For months and even years now, ex PC James Patrick fought the law, and the law won. Whistleblower Extraordinaire, he exposed an undeniable truth, that CrimeStats were being routinely fiddled by a variety of people within the Met, and for a variety of different reasons, no doubt. Undeniable because 100s and thousands of us KNEW that he was telling the truth because we have lived through it, it was the ‘norm’.
At the end of the day it cost him his livelihood, it cost him his tranquillity, it cost him (in a manner of speaking) his reputation, because he now has a Disciplinary Finding of Guilt, which won’t exactly act as a reference if he ever decided that he wanted to rejoin the Police Service. In all the ways that matter, though, it has enhanced his personal and professional reputation immensely.
So, after a while Parliament conducted and enquiry/investigation into #CrimeStatsGate which culminated in yesterday’s news headline criticising the Met for its treatment of James. Bernard Jenkin MP told parliament ex-Met PC James Patrick was the victim of “monstrous injustice” and was “hounded” from his job.. Quite strong words really, don’t you think? Just because they are uttered with the benefit of Parliamentary Privilege doesn’t make them any less true.
“Mr Patrick had said crime figures had been manipulated and sexual offences were under-reported by 22-25%.” Errrrmm and how much have reports of Sexual Offences gone up by now? Surely there can’t be a connection? Can there?
To illustrate the enormity of James’ actions I will reproduce a selection of verbatim quotes from the transcript of PASC’s meeting yesterday;
Mrs Cheryl Gillan (Chesham and Amersham) (Con): Although I am now a proud member of the Public Administration Committee, I was not a member when the report was done. Does my hon. Friend agree that PC James Patrick’s actions were both courageous and in the public interest, and that he has done a great service to this country in ensuring that this matter is highlighted, as the Committee has done?
Mr Jenkin: My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. It is worth emphasising that under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, PC Patrick should have been afforded some protection. I will come to the position of whistleblowers later in my remarks………………………………….We found strong evidence that the police have under-recorded crime, particularly sexual crime such as rape, in many police areas. There remain wide disparities in no-crime rates—that is, where police decide that a crime did not take place—following reports of rape, for example. In January 2014, Her Majesty’s inspectorate of constabulary, on behalf of the Rape Monitoring Group, released a compendium of statistics on recorded rapes in each force over the previous five years. I invite right hon. and hon. Friends and colleagues to look at the table showing how wide the variation is among different forces across England and Wales in their no-criming of rape. According to the figures, in Lincolnshire, for example, 26% of all reported rapes were no crimed in 2012-13; by contrast, in Merseyside, only 4% were. The national average was 11.9%…………………………….The main reason for misrecording was the continued prevalence of numerical targets. ………………
Our official police witnesses, most notably the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, were somewhat defensive and seemed unready to acknowledge that their statistics were inherently flawed. Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe told us that the accuracy of data on rape and sexual offences was
“a lot better than it was, if we took it back five to 10 years.” [Well that’s alright then]……………..
even the Metropolitan Police Commissioner agrees that
“there is clearly something that PC Patrick raises that we need to get to the bottom of.”
Despite that, I can only describe the treatment of my constituent James Patrick as shameful. By doing his duty and raising the issues, he showed the highest commitment to the core policing values, but as a result he became the victim of the most monstrous injustice. He was in effect hounded out of his job, following a long period of harassment by the Metropolitan police command chain, which, I dare say, used and abused the disciplinary process to get rid of him. It does the police no credit that a whistleblower should be treated in such a way. He was, for example, accused of a conflict of interest for publishing a book about the misuse of police recorded crime statistics, even though the proceeds were paid to a police charity. In an LBC radio programme in December last year, Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said that he would meet PC Patrick. He never did so.
There is much, much more in the PASC document, but I think the above will suffice. I had never encountered Bernard Jenkin before James’ problems, but in the limited contact I have had with him he strikes me as being one of a rare breed, a decent and honourable politician. I just hope that I am not proved wrong.
So, Dear Reader, if you’re still with me at this point, just how despicable was James’ treatment at the hands of the Met? You decide.
Just a thought