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Bonkers Blog April 2015

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12 April - New Commander but Bexley police as bad as ever

In recent years Bexley has not been blessed with totally honest senior police officers.

We have had a Commander who took long dinners with the council leader and when that leader was discovered with his hand in the expenses till falsely claimed he was not permitted to accept a crime report that did not come from Bexley council. Bexley council’s first priority is always to protect their own, so that never happened.

Then there was another who twice issued harassment warnings against Bexley residents for no other reason than the equally dishonest Teresa O’Neill told them to. There was no investigation and the police had no evidence and it took IPCC intervention before they accepted that they had stepped well outside the law.

When Bexley council was caught up in criminal activities that same Commander at first claimed there was no evidence on which to proceed with an investigation and when that claim was shown to be false there were continuing discussions about whether they might be able to pull the same trick again. They sat on the damning evidence against a Bexley councillor for at least six and possibly eight months doing nothing apart from giving the suspect time to cover his tracks.

That Commander’s replacement came up with an excuse for his predecessor’s neglect which could not possibly be true and his Detective Sergeant said the reason was “political interference”.

When that Commander left the borough he was replaced by one who allowed two of his police constables to make up stories at the request of Bexley council which once again could not possibly be true. He may even have directed them to do so. All are still under investigation by the Metropolitan Police Department of Professional Standards although given that the oldest of the complaints is very nearly three years old you may decide to assume that they are having difficulty in coming up with a defence that holds water.

Jeff BootheBexley acquired yet another Police Commander last month and it will be interesting to see if he is as ready to be manipulated as his predecessors were. Early indications are not particularly encouraging.

It concerns the lady who was charged with common assault and arrested at Heathrow Airport perhaps because the police believed over-reacting to that extent might be good for a laugh. The complainant was a member of police staff so the case was being pursued with the sort of vigour others might never see.

The lady was found not guilty at Bromley Magistrate’s Court and she complained about the way that Bexley police had dealt with her case. The officers involved agreed among themselves that each of them had behaved impeccably. Apparently dragging passengers from aeroplanes is not unusual in cases of common assault especially when they are heading home to Bexleyheath.

Their victim complained to various places including her MP, David Evennett, and the police assured him that every officer is innocent. The letter was signed by the new Borough Commander Jeff Boothe.

This is an extract from his letter…

Chief Superintendent Boothe cannot know if all his statements are correct but like all his predecessors his priority would appear to be protecting his officers rather than ensuring the law is upheld. Click it to read it all.

If I am asked for comment or advice on letters such as that it takes me well outside my comfort zone so I send them to Mick Barnbrook (retired Bexleyheath Police Inspector) who knows a thing or two about bringing down bent officialdom. As I had hoped he was able to pick more holes in the new Commander’s letter to David Evennett than I could ever hope to do.

My gut feeling is that DI Noble put the letter together and Boothe signed it, without knowing or being shown all the facts.

How can Boothe say that the Magistrate did not make any comments about the validity of the witness statements if no police officers were at court and there are no transcripts of the case?

The Magistrate may not have made comments in open court, but that does not mean that he did not have reservations about the evidence being presented by the prosecution, in the form of the three witness statements.

As Boothe is only assuming that the Magistrate did not make any comments or have reservations about the quality of the prosecution evidence he should not use that subjective assumption to reach the conclusion that there is insufficient evidence to substantiate any allegation.

He cannot say that there is insufficient evidence. The evidence to substantiate your allegation is the three witness statements about which the Magistrate appears to have had concerns.

As you are making a serious allegation, I would have thought it perfectly reasonable for the police to contact the Magistrate to find out if he did have doubts about the three witness statements.

In his letter Boothe states that you are unhappy with the investigation into your allegation. The reason that you are unhappy is due to the fact that there has not been any investigation.

Boothe also states in the letter that “the burden of proof remains on the prosecution to prove matters beyond reasonable doubt and is rightly a high standard of proof”.

The fact that you were found Not Guilty is in itself evidence that the burden of proof was not good enough and the Magistrate could have only reached that decision based on the three witness statements.

Noble found that the Common Assault allegation was correctly reviewed by an Evidence Review Officer. Surely Noble didn't expect Betez to go against his own original decision, when reviewing the evidence.

Why, when the matter was passed to Betez to investigate, did he not tell a supervising officer that he was not independent and on that basis, have no further involvement in the matter?

Both the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service assumed that the three witnesses were telling the truth when they made their statements and signed the declarations on the statement forms. As the case was thrown out, based on those statements, the Magistrate obviously did not believe the witnesses.

He may have reached that decision on the basis that the witnesses did not corroborate each other. That would be good enough reason to carry out an investigation.

This case was not thrown out on a technical matter. In any case where there is a Not Guilty plea, one side or the other cannot be telling the truth. The Magistrate chose to believe your version of the facts, meaning that he did not believe the prosecution witnesses.

Is it any wonder therefore that the police do not want to investigate their own witnesses?

Now that Boothe has got himself involved, you should write to him and make him aware of all the facts, including the fact that Mrs. M was involved with your husband, together with the fact that the police seriously over reacted by dragging you off of a plane and keeping you in custody for a minor offence, when your address was known and there was no likelihood of you absconding.

Boothe has transferred from The British Transport Police and may not have dealt with this type of complaint before.

Other documents suggests that Bexley police’s claimed review of evidence failed to include the witness statements. The accused lady believes that those witness statements were inconsistent. Presumably the Magistrate agreed with her.

Once again we see Bexley police investigating themselves and individual officers being asked to review their own decisions. This case is obviously far from coming to an end so another of BiB’s blog indices has been created.


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