Last Updated – February 14, 2013
When interviewed by police, Miss Carpenter repeatedly lied and said she was not on her phone. She later said she briefly took a call before admitting she had been on the phone for the entire journey, but had had it on the loudspeaker in her lap. Experienced motorcyclist Mr Bartholomew, 54, of Bere Regis, Dorset, was riding his Honda CBF1000 east along the A31 at 7.20am on March 20 last year when Miss Carpenter – who was off-duty – pulled out of a side road in Ferndown to go west in her Peugeot 206. Witnesses said no one had been breaking the speed limit, but Miss Carpenter, of Colehill, Wimborne, said she had not seen Mr Bartholomew until the collision. Miss Carpenter, who has been with Dorset Police for three years, has completed a police driving course. PC John Hayward, Dorset Police’s accident investigator, told Bournemouth Coroner’s Court: ‘The use of her mobile phone can only have been a distraction and has very likely contributed to her not seeing the motorcyclist.’
January 17, 2013
Mark Duggan’s injuries appeared to be inconsistent with the scenario described by the police officer who shot him, it was suggested to a pathologist at the Old Bailey. Dr Simon Poole was testifying in the retrial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster, who denies supplying an illegal gun to Mr Duggan the day he was shot. Post-mortem test showed Mr Duggan was shot in the chest and upper right arm. He was shot dead by police on 4 August 2011 in Tottenham, north London. His death sparked riots that swept across the capital and the country.
The Old Bailey heard the fatal shot was to the chest, entering the front right hand side and exiting the back of Mr Duggan on the left hand side. The other bullet entered the right upper arm and tracked down a few centimetres under the skin, before exiting the arm and grazing the skin of the chest. The doctor said he was unable to say the order in which the bullets were fired. Stuart Denney QC, barrister for Mr Hutchinson-Foster, asked the pathologist to imagine a scene in which Mr Duggan had got out of a minicab and was heading towards a wall beside the road while a police officer had got out of a car behind the taxi and was standing on the pavement.
The jury has already heard evidence from a police officer known as V53 who described a similar situation leading up to the shooting. Mr Denney suggested that if the police officer then fired the shot that struck Mr Duggan in the chest, the track of the bullet would have to pass from the left to the right.
He asked the pathologist: “But in fact the chest wound is right to left?”
“Yes, that’s right,” answered Dr Poole.
Mr Denney said: “So the scenario can’t be right? The officer fires to his left and the bullet hits Mr Duggan in the chest and it should go from left to right – but it went right to left. Therefore the scenario can’t be right?”
“I agree,” Dr Poole replied.
Under re-examination Dr Poole agreed with the prosecution that if Mr Duggan turned to face the person who fired the shot, that would change the position of his body in relation to the person who fired the shot.
Source = BBC NEWS
September 17, 2012
A police officer cleared of killing Ian Tomlinson at London’s G20 protests has been sacked with immediate effect after being found guilty of gross misconduct. PC Simon Harwood was earlier found guilty of breaching standards by a Metropolitan police disciplinary panel. But the panel decided it will not consider whether or not the officer’s actions caused or contributed to Mr Tomlinson’s death in 2009. Mr Tomlinson’s widow walked out of the hearing, calling it a “whitewash”.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Maxine de Brunner said the actions of PC Harwood “fell well below” the usual standards of behaviour for Metropolitan Police public order officers, and revealed the force had offered damages to the family of Mr Tomlinson, the details of which are confidential. She added: “Today’s hearing has resulted in the maximum penalty that was ever available to the panel, dismissal due to gross misconduct. That leaves no ambiguity as to how the Met views the actions of Simon Harwood”. Ms de Brunner confirmed PC Harwood would keep his police pension as he had not been convicted of a criminal offence.
July 6, 2012
Sussex Police Chief Constable Martin Richards is being investigated over an allegation of misconduct. Sussex Police Authority said it voluntarily referred the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) in June. But the authority refused to give details of the allegation, claiming disclosure could risk an “ongoing operational matter”. Mr Richards said he would fully co-operate with the investigation.
He added: “Given the senior position I hold and the trust placed in me by the people of Sussex and my colleagues, it is absolutely right that the Sussex Police Authority has voluntarily referred this matter to the IPCC for independent scrutiny. “With trust in the police at the forefront of ongoing legitimate public interest nationally, I am mindful of the need to conduct my duties with the utmost integrity and an expectation of scrutiny. “While the IPCC investigation is ongoing it will be business as usual.”
June 13, 2012
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”.
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’.”
June 13, 2012
Ministers have been asked to investigate the police infiltration of a cell of animal rights activists responsible for a firebombing campaign after questions were raised about the ethics of an operation that, it was alleged, may have involved an undercover spy planting an incendiary device in a department store. The MP who raised the case, which dates back to the 1980s but surfaced only after recent disclosures about the clandestine unit of police spies, suggested it may constitute a case in which “a police officer crossed the line into acting as an agent provocateur”. Caroline Lucas, parliament’s only Green MP, used a Westminster Hall debate on the rules governing undercover policing to raise the case under parliamentary privilege, and add to calls for a public inquiry into the use of police spies.
Only limited details are known about the mysterious police operation to infiltrate a group of hardcore anti-fur protesters, and Lucas admitted no one could be sure about the precise role played by the undercover police officer, Bob Lambert, who spent years living among the activists having adopted a new identity. Lambert infiltrated a cell of activists from the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), who detonated three incendiary devices at three Debenhams branches in London in July 1987 as part of a campaign against the sale of fur.
Two activists, Geoff Sheppard and Andrew Clarke, were caught red-handed months later as they prepared for a second wave of arson attacks. They were convicted over the attacks on the stores. “Sheppard and Clarke were tried and found guilty – but the culprit who planted the incendiary device in the Harrow store was never caught,” 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 MP relayed comments from Sheppard in which the convicted activist said: “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 World Service that three Debenhams stores had had arson attacks on them and that included the Harrow store as well.
“So obviously I straight away 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. So it would seem that planting the third incendiary device was perhaps a move designed to bolster Lambert’s credibility and reinforce the impression of a genuine and dedicated activist. He did go on to successfully gain the precise intelligence that led to the arrest of Sheppard and Clarke – and without anybody suspecting that the tipoff came from him. But is that really the way we want our police officers to behave?” Lambert, who has admitted having sexual relations with women while operating undercover, has previously spoken about his role in the police investigation of the ALF and his specific role in the operation against Sheppard and Clarke.
June 13, 2012
Undercover police officers can start sexual relationships with suspected criminals if it means they are more plausible, Home Office Minister and Sussex MP Nick Herbert said today. He said that under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA), officers were permitted to have sex as part of their job but the legislation meant the operations were strictly managed. There had been confusion about whether undercover police were allowed to go that far following the collapse of a case against environmental activists in Nottinghamshire after it emerged the group was infiltrated by an officer called Mark Kennedy, who had been in sexual relationships with two women in the campaign.
Today, Mr Herbert said it was important police were allowed to have sex with activists because otherwise it could be used as a way of outing potential undercover officers. Speaking in a debate in Westminster Hall, Mr Herbert said: “In very limited circumstances, authorisation under Ripa Part 2 may render unlawful conduct with the criminal if it is consentutory conduct falling within the Act that the source is authorised to undertake. “But this would depend on the circumstances of each individual case and consideration should always be given to seeking legal advice. “I am not persuaded that it would be necessary to introduce specific statutory guidance on the circumstances of sexual relationships under Ripa.
“I think what matters is that there is a general structure and system of proper oversight and control rather than very specific instructions as to what may or may not be permitted. “Of course, there is another point that banning such actions would provide the group targeted the opportunity to find out whether there was an undercover officer specifically within their group.” But Caroline Lucas, the leader of the Green Party and MP for Brighton Pavilion*, *who is calling for a public inquiry into the conduct of undercover officers, said this meant that, while the police needed a warrant to enter your home, they did not need any authorisation to start a relationship. She accused the police of failing to take seriously the legal claims of eight women who said their lives had been devastated by the intrusion of undercover police officers.
Ms Lucas said officers had “crossed the line”, adding that the case of Mark Kennedy – who went under the alias Mark Stone during his time infiltrating a group that attempted to take over Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station in Nottinghamshire – had “shone a light” on the practices of subterfuge used by the police. She said: “We need to know what the truth is and we need any rules of engagement to be published and open to public and parliamentary scrutiny or challenge.”
May 11, 2012
Two members of Durham Constabulary staff who held and twisted the arms of a prisoner to make him answer their questions have been fined by magistrates. CCTV footage taken in the custody suite of Peterlee police station last March shows David Healer screaming in pain during the assaults by Sergeant Stephen Harvey and civilian detention officer Michael Mount. The pair, who have not been suspendedbut have been moved to other duties, were each found guilty of two counts of common assault in March. Mr Healer, a 48-year-old DIY store manager, claims he was suffering an angina attack during his time in custody, and at one stage thought he was going to die. Harvey, a veteran of 30 years in the police, was fined £400 for taking the lead in what magistrate Oliver Johnson referred to as: “A sustained and repeated attack on a vulnerable man in custody.”
Mount, a former army staff sergeant, was fined £200 for his “subordinate” role. Both men were ordered to pay £50 compensation to Mr Healer. The Independent Police Complaints Commission said the mens’ actions “could be described as a form of torture”, and were “completely unacceptable”. Speaking outside court after the sentencing, father-of-six Mr Healer said he was happy with the outcome. He said: “At the end of the day, it’s the consequences of what they did in society that’s going to affect them. “It’s a shame that two people have ruined their careers over this.” Stephen Gowland, Mr Healer’s solicitor, said: “Mr Healer suffered a great injustice but today at least he can be content that justice has been done.”
He added: “My client’s life has been affected greatly by the treatment he received both mentally and physically and he now has to live with severe pain for the rest of his life, due to the serious spinal injuries incurred in this incident.” Durham Police Deputy Chief Constable Mike Barton read a statement from the force describing the behaviour of his two staff members as “below the standards expected by the force”. He added: “Without wishing to condone the actions of these particular members of staff, I must point out that custody can be a very challenging environment for our staff. “They regularly have to deal with people who are drunk, or violent, or both. “We process around 20,000 people a year and, in the vast majority of these cases, there are no issues.” Mr Healer said he will now pursue a civil claim for damages.
May 8, 2012
Two more student protesters, brothers Christopher and Andrew Hilliard, have been acquitted of charges of violent disorder relating to the anti-fees demo of 9 December 2010. The unanimous verdicts, which the jury took only two hours to reach, came hot on the heels of similar not-guilty verdicts for three other defendants. This brings the total to 11 acquittals in violent disorder cases relating to that one demo. This high rate of acquittals together with the disproportionate number of hung juries resulting from the protest cases demonstrate that the CPS is failing to prove that students engaged in unlawful violence at the 2010 protests. Instead, courts are being treated to abundant footage of police violence and intimidation, involving containment, the indiscriminate use of batons and horses charging peaceful, static, kettled demonstrators with nowhere to run.
The Hilliard brothers were accused of pulling a mounted police officer off his horse at the demo. In 2009, Christopher Hilliard had visited parliament as part of an NUS delegation and secured the pledges of many MPs not to increase tuition fees. Much about the Hilliards’ case exemplifies the politicised nature of the prosecutions of the student protesters. David Cameron himself risked influencing the outcome of the legal process when he publicly drew attention to the case, insisting that police had been “dragged off horses and beaten”. The reality is that young people have not only been denied access to education and jobs through the abolition of the education maintenance allowance and the rise in tuition fees, but they are also being injured, demonised and criminalised when they protest about it.
Much of the Hilliards’ defence benefited from a vast amount of footage located by the defendants themselves. The court was shown footage of a mounted officer pulling Christopher Hilliard’s hair so hard that Hilliard is forced on to the tips of his toes in the moments before the officer comes off his horse. The defence argued that it was this, along with the officer’s failure to follow the normal procedure of tightening the girth on his horse, that led to his unseating. Despite eight police officers alleging they witnessed the four or five seconds during which the officer became unseated, all said they happened to be looking away in the moments leading up to this. The disparity between the mounted officer’s version of events and what the footage showed prompted Andrew Hilliard’s barrister to tell the jury, he “must think you don’t have eyes in your head”.
The Hilliards are now investigating the possibility of having criminal proceedings initiated against the police. What have we learned from the trial? That public order policing today is in a state of deep crisis, from the death of a bystander at the G20 protest in 2009, the serious head injury suffered by a student at the 9 December 2010 demo, to the numerous protesters wrongly charged with violent disorder. The Hilliard brothers’ victory is a victory not only for the acquitted protesters, but also for all those fighting to defend the right to protest. There’s no greater feat in court than successfully disputing the word of a police officer, but the student protest cases, along with the recent, but by no means exceptional, spate of allegations of racism and corruption in the Met, are steadily undermining the perception in much of the public’s mind that the police are necessarily a trustworthy, peaceful force for good.
February 1, 2012
The parents of a 25-year-old man who died in police custody have been angered by a Home Office pathologist’s finding that their son died of “excited delirium”, a medical term that is not recognised by the Department of Health. The family of Jacob Michael, who died last summer after calling police saying he feared for his life, say the pathology report ignored how their son was heavily restrained by 11 officers on the street outside their home, as well as evidence of broken ribs and a torn liver.
According to witnesses, Michael was repeatedly hit with police batons after fleeing his home when two officers from Cheshire constabulary entered his bedroom and released pepper spray into his face. The IPCC has told the Guardian that 58 witness statements have been taken and 98 exhibits logged in the investigation. Two pieces of relevant CCTV footage have been secured, including film from the police custody suite where Michael was held down on the floor by officers.
Michael’s father said: “As far as I’m concerned, if the police didn’t treat my lad the way they did, he would be here today. He did nothing wrong, he hadn’t committed any crime, he rang the police for help. “We’re still waking up crying every day. The pain is there 24 hours,” he said. Despite not being listed by either the Department of Health or the World Health Organisation as a recognised cause of death, excited delirium has been cited in a number of death in custody cases.
A joint investigation by File on Four and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday cast doubt on the medical basis for the term, which has been cited in 17 suspicious death cases in the UK. Richard Shepherd, one of the UK’s leading pathologists and a member of the independent advisory panel on deaths in custody, who recently reviewed the scientific evidence on excited delirium, told File on Four that pathologists should be wary of the term. “I’m clear in my own mind that there is no strict definition [of excited delirium]. It’s a term that should be used with great care … because I don’t think it is yet established that closely and it should never explain a death [by itself]“
September 30, 2011
A family whose son died in police custody have said that arresting officers ignored their pleas to make a potentially life-saving call for an ambulance as the young man lay in the street, having been pepper-sprayed and batoned. Ann and Jake Michael, from Widnes, Cheshire, watched Jacob being restrained by 11 officers and urged police three times to call for medical help, they said during their first interview since his death on 22 August. Some witnesses to the arrest told the Guardian that Cheshire police officers hit the 25-year-old man with batons after he was restrained with handcuffs.
Jacob was arrested 30 metres from the family home after dialling 999 from the small house in Lacey Street and hanging up without saying a word. He had arrived home in an agitated state after a weekend of partying, and he was rambling about being threatened with a gun, his parents said during the interview. According to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which is investigating the death, two officers from Cheshire police arrived at the family home at 5.10pm, citing welfare concerns after receiving the abandoned emergency call. Ann Michael happily invited the officers inside, but said the mood became “threatening” when they asked her son to open his bedroom door. “He didn’t believe these were the police,” his father said.
Instead, Jacob rang the local police station, using his mobile, to confirm their identities, something the IPCC has confirmed. This irritated the officers, according to his parents. “They were so aggressive, saying, if you don’t open the door, we’re going to break it down. Very scary. Threatening,” Mr Michael said. One officer was “getting bored” with their son’s behaviour, said Mrs Michael, so he broke down the door and released pepper spray into his face. “Straight away, pepper spray. And my lad says ‘please don’t, I’ll do anything, please don’t',” said Mr Michael. The parents described the way their son was pinned against his wardrobe, waving his hands in the air in an attempt to fend off the noxious spray.
December 2, 2011
Usually, it is the police who kettle protesters. The tables were turned, though, when demonstrators unmasked and surrounded a plain-clothes officer who had infiltrated their midst during this week’s public sector protests. The hoodie-wearing interloper was discovered by protesters from the Occupy movement from St Paul’s while they were attempting to take over a building near Piccadilly Circus in central London on Wednesday. The incident, which occurred outside the offices of the mining company Xstrata, was captured on video by The Independent (above, left). Protesters asked the man whether he worked for the Metropolitan Police. He can be seen in the film nodding and answering: “Yeah, I’m a Met Police officer, yeah.”
At that, one of the group said: “Right, let’s circle him so he can’t go anywhere.” Protesters duly surrounded the officer, chanting “shame on you”. Within moments the chants turned to “scum, scum, scum”. One protester was heard to say: “He has no uniform and no [badge] number… we have no way of identifying him, so how are we supposed to complain about him.” The officer was allowed to reach the line of uniformed police who were kettling the protest, and they let him through. Protesters have complained recently about a perceived increase in the number of plain-clothes or undercover police officers at protest marches. Videos of people suspected of such a role have surfaced online, and cards with images of those thought to be police officers have reportedly been distributed among demonstrators.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman confirmed yesterday that plain-clothes officers were deployed “to observe and identify those people who were committing offences”. He added: “When uniformed officers arrived on scene the plain-clothes officers were on hand to identify those who had committed crimes so they could make arrests.”