It’s Wednesday so it’s time for another dose of shameful behaviour courtesy of Bexleyheath police. I have been asked several times why the father of a teenage boy who came close to losing his sight thanks to a policeman’s friend didn’t take a case against them through criminal proceedings as well as a crown court. I can only suppose that a parent may feel the job is done when he has cleared a son’s name after the police have lied in order to smear it. He did however complain about police conduct. Fat lot of good it did though.
Bexley Police had “messed up” its investigation into our son’s assault; and on finding out how much we and the school knew about PC1’s mishandling of it, Chief Inspector CI1 promised to take tough action to deal with “rotten apples” in the Police. We were not greatly interested in this and were chiefly concerned that our son was not falsely blamed in Police records, but perhaps CI1 was telling us what he thought we wanted to hear.
CI1 was Head of Bexley Police’s Professional Standards Directorate, in charge of dealing with all allegations of Police corruption and poor performance across the borough and he asked Detective Sergeant DS3 to launch a misconduct investigation into PC1. We did not want to get involved in this, but CI1 spoke and wrote to us several times, insisting that we give him full details of the personal links between the families of PC1 and the attacker. So we obtained this information from our contacts and gave CI1 all of the relevant names, addresses and phone numbers and also the dates on which to examine their internet and phone records. CI1 knew the addresses well as he lived just outside the same small town in Essex where these people lived.
DS3 contacted us and we were concerned to learn that our list detailing the problems with the investigation had apparently not been passed to him. We sent him a copy of the information that we had already given to CI1 and he thanked us for supplying him with what he called “this very useful information”.
DS3 informed us that he was investigating PC1 for “gross misconduct” and that “dismissal was a possible outcome” but said that his technical investigation probably wouldn’t cover any of the information about internet or phone records that we had given him, and would be limited to looking at PC1’s Police email account. As PC1 had claimed that he didn’t know how to send emails, this would have left DS3 with nothing to investigate and only the most foolish officer would pervert the course of justice on his official Police email in any case; so we couldn’t see how this would yield anything whatsoever.
It was important that DS3 assessed the integrity of PC1’s evidence urgently as the case was soon to be reconsidered by the CPS. However, six months later, the CPS had already reconsidered PC1’s evidence two more times but the gross misconduct investigation was said to be still “ongoing”. We asked if the CPS had been informed of the details of this investigation and were told that it hadn’t.
Finally we were notified of the verdict - that PC1 had committed “misconduct”. We asked DS3 to let us know which of the allegations against PC1 had been considered to be without foundation, leading to the charge to be downgraded from “gross misconduct” to “misconduct”, but DS3 said that he needed to “take advice” about this and subsequently failed to answer our question.
DS3 informed us that he had examined interaction between PC1 and the attacker’s family and “concluded that it was at a professional level”, despite PC1 apparently not knowing how to make electronic communications.
DS3 also told us that his investigation did not relate to the “reliability” of PC1’s evidence, but only to its “completeness”. We took this to mean that none of the following questions over reliability had been investigated at all:
• Personal links to the attacker's family.
• Inappropriate advocacy in support of the attacker.
• Failing to note or challenge clear omissions and inconsistencies in the attacker's accounts.
• Acting “dismissive and disinterested” on learning that damage to our son’s eyesight could be permanent.
• Unprofessionally dismissing the police complaints procedure.
• Declining to receive evidence.
• Disposing of evidence.
• Altering witness statements and attempting to conceal alterations.
• Giving false quotes from witness statements in reports to the CPS.
• Making false claims to the CPS about witnesses refusing to give statements.
• Making false claims of being in possession of all the witness statements, of obtaining a further statement from our son, of having no case references from the CPS, and about CCTV footage that he hadn’t seen.
• Taking a statement from our under-age son with no other adult present and with both parents having been asked to leave the room.
• Potentially causing the failure of the prosecution by notifying the attacker that no further action would be taken against him before the supervisor had considered whether to appeal this decision.
Apparently, none of these matters gave the Police any reason to question PC1’s “reliability” in this case, and the only issue they investigated was how thoroughly he had done his job.
We asked DS3 what the terms of his investigation were but he said he was “unable” to tell us as the matter had been referred by Bexley Police’s Senior Management Team and we were not “entitled” to find out which allegations they had asked him to investigate. (The Senior Management Team that apparently ensured this cover-up comprised Bexley’s Borough Commander, Detective Chief Inspector, all of its Chief Inspectors, its Higher Analyst, Forensic Manager, Resources Manager, Performance & Review Manager, Finance Manager, HR Manager and Specials Manager.)
DS3 said that PC1 had received the maximum possible sanction for “misconduct” which we later learnt was a letter about it being held on file for 18 months – in contrast to the false records that Police made about our son, which would be held on file indefinitely.
Our son paid the Police a £10 [Subject Access Request] fee to see what had been written about him in Police files but was then told that he was not allowed to see anything at all, because it was likely to prejudice DS3’s criminal investigation of PC1 - despite learning later that PC1 had not been investigated for a crime at all, but only for the lowest possible level of misconduct.
Next, we’ll look at how Bexley Police took action that prevented our son from getting the compensation to which he was entitled for his injuries.
The complete story so far.
CI1, the former Head of Bexley’s Professional Standards Unit is Tony Gowen who told me that he couldn’t uphold my complaint about the unjustified Harassment letter because the complaint had come from the Chief Executive of Bexley council, Will Tuckley. Gowen was still best mates with Tuckley 18 months later when he arranged to meet him to see how councillor Peter Craske could be got off the hook, or in his own words, how the situation could be resolved. Oh, how the truth catches up with all these fixers and law benders.