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Bonkers Blog October 2011

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28 October (Part 1) - Moving Heaven and Earth to protect their own

StringerTeresa O'NeillWill TuckleyThe truth about my Freedom of Information requests about Borough Commander Stringer’s failed, or possibly non-existent, investigation into the obscene blog which someone at Bexley council must have had a hand in is a little more complicated than so far revealed. Briefly, a four part FOI was submitted on 2nd September and rejected and appealed (that’s the new bit) on 6th September. Then when news of the loss came through last Friday the original, but slightly modified FOI was resubmitted under the guidance of a ‘Police FOI Support Officer’. That officer decided to split it into its four component parts. The FOI of the 2nd September and the resubmitted one (four?) may be viewed here. Only the final paragraphs differ.

The original reason for rejection was given as ‘Section 40(5) - Personal Information’, and under the guidance of the Police FOI Support Officer the FOI was amended from asking if two named individuals were interviewed and “anybody” was substituted. The objections to my FOI being “Personal’ were thereby entirely overcome to the satisfaction of the very same Support Officer who had rejected the original on 2nd September. From then on it should be plain sailing, right? But no, you reckon without the police big guns being scared witless about revealing that they did absolutely nothing about investigating a hate crime by one of their mates in Bexley council. They must be protected at all costs.

Not content with labelling the FOI ‘Personal’ the police have additionally judged, on appeal, both original and resubmitted FOIs to be not in the public interest. “The public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.”

That is not the sort of response you would expect if some (relatively speaking) nobody like Chris Loynes was the criminal is it? Should we now assume that it is an altogether bigger fish, like Will Tuckley or Teresa O’Neill perhaps? Borough Commander Stringer must be desperate to protect his paymasters if the police are persuaded at higher level that acknowledging crimes by Bexley council would not be in the public interest. The suspicion of corruption in high places within Bexley council and Bexleyheath police gets ever greater. Their conclusion that it is in the public interest to leave a criminal to operate freely within Bexley council rather than expose him or her says all you need to know about Bexleyheath police and Bexley council.

I was going to answer some of this week’s questions from readers tomorrow but I am bringing one forward. “What is my relationship with the blogger who calls himself Olly Cromwell?” Somewhat ‘arm’s length’ actually; he vigorously and justifiably protested when accused by Bexleyheath police of being a contributor to Bonkers. I would similarly protest if accused of playing any part with his website. He may quote from Bonkers but I don’t supply him with material.

Police raidI don’t know Olly’s real name and the closest I come to knowing his address is that he once blogged that he was in David Evenett’s constituency. We have never spoken on the telephone nor met, except at the Civic Centre in the days when he was allowed inside, and my longest conversation with him was at the Civic Centre where I tried to persuade him to tone down his language. Beyond that he emails me copies of his Bexley related FOI requests so that I can add them to my FOI page - and I’m afraid I frequently don’t get around to doing so.

Those who have visited his website will know that Olly doesn’t much like Bexley council or Bexleyheath police and says so in a style which is different to that you see here. As of this morning I can claim another difference between Olly and myself; I did not suffer a heavy handed police raid at 7 a.m. As it happens Olly wasn’t at home even at that hour and so the police were unable to cart him away. Gave his wife and children a fright though, but never mind that, if it saves just one councillor or official from criminal charges it must be worthwhile.

Olly has been ordered to report to Bexleyheath police station at 12:30 today to face possible harassment charges.


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