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Bonkers Blog February 2017

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23 February - Rare praise for the police. Not Bexley’s obviously

It was an interesting day and I don’t just mean the hour and a quarter on a Barnehurst train which crawled around the loop the wrong way to Abbey Wood because of a fallen tree at Charlton.

Today was the day that Elwyn Bryant and I were to meet in my MP’s (Teresa Pearce) Westminster office to hear whether or not the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) is inclined to believe our allegation that Bexley Council and Bexleyheath police conspired to ensure that Councillor Peter Craske’s [arrest] situation was resolved. The words used in one of the dubious letters that went between the police and Bexley Council.

The current phase of the investigation into possibly criminal collusion has been going on for ten months and has reached a critical stage. I think all I can safely say without prejudicing the next stage of the operation, is that there is to be one. Our concerns have not been dismissed.

The police have come to view the relationship between Bexley Council and their local police friends with the same suspicion as Elwyn and I do. They made it amply clear that there are questions to be answered but that is a long way from proving corruption. The accused must be allowed their say.

Police suspicions about other police officers follow slightly different procedures to those applied to the public but in terms of the latter the next stage involves the equivalent of people (police officers) being arrested and interviewed under caution with legal representation. That phase has already begun.

As you will know, when a criminal investigation is in progress the news media will go quiet for fear of prejudicing the court proceedings that could follow. The same applies here and no more can be said for, probably several months.

I was impressed by the depth of knowledge of the case displayed by the two investigating officers. Elwyn had lined up a catalogue of awkward questions to fire at them and they had a reasonable answer for them all. I was always more optimistic than him about what today would bring but even Elwyn conceded it went pretty well.

I specifically asked if there could be a prosecution of any Councillor or Council officer if the next stage of the DPS investigation caused them to move from a belief that there might have been criminal interference in a police investigation to something more substantial. It was confirmed that if that bridge is crossed Crown Prosecution Service advice will be sought. Those readers looking forward to Council Leader Teresa O’Neill being arrested should not give up hope yet although confidence in the CPS must be at a low ebb following the Bacon/Tuckley fiasco.

That is as far as I can go at present without incurring the wrath of the Directorate of Professional Standards - and don’t expect any more in the immediate future, but so far so good.


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