Friday, June 29, 2012

#G4S : #UK Police Outsource To The World's Biggest Security Firm.

G4S is in line to win more British police work this year after an alliance between Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire forces commissioned a report into which services they could outsource to the world's biggest security firm.

All three police authorities this week backed a move to join an outsourcing framework agreement established by G4S and Lincolnshire police authority last year as they look to tackle government budget cuts and find total savings of 73 million pounds ($113 million) by 2015/ more

#Prison: John Massey Denied A Licence To Say Good-Bye.

Prisoner John Massey, with parents
John Massey (centre, with his parents) was refused permission to extend his parole curfew when his father was dying.
Imagine yourself in this scenario: you have been released on parole after serving 31 years for murder. You are sent to live in a bail hostel and ordered to comply with a strict 11pm curfew. Though technically free, you are aware that you could be recalled to prison at any moment, for a single minor breach of the terms of your licence.

Each day you travel to a hospital to visit your terminally ill father. One day, a doctor tells you your dad has only a short time to live. You want to remain by his side but your curfew is fast approaching. You call the hostel to plead for an extension but are told categorically this is out of the question.

What would your next move be? For one man this awful dilemma became a reality on 7 November 2007.

In 1976, John Massey, now 63, was sentenced to life for murdering a club bouncer after a drunken row. He was released in June 2007.

Before he was freed, Massey had been preparing for release for 18 months in an open prison in Derbyshire. Granted home leave, he was let out for five days every month to be at home with his family in London and visit his father in hospital. "I got myself a terrific job – shop fitting," he recalls. "For the first time in my life I was fully legal and it felt wonderful. All that changed when I got parole."

His sister had offered a home with her in north London, but the probation service insisted he live in a bail hostel in Streatham, south London, some distance from his family in Camden. He describes the hostel as dirty and with more rules than the open prison he had just left.

Massey complied with all the rules for several months until his father's imminent death forced him to choose between his family and his liberty. Although two doctors were prepared to verify that his father's death was near, his pleas for an extension of his curfew were rejected. He stayed with his dad, Jack, who died four days later. Without waiting for the funeral, Massey turned himself in to the police and was immediately recalled to prison.

Two and a half years after that breach, Massey thought he was on the verge of freedom again. He had been decategorised and sent to another open jail, Ford, in West Sussex, seen as a stepping stone back to society. Then in May 2010, his awful history almost repeated itself. He received news that his sister, Carol, was gravely ill. Massey asked if he could be granted release on temporary licence but was told he could not be trusted. He then pleaded for an escorted visit to the hospital but was again rebuffed.

"We haven't got the staff," he recalls being told. "In desperation, I walked out and went straight to the hospital – ironically, the same one where my dad had died." Massey did not leave Carol's bedside until she died two weeks later.

This time he didn't return to jail. He went to live with his 85-year-old mother in Camden and waited for the inevitable. Ten months later, it came: "I just waited for the knock on the door. When it came I was out back building a summer house extension. I wanted to do as much as possible for my mother before the police came."

From Pentonville prison, north London, Massey speaks candidly about the impact of his father's and sister's deaths, and his anger at an unfeeling system that has kept him locked up for fulfilling what he sees as his familial duties. He struggles to comprehend why he should remain behind bars for the crime of being a loving son and brother. "How are the public in danger of me?" he asks. "I did not commit any crime in the time I was free and my mother's neighbours know and respect me and say I was an asset to the community."

Massey admits that, since Carol's death, life in prison has been hard, yet he shudders at the thought of being absent at her deathbed: "The pain [of being inside] is excruciating at times but it is nothing compared to the agony I'd be feeling if I hadn't answered her call. I know I have done right, it feels right."

He concedes that this sort of honesty will do little to sell him as trustworthy to the parole board, within whose hands his future lies. He has had a meeting with his local board, but is not optimistic. "They wanted me to say sorry and promise not to breach my licence again. But how can I apologise for doing what seemed to be right?" He has yet to be told the date of the parole hearing that will decide his future.

The former chief inspector of prisons, Lord Ramsbotham, describes this as a very sad story, where common sense should have prevailed. "Of course, technically, Massey is in the wrong. But that's no excuse for clogging up an expensive system with people from whom the public do not seem to need to be protected," he says.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice says it cannot comment on individual prisoners. In March, there were 5,625 prisoners who had been recalled to jail for breaching the terms of their parole licence.

At 35 years and counting, Massey is one of Britain's longest-serving prisoners. Still a category B inmate, he nurtures hopes of freedom and using his joinery skills, but feels the system has forgotten him. "I was 26 when I first came to prison," he says, "I'm now 63 and fast running out of time to be any use to anyone."

• Additional research by Mischa Wilmers.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

MP Caroline Lucas : Undercover policeman 'fire-bombed shop,' MPs told

Aftermath of fire at Debenhams in Luton in 1987 
The worst of the Animal Liberation Front fire-bomb attacks was on a Debenhams store in Luton

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An MP has used parliamentary privilege to name an undercover police officer who allegedly planted a fire bomb at a London department store in 1987.

Green MP Caroline Lucas said a jailed man, Geoff Sheppard, believed police officer Bob Lambert planted a device.

Mr Lambert infiltrated the Animal Liberation Front and his evidence helped convict two men of fire-bombing three Debenhams stores.

In an interview with the Guardian, Mr Lambert denied planting the device.

The attack in Harrow, north west London, did £340,000 of damage and was part of a series of attacks on stores, including attacks in Romford and Luton, which cost £8m and caused Debenhams to stop selling furs.

When contacted by the BBC for a response, Mr Lambert referred to his statement in the Guardian.

He told the newspaper: "It was necessary to create the false impression that I was a committed animal rights extremist to gain intelligence so as to disrupt serious criminal conspiracies.

"However, I did not commit serious crime such as 'planting an incendiary device at the [Debenhams] Harrow store'."

Speaking in Parliament, Ms Lucas called for a "far reaching public inquiry into police infiltrators and informers".

Caroline Lucas repeated the allegations in Parliament

Ms Lucas said one of the other men who was jailed claimed when he heard about the fire at Debenhams in Harrow "I straight away knew that Bob had carried out his part of the plan".

Ms Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, said: "It seems that planting the third incendiary device was perhaps a move to bolster Lambert's credibility."

She said Mr Lambert was known by the alias Bob Robinson and "pretended to be a committed environmental and animal rights campaigner between 1984 and 1988".

Ms Lucas said: "In October 2011, after he was exposed as an undercover officer, Bob Lambert admitted that, and I quote 'In the 1980s I was deployed as an undercover Met special branch officer to identify and prosecute members of Animal Liberation Front who were then engaged in incendiary device and explosive device campaigns against targets in the vivisection, meat and fur trades'."

She said: "Mr Lambert has also admitted that part of his mission was to identify and prosecute specific ALF activists."

Ms Lucas added: "He says: 'I succeeded in my task and that success included the arrest and imprisonment of Geoff Sheppard and Andrew Clarke'."

'Culprit never caught'

She said: "Sheppard and Clarke were tried and found guilty, but the culprit who planted the incendiary device in the Harrow store was never caught."

Ms Lucas said: "Bob Lambert's exposure as an undercover police officer has prompted Geoff Sheppard to speak out about that Harrow attack.

"Sheppard alleges that Lambert was the one who planted the third device and was involved in the ALF's co-ordinated campaign."

The Brighton MP said Sheppard had made a statement, which she had seen, and she quoted from it: "Obviously I was not there when he targeted that store because we all headed off in our separate directions but I was lying in bed that night, and the news came over on the (BBC) World Service that three Debenhams stores had had arson attacks on them and that included the Harrow store as well.

"So obviously I straightaway knew that Bob had carried out his part of the plan.

"There's absolutely no doubt in my mind whatsoever that Bob Lambert placed the incendiary device at the Debenhams store in Harrow. I specifically remember him giving an explanation to me about how he had been able to place one of the devices in that store, but how he had not been able to place the second device."

Ms Lucas said: "This case raises anew questions about the rules governing undercover police infiltrators and informers, particularly when it comes to those officers committing a crime - an area where the law is particularly grey."

Tougher guidelines

Police Minister Nick Herbert insisted there are tougher guidelines for police to follow.

He said: "Undercover operations are sometimes necessary to protect the public to prevent or detect crime. I think we should commend the difficult and often dangerous job performed by our undercover officers.

"It is important for me to point out that the deployment of Lambert took place in the (1980s) and that was before the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, or RIPA as it is known, came in to purpose.

"That is the legislative framework that enables police and the authorities using covert human intelligence sources such as undercover officers to ensure they are acting within human rights legislation."

More on This Story

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Scotland Yard Accused Of Plot To Hack Phone Of Foreign Minister And Top Woman Police Officer.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Police Corruption: Operation Countryman - 12 Officers Charged.

The 1970s was a dark period for the Flying Squad. An internal police investigation, Operation Countryman, revealed an extensive and tangled web of corruption. Bribery was endemic, especially between officers and Soho pornographers.

David Copeland
Jailed: Bomber David Copeland
In a scandal which still resonates today, the head of the Flying Squad, Chief Superintendent Ken Drury, was jailed along with 12 other Scotland Yard detectives, for accepting bribes.
In 2001, three Flying Squad detectives were each jailed for seven years after 'springing' a police informant from prison in order to carry out a raid on their behalf.

Police Corruption: Operation Countryman - The Cover- Up.

HC Deb 07 July 1980 vol 988 cc22-4
29. Mr. Christopher Price
asked the Attorney-General when the Director of Public Prosecutions will have reached his conclusions about further prosecutions as a result of the Operation Countryman investigations.
The Attorney-General (Sir Michael Havers)
The director has under consideration at the moment allegations against 11 officers as a result of these investigations. It is impossible to estimate when he may reach a decision in respect of any of them.
Mr. Price
How does the Attorney-General reconcile his statement in the House earlier this year—to the effect that, although there had been no obstruction by senior officers, there could have been obstruction by junior officers—with Deputy Commissioner Kavanagh's recent statement from Scotland Yard, to the effect that there had been no obstruction by anybody? In addition, how does he reconcile his statement with that made by Mr. Hambleton, the previous head of Operation Countryman and retired chief constable of Dorset, who said that there had been considerable obstruction by junior officers and some obstruction by one senior officer? Does he not accept that such statements should be cleared up before Operation Countryman is brushed under the carpet?
The Attorney-General
Naturally, I have sought to clear up what has been reported in the press. As regards junior officers, some weeks ago I said in the House that anybody, whether a police officer or not, was entitled to refuse to answer possible incriminating questions that were put by police officers inquiring into criminal allegations. Like any other citizen, he is exercising a right that is protected by the law. That cannot be treated as obstruction. I can see nothing inconsistent about Mr. Kavanagh's statement and my answer. I have had a long interview with Mr. Hambleton. The Director of Public Prosecutions has seen him several times. At no time did Mr. Hambleton give me, or the Director of Public Prosecutions, details of any obstruction of the type reported in the newspapers.
Mr. Emery
How long has Operation Countryman been in progress? Is it not an inordinately long time? Although everybody wishes to ensure that the police are above reproach, does not my right hon. and learned Friend accept that it does good to no one if such things are allowed to drag on for so long?
The Attorney-General
It is inevitable that an inquiry of this size, which involves several allegations that have been made by people serving long sentences of imprisonment, should take a considerable time to investigate. Other delays have been caused for other reasons. For example, it was intended to call two persons to give evidence in a case against a police officer. Those two persons were awaiting trial. It was rightly decided that the trials involving the future witnesses should be concluded before the two persons were called as witnesses for the prosecution against a police officer.
Mr. Jeffrey Thomas
How many more police officers will be investigated by the Operation Countryman team? Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that any attempt to truncate the inquiries will be seen as an attempt at a cover-up?
The Attorney-General
I can reassure the hon. and learned Gentleman that there is no intention of truncating the inquiry. Eleven more officers are now under investigation by the Director of Public Prosecutions. As the inquiries are in progress it is impossible for the Director of Public Prosecutions or me to estimate how many more cases there will be. Neither the Director of Public Prosecutions nor I intend to call a halt to this inquiry before it has been properly concluded.

Operation Countryman: Police Corruption Trial.

H/T  Ian Puddick .
By Stewart Tendler, Crime Reporter .

Four London policemen were cleared yesterday by a jury at the Central Criminal Court of conspiring to pervert the course of justice. Three of the officers were also acquitted of corruption charges in a prosecution mounted by Operation Countryman, the inquiry into allegations of London police corruption.
The London policemen were charged as a result of Countryman, which has cost £2m.
Two other Countryman trials have led to acquittals. As the jury announced its verdict at the end of the seven-week trial, one of the policemen in the dock, Inspector Terence Babbage, shouted: "Thank you. Thank you," and raised his hands in the air.
Afterwards, Det. Constable Paul Rexstrew said the charges had been monstrous and should never have been brought.
Constable Rexstrew, aged 28, and Mr Babbage, aged 38, were charged with Det. Sergeant John David Ross, aged 34, and Det. Constable Michael Bradley Ross, his brother, aged 31, with conspiring to pervert the course of justice by planting evidence against two men after a bank robbery and falsely claiming that articles had been found and that oral admissions had been made.
The constables and the sergeant were also charged with making unwarranted demands for money.
During the trial Mr. Babbage was formally acquitted of making a false statement.
All the charges were denied.
The allegations of perverting the course of justice revolved round an £18,000 armed band raid in 1977 and the arrest of Mr. John Twomey and Mr. Patrick Carpenter, both of West London.
In 1979 the case against the two men were dropped at the Central Criminal Court after allegations of police corruption which led to the Countryman prosecution.
Mr. Carpenter has since been convicted of burglary and Mr. Twomey is in custody charged with two cases of armed robbery in 1981.

Ian Tomlinson :Live Tweets - Police officer Simon Harwood on trial for alleged manslaughter of Ian Tomlinson today.

 Follow for Twitter updates.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Dispatches Investigates: Ian Puddick - City London Police And KROLL Corruption

Published on 6 Mar 2012 by
Chris Plumley Channel 4 Dispatches investigates City of London Police Corruption, Operation BOHAN & Kroll.
Operation Bohan was a £1,000,000 Counter Terrorism Operation to arrest Ian Puddick

Monday, June 11, 2012

#Cleveland Police : Stephen Whenary was dragged naked, bloodied and bruised into the street by a team of 19 police officers who stormed his house has been awarded a five-figure payout.

Stephen Whenary, 42, was pulled from the shower, beaten around the head with a baton, sprayed with CS gas and arrested after police received a report he had been arguing with his partner, the ex wife of an officer, in 2005.
Outraged by his extensive injuries Mr Whenary embarked on a bitter six-year campaign for justice and sued Cleveland Police for assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.
Stephen Whenary, 42, who was left bloodied after his house was stormed by 19 Cleveland Police officers while he was naked in the shower in August 2005
Stephen Whenary, 42, who was left bloodied after his house was stormed by 19 Cleveland Police officers while he was naked in the shower in August 2005
Stephen Whenary, pictured yesterday left, was pulled from the shower, beaten around the head with a baton and arrested after police received a report he had been arguing with his partner. This photo on the right was taken after the attack in Norton, near Stockton, Stockton-on-Tees in 2005
The self-employed builder was unable to return to work for 13 weeks due to the the extent of his injures as well as the psychological trauma.
At the time of the attack Mr Whenary was living with Lynne, who has been married to a police officer. 

He was originally charged with assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest.
However, the case was thrown out by a judge after ruling that police evidence presented during the four-day trial was riddled with discrepancies.
Evidence: Mr Whenary suffered a cut to the back of his head, lacerations to his shoulders, a large bruise on his arm, deep cuts on his feet and minor cuts and abrasions on his wrists
Evidence: Mr Whenary suffered a cut to the back of his head, lacerations to his shoulders, a large bruise on his arm, deep cuts on his feet and minor cuts and abrasions on his wrists
After the force agreed to settle out of court Mr Whenary said: 'I’m glad it is all over now.
'It was never about the money it was always going to be about getting them to apologise for what they did to me.
'Sadly, I am still waiting for them to actually say sorry.
'It is still with me every single day but hopefully I will get my life back on track.
'For six years I have struggled to work because of the psychological damage that I have suffered as a result of the attack.
Cuts: Mr Whenary's neck and shoulder were left with deep cuts and covered in blood
Cuts: Mr Whenary's neck and shoulder were left with deep cuts and covered in blood
'I just try not to think about it too much and try to live my life as best I can.'
The incident happened at about 5.30pm on Sunday, August 21 2005 when police were called by a neighbour after hearing the defendant and his partner arguing.
It is unclear why the couple were arguing. 
Mr Whenary suffered a cut to the back of his head, lacerations to his shoulders, a large bruise on his arm, deep cuts on his feet and minor cuts and abrasions on his wrists.
Despite the trauma of the injuries he received, his relationship with Lynne survived and the pair married five years ago.
Mr Whenary added: 'There was no way that I was going to let them beat me.
'It all put a lot of stress and strain on our relationship but we got through it and we are now happily married.
'We had to move out of the house where it all took place because there were just too many bad memories, but now we are in a new house, we are able to put it behind us.'
In December 2007, following an 18-month investigation carried out by the same force, the Independent Police Complaints Commission ruled the officers had no case to answer and would not face criminal or misconduct charges.
It was revealed that the only officer to face a reprimand was PC Shaun Mahaffey, who received a superintendent’s warning after he went on holiday instead of giving evidence at the trial.
It was PC Mahaffey who was alleged in court to have smashed the shower door and hit Mr Whenary over the head with his baton.
At Mr Whenary’s trial in May 2006, the court was told that at one point, there were 19 officers in the house in Pine Street, Norton, near Stockton, Stockton-on-Tees, three of whom have never been traced.
The court heard that nearly every officer in Stockton responded when a police constable put out a call for help.
District Judge Roger Elsey was told that Mr Whenary was pulled from the shower and beaten about the head with a baton after he acted with alleged ‘superhuman’ strength.
He was then dragged outside, naked and bleeding.
Mr Whenary’s solicitor, Scott Taylor, of Taylor Goodchild, said: 'This has been a long protracted process but our client was determined to get the force to take responsibility for what happened and apologise for the injuries and mental trauma that it cause to him and his wife.'
Following the collapse of the trial, an investigation was launched by the force’s Chief Constable Sean Price, who is currently suspended after he was arrested last August and held on suspicion of misconduct in a public office, fraud by abuse of position and corrupt practice.
He has always denied the claims and is planning to take civil action, claiming unlawful arrest, false imprisonment and trespass.
Cleveland Police declined to comment.

Read more:

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Scotland Yard:Sapphire Sex Crime Unit. A Victim Speaks Out.

Seven years ago I made a complaint against the Westminster Sapphire Unit because I was so unhappy about how they had handled my rape in August 2004. I had no idea what I was doing when I started it. I assumed it would be a bit like writing to British Gas and giving off stink, but probably without the M&S vouchers at the end of it. Traumatised, shell shocked, naive and not entirely sure what I wanted or needed, I sat down and wrote them a letter detailing every single issue I had with my case. It took days to write, overwhelmed me utterly and arrived with them exactly one year to the day that I reported the rape. It triggered off more than I ever thought I would cope with and as I detailed here, it would last almost 4 years before it was concluded. It was the hardest and stupidest thing I have ever more

#Sapphire Sex Crime Unit: Scotland Yard - Met Police Urge Rape Victims To Come Forward As New Detective Arrested.

Scotland Yard calls for women to contact force after another officer from sex crime unit Sapphire allegedly falsified documents

The Metropolitan police has called for rape victims to come forward after the arrest of another officer from the Sapphire sex crime unit. Photograph: Alastair Grant/AP
The Metropolitan police are urging scores of women from north London who have been raped or sexually abused to come forward if they feel their cases were not taken seriously, after arresting another detective in its flagship sex crime unit Sapphire for allegedly falsifying documents.

The arrest stems from one of three investigations into failings in the unit, which could have left rapists at large.

The detective constable – who has not been named – was arrested on Friday on suspicion of perverting the course of justice. Colleagues raised allegations that he had altered crime documents by inserting statements from the Crown Prosecution Service and senior officers to indicate that no charges were to be brought in rape and sexual abuse cases when no such decision had been made.

The officer was involved in 63 cases – 26 of which are continuing, and 37 in which he claimed the inquiry was completed.

Each case is being reviewed and at least two women have already been told by detectives that issues have come to light which mean the original decision has now been changed, and the investigation is taking a different course.

The arrest comes less than a week after another former Sapphire officer, Ryan Coleman-Farrow, 30, was charged with 13 counts of misconduct in a public office after concerns were raised about the way he conducted crime investigations and allegations that he had also falsified statements and reports.

Coleman-Farrow was dismissed from the Met in April 2011. It is alleged that he wrote letters to sexual assault and rape victims telling them their investigations had been shelved, when no such decision has been made.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission – which was involved in investigating both cases – is also carrying out a third investigation into the working practices of the Sapphire unit based in Southwark, south London between July 2008 and September 2009 following repeated concerns about the way it has been functioning.

The focus on Sapphire, the Met's sex crimes department, comes after senior officers claimed less than three years ago that it had been reformed following a series of scandals in which two serial rapists were left at large to rape and abuse hundreds of women.

Scotland Yard at the time apologised for letting down victims after the failures in Sapphire, which were exposed by the cases of John Worboys, a black-cab driver and one of Britain's most prolific serial rapists, and Kirk Reid, a south London chef who raped and sexually assaulted more than 71 women over eight years.

Both men had been allowed to continue abusing women, despite repeated complaints to police by their victims, who in the case of Worboys were simply not believed by investigating detectives.

Reid, who was investigated by officers from Sapphire in Southwark, had been identified as a suspect for a series of sex attacks in 2004 and crossed the police radar at least 12 times, but no one pursued inquiries into him.

Scotland Yard acknowledged in the aftermath of the Reid and Worboys cases it was facing a "Macpherson moment" over its rape and sex crime investigations and said all the Sapphire teams would be taken under the control of the Yard centrally to tighten supervision and remove officers who were not up to the job.

But less than three years after the creation of the new centralised rape invesigation command there is renewed focus on how professionally rape and sex crime investigations are being carried out.

The latest arrest and some of the Coleman-Farrow charges concern cases that were run under the command of the new "reformed" centralised Sapphire unit.

A spokesman for Women against Rape, said Friday's revelations did nothing to improve public confidence in the investigation of rape and sexual abuse.

"Whether they are lazy, biased or corrupt officers who break the law aiding and abetting rapists should not only be sacked but prosecuted," said Lisa Longstaff.

"Women come to us asking just who they can go to? They do not trust the police and what we are hearing now will do nothing to improve that situation."

The IPCC said the detective arrested on Friday was not connected with the case of Coleman-Farrow but it is understood the allegations against both officers are similar – in that they falsifed records to make it appear that no charges should be laid against men accused of rape and sexual abuse.

Scotland Yard said Friday's arrest was made at an address in east London, and the detective constable concerned worked at the Sapphire unit covering Camden and Islington. It appealed for women from that area to contact them if they had concerns over the way their investigations were handled.

Officers from the Met's directorate of professional standards were questioning the detective on Friday while searches were carried out at two premises linked to him. The investigation into the officer began last month.

"It was brought to the attention of the senior management of Sapphire that there may be inaccuracies in some of his crime reports," a spokesman said.

"The officer was suspended from duty on Friday 18 May, and due to recent significant developments in the investigation a decision was taken to arrest the officer."

The IPCC, who are running an independent investigation into the allegations were informed of the arrest.

"We want victims to have the confidence that we are here for them, will believe them and will conduct our investigations professionally," the Yard said.

"Victims must be at the heart of every rape investigation, knowing that lines of inquiry have been exhausted in an attempt to bring offenders to justice.

"Any suggestion that an investigation is not up to the high standard expected will be fully investigated and any officers involved in potential failings dealt with robustly."

Coleman-Farrow is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates court on 20 June.

Scotland Yard Launches Investigation Into Tory 'Cash For Access' Affair.

Scotland Yard has begun an investigation into the Conservative Party cash-for-access scandal that saw its chief fundraiser claim a £250,000 donation would buy private meetings with David Cameron in Downing Street.
Peter Cruddas resigned as the Tories' co-treasurer in March after he told undercover reporters that paying the party £250,000 would buy "premier league" access to the Prime Minister, including intimate dinners with Mr Cameron and his wife Samantha in their flat above No 10.

The Metropolitan Police probe is particularly bad timing for Mr Cameron. He and the Chancellor, George Osborne, have been called before the Leveson Inquiry at the Royal Courts of Justice next week. They will be grilled over their links with Rupert and James Murdoch and the appointment of Andy Coulson to No 10 as the Prime Minister's media director, without customary security checks. Both may have to hand over text messages and emails for publication. The Electoral Commission, which has been conducting its own review of potential offences committed under party political laws, confirmed last night that the allegations against Mr Cruddas "are being dealt with seriously by the police". The commission has offered the Met team its expertise should it be required.

Mr Cruddas, a City billionaire and, until his resignation, the Tories' largest donor, giving them £215,000 in the first three months of this year, resigned his party post earlier this year following a "sting" operation in which he was covertly filmed telling undercover reporters that donations of "200 grand to 250 is premier league" and could mean dinners with the Camerons in the PM's private apartment in Downing Street. Access to Mr Osborne was also promised.

Mr Cruddas's claim that donations of £250,000 and more would be "awesome for your business" was made despite him being told the money would be coming from a Liechtenstein-based fund. Under electoral law it is illegal to accept donations from foreign funds.

Options alleged to have been discussed in the sting operation are said to have included the creation of a British subsidiary front company and also the potential use of UK employees who would act as financial conduits. Mr Cruddas said afterwards that he regretted "any impression of impropriety" arising from his "bluster".

The public relations executive Mark Adams, who called for an investigation into the actions of Mr Cruddas, has now been told in a letter from the Electoral Commission's chief executive, Peter Wardle: "If you have any concerns about the police investigation, you can of course raise those concerns with them."

Mr Cruddas claimed following his resignation that he had acted without the knowledge of the leadership of his party. Tory headquarters subsequently said that no donation was ever accepted or even formally considered and Mr Cameron called his former fundraiser's promises "completely unacceptable".

Mr Cameron's own internal party inquiry into the scandal faces an uncertain future. With a police investigation in progress, questions will be asked about the validity and effectiveness of the Conservatives' probe into cash-for-access, which is currently being conducted by the Tory life peer Lord Gold.

The terms of reference of the Gold inquiry, ordered by Mr Cameron, have already been criticised as intentionally limited. Although Mr Cruddas's promises involved the Prime Minister, Lord Gold's remit makes no mention of Mr Cameron, other than to state that the report will be handed directly to him.

A senior Conservative Party source told The Independent that given Scotland Yard's decision to mount a criminal investigation, the party would now have little choice but to put Lord Gold's exercise "on hold".

Labour's shadow Cabinet Office minister, Michael Dugher, said: "Allegations that David Cameron's chief fundraiser was attempting to solicit illegal donations and selling access to the Prime Minister called into question the whole integrity of the Government. So it is right that the Metropolitan Police are taking them seriously.

"It's vital that their investigation is allowed to take its course and that they receive the fullest support from both Downing Street and the Conservative Party."

Scotland Yard last night declined to discuss the matter, with a spokeswoman saying that its position had not changed since the resignation of Mr Cruddas in March. The spokeswoman said that the Met had been liaising with the Electoral Commission and that its detectives "continued to assess the allegations" made.

A Conservative Party spokesman said: "The Conservative Party has launched a full inquiry led by Lord Gold and will co-operate fully with the police."

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New Head Of #IPCC: Cops Are Bent.

The new head of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has questioned the ability of forces to investigate their own officers for corruption after it emerged that more than 8,500 allegations of wrongdoing resulted in just 13 criminal more

Friday, June 1, 2012

Stephen Lawrence : The Independent Investigates Police Corruption In The Lawrence Case.

The failure of the original hunt for the killers of Stephen Lawrence will come under fresh scrutiny today following the emergence of secret Scotland Yard files which reveal police concerns about one of the officers involved in the inquiry.
The police intelligence reports, obtained by The Independent, outline extensive allegations of corruption against John Davidson, a lead detective investigating the racist murder. The files can be made public following the convictions in January, 19 years after the event, of Gary Dobson, 36, and David Norris, 35.

It can also be revealed that details of the officer's alleged criminality were held back from the public and the Lawrence family's legal team.

The Lawrence family last night demanded that the Metropolitan Police explain why it never showed them the files or revealed their existence. Doreen Lawrence said: "Had we known even a scintilla of this in the last 18 years, we would have been shouting it from the rafters."
The Lawrence family has long suspected that corruption played a part in the Met's failure to arrest Dobson, Norris and three other members of a white gang, despite dozens of people coming forward to name them within days of the 1993 fatal stabbing in south-east London. There have been numerous Met internal inquiries and an inquiry by the police watchdog. But vital facts relevant to the Lawrence case have not been made public. The evidence gathered by The Independent reveals that:

* A key investigator in the original botched hunt for the killers was corrupt and engaged in extensive criminal enterprise, according to the secret Met files. Detective Sergeant John Davidson, who interviewed key Lawrence suspects and witnesses within days of the stabbing, was a "major player" in a ring of bent detectives "operating as a professional organised crime syndicate", according to previously unpublished intelligence reports.

* Davidson had corrupt relations with informants, dealt in Class A drugs and "would deal in all aspects of criminality when the opportunities presented themselves", according to the files written by senior anti-corruption officers.

* Davidson is alleged to have admitted that officers had a corrupt relationship with Clifford Norris, the gangster father of murderer David Norris. A police supergrass recently gave evidence under oath at the Old Bailey that Davidson had told him bent cops "looked after old man Norris".

* Anti-corruption officers were aware of the alleged link with Norris during the 1998 Macpherson inquiry, according to new testimony from the former Crown prosecutor on the case, but an internal Met legal memo suggests that the force feared the claim would get out while it was being sued by the Lawrence family.

* John Yates, the former Met Assistant Commissioner who led the investigation into Davidson and his colleagues, can be revealed to have prepared testimony for police corruption proceedings last year, unrelated to Davidson, confirming that "there was a huge appetite to prosecute John Davidson, who we considered then and still do now to have been a major corrupt player of that era".

Davidson never faced criminal charges and was allowed to retire on ill health grounds to run a bar on the Spanish island of Menorca after prosecutors decided there was a lack of corroborating evidence. The detective denies being corrupt, describing the allegations as "devastating and false".

These intelligence files and the previously unreported evidence from recent police corruption proceedings raise serious questions for the Met about whether the Macpherson inquiry – which in 1999 found the force to be "institutionally racist" – was shown the full extent of the allegations against Davidson.

Macpherson found that incompetence, rather than corruption, was to blame for the failure to catch any of the killers, and no officer faced serious disciplinary measures over their role in an investigation whose shortcomings provoked a transformation in British policing which many feel is incomplete.

Lingering suspicions remain that extraordinary lapses – such as the two-week delay before any of the suspects were arrested – cannot be put down to mere procedural shortcomings. At least three of Stephen Lawrence's killers remain at large.

Imran Khan, Doreen Lawrence's solicitor, said: "Doreen Lawrence said after the verdicts that they had achieved only partial justice and wanted the police to pursue the other individuals who were involved. We want the Metropolitan Police – and those who are in a position to do so – to conduct a full inquiry into the allegations The Independent has raised. If there was corruption, the Metropolitan Police needs to uncover it and deal with it, so that those who were under its influence are now free to do and say what they want to say."

"We don't know if there are such witnesses but it still leaves a potential opening. We can't rely on forensic evidence and we now have to look to other lines of inquiry. This is a legitimate and credible line of inquiry. It's important for the family that those leads are followed that could result in prosecution of those who are still at large."

Last night, a member of the Macpherson inquiry's advisory panel confirmed it had suspected that corruption played a role in the failure of the original police investigation and that not all information available had been handed over by the Met. Dr Richard Stone said: "There was a whole lot we were not told. If this is true, it confirms suspicions we had during the inquiry that seemed very likely with David Norris's father around."

Inside the Met's corruption files

Davidson, a hard-bitten cop who began his career as a constable in Glasgow, arrived at the Lawrence investigation within 36 hours of the stabbing.

He dealt with a key informant who had just identified David Norris and others as suspects for the murder– and whose informant file was lost during the murder investigation. Davidson also arrested and interviewed Gary Dobson and carried out the interview of another suspect, Luke Knight.

In the subsequent Macpherson report into the bungled murder inquiry Davidson was strongly criticised as "self-willed and abrasive" and offering "undoubtedly unsatisfactory" evidence. However the inquiry panel concluded: "We are not convinced that DS Davidson positively tried to thwart the effectiveness of the investigation."

But files from "Operation Russia" – the investigation by the Met's anti-corruption unit into bent officers in south London in 1998 – show that detectives believed that John Davidson had long been corrupt, and lend weight to the calls for him to now be questioned.

In 1994, with no one charged with the murder of Stephen Lawrence, Davidson had transferred to the South-East Regional Crime Squad (Sercs) in East Dulwich, London, where corruption with informants was endemic. A group of detectives there was already the target of a secret Met anti-corruption unit known as the Ghost Squad. A new anti-corruption squad was formed in January 1998, CIB3.

Then-Detective Superintendent John Yates, a senior CIB3 officer, targeted Davidson as one of 14 "core nominals" – detectives whose "criminality is extensive and, in essence, amounts to police officers operating as a professional organised crime syndicate", he explained in the case file.

Yates wrote to his superiors in blunt terms in October that year about the evidence he had found against Davidson: "It is now apparent that during his time at East Dulwich Davidson developed a corrupt informant/handler relationship. Their main commodity was Class A drugs, predominantly cocaine, however, Davidson and his informant would deal in all aspects of criminality when the opportunities presented themselves."

This eye-wateringly direct assessment was written at one of the most politically perilous moments in the history of the Met. The Macpherson inquiry was about to finish hearing evidence and begin writing its report.

Yates, the future head of Britain's counter-terrorism policing, seems to have been aware of the wider significance of the evidence he held on Davidson. In a note to senior officers, also written in October 1998, he set out a list of "Difficulties/threats" posed by his investigation into police corruption. One of the "threats" bullet points read: "Lawrence Enquiry [sic] – exposure of ex DS Davidson as a corrupt officer."

The Met did tell the Macpherson inquiry in September 1998 about Operation Russia's interest in Davidson, but said the corruption allegations it was investigating had no connection to the Lawrence murder. The Inquiry asked to be kept fully informed about developments. The Met this week declined to say whether it had shared Yates's October 1998 reports with Sir William Macpherson.

There was one officer however itching to tell Sir William about Davidson – but the Macpherson inquiry would never hear from him.

The police supergrass – and his new evidence under oath

Detective Sergeant Neil Putnam, a colleague of Davidson at East Dulwich and a member of the corrupt cabal, was arrested by Met anti-corruption officers in July 1998, in the middle of the Macpherson inquiry. He immediately agreed to turn "supergrass" against his former comrades.

Putnam said he was "fed up with the lies to cover the lies to cover the lies".

Over a period of four months between July and October 1998, while Macpherson continued to take evidence at his inquiry, Putnam detailed the scale and nature of the corruption that had consumed the East Dulwich branch of the regional crime squad. This included three specific acts of dishonesty he claimed to have carried out with his sergeant Davidson and an informant they managed together: the disposal of stolen watches, handling stolen electrical equipment, and the theft of cocaine from a drug dealer.

Putnam insists he made another, more serious allegation against Davidson: that Davidson had one day casually admitted to him that he was in a corrupt relationship with Clifford Norris – the drug dealing father of David, who murdered Stephen Lawrence.

Putnam has now expanded on this allegation under oath for the first time, during new corruption proceedings at the Old Bailey against other officers from the same crime squad.

Putnam, a born-again Christian who was jailed for his own corruption offences in 1998, told the court four months ago that when he and Davidson had been alone in the office one Sunday, he had asked Davidson about the Lawrence case.

He said: "We were talking and I turned round and said that I felt that it was obvious that the boys were guilty, so obvious something's wrong. And then John suddenly came out with the fact that he'd been dealing with, his exact words were, 'old man Norris'.

"Now I knew that one of the boys was Norris and old man Norris is the dad. John said that he'd given them information. John wasn't precise as to what the information was and John said they'd looked after him, those were the exact words 'they'd looked after him' and then, that there'd been 'a real little earner out of it' and I knew exactly what he meant by 'a real little earner' and it meant that they'd received cash, received money."

Putnam told the court he had known immediately the implication of what his colleague was telling him: "The person we were talking about was Clifford Norris and no one else." He added that he was troubled by the revelation, saying: "I didn't want to know any more. You didn't push the question, it was the culture we were in."

The supergrass told the Old Bailey that he had provided this information to his CIB3 debriefers in the summer of 1998 and they had written the details down in a notebook. Given that his revelations were being made at the height of the Macpherson hearings, where Davidson had already appeared, Putnam said he had been assured this information would be passed to the inquiry and he would be called to give evidence. The call never came.
Putnam told the court that he believed his evidence was "brushed under the table" because the allegation would "blow apart" the Met.

Asked why he was now giving evidence, he replied: "I said it to the police and they did nothing about it. As far as I'm concerned they hid it away, they didn't want it to come out." Putnam had never given evidence under oath about the Lawrence allegation and risked returning to prison for perjury if he was now lying at the Old Bailey.

The officers in charge of debriefing Putnam also gave evidence under oath and denied he had mentioned corrupt links in the Lawrence case. The Met produced five notebooks, which it said covered the entire period of Putnam's debrief and contained no trace of the claim. Putnam believes at least 15 notebooks were used to record his evidence and he was "absolutely certain" the Norris claim was recorded, telling the court: "It was written down."

The Met has admitted mistakes in the way it debriefed the supergrass – specifically that the initial debriefings were not tape-recorded.

Ever since the allegations about Davidson having a corrupt relationship with Clifford Norris became public, Scotland Yard "sources" have tried to downplay Putnam's credibility as a witness. But senior figures at the Yard in fact privately enthused about Putnam's credibility, Met documents now show.

Police intelligence files show that John Yates told his superiors categorically in 1998: "Putnam's value as a witness to the Crown cannot be over-esti
mated. In spite of his criminality he will present as a credible witness thoroughly contrite about what he has done and the shame that this will bring upon him, his family and the MPS [MetropolitanPolice Service]. This has been a consistent thread throughout his debrief."

The same police intelligence report shows that Yates regarded Putnam as "an unremarkable figure – a follower rather than a leader, a grass eater rather than a meat eater, a man desperate to show he was one of the boys – a trait that led him into a spiral of heavy drinking, debt and thus vulnerable to corruption."

Putnam's estranged former wife Gail also gave evidence for the first time, under oath at the Old Bailey, supporting his explosive claims. She told the court that Putnam had confided in her while he was a supergrass that "evidence was withheld for some time because [Davidson] was linked to the father of one of the suspects." She said she was "incensed" the information had not come out before.

Putnam has aired some of his claims about corruption previously – notably in the controversial 2006 Panorama titled "The Boys Who Killed Stephen Lawrence", which broadcast claims that the original Lawrence inquiry was tainted by corruption. But his evidence in October was the first time he has put forward the allegations under oath.
Even then, the Met's position is that its one-time star witness Putnam was not lying but simply "mistaken". The supergrass, however, has received significant support from an unlikely official source, revealed here for the first time.

Crown prosecutor's testimony on 'corrupt' officer

In July 1998, Martin Polaine was a highly regarded CPS barrister in charge of reviewing the case file on the Lawrence murder when he was recruited to a new hand-picked team of prosecutors with the highest security clearance to analyse the Met's secret intelligence on corruption.

Polaine was trusted by anti-corruption bosses and put in charge of reviewing evidence obtained by Operation Russia to see if it was capable of being used in prosecutions against officers, including Davidson.

Describing how he had been regularly updated by CIB3 officers about the debriefing of Putnam, the former Crown prosecutor told the Old Bailey at recent corruption proceedings: "I have a recollection I was told by someone in CIB3 of a link between Clifford Norris and Davidson."

He told the court that when this information was passed to him in late 1998 it was considered "of great significance" and added: "It stuck in my mind ... I recall not being surprised when it was more recently reported that Neil Putnam was speaking of the link."

Polaine's evidence raises the question of whether some of the allegations against Davidson were not made public to prevent further damage to Scotland Yard's reputation at the time of the Macpherson inquiry.

The nightmare scenario for the Met was that Davidson would be found to have thwarted the Lawrence murder investigation. It can now also be revealed that David Hamilton, the Met's head of legal affairs at the time, submitted a witness statement to the recent police corruption proceedings also recalling that there had been "a suspicion of an association or contact between Davidson and the Norris family".

This appears to support a legal memo Hamilton wrote in August 2000 outlining the Met's reluctance to disclose intelligence it held on Davidson – at a time when the force was facing a civil damages claim from the Lawrence family.

Hamilton, then the Met's most senior lawyer, wrote in 2000: "Disclosures relevant to Davidson's contact with the Norris family could have an adverse effect on the Commissioner's position in the ongoing High Court action by Mr and Mrs Lawrence.

"Part of their claim is based on misfeasance in public office and alleges wrongdoing in relation to dealings between police and the Norris family."

The Lawrences were eventually paid more than £300,000 by the Met in an out-of-court settlement.

When approached by The Independent, Polaine – who was disbarred in 2010 as a barrister for "far-reaching errors" in his advice to a Yates-led anti-corruption inquiry in the Cayman Islands – stood by his evidence in court, and declined to comment further.

Last night, Richard Stone, a member of the Macpherson inquiry, described this latest evidence from Polaine and Hamilton as "very disturbing".

Clifford Norris

In 2006, the Lawrence family asked the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to investigate Putnam's claims to Panorama that the Met failed to disclose to the Macpherson inquiry what he had told them of a Davidson-Norris link. The police watchdog said it could not find evidence for Putnam's Panorama allegations. The IPCC concluded that Polaine, Putnam and Hamilton had confused Clifford Norris with a different crime squad informant coincidentally called David Norris. But the latter Norris had been murdered in 1991, two years before Stephen Lawrence, and all three witnesses insist there was no confusion.

Davidson declined to meet with the IPCC investigators who were looking into the alleged link to Clifford Norris. The former detective could not be reached via his lawyers or the Police Federation to comment on the latest revelations but he has previously issued a statement strongly denying he was guilty of corruption.

Davidson said: "The first and only time I came into contact with Clifford Norris was in 1994 when, whilst leading an arrest team, I arrested him for offences including firearms and drugs. He was subsequently charged and convicted in relation to these offences. Other than in relation to this arrest, I have had no dealings either directly or indirectly with Clifford Norris.
"I am not corrupt. I did not hamper in any way the investigation into the death of Stephen Lawrence. I am not 'a friend' of, nor did I know, Clifford Norris other than that mentioned above. I would stress the only time I dealt with Clifford Norris was after I had stopped working on the Lawrence investigation."

The former detective also criticised Yates for saying he was corrupt: "I am also very concerned that ... Yates thought it appropriate to condemn me as a corrupt officer."
Clifford Norris meanwhile has denied paying police officers or knowing Davidson. The Macpherson inquiry did hear that a different officer, David Coles, was seen meeting Norris in the late 1980s and receiving a carrier bag containing unknown items. Approached by The Independent recently at his flat above a hardware shop in a seedy area of Ashford, Kent, Clifford Norris said "Fuck off", and slammed the door.

A police force 'in denial'

Scotland Yard now acknowledges that it knew of corruption within Davidson's unit before he was allowed to give evidence to the Macpherson inquiry, and that it subsequently found evidence of Davidson's own corruption – but says it could not find evidence of Davidson having thwarted the Stephen Lawrence murder inquiry.

A spokesman for the Met said: "While there was intelligence of potential corruption within the South East Regional Crime Squad (East Dulwich) no individuals were identified as suspects until Operation Russia began in the spring of 1998. It was not until the arrest of ex-DC Neil Putnam in July 1998 that specific allegations relating to ex-DS John Davidson emerged."
The Met was asked if it had disclosed to Macpherson Yates's belief that Davidson was a key player in a gang of officers "operating as a professional organised crime syndicate".

A Met spokesman replied that the Yard had informed Macpherson of the broader investigation: "We were at a very early stage of the investigation and the allegations were un-corroborated and did not relate to Stephen's murder. However we recognised the significance of Davidson as a witness to the Inquiry and therefore informed them of the investigation."

The Met spokesman added: "Ex-DS John Davidson was subject to an in-depth corruption investigation, during which there was never any evidence of Davidson being involved in corrupt activity within the Stephen Lawrence inquiry or doing anything to thwart that investigation. Had we had such information it would have been determinedly pursued.

"The corruption investigation revealed much intelligence and some evidence of Davidson, and others being involved in corrupt activities, but their actions were unconnected to the investigation into Stephen's death.

"We do not consider that any new or significant information has emerged ... since the IPCC reached their conclusions in 2007. Should any substantive information arise relating to alleged corruption in the original Stephen Lawrence murder investigation it would be seriously considered."

Asked why its own head of legal affairs from 1998, David Hamilton, said in his witness statement to the recent corruption proceedings at the Old Bailey that there had been a "suspicion of an association or contact between Davidson and the Norris family", the Met spokesman replied only: "Inquiries by the MPS and the IPCC have found no evidence of a link between ex-DS John Davidson and the Norris family."

A spokeswoman for the IPCC said: "We are aware of Mr Putnam's claims and were aware of them during our investigation. We are also aware of Mr Polaine's comment ... There is nothing which would change our findings or cause us to look into this matter again – they provide no more to substantiate Mr Putnam's claims than the information we previously had.

"The material in this case is now archived but we have no reason to believe that any Operation Russia material was withheld from the IPCC or the Macpherson inquiry. We were provided with full access to the material. We have no reason to believe that the Macpherson inquiry was not fully aware of allegations involving DS Davidson."

"Untouchables" by Michael Gillard and Laurie Flynn will be published this month by Bloomsbury