which they wouldn’t do if they’d simpley answered questions truthfully and comprehensively in the beginning.

 

  • Work in Partnership – I don’t know a huge amount about the Met’s Partnerships but one immediately springs to mind; the Trident Independent Advisory Group.  They worked with the Met for 10 years to build community trust, prevent and reduce gun crime and to ensure police adequately investigate shootings when they happen.  Then in February last year the Metropolitan Police barred former members of Trident Independent Advisory Group (IAG) without giving them any notice. The Trident Independent Advisory Group was replaced without consultation with community members who had long held police accountable. That’s working in Partnership is it?

 

  • Change To Improve – Well I can’t say I’ve seen much of that going on, there have been muttering in dark corridors and musty rooms about the need to improve, but things change very slowly at the Met, I have likened it elsewhere to trying to do an Emergency Stop in an Oil Tanker at sea.

Briefly may I return to ‘Treat Everyone Fairly”?  The absolutely perverse findings of the Misconduct Hearing against James, and the equally perverse appeal findings?  Were they ‘Fair’ by the definition of an ordinary person?

Since James submitted his Open Letter entitled Closure, I have reason to believe that he has been contacted by a Supervisory Officer within the Met offering to send the Essex Police round for a ‘Welfare Visit’ to check that he’s OK and isn’t in need of anything.  Are they ****ing serious?  It was visits from Essex Police at the instigation of the Met that added to James’ stress in the first place, and he doesn’t even work for them any more, they saw to that.   Not very ‘Open and Honest’ either really.

The second thing that struck me as odd was the advert in the press recently for a “Commissioner’s Chief of Staff”.  What is that all about?  “This critical high-profile role reports directly to Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS). With connections across government and the criminal justice sector, you’ll be one of the most visible and influential members of the Met.  “

This is then followed by loads of psychobabble such as “

We’re looking for a credible leader with expert knowledge of government, the GLA and Mayor’s Office and today’s policing challenges. You’ll be capable of managing the Commissioner’s Private Office team and a budget of £1.8m.

You’ll also be able to deal with the media; manage stakeholders; build partnerships; and handle conflict thanks to your impressive track record in external relations management. Highly articulate, with excellent negotiation skills, you’ll be politically astute and able to navigate a complex policing landscape.”

The advert is subtitled

Connect the Met

but notably the one thing it fails to mention anywhere is;

“The successful applicant will be responsible for the daunting task of repairing the massive Disconnect between the Met’s SMT and ordinary hard-working Bobbies and Police Staff”

I’ve read it several times now, and even for almost £100k I can’t find that mentioned anywhere.

Austerity?  What Austerity.  Those of you in the Met (or living/working in the Metropolis) suffering cutbacks to your frontline Police Services may well want to ask Bernie or Boris or Steve (or maybe even Apocalyptic Mr Gibbs) how this appointment works in such dire times, which are seemingly destined to continue for a few more years yet, with a new raft of cutbacks poised to be implemented from 2015.

As I said in the beginning, apologies to Bernard, but I do think the two blogs are quite easy to tell apart.

Will the last one out please turn off the lights.

If I Were Commissioner……

……….I wouldn’t be in Rome for a start, I’d have sent a deputy and would be seated in the Metropolis trying to address the myriad of crises the Met seems to be plagued with, mainly of their own making.

I’d also be ashamed, deeply ashamed, to be head of an organisation that appears to treat their staff the way it seems they do.

Public Perception. Two very important words for a large multi-discipline organisation that is seeking to rebuild its tarnished image. Two very important words that the Met seems intent on ignoring.

You can forget that I’m one of your army of ex officers Bernie, I am now the public, and my perception is that I am appalled at the treatment that appears to have been handed out to Constable James Patrick.  In fact I’m astounded that I could find myself in an appalled condition so many times in one week.

The first thing that appalled me was the publication of the Public Administration Select Committee report into #Crimestats.  Apart from confirming what some of us knew, and most of us suspected, that crime figures were being manipulated in the Met, it criticised the Met for its treatment of Constable James Patrick, the person who brought this to their attention.

PC Patrick then had his first appearance at an Employment Tribunal. Bearing in mind he’s pretty new at this, he found himself representing himself against a fully fledged Barrister employed by the Met and briefed to oppose James’ application for Interim Relief.  I’m no expert in Tribunals and Employment Law, but as I understand it, that would have protected James’ salary between his last day of employment and the full Tribunal hearing some time in September.  A few paltry thousand pounds.  Not much to pay out considering the atrocious waste of money elsewhere in the organisation. Unsurprisingly he lost that application, and had to go home and explain to his (innocent) wife and family the real consequences of that decision.

Wednesday saw his appearance on the BBC’s One Show programme.  I make no comment about PC Patrick’s contribution, others can judge that as they see fit.  What appalled me however was the effect this has clearly been having on his wife, she was distraught at one point, and why? What has SHE done that she has to suffer so?

The first appalling scenario for Friday was when James Tweeted that he had been threatened with further disciplinary action in light of his appearance on the One Show.  He’s tendered his resignation and had it accepted, so what?  Can you not take a little (justifiable?) criticism?

My jaw still hadn’t come up off the floor when James further Tweeted that minutes after the threat of further discipline he had been given the opportunity to terminate his employment earlier, be paid until his original end date, and the threat of further discipline would go away.  He accepted this kind offer.

The BBC reported this event and an unnamed spokesperson from the Met made this response;

The Met Police said they were open to criticism but had a duty to protect staff and the public from unwarranted criticism and to maintain public confidence in the police service.

Now this sounds very much like the charges laid against James in the very first instance, that he had damaged public confidence in the police service. So presumably the Met’s intention was to Fast Track a disciplinary hearing and dismiss him for Gross Misconduct before his resignation date.  It’s a pity they couldn’t be that efficient with his original case, dragging it out for approximately 18 months, for the actual hearing to last just 10 minutes. Or maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe the Met would like to put me right and tell me openly, transparently what their intentions were.  They haven’t been very open and transparent with me so far.

Am I the only person that thinks this is a bit like the Met sticking their corporate fingers up at the Public Administration Select Committee and saying “We run the Met, you don’t, we’ll deal with our officers our way. Keep out”? Or am I imagining that?

My third bout of being appalled yesterday was when it dawn on me, or least I suspect, that by terminating his employment with the Met earlier than anticipated will effectively rob him of his Appeal against the Disciplinary Findings. Or maybe I’ve got that wrong, if anyone can tell me better please?

Being appalled continued into the late evening when I was contacted by many (2 dozen or so) serving and retired Met officers who wished to express their disgust at the way the Met has treated James (or at least the way it has been reported) and wanted to know if there was a way they could contribute some money into a Fighting Fund for James. These are people who I don’t know, James doesn’t know them, but they are willing to donate towards the cost of Justice For James (#Justice4James looks quite good doesn’t it).  Humbling.

And finally, in the early hours of this morning, I was contacted by a Supervisor from within the Met. I won’t say who they are for obvious reasons, but I have told James and he has confirmed to me that he knows this person.  The exchange of views assures me that James hasn’t been deserted by everyone within the Met, some still care.

I am quite literally gobsmacked that the organisation can appear to treat one of its own this way (back to Public Perception). I have said it before, once James’ original disciplinary matter had been dealt with I am firmly convinced that the best way to approach the whole sorry #CrimeStats saga was to make James part of the Solution and not part of the Problem, but I guess it’s a bit late for that now.

Stay strong James, you have many ‘friends’.

NONE OF THE ABOVE WAS JAMES SPEAKING THROUGH ME. HE HAS HAD NO INPUT INTO THIS BLOG, IT IS ALL MY OWN THOUGHTS, MY PERCEPTION.

Met Police Stop Whistleblower’s Pay – Followed By Shock Exit Of Whistleblower

Met Police stop whistleblower’s pay – Channel 4 News.

 

PC James Patrick, who resigned from the force over his treatment at the hands of senior officers, is claiming constructive dismissal, saying he was victimised for speaking out. But, because of a “quirk of the rules”, police officers are denied the “interim relief” pay other people can draw while their employment tribunal cases are being heard, it was revealed this week.

Instead, PC Patrick will be forced to live without his salary from the date of his resignation on 6 June to the conclusion of his case, which is not expected to take place until as late as September, his local MP said during a Commons speech on Thursday. And Channel 4 News understands that lawyers acting for the Met pushed for the interim relief to be withheld from him during tribunal proceedings.

And then, just moments after reading the above I read this Tweet from James himself;

I have just received a threat of further discipline from the MPS for speaking publicly on my treatment. Regrettably, I expected little else

followed by

Minutes after receiving the threat of discipline, I’ve been offered an earlier leaving date, with payment in lieu of notice. I’ve accepted

Now I am certainly no expert on Employment Law and Tribunals but it does seem to me that the Met went in heavy-handed determined to deprive James of his income whilst he fought his ET, but that’s just my opinion.

It comes as no surprise to me that the Met have taken exception to James’ publicising his plight in a very public way on TV, but that’s no worse than a Force making a Press release about an officer that is has disciplined, frequently after an undertaking that there would be no Press Releases, e.g. Sgt Gary Watts recent dismissal.

Now they’ve ended up with a James released into the wild with a huge grudge, when it could have been oh so different. He could have been helping Bernie The Ostrich to sort out his #Crimestats muddle, but that’s not what Bernie wants.

And all this just DAYS after the Met was criticised in the PASC report for its treatment of James.  I’m glad it’s not a vindictive organisation.

Can I sit in on James’ Exit Interview please Bernie?