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
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.