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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The Balance Of Probabilities

Balance of probabilities is the standard of proof required in all civil cases (and Disciplinary Hearings). It basically means that to win you need to convince the judge/Chairperson that your case is 51% likely to be true. i.e. your story only has to be slightly more plausible than the other side’s story.

This can be contrasted with a criminal case where the standard is beyond reasonable doubt, which is very near to 100% certainty before the defendant can be found guilty.

What the hell is he blathering on about? I hear you ask.

Well he’s blathering on about Ex PC James Patrick’s series of ‘Cathartic Blogs’.  James has had a bit of ‘Unfinished Business’ and he’s now taken the opportunity to dump all that baggage, free himself from the shackles, and hopefully move on, rebuilding the lives of himself and his family.

But allow me to be mischievous for a minute and take a peek at James’ blogs;

The first one was

Withholding Evidence From Parliament

In this blog James alleges that a Senior Police Officer Suppressed Evidence On Crime Figures
The Commander of the Directorate of Professional Standards refused permission to present Parliament with evidence of the manipulation of police statistics.  Commander Gibson apparently refused James’ request to appear before the Home Affairs Select Committee to provide evidence of ‘number fudging’.  Why was that do you think?

Next we have

Use of Temperature in Interviews

in which James relates how  Met Police Using Degrading Interview Techniques:
The Directorate of Professional Standards are using high temperatures and dishonesty to pressurise police officers under investigation.

“In an interview room on the 21st floor, adjacent to the entrance of the male changing rooms, me and my Federation Representative found ourselves in a box room, where the temperature exceeded 28 degrees.”  “The interviewing officers, a Constable and Sergeant from the Directorate of Professional Standards told me that there was a “heating fault which had been reported”, ”  There is a witness to this, the Federation Representative.

“Later in the year, a family member made a Freedom of Information Act request to the Met police, asking what heating faults had been reported and resolved in that room, a month either side of my interview. The Met responded, after an internal review – first having missed the statutory deadline for reply – stating that no heating faults had been reported or recorded during the entire period. This was confirmed a second time, to my legal representatives, in December 2013.”

I have read the relevant Freedom of Information request, and the Met’s response.  James’ account is accurate, they recorded no heating fault despite the assurances of the DPS officers conducting the interview.

#3 goes like this

Deliberately Witheld Disclosure

Police Whistleblower Accused Of Fraud After Discovering Witheld Documents:

Written records of management meetings, which the Met denied had taken place, were discovered and spurious accusations of dishonesty were made by officers involved after the alarm was raised.  The events contained within this blog just left me speechless, a rare occurrence I can assure you.  Did James offer to repay the money at the first opportunity having been asked so to do. Yes!!  Did he commit any wilful, dishonest act in order to bring about this over-payment?  Seemingly not.

#4

‘Pissing Off’ Superiors

Police Officer Put ‘Noses Out Of Joint’ By Exposing Sham Crime Figures:
Crime statistics whistleblower went to Parliament after a meeting in Scotland Yard in which he was told that he risked ‘pissing off’ superiors by continuing to report his concerns about the recording of sexual offences. So James risked pissing off ‘superiors’ by exposing the truth? How does that work then? Surely these so-called ‘superiors’ should be big enough and ugly enough to survive the TRUTH? Wouldn’t you think?

#5

Procurement Fraud

 Metropolitan Police Covered Up Smartwater Procurement Fraud:
Scotland Yard breached its own procurement procedures yet found itself innocent, while senior officers delivered briefings saying they were covering up potential offences by the force.  With James’ consent I have discussed this with a retired Auditor of some note. He/She more or less agrees with James’ take on the situation and points out that at the very least there is a clear Conflict of Interests, and that it is not the first time that the Met has had similar issues.

Finally;

Conflict and Intimidation

Met Police Used Scare Tactics Against Whistleblower And Family:
After he had given evidence to a Parliamentary Select Committee about the manipulation of police crime figures, uniformed officers were sent to the family home to ‘rattle their cages’.  Having lodged grievances against one or more members of the DPS staff, James received this text one day “Can you let me know whether you are both ok and that you have received the email I sent you? James R and I have both tried to call you but got no reply. Simon Laurence has asked me to set up a welfare check to your home address if I don’t hear from you shortly”.

  “The Met requested that Essex officers attended my home, stating that they had tried to contact me several times, and were concerned about my welfare as there had been ‘developments’ in my working arrangements which may ‘have caused him some distress’. Uniformed officers, in a marked police vehicle, attended my home at quarter to nine in the evening, while my wife and I were watching television and our children were asleep upstairs”.

My reaction to this is short and blunt.  Please fill the Comments section below with any other instances where an officer facing Disciplinary Proceedings has been ‘fortunate’ enough to receive a Welfare Visit at his Home Address from a neighbouring Force at 9 o’clock in the evening?  Plenty of space available, fill your boots.

So, on the Balance of Probabilities, have the Met been Bang Out Of Order?  Have they pursued a Disciplinary matter diligently, or have they tried to use their power and might to wield the sledgehammer that would crack the walnut?  Don’t forget, Balance of Probabilities, not Beyond A reasonable Doubt.

I find the case proved and order that the Met pays ex PC James Patrick substantial financial compensation.

Court adjourned.

More Than One Way To Skin A Cat

There most certainly is.

If you live and work in the UK, at, say, maybe somewhere like the Met for example, you could be what they like to call a ‘Whistleblower’.  You can report wrongdoing, corruption, unacceptable practices, maybe even dodgy #Crimestats to your management, the bosses, those people that have taken the place of Leaders in the Met.  In return you can get shafted, publicly maligned, bullied, humiliated, forced to the point of taking your employer to a Tribunal only to be deprived by them of all your income.  I have it on good authority that things like that happen occasionally. Allegedly.

Or you could do it the Irish way. No this is not a Paddy joke, bear with me, read on.

Irish barrister Sean Guerin conducted an investigation into claims of corruption and malpractice in the Garda after allegations by Garda Whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

The report vindicates Sgt McCabe, but finds that Garda Síochána and former minister for justice Alan Shatter failed in their duties to properly investigate matters raised by Sergeant McCabe.

The report  says that a comprehensive commission of investigation is “desirable in the public interest” to ensure “continuing confidence in the institution of An Garda Síochána and the criminal justice system”.

Responding to the report, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that a root and branch analysis of the policy and practice of the administration of justice in Ireland is now needed. Mr Kenny said the Dail would debate the content of the Guerin report next week and he would welcome the contributions of all members.

This is not just about politics, it is about getting it right for the people of our country, for the citizens, for the next generation, for everybody to have integrity, belief and faith in the Garda Siochana, in the accountability, in the transparency in the way it is run,” he said.

Sgt McCabe expressed his thanks to Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin for taking on his case and forwarding his file outlining his concerns over garda conduct to Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Mr Guerin found that the “overall impression given by the internal Garda investigative process was that complaints or matters of concern were put through a process of filtration or distillation so that, by the end of the process, any matter of concern had been removed as a form of impurity, and only what was good was found to remain.”   Maybe that sounds familiar to some of you, I don’t know.

You can read the full press report here.

There is/was a campaign in the Met called the Do It Right campaign.  Come on MPS – Do It Right

Open Letter To All Serving Police Officers

At the very least all Constables.

You will doubtless be aware that Constable James Patrick of the Metropolitan Police Service is less than one week away from his resignation date, having ‘blown the whistle’ on the way Crime Figures have been manipulated, certainly within the Met.

He has been hounded out of a job he loved, and I do mean loved, he was passionate about it, because he told the truth and showed the Met up, exposing their crooked practices.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe can say what the hell he pleases, but James was right and I, together with thousands of other retired Met officers, knows he was right.  I joined in 1972 and it was common-place then.  I can’t speak for your Force, I only have experience of the Met, but trust me everything James said to the Public Administration Select Committee and elsewhere was correct.

To validate James I will be giving examples shortly of the sort of practices went on that Hogan-Who and his senior management claim they know nothing about, even though Lord Stevens no less, acknowledges it.

The purpose of this letter is this.  I am fully aware that as serving Police Officers you may well feel that you cannot comment on this case.  I understand that.

You probably feel that you cannot openly express any support for James. I understand that too.

I’m not even going to ask you to agree that fiddling the figures goes on your Force.

I’m asking you for 25 PENCE.

James has told me roughly how much his legal fees will be for his Employment Tribunal, about the same as a House of Commons Barrista earns I believe.

But if every serving Constable in England could give at least 25 pence that will cover it.  All donations are anonymous.  We obviously see the details of who has sent it but those details remain confidential to us.  There are only 2 of us involved in raising funds James, I’m retired and the other man has never been a Police Officer, or civvie, so they’ll need a warrant to get anything at all out of us.

You don’t have to make a comment, you don’t have to go public, just quietly click on the link below and donate.

If you check back through my previous blogs you will see that 3 Peers of the Realm have publicly come out in support of James, and Baroness Jenny Jones is even skirmishing with Mayor Boris in an attempt to resolve the latest nonsense.

BREAKING NEWS – I have largely solved the problem of Paypal fees reducing the donations. For people who already have a Paypal Account, are willing to create one, the solution is this.

From within your opening screen (after logging in to your account) choose Send Money

Send it to the following email address

justice4pcpatrickAToutlookDOTcom (see what I did there?)

Enter the amount in GBP you wish to send

Click on “I’m sending money to family or friends” This option should be free of charges unless you pay by Credit Card and the money ends up in exactly the same account as if you had pressed the Donate Button.

A little more complicated and it only works for Paypal account holders but every fee that we can reduce is more for the Fighting Fund

I thank you

Please do it for James. #Justice4PCPatrick

THIS FUND IS NOW CLOSED

 

Thank you

#Justice4PCPatrick–The Update

As many of you will know Friday saw a small campaign launched, designed to raise the profile of James Patrick’s concerns about his treatment by the Met.

Within a very short space of time I managed to rustle up 50+ retired or former Met Police officers, all of whom were concerned about James’ treatment to stand up and be counted and append their names to an open letter which was sent to the media and assorted politicians. 50+ people who, a few days ago, didn’t know James or weren’t necessarily familiar with the full details of his case.

I know she’s going to kill me for this, but I really must (and want to) thank Sharon Birch for stepping in and volunteering to draft the letter, collate the addresses to send it to, send it off and monitor any replies.  She did a fantastic job and I probably couldn’t have done it without her.  Although I’ve only ‘known’ her a few days now I think I will quite happily call her ‘friend’.

Anyway, the disappointing bit is that, at the time of writing, not one of the news agencies has picked it up and run a story on it, not even James’ local rag or national papers that have shown an interest previously.  I don’t know why, maybe there were too many other more important news items to justify them publishing it. Who knows? Is it just a little bit sinister that not one of them showed any interest?

But there was some good news.  Through the strenuous efforts of a friend contact was made with Baroness Jenny Jones who picked up on it and she’s going to write/talk to Boris about James’ case and she publicly described the Met’s stance as perverse and biased. She also managed to get confirmation from the Met Fed that they will be funding his Discipline Hearing if it goes ahead, and she then put out a Tweet asking for any HR lawyers who might be willing to advise or act for James at his Tribunal. Not free of charge yet, but it’s a start.

Whether it be from Jenny Jones or our other activities some lawyers have come forward and other folk have contacted us to give us details of lawyers who might be able to assist.  This information has all been passed on to James.

My final update for today concerns donations. I’m not going to beat you round the head, doing a Geldof, I’m just going to mention one kind donor, a member of the public,  on Friday.  The identity of that person will remain confidential as will the amount, what is noteworthy is the message that came with it (yes I have got the donor’s written consent in triplicate to include it);

Hi there, massive apologies for not replying sooner. I’ve just read Alan’s blog and wanted to let you know that as much as I respect James’ wishes to not benefit by blowing the whistle, I don’t see why he and his family should be punished for it either. I want the money I have donated to go to James, to be used in any way he needs, whether that’s going towards his mortgage, food, bills, studies, fags, I don’t care. His honesty, for the sake of us the public, has cost him his job and his treatment at the hands of the MPS has been shameful. Please assure him I want him to use the money for him and his family, I give it freely to them with my undying gratitude and respect.”

I have already thanked that donor individually and it is not my intention to embarrass them, just to highlight the fantastic attitude that exists in certain quarters.

If you are reading this and you are a retired Met officer who has not already added your name and you would like to, please get in touch and we’ll add your name to any future mailshots that we might do. Nothing specific is planned at the moment but who knows what the Met might do next that we’ll want to write about. 50 is a good number but there are THOUSANDS of us out there, come and join us, or spread the word.  We are also grateful for any support from Constabulary officers, but for obvious reasons the emphasis must be on retired.

I think it is quite inconceivable that the Met SMT wouldn’t have heard about what was happening on Friday, and I’m not saying that they should have been quaking in their boots, but even Bernie the Ostrich cannot deny that there is growing support out there from people who’ve been there. done it, walked the walk, and KNOW what has been happening.  There is also incredible support from some politicians and MANY members of the public. And we don’t like the attitude that the Met is showing to one of it’s own. Sadly this seems to be the SOP now for dealing with anyone who challenges the organisation.

It needs to end.

What The Flying **** Does The Met Think It’s Doing?

I should think you’ve all heard by now the latest sorry chapter in the James Patrick saga.

More Disciplinary proceedings. Why?

I know what for. Appearing on BBC’s The One Show and giving a radio interview on Five Live without the Job’s authority. Under the circumstances, who would actually have granted that authority?  Yes, I know James is still a serving Police Officer and as such is still subject to the discipline regs etc until the day he ceases to be employed by the Met, but is this really Gross Misconduct? Is this really a sackable offence?

I have frequently used the word VINDICTIVE in relation to the way in which the Met have pursued James. I have heard other people use the same word, and then this evening I read a Channel 4 news item that suggested that the Met wanted to sack James rather than allow him to resign in order to put him on the newly formed list of officers who have been “Struck Off”‘

Now that’s VINDICTIVE.

I have received a lot of messages from serving and former Police Officers, all of whom have supported James, and offered various kinds of help and/or advice, but one thing rang out loud and clear.

This is a course of conduct designed primarily to shut James up.  Demoralise him. Starve him. Isolate him. Screw with his future career prospects. It took DPS 18 months to prepare his last Disciplinary case, are they really going to get one ready in under 3 weeks? That would be a first.

An element of revenge is also incorporated I am sure.

The Home Office Document entitled “Home Office Guidance, Police Officer Misconduct, Unsatisfactory Performance and Attendance Management Procedures” contains the following;

2.3 The misconduct procedures aim to provide a fair, open and proportionate method of dealing with alleged misconduct. The procedures are intended to encourage a culture of learning and development for individuals and/ or theorganisation.
2.46 The investigation into the complaint must be proportionate having regard to the nature of the allegation and any likely outcome (see also IPCC statutory guidance).

Twice the word PROPORTIONATE was used. Is what has happened to James Patrick in the past couple of days PROPORTIONATE? I suggest not.

I have heard from two previous Police Whistleblowers. It didn’t end well for either of them. Both describe a series of events more or less mirroring James’ experience. One even got to the point of contemplating suicide but, thankfully, retreated from that particular course of action.

I have lost count of the number of former officers that have contacted me who are willing to testify that James is telling the truth about #crimestats and recount their experiences of how it’s done. If you want their details James I’ll pass them on to you.

Not one of these people has said that James is wrong, not one has said that James is not telling the truth, and not one person has ever contradicted my use of the word ‘honourable’ in respect to James.

James has his next appearance at the Employment Tribunal soon and after that he will no doubt make some decisions as what to do next.

Now James has to learn some new skills. First he has to learn some Employment Law and how to present his own case to the ET, but also has to learn to survive the onslaught that the Met are heaping on him. They are surely trying to crush him. Aren’t they?

I’m sure James is strong enough to overcome, but spare a thought for his family. Do they deserve this? I served the Met for 30 good years and held my head up high, but I am ASHAMED of what they have become. I no longer recognise them as the same organisation I was part of.

James has previously been accused of undermining public confidence in the police service. Well I would dare to say that this with-hunt combined with other, well-publicised issues has led to the Metropolitan Police itself undermining public confidence in the Police Service, across the entire country.

James can hold his head up high.

Can Sir Bernard Hogan-Who?

Just what is the Met trying to achieve?

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The Truth Has A Habit Of Emerging When Least Convenient

I was sitting in Angry Towers this morning mulling over recent events and it occurred to me that one of the biggest problems we have at the moment is TRUTH.

I most certainly don’t have a problem with truth at all, in fact I frequently urge that the truth be told, as in the ongoing #Crimestats disgrace.  The problem with the truth is that it refuses to be buried, it keeps on popping it’s head up shouting “I’m over here” at the most inconvenient times. If you’re really unlucky it will leap up and bite yer bum.

In the past few months and years we have had several instances of the truth getting in the way of a good story.

Crimestats – I won’t bore you too much with that, it’s still current, but even Bernie Hogan-Who admitted that there was a truth to James Patrick’s revelations and that it needed to be heard.  It needed to be heard so much that, instead of making James part of the Working Party studying and rectifying the problem, they forced him out of his chosen career. I for one want to hear the TRUE situation with Crime Figures, not a manipulated version to suit the bonus culture which seems to have crept in to some senior officers careers.

Interestingly I refound this:- Tom Winsor (NEVER a Police Officer), who  is leading an inquiry into crime statistics, told the HASC committee he was in no doubt it would uncover “some fiddling of the figures”.  Lord Stevens (previous Met Commissioner) said “fiddling of figures” has been going on since he joined the police. A slight difference there.

The Lawrence & Morgan enquiries– the truth that at least one corrupt officer may have compromised one or both of these murder investigations making it difficult or impossible to secure a just conviction.

The Blakelock Investigation – His murder was followed by three extraordinary police investigations. The first, headed by Det Chief Supt Graham Melvin, resulted in the prosecution of three youths, and three men. But the tactics were described in court as having more in “common with a witch-hunt of the 17th century than an orthodox attempt to solve a murder” after youths were questioned without legal representatives.

Without forensic evidence or CCTV pictures, it relied on confessions and witness statements. “You ain’t got enough evidence,” one of the accused and the alleged ringleader, Winston Silcott, was alleged to have told the senior officer during an interview. “Those kids will never go to court. You wait and see. No one else will talk to you. You can’t keep me away from them.”

Silcott, Mark Braithwaite and Engin Raghip were convicted of murder but scientific tests later revealed that the notes from the key interview with Mr Silcott – which were not routinely recorded – had been tampered with. Based on the findings, the so-called “Tottenham Three” were cleared in 1991, reigniting feelings of resentment and mistrust between the police and the black community.

A second innovative murder inquiry, headed by Commander Perry Nove from an outside force the following year, offered lifetime immunity to witnesses who were “kickers” in the attack rather than “stabbers” if they cooperated with police. But  the Nove inquiry did not lead to anyone being charged over the killing on the advice of a senior barrister. The inquiry ended when Det Chief Supt Melvin and another senior investigator, Det Insp Maxwell Dingle, were put on trial for allegedly tampering with a witness statement. They were cleared by a jury.

Hillsborough – an independent panel laid bare a cover-up which attempted to shift the blame for the tragedy onto its victims. It revealed operational failures as well as the fact that the victims were not exceptionally drunk, as was originally suggested, and around half could have survived.

The list goes on and on, I am not going to document them all here.  What screams out loud and clear is this;

There are laws and procedures for dealing with all investigations on every scale.  If they are followed, you may not get the result you are after, but the truth will not pop up and bite you in the arse when you are least expecting it.  Let truth be your friend, let it work FOR you, not AGAINST you.

integrity non negotiable