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BEXLEY COUNCIL REVISES ITS CONSTITUTION
As part of its calculated act of defiance towards the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles’ wish for greater openness and transparency in Local Government, Bexley council bans a number of legitimate activities and takes steps to impede questioning the council. Among them is that anyone who asks the council a formal question must agree to their name and home address being published on the council’s website. In a minor act of retaliation this website announces it will publish every councillor’s address. They are already a matter of public record but cannot be found all in one place.
17th May 2011
A REQUEST TO BEXLEY COUNCIL
A full list of addresses proves difficult to find so Mr. Elwyn Bryant phones Bexley council seeking to take up his legal right to inspect the Register of Members’ Interests. Mr. Chris Loynes, the then Head of Members’ Services makes an appointment for the following Friday.
20th May 2011
REGISTER OF MEMBERS’ INTERESTS INSPECTION
At 2pm Elwyn Bryant and Malcolm Knight begin to make handwritten notes from the Register. They are closely supervised by a council officer who is alerted to several inconsistencies and inadequacies within the Register. They leave at 4pm and on the way out exchange the briefest of friendly words with Mr. Dave Easton, Chris Loynes’s deputy.
21st May 2011
OBSCENE BLOG GOES ON LINE
Yesterday’s visit to the council office together with earlier events is blogged by someone who knows all the details. Someone who must have a very direct connection with Chris Loynes and Bexley council.
The blog has been made available for reference but requires a user name and password to hide it from search engines and protect against unintentional discovery. The user name is teresaandwill and the password is mustknow.
29th May 2011
For no very good reason Malcolm Knight types his own name plus Bexley into Google. The first item on the resultant list is www.malcolmknight.blogspot.com which upon examination proves to be full of homophobic obscenities and a photograph of Elwyn Bryant.
The style is one of impersonation of Malcolm Knight and was posted to the web at 08:50 the day after Elwyn and Malcolm had left the council offices at 4pm and provides a totally false and obscene description of that visit.
In another paragraph the blog author details a visit to the Cinema Car Park by Malcolm Knight and Nicholas Dowling in similar scurrilous terms. It makes reference to another Bexley blogger known as ‘Olly Cromwell’.
Nicholas had seriously questioned the veracity of cabinet member Peter Craske’s accounting when proposing a tripling of Controlled Parking Zone charges and Craske’s attempts to fool the public with invented figures were published on this website. Malcolm and Nicholas’s visit to the car park to take photographs must have been picked up on CCTV. Cabinet member Peter Craske was in charge of Bexley’s CCTV system at the time.
30th May 2011
ELWYN BRYANT INFORMED
Elwyn Bryant is notified of developments by email. The content of the blogspot makes it absolutely certain that the source of the information must be a senior member of Bexley council, a senior officer or a foolhardy associate. MPs are informed and offer advice.
1st June 2011
Malcolm Knight meets members of the Bexley Council Monitoring Group (of which Elwyn is a member) to discuss options. It is decided to alert the council leader Teresa O’Neill and the chief executive Will Tuckley and formulate a complaint to the police.
On the same day the obscene blogger compounds his criminal activities by adding another entry to his blog.
3rd June 2011
BEXLEY COUNCIL ALERTED
Just as the council’s contact centre is closing for the weekend, letters are handed in complaining about the Obscene Blog. From Elwyn Bryant to Teresa O’Neill and Malcolm Knight to Will Tuckley.
6th June 2011
BLOG CONTENT DISAPPEARS
It is assumed that on this Monday morning Teresa O’Neill and Will Tuckley receive their letters. It is not known whether they had to interrogate councillors to discover the identity of the author or whether they knew the culprit already, but later the same day the content of the Obscene Blog is removed, leaving just the basic Google blogspot template.
8th June 2011
POLICE PROVIDE A CRIME NUMBER
After many references to their senior officers and an initial attempt to reject the crime report against Bexley council, two PCSOs accept the complaint and having read of the allegations of homosexuality proceed to register Elwyn and Malcolm as living at the same address. This is corrected before any harm is done.
9th June 2011
WILL TUCKLEY REACTS
Malcolm Knight receives a letter from chief executive Will Tuckley that the matter is so serious he has referred it to the police. It later transpires that at no time did he ever follow up his crime report or make any attempt to check on police progress making his professed concern look like a charade.
14th June 2011
WILL TUCKLEY DOESN'T REACT
Malcolm Knight emails Will Tuckley asking what he did beyond getting the Obscene Blog taken down. He doesn’t reply. Much later, under FOI, the council claims to have not been in any way involved in removal of the Obscene Blog’s content within hours of them being informed about it.
7th July 2011
POLICE VISIT COUNCIL OFFICES
DCI Alison Funnell and DI Neil Thomas visit Will Tuckley in his office and tell him they consider the crime report relating to the Obscene Blog to be a tit for tat response to Will Tuckley and others’ [false] accusations of harassment. DI Thomas says there are no leads to proceed with. Will Tuckley subsequently denies any investigation into the crime took place.
5th August 2011
TAKEN SERIOUSLY OR TAKEN FOR A RIDE?
Teresa Pearce MP emails Malcolm Knight to advise that James Brokenshire MP had told her that he had been assured by CS Stringer that the crime was being investigated seriously.
23rd August 2011
THE END OF THE ROAD
Malcolm Knight and Elwyn Bryant receive identical unsigned letters from Bexleyheath police to say the investigation is at an end because their various investigations had revealed nothing and there is no trace of the blog left on the web. The latter is blatantly untrue, the blog, albeit with the rude words removed is still sitting on Google’s servers and continues to do so for another 3½ months.
3rd September 2011
LETTER TO CS STRINGER, BOROUGH COMMANDER
Malcolm Knight writes to the Borough Commander to bring to his attention the fact that some of the assertions made in the unsigned letter dated 23rd August could not be true.
6th September 2011
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION
Malcolm Knight makes an FOI request seeking the dates of the claimed various investigations. It is promptly refused under a perverse ‘Personal Information’ excuse.
9th September 2011
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION APPEAL
An Appeal that dates are clearly not ‘Personal’ is rejected, the excuse being escalated to ‘Not in the Public Interest’. The Information Commissioner subsequently refuses to intervene. Corruption runs deep.
16th September 2011.
Darren Williams as Acting Borough Commander writes to say that CS Stringer has asked for the case to be reviewed by a Detective Inspector.
Malcolm Knight‘s MP had taken an interest in the obscene blog from the day it was discovered, Elwyn Bryant’s was also watching developments and Teresa Pearce made her interest clear to Borough Commander Dave Stringer. It is believed, but without absolute confirmation, that James Brokenshire did the same at various times during the early Autumn months.
A HIGH LEVEL LEAKER
A council informant began to exploit the newly introduced anonymous contact system provided on the Bonkers website. He appears to hold a senior position and has a keen interest in tracking the author of the Obscene Blog.
26th October 2011
CHRIS LOYNES FINGERED
An anonymous council informant (†) suggests that the Head of Members’ Services should be considered to be a prime suspect as the obscene blogger. Mr. Loynes had by then gone sick, apparently suffering from stress.
There are also references to the Tory elite being versed in “the black arts” and that they are cultivating Eric Pickles to ensure they get away with defying his wishes. A photograph is offered as ‘proof’, and finally the assertion that Bexley council is run by a “gay mafia”.
5th November 2011
COMMUNICATIONS TEAM FINGERED
An anonymous council informant says that a member of the Tory Communication Team is responsible for the Obscene Blog.
8th November 2011
An anonymous informant gets to be very specific about who is the obscene blogger. All the circumstantial evidence fits and this website begins to drop hints.
22nd November 2011
NOT A CRIME OR A SERIOUS CRIME? TAKE YOUR PICK
At a meeting of Bexley Community Police Engagement Group there is much confusion on display by senior personalities present about Bexley council’s Obscene Blog. A Bexley councillor says it is not in his opinion a crime. James Cleverly, London Assembly Member says that the Bonkers blog is the one that is “well out of order” and Chief Inspector Ian Broadbridge when questioned about the Bonkers blog talks about another blog entirely, Olly Cromwell’s.
To everyone’s surprise Chief Superintendent Stringer announces that the investigation into Bexley council’s Obscene Blog is ongoing. The previous official advice had come three months earlier to the effect that it was all over.
2nd December 2011
In a letter on another subject (the issue of a harassment warning to Malcolm Knight following untruthful comments to the police by council leader Teresa O’Neill and chief executive Will Tuckley) Chief Inspector Tony Gowen suggests a meeting.
11th December 2011
Malcolm Knight accepts in writing the offer of a meeting.
14th December 2011
BLOG TEMPLATE DISAPPEARS
The remnants of the obscene blog were being monitored every few days and on 14th December it is noticed that the subdomain name is no longer registered on Google’s server. In retrospect it seems possible that this was due to belated police contact with Google.
12th January 2012
Chief Superintendent Stringer confirms by email that a meeting is to be arranged. Date not yet known.
29th January 2012
CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE DISCREDITED
At a meeting of interested parties it becomes apparent that the obscene blog related information provided by an anonymous informant within Bexley council is seriously wide of the mark. It is near certain that the names provided were absolutely wrong and no more oblique reference to them is made on this website.
10th February 2012
A MEETING WITH CHIEF SUPERINTENDENT DAVE STRINGER
Malcolm Knight, Elwyn Bryant, Teresa Pearce MP and a senior paid official from Victim Support’s HQ meet CS Stringer, his acting deputy CI Tony Gowen and the newly appointed to the case Detective Sergeant. Very little is learned except that the investigation is at a sensitive stage, that the issue of the Harassment Letter Form 9993 to Malcolm Knight and the Obscene Blog is directly linked and that we must be patient. “Trust us” is the term repeatedly used.
Malcolm Knight was asked not to refer to the matter on his blog because the suspect may be taking evasive action based on what he learns there.
It was agreed that the new DS would keep Elwyn Bryant and Malcolm Knight informed of developments at monthly intervals.
15th March 2012
FILE GOES TO CROWN PROSECUTION SERVICE
At one of their scheduled meetings CS Stringer tells Teresa Pearce MP that “investigations are complete and a file has been sent to the CPS”. Ten days later the investigating DS tells Malcolm Knight and Elwyn Bryant the same thing.
18th April 2012
The DS advises that the CPS has returned the file and it is assumed that more investigation is required.
17th May 2012
MEETING THE POLICE COMMISIONER
Elwyn Bryant attends a ‘Meet the Commissioner’ meeting at Sidcup school. The new Borough Commander Victor Olisa is also in attendance. Elwyn tells Commissioner Hogan-Howe of Bexley council’s Obscene Blog and the slow progress and inadequate communication until recently.
He is referred to the new Commander after the meeting.
Hogan-Howe says if Elwyn is not satisfied after a week he should refer the matter to the Commissioner’s Office.
After the meeting Chief Superintendent Olisa takes notes and contact details from Elwyn.
28th May 2012
The DS advises that he intends to apply for a search warrant.
29th May 2012
Malcolm Knight emails the DS warning him that applying for a search warrant at Bexley Magistrates’ Court is tantamount to tipping off Bexley council that action is imminent. Too many of the magistrates are councillors. The DS does not reply.
30th May 2012
NEW COMMANDER PHONES
Borough Commander Victor Olisa telephones Elwyn Bryant to tell him that a search warrant would be applied for and would be executed at some time within the next month. Elwyn expresses his dismay at the further delay and Olisa tells him he had “not been fair” in complaining of delay to the Commissioner Hogan-Howe. Elwyn reminds the Commander that the crime is now a year old and should have been solved within weeks. Olisa admits he didn’t know it was that old.
7th June 2012
COMPLAINT TO COMMISSIONER HOGAN-HOWE
Malcolm Knight and Elwyn Bryant decide to take up the Commissioner’s invitation to let him know if Commander Olisa fails to satisfy them. His laid back attitude and the failure of the DS to reply to Malcolm Knight’s email about the search warrant is seen as the last straw.
The complaint concentrates on the previous Commander apparently doing nothing to investigate the case until MPs took an interest. Before that the impression given was that his friends in Bexley council must be protected at all costs. MPs lend their support to the complaint.
12th June 2012|
COMMISSIONER HOGAN-HOWE REPLIES
The Commissioner writes to say that he has referred the complaint to his Directorate of Professional Standards.
21st June 2012
The DS advises that “an individual has been arrested, interviewed and released”. Malcolm Knight puts forward his theory to the DS that there may be a connection between his and Nicholas Dowling’s capture and identification on CCTV to cabinet member Peter Craske. The DS asks who Craske is and Malcolm explains that Craske is in charge of CCTV surveillance in the borough. The DS leaves Malcolm Knight convinced the connection is irrelevant and a red herring.
26th June 2012
A Labour Party insider, not an elected one, tells Malcolm Knight that Bexley Tories are saying that a councillor “is the obscene blogger” and that the News Shopper is aware of it.
27th June 2012
The News Shopper makes enquiries of Malcolm Knight but he can tell them nothing because apart from hearing rumours he knows nothing beyond the fact of an arrest.
28th June 2012
Peter Craske fails to turn up for his presentation of the Broadway Regeneration Scheme which gives rise to speculation.
29th June 2012
Mick Barnbrook of the Bexley Council Monitoring Group is informed by Bexley Council that his question that was accepted for Peter Craske at the next council meeting could no longer be put to him.
1st July 2012
CRASKE RESIGNS HIS CABINET POSITION
For “personal reasons” according to leader Teresa O’Neill.
4th July 2012
The News Shopper reports on page 4 that councillor Peter Craske has resigned his cabinet position for personal reasons. On page 7 it makes an unrelated report that a 42 year old from Sidcup was arrested on 21st June for misconduct in public office and bailed until 6th September 2012.
12th July 2012
DIRECTORATE OF PROFESSIONAL SERVICES
The DPS despite the references to MPs’ interest and possible corruption at senior level in Bexleyheath police station writes to say it has handed the case over to Bexleyheath’s Professional Standards Unit. Thus we are expected to accept subordinate officers investigating their more senior colleagues.
20th July 2012
RESPONSE TO DIRECTORATE OF PROFESSIONAL SERVICES
Malcolm Knight and Elwyn Bryant send a letter to the DPS which names five police officers working at Bexleyheath in 2011 detailing their many failures and provides evidence of their protection of Bexley council. The current investigating officer and the new Borough Commander are not included on the list.
17th August 2012
DIRECTORATE OF PROFESSIONAL SERVICES CHANGES TACK
The DPS phones to say they agree that the case is not appropriate for investigation by Bexleyheath police. An exchange of emails over the following two weeks sees an agreement to formally investigate three Bexleyheath police officers for their alleged role in attempting to bury or otherwise fail to investigate the obscene blog in 2011.
6th September 2012
POLICE PRESS OFFICE STATEMENT
Press sources reveal that the individual reported by the News Shopper on 4th July has been bailed again to 16th October 2012.
7th September 2012
Some websites (not all local) report that councillor Peter Craske is involved in a “police probe”. Malcolm Knight advises those that he is able to contact that he has not himself received any confirmation or even a hint that this might be true. Most websites withdraw the comment.
7th September 2012
ENQUIRY TO BEXLEYHEATH POLICE
Malcolm Knight emails the investigating police officer to ask if he has anything new to report. He says his suspect has been bailed until October - no precise date specified. When pressed for a reason for the delay he refuses absolutely to give one except that “the investigation is being progressed”. The response also makes a vague reference to additional suspects. The police refuse to elaborate.
10th September 2012
NEWS SHOPPER NAMES CRASKE
The News Shopper’s website reports that councillor Peter Craske is at the centre of a police probe. They do not say what it is about. A link with Bexley council’s obscene blog remains unproven.
17th October 2012
SERIOUS CRIMES UNIT - THEIR NEW STATEMENT
The suspect/s were rebailed on 16th October 2012. No new date was given but unlike previous police statements this one comes from a higher ranked officer in their Serious Crimes Unit.
17th October 2012
MORE OBSCENITIES WRITTEN
Just one day after the suspect was rebailed and councillor Craske was observed arrogantly strutting around the council chamber for the first time in many months, someone felt confident enough to send two web form generated messages to Malcolm Knight. The content once again referred to homosexual practices.
19th October 2012
OBSCENITIES INDEPENDENTLY TRACED
An internet trace initiated by Malcolm Knight revealed an Internet Protocol (IP) address for the source of the two obscene messages. An enquiry to Réseaux IP Européens (RIPE) produced a real name and address. Parsons Brinckerhoff Ltd, the company with which councillor Craske had placed four million pounds’ worth of business.
The police were informed.
25th October 2012
SUSPECT RELEASED FROM BAIL CONDITIONS
Police announce: “The investigation continues”.
29th October 2012
NEW CRIME REGISTERED
Bexleyheath police accept a report on the two recent obscene messages as a new crime linked to the original obscene blog.
4th November 2012
Elwyn Bryant writes to Borough Commander Victor Olisa putting before him 11 questions about the case. Olisa does not reply.
15th November 2012
Elwyn Bryant writes to Borough Commander Victor Olisa requesting a meeting.
21st November 2012
Chief Superintendent Victor Olisa of Bexleyheath police refuses Elwyn Bryant’s request for a meeting and makes no effort to answer his questions of 4th November 2012.
It was assumed at the time that the anonymous references to the Obscene Blog were all coming from the same source but as such communications arrive totally devoid of any identifying information it could not be an absolute fact. In July 2012 information was received which strongly suggested two or more sources.
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Click to read the most recent blog - Train issues. Stef versus Southeastern : 18th January