I expect you remember this one, if not read
the story so far,
it’s the case of the badly injured schoolboy and the all too familiar story of Bexleyheath
police making a complete mess of things, or deliberately misrepresenting the facts,
dependent on your point of view.
Let’s hand over to the boy’s father straight away.
Bexley Police had “messed up” their first investigation of a serious assault, according to Chief Inspector CI1. You can take a look at last week’s report and make up your own mind about whether CI1 and his team “messed up” a second investigation too. Based on this, the CPS’s decision was predictable – that, once again, “no further action” would be taken against the attacker.
Police claimed to be “unhappy” with this decision and promised they would appeal against it. However, the CPS report following the appeal said that it was “not clear” from the Police’s response whether they really disagreed with the decision not to prosecute at all.
We asked for a copy of the CPS report. DI2 said he didn’t see a problem with this, but CI1 refused to give it to us, again claiming “legal privilege”. However, following further representations from David Evennett MP, CI1 did eventually send us the report. It showed that the CPS had dropped the case because Police had submitted insufficient evidence (contradicting the Police’s own report, which claimed that the CPS had dropped the case because it was “not in the public interest” to proceed).
The report from the CPS also noted:
• The Police had left them “unclear” as to how new evidence and witnesses had come to light
• No senior Police officer had submitted any grounds for the appeal, in breach of the Director of Public Prosecutions’ guidelines
• Due to the Police’s handling of the case, the courts would probably consider prosecution to be an “abuse of process”.
We wrote to the Borough Commander in Bexley, providing him with full details of the serious problems with both investigations, and offering him the opportunity to do something about it. As far as we have been made aware, he chose to do nothing about it.
The Commander did, however, promise that DS2 would give us copies of some Police reports on the case. As expected, we had to chase DS2 repeatedly for these. He firstly claimed he was unable to email them, due to lack of storage space (our Inbox was actually empty at the time). He then said he would have them dropped round to us. In the end, we had to go and ask at Bexleyheath Police station personally and wait in reception until PC2 brought them down to us, nervously blurting out that, even though the records didn’t show that she had given all the evidence to the CPS, she “distinctly remembers” doing so.
The records she handed over:
• Showed that notes about the reinvestigation only appeared in the Police’s case diary over two months after it had been completed, and after David Evennett M.P. had intervened again
• Included a ‘copy’ of the Police report to the CPS, which DS2 said had been “edited” – I didn’t realise what this meant until I noticed that it was typed onto a completely different form and even contained two fewer pages than the report that the CPS said Police had sent them
• Showed the CPS had quoted from a medical report that wasn’t even in the evidence that Police claimed they had referred to them, but appears to have made no comment about the two medical reports that Police claimed they had referred to them.
We began to wonder whether, by “edited”, DS2 actually meant ‘falsified’, but cannot believe that Bexley Police would do that sort of thing. (It is also important to remember not to hold all Bexley Police officers responsible for this shoddy catalogue of events – it was only officers DC1, PC1, PC2, DS1, DS2, DI1, DI2, DCI1, CI1 and the Borough Commander who were involved… at least at this stage.)
Next, we’ll take a look at how Bexley Police behave when they launch a misconduct investigation against one of their own…
It is important to make clear that the Borough Commander referred to above is not the current one, Victor Olisa; but his predecessor, Chief Superintendent Dave Stringer, the officer who along with his then deputy, Tony Gowen frequently repeated "Trust me, trust me” while investigating the Craske affair.
The complete story so far.