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Police cover-ups

Dateline: April 2014

We get many complaints about the Professional Standards Division (PSD) of the police force. Most people think this department is a complete waste of time since their main aim appears to be to protect officers from criticism. Their so-called 'investigations' largely ignore any evidence they are given and go out of their way to prevent blame falling on incompetent comrades.

They sometimes ignore complaints altogether but when pushed they often resort to using the Data Protection Act (DPA) to hide the truth. In other words, 'they cannot give you any information because the DPA does not allow it'. While professing publicly their desire to be more open and transparent, they frequently do exactly the opposite and in doing so they insult our intelligence.

The case you are about to read is relatively trivial but it does demonstrate how this division works to counter complaints about police ineptitude. And when the complaint is more serious, the lies merely increase.

In February 2012, I walked up to my local Co-operative store on a secondary shopping precinct in Bexleyheath. I used a pedestrian crossing to get to the right side of the road but found the pavement was almost completely blocked by a Metropolitan Police van from the Dog Patrol section so I stopped and took photographs - click the image below. There was enough space for me, as a pedestrian, to squeeze past the vehicle but any person in a wheelchair or pushing a pram would not have been able to get through. They would need to step into a very busy road to negotiate the obstruction. For a wheelchair user, it would have meant going back to the crossing to find a drop-down kerb.

So I wrote to our local PSD bloke, Inspector Colin Edge, to make a complaint. I explained the problems for disabled people and pram pushers in some detail and enclosed copies of my photographs.

I also pointed out that the opposite side of the road has adequate parking bays which should have been used instead of blocking the pavement.

Four months later, in June 2012, I received the following email from Inspector Edge, complete with spelling mistakes (in italics):

'I apologise for mnot yet sending you a response in connection with the complaint you lodged with us in relation to the parked SOCO van. I have today spoken with our Directorate of Professional Standards Dept (internat affairs) to discuss this issue in more depth. As a result I will be speaking to the Safer Driving manager on Bexley Borough to look at corporate issues surrounding these cirumstances.
The forensic manager has already informed me that he has brought this issue to his team in the interests of minimum disruption to the public(ie obstruction etc) . I will expand on these issues further in my outcome letter to you.
Many thanks for your patience.
Colin Edge Inspector (PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS and PARTNERSHIP) Bexleyheath Police Station (RY) X 29163'

As an aside, I note Inspector Edge belongs to the 'PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS and PARTNERSHIP' group and I assume this is the partnership the borough police seem to have with the borough council as they also cover up crimes committed by council officers and councillors.

In December 2012 (ten months after the original complaint) I received the following emailed reply from ''.

'Good morning, please find attached our reply, after investigation, to your complaint made earlier this year.
Professional Standards Unit
Bexleyheath Police Station
Bexley Police
Total Policing is the Met's commitment to be on the streets and in your communities to catch offenders, prevent crime and support victims. We are here for London, working with you to make our capital safer.'

I had to laugh at the last part of the Met's modus operandi. Presumably their commitment to 'making the capital safer' does not include pavements or pedestrians!

Attached to the email was a letter dated 31st March 2014 (???) from Steve Sandy, the Borough Forensic Manager entitled 'The outcome of your complaint against the police, made on 12/2/12'.

I put question marks next to the date of the letter because forensic science must have advanced significantly if the manager can predict events so far ahead!! But let's assume it was just a typo and the real date should have been 31st March 2012 ... then why did it take nine months to send a copy to me? Worryingly, all this emanates from a forensic department who are probably called to give critical evidence in court. But if they can't get the date right how reliable is their evidence?

However, Mr Sandy's verdict was that he had not been able to identify any breach of professional standards by Forensic Practitioner, Karen Robinson (the driver of the dog patrol van) after an investigation of ten months during which he had considered my original letter of complaint, the officers’ notes and the crime report. There was no mention of the photographs I supplied - just the information from Ms Robinson. 'This means,' he stated, 'there is no case to answer.' In other words ... a cover up!

He also stated in his letter: 'During my investigation I also considered whether you received an appropriate level of service from the Metropolitan Police. This means how you were dealt with overall and not just by any one individual. After reviewing the circumstances of your complaint I am satisfied that there has not been a failure in the way we dealt with you.'

Not been a failure? I thought ten months to investigate a simple complaint was a bloody disgrace! Especially when they totally ignored the photographic evidence I had given them. But it confirmed my suspicion that the police are a waste of space, particularly in the London Borough of Bexley. Senior officers here are moved away like pawns off a chessboard and two ex-borough commanders are currently under investigation for misconduct in public office. Not exactly the sort of thing that inspires confidence in the police.

Incidentally, if you downloaded and read Steve Sandy's letter, you will see I had the option to take the matter to the IPPC. I didn't bother. Until they stop populating the IPPC with ex-police officers I really don't see much point in approaching them. It's a bit like MPs sitting in judgment on themselves ... à la the Rt (dis)Hon Maria Miller - the former culture secretary.

And it seems they still haven't learned!!

I filmed this yesterday (12th May 2014) as I drove along Northumberland Heath. The police van at the end of the clip was parked on the same stretch of pavement as the forensic van featured in the article above. Its offside wheels were on the pavement and there are double-yellow lines along the whole stretch of road, i.e. no parking at any time!

If you or I did this we would certainly receive a summons if we were spotted but the police constantly flout the laws the rest of us are obliged to obey and nobody does anything about it.

I have emailed the video clip to our Professional Standards bod and will publish his reply when I receive it. But I won't hold my breath waiting for a satisfactory outcome because I have no doubt it will be explained away with another cover-up investigation.

Visitors' comments

Christine writes (on 9/4/2014 ):

I had a meeting with professional standards a couple of weeks ago. They do cover up. I might have the whole meeting recorded and I will gladly share anything if you like.
My issues started because I complained about a police officer mocking disabled people. I have evidence. They hate me as a result and have made my life hell.
I am busy trying to get some things written up but it is most recently a complaint that a rape was ignored because I was one of the victims. It is a shocking case and involves evidence that as a multi-agency they all stick together and cover up. I have tapes to prove it.
I will forward you a transcript from a conversation that two clinical leads had. They have allowed the girl involved to miss rehab in order to cover up not reporting the rape.
UK views would be valued. You might find it helps to evidence the levels they stoop to. Just appalling ... but going to fight on.

Kevin G writes:

Re police: you have no chances. A few years ago my bother-in-law was involved in an accident where the other car was 100% in the wrong. The police tried to cover it up and we couldn't work out what the hell was going on!
But my brother-in-law was like a dog with a bone; he wasn't letting go. Then it all came out ... It was an unmarked police car.

Editorial Comment:

Strange you should say this, Kevin, because my daughter and her husband were recently shunted from behind while they were stationery at a red traffic light near Bluewater. The driver of the car that hit them reversed back a couple of feet and then drove off at speed through the red light and on the wrong side of the road. They wrote down the offending vehicle's registration and reported the accident immediately to Kent Police at Gravesend.
The damage to my son-in-law's car was fairly minimal but the jolt jarred my daughter's shoulder quite heavily, causing severe pain for weeks afterwards.
Some weeks after the accident, the damage to the car was repaired under an insurance claim but the claim for personal injury has been held up because the other driver has now denied being there.
When my son-in-law has contacted the police for a progress report, he has been fobbed off with excuses like 'the officer handling the case is on holiday' or 'the case has been transferred to Maidstone HQ'.
More and more it looks like the police have done nothing. Yet the driver committed two serious offences - failing to stop after an accident and driving through a red traffic light on the wrong side of the road.
Knowing the habitual police penchant for covering-up, I wonder if this was actually an off-duty police officer; more pertinently, an off-duty officer who had perhaps had too many alcoholic drinks?
This accident should have been dealt with as a matter of urgency by the police yet they appear to have done nothing. Why? 

"Many men stumble across the truth ... but most manage to pick themselves up and continue as if nothing had happened."

Winston S Churchill

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