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After putting the ‘Heathrow’ case in the public domain yesterday and throwing
yet more doubt on the honesty of the police in Bexley it may be a good time
to redress the balance to some extent.
The Peter Craske case
After councillor Peter Craske was released from police bail in October 2012 following his belated arrest after an obscene blog was traced to his telephone line six or more months earlier, a Bexley based Detective Sergeant was more than a little friendly when Elwyn Bryant and I met her a few weeks later on 4th December.
We learned that she came from Newcastle - as if her accent hadn’t already announced it - we heard about her plans for Christmas, and that the Craske file was the biggest she had seen. She also said that the case had been “crippled by political interference”. Chief Executive Will Tuckley had been busy conniving with the Crown Prosecution Service and the Acting Deputy Commander. So no great surprise there either.
Not much was said about that meeting publicly at the time but the conversation was reported to Borough Commander Victor Olisa. The Detective Sergeant denied having spoken frankly to Elwyn and me at all, but we know what she said and her honesty probably didn’t go down well with those who’d succumbed to the interference.
Now that the Directorate of Professional Standards is supposedly investigating our complaint they have just written to me to say that the Detective Sergeant resigned not long after her honesty became more widely known and no one knows where she went. So if anyone knows a former police officer by the name of Jacqueline Bishop who hails from Newcastle perhaps you would tip her off as the DPS would like to speak to her.
My own view is that using DS Bishop’s absence as an excuse is rather lame. If the DPS would read the damned file they might come to the same conclusion as Ms. Bishop, but they are strangely reluctant to do so.
The Cheryl Bacon case
When the police investigation into councillor Cheryl Bacon’s lies was last reported here two weeks ago Greenwich police were saying that there were three legal steps to be taken before too long.
• To check with police solicitors that the offence of Misconduct in Public Office can be levelled against a councillor or officer.
• To similarly check that lying in Public Office is a crime that can lead to conviction.
• Send the case to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Based on a subsequent conversation between the investigating officer and Mick Barnbrook, the first two hurdles have been successfully jumped but the referral to the CPS has been held up because there have been difficulties pinning down councillors for interview.
There seems to have been a minor muddle with the arrangements which is now resolved and the interviewing of three Labour councillors is now imminent. However Conservatives are reluctant. In the words relayed by the police officer, “it would prove to be very awkward”.
I suspect political interference all over again, what other explanation could there be?
Having accumulated evidence which I consider to be credible I will write to the investigating officer to express my concerns.
Over several meetings, phone calls and emails, Mick Barnbrook and I have been able to ask questions and gain information. The investigating officer is both friendly and professional and cannot read the mind of the CPS but snippets of information begin to add up.
In connection with enquiries as to where this case may go, although the police officer has come out with various euphemisms and he has never used the ‘P’ word, Mick and I are pretty sure that he thinks the case against Cheryl Bacon, Will Tuckley and his colleagues is a good one, and if the CPS is of a similar mind, Will Tuckley will go to prison. And all because Cheryl Bacon refused to admit she was wrongly advised and preferred lying to saying sorry.
With a jail term possible you can be pretty sure that someone at the top of a corrupt tree will be working hard to make sure it doesn’t happen.
Whatever happens the two Greenwich police officers who have been handling this case will not be on the receiving end of a complaint as were so many officers once based in Bexley. Comparing them with Greenwich has so far been chalk and cheese.