Is The End Game Finally In Sight?

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.

This should make you smile James:-  A new entry in Oxford English Dictionary perhaps; INTEGRITY – James Patrick, The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles:

Just a thought

 

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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?

This Is How We Know #CrimeStat Fudging Has Been Going On For Years

I do apologise to you, my reader, but I couldn’t let this go unchallenged any longer.

I very nearly said “Damn” when I saw this.

Mr Tom Winsor, Head Fred at HMIC, said in May 2013, “Police could be fiddling crime figures, watchdog warns”  Tom Winsor, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary, said he wanted to review how all the country’s police forces record crimes amid concerns officers are deliberately changing statistics.

In November last year our own Constable James Patrick, and Dr Roger Patrick (no relation) appeared before Bernard Jenkin MP’s Public Administration Select Committee and told the Committee of their concerns that Police Crime Stats were being ‘fudged’. James was brave indeed and informed the Committee EXACTLY how it was being done, Dr Roger Patrick, broadly speaking, backed up James’ allegations adding his own two pennyworth with definitions and examples of Cuffing, Stitching, Skewing and Nodding.

The other invited witnesses giving evidence that day did nothing to contradict what Messrs Patrick were stating and Committee Members were left suitably aghast that this was going on.

One very high-ranking officer, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe QPM later told the PASC that some of the claims were “worthy of further investigation” but that he needed “to hear more detail”……. “On occasion there might be some inaccuracy but I think on the whole there’s a truth there we need to hear.”

The commissioner said he had not spoken to PC Patrick about his claims but that the Met would in due course.  An internal inquiry, led by deputy commissioner Craig Mackey, has been launched into around 20 claims made by the officer.  “If he has been making these claims for a long time it would have been best they were resolved before now,” Sir Bernard added.

Tom Winsor, who as Chief Inspector of Constabulary for England and Wales, is leading an inquiry into crime statistics, told the committee he was in no doubt it would uncover “some fiddling of the figures“.

So far, so good, this much we know.

Then I was browsing t’interweb and I came across an old article in The Torygraph dated 5th December 2009.  Much of the article consisted of allegations about crime stat fudging from the very same Dr Roger Patrick, with his Cuffing, Skewing, Nodding and Stitching.

But it also contained some very damning specifics;

In one case, an offender shot at another man at close range but missed and broke a window behind his target. The offence was recorded as criminal damage rather than attempted murder.

One detective, who declined to be named, said: “Name any crime and I’ll tell you how it can be fiddled.”

Simon Reed, vice-chairman of the Police Federation, which represents front line officers, said: “This research demonstrates that senior officers are directing and controlling widespread manipulation of crime figures. “The public are misled, politicians can claim crime is falling and chief officers are rewarded with performance-related bonuses.”

Denis O’Connor, the [then] Chief Inspector of Constabulary, published an official report into the way police record violent crime and admitted the figures may be skewed by “perverse incentives” around government performance targets.

Dr Patrick found that watchdogs such as Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and the Police Standards Unit had a “general tendency to underplay the scale and nature” of gaming.

He was scathing of HMIC’s failure to tackle the problem, noting there were no examples of chief police officers being publicly criticised by inspectors for this type of crime figure manipulation.

HMIC tended privately to refer examples of widespread gaming to the Home Secretary or the police authority rather than “hold the chief constable to account” because of the risk of political embarrassment, he said.

Dr Patrick concluded that HMIC inspectors should be made accountable to Parliament rather than the Home Office, and suggested they should be drawn from other professions rather than solely from senior police ranks. [well that bit happened]

So there we are, all of this was known and brought to the attention of HMIC in 2009, and only now is their Head Fred pontificating on it and thinking that it might well happen. Professional #epicfail by HMIC? Own Goal?

Call it what you want, I call it disgraceful. I would respectfully suggest that this totally vindicates PC James Patrick and how the hell can senior officers like BHH claim that they were unaware of the scale of the problem? Founder members of the Ostrich Club? How dare any one of them criticise James Patrick and any other officers facing a similar dilemma when this has been know for YEARS.

It didn’t start in 2009, it’s been going on for decades. It isn’t helped by successive Home Secretaries introducing different Counting Rules, political interference at its worst and most irresponsible.

Even former Commissioner Lord Stevens has now weighed in to the debate.

Giving evidence to the Commons’ home affairs select committee, Lord Stevens said: “Ever since I’ve been in police service there has been a fiddling of figures. I remember being a detective constable where we used to write off crimes.”

Asked by Keith Vaz MP, the committee chairman, if it was still going on, Lord Stevens replied: “Of course it is. In certain forces.”

There’s the evidence, been going on for years, and it’s an absolute bloody disgrace that HMIC sit in judgement but appear at face value to have completely ignored Dr Patrick’s 2009 findings. Surely an enquiry into figures can’t take 5 years can it?