I had two letters from the police during May relating to their failure to get to the bottom of how
an obscene impersonation of myself came to be originated on
councillor Peter Craske’s telephone line and
the second of
them has at last been answered.
Craske was not charged following what the police termed “political interference” and all he lost was his reputation and the £12,000 cabinet member allowance. Others were not so lucky. Former councillor Chris Taylor failed to gain a place on Bexley council because Bexley Action Group candidates took 2,104 votes from the Tories when they chose to attack Craske’s massive majority on an anti-corruption ticket. Taylor will not be happy and neither will Bexley police who have been placed relentlessly in the spotlight ever since.
The situation is rather complicated hence this brief summary…
This relates to the first criminal investigation which was concluded on 23rd August 2011. Borough Commander Dave Stringer subsequently assured Elwyn Bryant (co-victim) and me that they had reopened the case and were determined to do a thorough job but nine months without any new information saw our patience wear a little thin, hence a belated complaint relating to the period up to August 2011.
Six months later Sergeant Michelle Gower of the Metropolitan Police’s Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) rejected the complaint even though she should have known (I discovered it more than a year later) that Bexley police closed the case despite one officer believing the source of the obscenities to be traceable. Sergeant Gower’s decision was referred to the IPPC for review along with a complaint that Gower was either incompetent or had been dishonestly influenced. The IPCC agreed that her investigation into the way the criminal investigation was handled was inadequate.
Soon after the IPPC notified me of their decision, more evidence of political interference became available and it was sent to the IPCC on 3rd December 2012. Rather perversely, the IPCC said it was for legal reasons, that second bundle of evidence was sent to the DPS to be handled as a second separate complaint. The DPS promptly rejected it on an invented technicality but that potential set back was soon overcome.
Finally my MP obtained some documents on my behalf that confirmed my view that the criminal investigation under former Borough Commander Dave Stringer was more than just incompetent and whilst his successor Victor Olisa may have begun his brief spell in Bexley with the best of intentions he was soon caught up in its culture. I am certain that the explanations he provided after closing the case for a second time were totally untrue and suspect he was deeply uncomfortable with the political interference in which he became a, possibly unwilling, partner. Nevertheless I alleged Misconduct in Public Office against both of them in a letter to the Commissioner dated 22nd January 2014. The IPCC acknowledged it in February 2014.
So now there are three separate Craske related cases floating around the Met. and they are busy blurring the IPCC imposed boundaries.
The first of the DPS’s May letters bearing the Compliant 1 reference number asked a fairly simple question relating to Complaint 2. I answered it almost immediately. The second May letter gave me pause for thought.
My file of information has become quite fat but it is only a collection of letters and emails bounced between me and the police (Bexley council too in the early days) and redacted documents the police have seen fit to let me have. I have nothing to which the police do not have ready access and they have the advantage of the unexpurgated originals. So when they ask me to make statements of fact when I can only reasonably make suggestions, I am suspicious of their motives.
Why am I required to name the officers who were politically influenced? A Bexley Detective Sergeant who had read through what she described as one of Bexley’s biggest ever files saw political interference and gave it as the primary reason for the failure to bring anyone to book. The fact that she now denies saying it is immaterial. A proper investigation requires the DPS to carefully read the file and see if there is any substance to the allegation.
Elwyn and I know that was the conclusion drawn by the Sergeant in Bexley and we informed the IPCC of it. We expect the DPS to make appropriate checks or their conclusions are likely to go straight back to the IPCC for another review, although how one stops the police lying when they are allowed to investigate themselves I have yet to work out.
Similarly I’m asked who was responsible for delaying the search warrant. How would I know? The known events and the redacted documents show a delay, not who may have constructed the circumstances or given the order that led to it.
Are the police up to some form of trickery hoping I name the wrong officers so that any guilty party may escape notice or am I to assume that the police put only the most stupid or lazy officers behind desks fielding complaints? Why does the DPS appoint Constables to investigate allegations of Misconduct against Chief Superintendents? Won’t the fact that they might blight their own careers tend to influence the outcome?
My response to the two recent letters may be made available at some future date but I don’t feel it would be fair to do so before the DPS has a chance to respond.
There have been no developments on Complaint 3 since both the IPCC and the DPS contacted me last February. I suppose the outcome is likely to have to await the outcomes of Complaints 1 and 2.
Note: Experience suggests that there is always someone who believes these complaints might result in councillor Peter Craske being charged with an offence. They will not. They do not and cannot go beyond discovering if (as the evidence suggests) there is corruption within Bexley police and if so which officers were involved.