7 December (Part 1) - Police official report. Delay, ignoring CPS, political interference. The aim? Get Craske off the hook
With a certain amount of relief I can report that the Appeal against the Directorate of Professional Standards’
response to a complaint originally made on 7th June 2012 is now complete and
ready to go to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
The penultimate comment by the DPS which took nearly 2,000 days to compile concludes that the complaint against various Bexley officers is “completely contrary to the evidence”.
Their 15 page report helpfully provides quite a lot of evidence but no answers to any of the questions asked by fellow complainant Elwyn Bryant and myself. Judge for yourself if you think the evidence supports the police’s view that absolutely no one did anything wrong.
The crime was reported on 8th June 2011.
• The first police enquiries were made in Bexley Council’s offices in July 2011. There is no evidence that the principal witness was interviewed and there was an attempt to turn the tables on the victims by linking the obscene blog with John Kerlen who Bexley Council were intending to maliciously prosecute.
• In August 2011 the police told me that there was no evidence which would allow the case to be pursued.
• This was very obviously untrue. My MP Teresa Pearce brought this to the attention of the Borough Commander and the DPS report regards her support for a constituent as “political interference”.
• The Borough Commander called for a review and as a result the obscene blog was traced to Bexley Cabinet Member Peter Craske’s Talk Talk internet connection in October 2011.
• The Borough Commander consulted the Crown Prosecution Service in February 2012 by which time the offence he had in mind was time expired.
• The CPS suggested a different charge but Bexley police ignored their suggestion, preferring “no further action”.
• A new Borough Commander came on the scene in mid-May 2012 and at the same time Elwyn Bryant met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe at a public meeting in Sidcup.
• Hogan-Howe listened sympathetically and asked the new Commander to follow up Elwyn's complaint.
• A week later there was an application for a search warrant and on 21st June 2012 Cabinet Member Peter Craske was arrested. Alarm bells would have been ringing in Bexley Council’s offices.
• In August 2012 forensics found the obscene blog on Councillor Craske’s computer and “another of a similar nature”.
• When it was argued (by Craske presumably) that the obscene blog was not written by him the police did not look for an alternative author, neither did they ask Councillor Craske how the second (unpublished) blog came to be on his laptop.
• Later in August the police arranged a meeting with the CPS and Bexley Council “to resolve Councillor Craske’s situation”. More than a year earlier, all parties had accepted that Bexley Council was in no way implicated in the crime, it was Craske’s and Craske alone.
• The DPS has been unable to give any reason for the police calling that meeting, indeed they have not mentioned it in their report at all.
• At a meeting with Elwyn and me in December 2012 a Detective Sergeant in Bexley admitted that the case had been “crippled by political interference”.
• When those comments reached the ears of the Borough Commander in January 2013 they were denied.
• In a telephone interview with the DPS that same officer agreed that the words "crippled by political interference" had been used.
If that officer could see the political interference, how is it that nobody else can?
There were innumerable silly mistakes too, like filling in dates on forms incorrectly and delaying evidence that should have gone to forensics immediately.
Is it possible that the delay was contrived to push the enquiry out of time? When the CPS showed the police how that could be overcome they did nothing - until a new Borough Commander came on the scene, a Commander unaware of the need to comply with Bexley Council’s every wish.
When I write letters of complaint I try to keep them to a maximum size of one double sided A4 sheet. The Appeal letter is eight pages long with nearly 30 pages of appended documents. It will cost a fortune to post. A copy will be sent electronically too.
By the end of this week things may be back to normal on BiB with one or more Scrutiny meeting reports. Tomorrow I have to find a dressing gown for an old lady, she is feeling a bit better now.