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know the story by now. One man took Eric Pickles’ guidance to heart and produced an audio
recorder at a meeting chaired by councillor Cheryl Bacon. She panicked and excluded every member
of the public from the meeting. When she was advised that this wasn’t strictly legal instead
of apologising she
attempted to excuse her actions by lying. She claimed that everyone
present at the meeting was misbehaving, shouting, waving papers in the air etc.
Unfortunately for the lying Cheryl she wasn’t quick enough. Council correspondence written two days later referred to only one person being involved. Their Press Release was much exaggerated but again referred to only one person, and the police told the press that no one had done anything wrong.
The liar Bacon did not give up and persuaded various council officers, among them Lynn Tyler (Legal), Nick Hollier (Human Resources) and Will Tuckley (Chief Executive) to support her lies.
But the lying Cheryl did not have things all her own way. In response to my own direct written question, four councillors confirmed that Cheryl Bacon is a liar and except that an audio recorder was taken into the council chamber and its owner asked to be permitted to use it several times, nothing untoward went on. Five more councillors replied all of whom felt unable to say a single word in support of the lying Cheryl Bacon. Bexley council began to feel isolated so they took a tried and tested course. They leaned on the police.
This resulted in the police back tracking on their press statement by claiming they were called to eject a group of people who refused to leave the chamber and had to be unceremoniously thrown out. The man who dialled 999 had previously been happy to confirm (I heard him say it) that his call was for help with one person but ten months later Bexley police interviewed him and his story was mysteriously amended to suit theirs. There had been no complaint of criminal activity at the time so it seems likely that the interview could only be to prepare the ground and plug a hole in the council’s story.
Attempts to get more documentary evidence of the truth mainly fell on stony ground. The Borough Commander himself refused to release a copy of their note (Computer Aided Despatch notice) of the 999 call. Bexley council (Will Tuckley) has said that anyone who seeks information under the Freedom of Information Act will be labelled vexatious and refused. Mick Barnbrook has already suffered that fate and I have been threatened with it.
Documentary evidence is now hard to come by but the suspicion has been that the police regarded the incident as of no interest, hence their press statement, but had to change their mind a year later when Bexley council asked them to lie on their behalf by confirming that I and others were forcibly ejected from the council chamber on the evening of 19th June 2013.
However every so often an FOI can strike lucky when someone unaware of the need for secrecy deals with it. One made at Christmas time when the regulars were away revealed how Will Tuckley and the police were scheming to get councillor Peter Craske off criminal charges, this time someone has revealed that the two officers who supported Bexley council by claiming they had to deal with a gang of unruly septuagenarians, thought it was so serious at the time that they didn’t bother to make any report on the incident at all.
In relation to the Incident Report Books, I can confirm that I have been informed that no entries were made by PC Kelly or PC Arthurs in relation to the incident at the Bexley Civic Centre.
So for nearly a year the only documents the police had on the subject was a note of a 999 call which they cannot release because it would confirm a council lie and their press statement which they must wish they hadn’t released.
Because the wife of Bexley’s deputy council leader cannot be seen to have made a simple mistake four policemen (I’m losing count), one councillor and three council officers are all currently under investigation for Misconduct in Public Office. Not for closing the meeting, that was of no great importance, but for colluding with a huge tissue of lies to protect one disreputable councillor.
The evidence is damning but they will all eventually get away with it because the corruption in Bexley runs very deep indeed. And then the evidence will be transferred to the IPCC. Pursuing a corrupt council unfortunately costs a great deal of money but is the alternative any more attractive?
Index to related blogs and documents.