British Police: News (Page 2)

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Police spies still get free rein to have sexual liaisons, say women suing Met

March 28, 2014

Police spies are still being given “free rein” to have sexual liaisons, say the eight women suing Scotland Yard over claims they unwittingly had long-term relationships with undercover officers. The eight have criticised the government for failing to ban undercover officers from striking up sexual relationships with the targets of their surveillance. They say they have suffered enormous emotional trauma after discovering that the men they had been in relationships with for years were undercover officers who had been sent to spy on political groups.

The women added that the failure “to introduce measures to prevent further abuse amounts to institutional sexism”. The criticisms were made in response to a Home Office consultation which will draw up an updated code of conduct governing the deployments of undercover police officers. Damian Green, the policing minister, said that controls over undercover police deployments were being strengthened following a series of controversies.

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SOURCE = The Guardian

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Policeman who punched woman used CS gas on UK Uncut protesters

March 14, 2014

A policeman who was sentenced for punching a suspected shoplifter in the head earlier this week has been found to have breached professional standards in another incident where he sprayed peaceful protesters with CS gas. PC James Kiddie was found to have used excessive force when he sprayed demonstrators at close range during a UK Uncut protest in January 2011, causing several people to collapse struggling for breath. The finding, at a misconduct meeting, follows Kiddie’s trial, at which he received a 150-hour community order for common assault on a suspected shoplifter earlier this week. Lochlinn Parker, solicitor for the protesters, said the finding of misconduct against PC Kiddie was the end of a three-year struggle for accountability by the demonstrators.

“In light of his recent conviction, it is worrying that PC Kiddie has remained on the beat over the last three years when he is clearly unable to control his anger. We trust that the Metropolitan police will make a clear statement condemning PC Kiddie’s actions and review the training and advice they give to their officers when dealing with protesters.” The misconduct finding marks the end of a complaint that has previously been investigated and dismissed by the Metropolitan police. Kiddie has been given a first written warning. Matthew Butcher, 25, was one of those who had CS gas sprayed into his eyes from close range during the UK Uncut protest. “I am not surprised that this officer has been found to have done something wrong – that was immediately very clear to all those of us who were there. What is quite amazing is that it has taken this long for us to get to this point.” In August last year the Independent Police Complaints Commission upheld an appeal by several of those injured in the protest, saying there was “insufficient justification” for Kiddie’s actions and recommending he face a “misconduct meeting”.

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SOURCE = The Guardian

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Cambridgeshire police tried to turn political activists into informers

March 17, 2014

A young anti-racism protester abandoned her campaigning work because she felt intimidated by a covert police officer who tried to persuade her to spy on her political colleagues, she has said. The 23-year-old said the officer, working for a secretive police unit, threatened to prosecute her if she told anyone about the attempt to enlist her as an informer. The woman, who is a single mother, said the threat had left her feeling “vulnerable and intimidated”, worried that a prosecution would jeopardise her young son, her university place and her chances of working in the future. “If I was charged, I could lose everything,” she said. The Guardian in November published a secretly recorded video revealing how police had tried to recruit an environmental protester, also in his twenties, to spy on politically active Cambridge students.

Now, three more campaigners have come forward. They have described how police from the covert unit tried to convince them to become informants, and to spy on political groups, such as environmentalists and anti-fascists, in return for cash. The allegations come two weeks after Theresa May, the home secretary, ordered a public inquiry into the undercover infiltration of political groups after revelations that the police had spied on the family of Stephen Lawrence. Another of the campaigners said an officer had appeared to follow him and his young daughter to a supermarket where, he said, the officer thrust an envelope containing cash into his hand to induce him to secretly pass on information about environmentalists in Cambridge. He said he had angrily rejected the envelope, warning that he would get a legal order to stop the police pursuing him, as the officer had previously made two unannounced visits to his home to try to turn him into an informant.

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SOURCE = The Guardian

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The Independent

Stephen Lawrence exclusive: Links between ‘corrupt’ officer on investigation and racist murder gang were suppressed to protect Met chief

March 10, 2014

John Davidson

Former Detective Sergeant John Davidson

Intelligence that linked a suspected corrupt police officer on the Stephen Lawrence murder investigation to the gangster father of one of the prime suspects was apparently suppressed to protect the then Metropolitan Police Commissioner. A memo written in 2000 by a Met Police lawyer suggests the force suppressed information that John Davidson, a detective sergeant on the original botched investigation, was connected to the father of David Norris, one of the racist gang who stabbed Stephen Lawrence to death in 1993. The file goes on to warn a police officer who was preparing to leak information on the Lawrence case to a journalist that “disclosures relevant to DS Davidson’s contact with the Norris family could have an adverse effect on the Commissioner’s position in the on-going High Court action by Mr and Mrs Lawrence”. At the time, Doreen and Neville Lawrence were suing Scotland Yard for misfeasance in public office under the then Commissioner Lord Stevens following years of appalling police treatment following the death of their son.

The memo from David Hamilton of the Met’s directorate of legal services corroborates incendiary claims by police “supergrass” Neil Putnam. He has always maintained he told the Met in 1998 of the alleged corrupt relationship between Davidson and Clifford Norris right in the middle of a judicial inquiry into the appalling case. A review of the Lawrence murder found that full details of Mr Putnam’s evidence was withheld from Sir William Macpherson during his landmark inquiry. The Home Secretary described this as “deeply troubling” and prompted  accusations of a “cover-up”. Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the current Metropolitan Police Commissioner, was thrown into the centre of the storm after Mark Ellison QC concluded in his review that Scotland Yard may not have told him the truth about Davidson’s links to another notorious unsolved case, the murder of Daniel Morgan, prompting Mrs May to order yet another judge-led public inquiry into corruption inside Britain’s biggest police force.

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SOURCE = The Independent

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Did an undercover cop help organise a major riot?

February 3, 2014

From the Stephen Lawrence inquiry we learned that the police were institutionally racist. Can it be long before we learn that they are also institutionally corrupt? Almost every month the undercover policing scandal becomes wider and deeper. Today I can reveal a new twist, which in some respects could be the gravest episode yet. It surely makes the case for an independent public inquiry – which is already overwhelming – unarguable. Before I explain it, here’s a summary of what we know already. Thanks to the remarkable investigations pursued first by the victims of police spies and then by the Guardian journalists Rob Evans and Paul Lewis (whose book Undercover is as gripping as any thriller), we know that British police have been inserting undercover officers into protest movements since 1968. Their purpose was to counter what they called subversion or domestic extremism, which they define as seeking to “prevent something from happening or to change legislation or domestic policy … outside the normal democratic process”. Which is a good description of how almost all progressive change happens.

Most of the groups whose infiltration has now been exposed were non-violent. Among them were the British campaign against apartheid in South Africa, the protest movements against climate change, people seeking to expose police corruption and the campaign for justice for the murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence. Undercover officers, often using the stolen identities of dead children, worked their way into key positions and helped to organise demonstrations. Several started long-term relationships with the people they spied on. At least two fathered children with them. Some officers illegally used their false identities in court. Some acted as agents provocateurs. Seldom did they appear to be operating in the wider interests of society. They collected intelligence on trade unionists that was passed to an agency which compiled unlawful blacklists for construction companies, ensuring that those people could not find work. The policeman who infiltrated the Stephen Lawrence campaign was instructed by his superiors to “hunt for disinformation” about the family and their supporters that could be used to undermine them. When their tour of duty was over, the police abandoned their partners and their assumed identities and disappeared, leaving a trail of broken lives. As the unofficial motto of the original undercover squad stated, it would operate By Any Means Necessary.

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SOURCE = Guardian

Your Local Guardian

Metropolitan Police urged to ‘come clean’ as explosive new links revealed between murders of Thornton Heath private investigator Daniel Morgan and Stephen Lawrence

March 11, 2014

“We want it all out in the open – everything. We won’t stop until it is.”

The brother of murdered private investigator Daniel Morgan has called on the Metropolitan Police to “come clean” after explosive new evidence suggested links between his killing and the death of Stephen Lawrence. The Ellison report revealed Detective Sergeant John Davidson, who allegedly had a corrupt relationship with the gangster father of one of Lawrence’s killers, was also connected to the investigation into 37-year-old Mr Morgan’s 1987 killing. Mr Morgan, who lived in South Norwood and ran a private investigation firm in Thornton Heath, was found with an axe embedded in his head in a Sydenham pub car park. It is thought he was set to blow the lid on police corruption.

Documents leaked to the Independent on Sunday this week suggested Mr Davidson was closely linked to one of the prime suspects in the murder, which remains unsolved despite five police probes, while Mark Ellison’s report stated several officers who investigated the killing were suspected of corruption. Speaking on the 27th anniversary of his brother’s murder yesterday, Alistair Morgan said he believe a corrupt “firm within a firm” at the Metropolitan Police had been involved in covering up both murders. He said: “We had always suspected that there could be crossovers but we’d never known anything specific. “These are only allegations about Davidson but it clearly needs further investigation, because the Met, it seems, didn’t give the right answers to the question.

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SOURCE = Your Local Guardian

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The Met’s problem isn’t bad apples, it’s the whole barrel. Abolish it

March 9, 2014

If hacking someone’s voicemail is a gross invasion of privacy, what words are left to describe agents of the state with fake identities having sex with women they’re spying on? One activist who had a child with the undercover police officer Bob Lambert has offered four words: “raped by the state“. She is among a group of women activists currently fighting attempts by the Met to sabotage their quest for truth and justice. If phone hacking provoked anger, the use of police spies should chill. But police spies stealing the identities of dead children and duplicitously sharing the homes, beds and lives of women is only the latest in a string of damning scandals about the Metropolitan police: Stephen Lawrence, and the Macpherson report’s subsequent conclusion that the Met is institutionally racist; a stop-and-search policy that discriminates against black people; deaths in police custody; the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes; the unlawful killing of Ian Tomlinson; the treatment of protesters as social problems to be contained; the stitching up of a Tory heavyweight. Each scandal is examined in isolation, treated as the action of rogue officers. But together they suggest an institutionally rotten system. Londoners need a force devoted to protecting their security, which treats all sections of the community equally, and which enjoys the consent and trust of everyone.

Currently they do not have one, and so it must be built on new foundations. This is a suggestion that will infuriate some, not least Met officers. Easy for a columnist, issuing grand proclamations behind the safety of his desk. Met officers, on the other hand, are taking rapists and killers off the streets, putting their lives in danger as they do so. More than 3,000 British police officers are injured a year; about 800 seriously. But this is not about individuals: it’s the system that is the problem, and it traps good and bad officers alike. The government has finally announced an inquiry into police spies, driven on by the revelation that a police force supposed to be solving the murder of Stephen Lawrence was actually spying on his grieving family. But Doreen Lawrence is right to state that police failings go to “the highest level”, and the Macpherson report’s damning conclusion – that the Met is “institutionally racist” – is as true as ever.

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SOURCE = Guardian

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Policemen charged over claims they illegally arrested student protester

February 18, 2014

Two police officers are facing criminal charges over claims they illegally arrested a student during protests four years ago. PC Calvin Lindsay, 30, and PC Andrew Ott, 35, have been summonsed to appear in court next week to face charges of conspiring to pervert the course of justice. Prosecutors allege that the pair unlawfully arrested a 20-year-old student on 9 December 2010 during tuition fee protests in Westminster. He was arrested on suspicion of threatening to commit criminal damage but no further action was taken. Initially the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) passed a file to prosecutors in February 2012 but the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said there was not enough evidence. After a review of the decision last December, the CPS authorised the IPCC to summons both officers to court. They are due to appear at Westminster magistrates court on Monday. Ott is also accused of one count of assault causing actual bodily harm.

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SOURCE = Guardian

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Undercover whistleblower Peter Francis gives evidence to official inquiry

January 17, 2014

This week the whistleblower who revealed how undercover police officers infiltrated the campaign to bring the killers of Stephen Lawrence to justice gave evidence to an official inquiry. Peter Francis, a former undercover officer, gave his testimony to Mark Ellison, the barrister who has been asked by the home secretary Theresa May to examine a number of issues around the Lawrence murder. Ellison, the QC who successfully prosecuted Gary Dobson and David Norris for the murder in 2012, is examining the allegations of corruption around the hideously botched police investigation as well as the undercover infiltration of the campaign. Details of both aspects of his inquiry’s remit can be found here and here. On Wednesday, Francis was questioned by Ellison for three hours over his claims. He was accompanied by Louis Charalambous, a lawyer from the London law firm Simons Muirhead & Burton who has been advising the whistleblower. Afterwards, Francis said :”I really hope that it will be a proper and thorough investigation of what I have been saying.” For background on Francis’s claims, published by Channel 4‘s Dispatches and the Guardian last June, see this, this and this.

Francis agreed to give evidence to Ellison after the barrister obtained from the attorney-general Dominic Grieve a form of immunity that would protect the whistleblower from prosecution under the official secrets act. A parallel inquiry into the conduct of the undercover officers since 1968 is being conducted by a team of police officers led by Derbyshire Chief Constable Mick Creedon. It too is examining the undercover infiltration of the Lawrence campaign as part of the raft of allegations against the undercover officers, stretching from the use of sexual relationships to gain intelligence to the use of fake identities in court. However this internal police inquiry, known as Operation Herne, has not secured any immunity from prosecution for Francis so he is not giving evidence to it. Francis has asked Ellison not to pass on any of his evidence this week to Operation Herne. Meanwhile, in a related development, it was disclosed earlier this week that Creedon is trying to force Channel 4 to hand over all its correspondence with Francis, along with notes and unseen video footage. Creedon said he needs the material as he is investigating whether a breach of the official secrets act and other offences has occurred.

Francis (see here) said the “threat of prosecution is designed not only to keep me quiet but also all the other hundred or so former undercover officers from ever speaking out”. Among those criticising police over their legal demand was Doreen Lawrence, Stephen’s mother, and her lawyer, Imran Khan, who said they were “astonished that the police are employing such strongarm, threatening tactics against someone who has exposed, on the face of it, serious misconduct in a public institution.” Their comments – worth reading in full – can be found here. Creedon has responded by offering a partial apology “to anyone who saw a genuinely well-meant approach to gain further information in a negative way.” His comments can be read here. On Tuesday afternoon, we asked Creedon if he still intends to pursue his legal action to get Channel 4 to surrender the material. At the time of writing, he has yet to answer. Over the past four years, Francis has been disclosing details of the work of his former unit, the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), that go wider than the infiltration of the Lawrence campaign.

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SOURCE = Guardian

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Call to disband Met riot police over mistrust

January 4, 2014

A former London mayoral candidate has called for the Metropolitan Police’s riot squad to be disbanded because of young people’s mistrust of it. Green Party Assembly Member Jenny Jones said the Territorial Support Group (TSG) acts like a “paramilitary body”. Ms Jones, deputy chair of the police and crime committee, suggests the money saved by scrapping the TSG should be spent on better police riot training. The unit’s commander said it was working to engage young people. Chief Supt Mark Bird said Ms Jones’s recommendation to the mayor would leave London without a round-the-clock response to critical incidents such as murders. In Ms Jones’ report, The Kids are All Right: How the Metropolitan Police can gain the trust of young Londoners, she recommends ways to improve confidence in the force.

She writes: “The Met should scrap the TSG and use that funding to train a greater number of police officers for public order situations. “If the mayor is unwilling to call for this he should prioritise youth training for TSG officers.” She also suggests more school visits and youth training for officers. The TSG, set up 25 years ago, is tasked with tackling terrorism, providing an immediate response to disorder and reducing priority crime. Speaking to BBC London, Ms Jones said: “They think they are incredibly special. “That generates a feeling that they can do things differently from other police officers. “If you see police acting like some sort of paramilitary body I think it is bad for the police.”

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SOURCE = BBC News

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Shoplifter assault case PC given community order

March 11, 2014

PC James Kiddie

PC James Kiddie

A police officer who punched a suspected shoplifter in the head before pinning her to the ground has been sentenced to a community order. PC James Kiddie, 45, was called to the Uniqlo clothing store in Regent Street, after Sarah Reed, 30, was held by security guards in November 2012. Kiddie said “snarling” Ms Reed bit his finger and said she had the Aids virus. Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard Ms Reed was later convicted of shoplifting. Kiddie, attached to Westminster borough, was found guilty of common assault by Judge Elizabeth Roscoe on 19 February after a three-day trial. CCTV footage played to the court showed him pushing Ms Reed into a chair, grabbing her by the hair and hitting her on the head as she lay on the floor, before leaning on her neck until back-up arrived. Judge Roscoe, sentencing Kiddie to a 150-hour community order, said she accepted his actions had been “an instinctive and immediate retaliation in anger”.

She added evidence on CCTV and of witnesses was that Ms Reed – described in court as a drug addict who was later convicted of shoplifting – was a “difficult” and “aggressive” woman who had become more aggressive when the police officer arrived. He was also ordered to pay £500 in prosecution costs, and a £60 victim surcharge. Kiddie had told the court his strikes against Ms Reed were “half-power” and he had not wanted to hit her. The Met said in a statement the officer – who has served for 12 years – was the subject of two substantiated complaints – in 2008 for lack of courtesy and respect and in 2011 for discriminatory comments. He was also due to face a misconduct meeting this month with regard to the discharge of CS gas at a demonstration in January 2011, the Met added.

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SOURCE = BBC News

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telegraph

Detective who stole seized drugs by colleague jailed

April 4, 2013

Detective Nicholas McFadden

Detective Nicholas McFadden

Nicholas McFadden, 38, was motivated ‘solely by insatiable greed’ and made more than £600,000 selling heroin, cocaine and cannabis from West Yorkshire Police stores. When he was arrested by former colleagues McFadden had £180,000 is bank notes in his garage. Judge Tom Bayliss QC told him: “You had access to controlled drugs and you abused your position to steal and trade in those drugs that had been taken off the streets by your colleagues.” Leeds Crown Court heard Nicholas and his brother Simon McFadden, 41, who helped sell the drugs, spent the proceeds on exotic holidays, designer clothing, jewellery, home improvements and private number plates for their cars. The elder brother’s wife Karen, 41, spent thousands at Harvey Nichols and Vivienne Westwood, in Leeds city centre, and purchased the private plate M2 SXY – ‘I’m too sexy’. Nicholas was unanimously found guilty of three charges of the theft of cocaine, cannabis and heroin while working with the Organised Crime Group in West Yorkshire and of conspiracy to supply it.

He admitted money laundering. Judge Bayliss sentenced him to five years for theft and 18 years for conspiracy to run consecutively – a total of 23 years. He was given three years for money laundering. His debt collector brother Simon was found guilty on the same three conspiracy charges. He was also convicted of money laundering, a charge which his wife Karen had already admitted. Simon was jailed for a total of 16 years. Karen, a secretary at Leeds General Infirmary, was given 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years. Judge Bayliss said:”The effect on all of you is devastating. For a brief period crime paid for your extravagances, but you now have a lifetime to regret it. “By your actions Nicolas McFadden you have brought yourself down from a position commanding respect to the life of a vulnerable prisoner, with no prospect other than financial ruin on your release. “We as a community are entitled to expect the very highest standards of probity from our police officers. Without the ability to trust our police society cannot function properly.” The judge said the detective had returned the ‘misery’ or heroin from the very streets his fellow officers had worked to remove it from.

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SOURCE = The Telegraph

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Ex-police officer Alan Saffery from Hereford in court on child sex charges

March 7, 2014

A former police officer has appeared in court charged with rape and other child sex offences. Alan Saffery, 60, of Spinney Grove, Hereford, is accused of two offences of raping a girl under the age of 16 in the 1980s. He is also charged with nine counts of indecently assaulting a girl in the 1970s and 1980s and two counts of gross indecency towards a child. He was released on conditional bail by Worcester Magistrates’ Court. Mr Saffrey also faces two counts of making indecent images of children. He is due at Worcester Crown Court on 23 June.

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SOURCE = BBC News

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Newcastle policeman ‘raped women he met on duty’

October 12, 2010

Stephen Mitchell3

PC Stephen Mitchell

A police officer preyed on vulnerable women he met on duty and later raped them, a court has heard. Pc Stephen Mitchell, 42, denies five counts of rape, six of indecent assault and 15 of misconduct in public office. The policeman, of Glasgow, was based in Newcastle, where he offered “favours” to heroin addicts and vulnerable women in return for sex, jurors heard. One addict said he forced her to have sex in return for getting her bail in a handling stolen goods case. The offences are alleged to have taken place between 1999 and 2006, Newcastle Crown Court heard. On the first day of Mr Mitchell’s trial, Paul Sloan QC, prosecuting, said: “As well as being known to the police, each of the complainants was a vulnerable female, whether because of drug abuse, health problems, domestic circumstances or a combination of those factors. “The defendant took advantage of their vulnerabilities, usually providing or offering favours but then requesting, or in some cases requiring by force, sexual favours in return.”

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SOURCE = BBC News

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Man guilty of bank manager kidnap plot with officer

October 6, 2010

Pc Mesut Karakas

PC Mesut Karakas

A man has been found guilty of plotting with a police constable to kidnap a bank manager from his home. Richmond Darko, 25, conspired with Pc Mesut Karakas and three others to kidnap the Lloyds TSB manager in 2009. Former Met officer Karakas, 25, had already pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kidnap and misconduct in a public office and assault. The plot involved staking out the bank manager’s home but the gang of five were arrested before he was kidnapped. Blackfriars Crown Court heard anti-corruption officers made secret recordings in which gang members were heard discussing how the victim would be questioned to get his money.

The jury heard they were found with a list of names believed to be other potential targets, a stolen van, balaclavas and cable ties. The five men planned to stage a roadworks scene near the bank manager’s home as a distraction for the kidnap. Karakas, 25, of Leytonstone, east London; Jamie Lowe, 25, of Clapton, east London; Ijah Rowe, 24, of Leyton, east London; and Gokhan Kuru, 24, of Finsbury Park, north London, all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kidnap between August and October last year. Darko, Karakas, Lowe and Rowe all pleaded guilty to assault, which took place in July last year in north London on a man in Chapel Market in north London. Lowe also pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice. Karakas was dismissed from the Metropolitan Police in February 2010. The five men will all be sentenced on 22 October.

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SOURCE = BBC News

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Policeman helped gangster brother

November 4, 2010

Sergeant Salim Razaq3

Sergeant Salim Razaq

A corrupt police officer helped his drug gang “enforcer” brother by hiding a cache of weapons and intimidating witnesses, it can now be reported. Salim Razaq, 33, a Lancashire Police sergeant, had three machine guns, bundles of ammunition and more than £70,000 of laundered cash hidden at his home. Razaq was caught when he plotted to help his brother Hafiz, known as “The Enforcer” and “Big Haf”, escape prosecution for his role in a violent turf war between drugs gangs in Preston. He pleaded guilty last month to perverting the course of justice, possession of firearms and ammunition as well as misconduct in a public office. Judge Henry Globe QC, at Liverpool Crown Court, lifted reporting restrictions on Razaq’s crimes after he was cleared of mortgage fraud in separate proceedings.

Police bugged phone calls that Hafiz, 25, made from prison to his brother while awaiting trial for kidnapping and beating up a rival as part of a drug-related “turf war”. The pair were overheard discussing their money laundering and witness intimidation plans. Lancashire Police’s Professional Standards Department swooped on the sergeant’s home in Chorley Road, Walton-le-Dale, near Preston, in March and found a Sten machine gun and two Uzi machine guns hidden under the stairs. The cash totalling £72,000 was found in Salim’s bedroom. Razaq joined Lancashire Constabulary in March 2001 and worked his way up to the rank of sergeant, covering the town of Nelson, in January 2009. He was sacked by Lancashire Police in June after the force implemented a rarely-used Special Case Hearing procedure to fast-track his dismissal.

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SOURCE = Andover Advertiser

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LEP

Sex picture shame of ex-police officer

December 7, 2010

A disgraced police officer, who spent seven years building up a sickening collection of sexual images of children, is facing jail. Ex-PC Lance Thomson, who served as a community beat manager, was dismissed from the force in August after the grotesque pictures were discovered on his home computer. The officer, who had served with Lancashire Constabulary for 18 years, was arrested by officers from Preston in March on an unrelated matter for which he was never charged. But during the probe, his computer was seized and examined. The investigation found he had a total of 174 images of youngsters, ranging from level one to level four in seriousness. Level five is the most serious. Some images dated back to December 2003, while the more recent ones were from August 2009. Thomson, who is married and has grown up stepchildren, was arrested at his home in Barrows Lane, Heysham, near Lancaster.

He had to be investigated by officers from a different police division – Preston – under police protocols. He was charged with the offences in June and was sacked from the force in August. In November, Thomson pleaded guilty to 15 charges of making indecent images of children during a hearing at Preston Crown Court. He will be sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court today. Det Supt Martyn Leveridge, of Lancashire Police, said: “It is our priority to protect and reassure the communities in Lancashire and in this case we have acted promptly to investigate Mr Thomson as criminal activity of any kind will not be tolerated, regardless of position or status. “We are committed to protecting the most vulnerable in our society; this is a serious crime which we regard as a key priority.

“Lancashire Constabulary expects the highest professional standards of professionalism and integrity from all our staff and this individual’s conduct has fallen well short of these standards. “This sort of behaviour and conduct lets everybody down – not just the police service but those that the police serve. “It is appropriate that he has faced the consequences of his actions in court. “Mr Thomson was arrested and suspended from duty in March while an investigation was conducted. “The public of Lancashire can be reassured that any conduct such as this will be robustly investigated, and it must be remembered that the overwhelming majority of our staff take great pride in delivering a first class policing service.” Thomson, an avid Morecambe FC supporter, served all his career in Northern Division. He had served as a Community Beat Manager for Torrisholme and Bare.

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SOURCE = Lancashire Evening Post

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Police officer on driving charge after Ormskirk crash

November 3, 2010

A police officer has been charged with dangerous driving after a crash that left a man with serious leg injuries. Merseyside-based Pc Shaun David Lee, 39, of British Transport Police (BTP) was involved in a collision on Hornby Road, Ormskirk, on 1 April. The charge follows an investigation by his force which was overseen by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). Pc Lee will appear at Ormskirk Magistrates’ Court on 19 November.  A second officer whose actions were referred to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) by the investigation will face no criminal action.

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SOURCE = BBC News

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telegraph

Uncle of murdered Jo Yeates jailed for theft

June 12, 2013

Detective Sergeant Peter Yeates

Detective Sergeant Peter Yeates

Peter Yeates, a detective sergeant with Dorset Police, pilfered valuable gadgets including mobile telephones and cameras, including some items that had been handed in as lost property by members of the public. The 51 year-old then traded the items on eBay or sold them to a mobile ’phone recycling firm and pocketed the proceeds, Portsmouth Crown Court heard. Yeates blamed his actions on the turmoil he was experiencing in his personal life, including the breakdown of his marriage and the death of his niece, who was murdered by Vincent Tabak in 2010.  The officer sold the recycling firm 461 phones, worth a total of nearly £10,700 between January 2009 and March last year, prosecutor Martyn Booth told the court. “The investigation by the Professional Standard Department revealed he had effectively stolen a large quantity of mobile phones and cameras, and he later sold these items for his own personal gain,” he said.

“He later commented on the work pressures and the stress that was caused to him by the tragic murder of his niece in Bristol. He said it affected him significantly.” Yeates, from Wimborne, Dorset, was one of only two officers who had access to the stores in Ferndown and Weymouth police stations, which contained valuable items seized by officers during raids, confiscated goods and lost property. After his arrest, Yeates told officers he traded mobile phones as a hobby, claiming he must have got the missing items “muddled with his own stock”. But the officer, who was commended for dedication and bravery six times in his career, later admitted four charges of theft from an employer, namely three digital cameras and a number of mobile phones worth “no more than” £5,000.

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SOURCE = The Telegraph

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Heart

Suspended Sentence For Officer

December 20, 2010

Peter Yeats32

Sergeant Peter Yeats

A former police officer was spared an immediate jail sentence today for dishonestly trying to claim £3,500 after reading on a force computer that a cash-filled bag had been handed in by a member of the public. Sergeant Peter Yeats, who resigned from Sussex Police after he was arrested, rang the force after spotting the entry on an incident log in July. Using the false name of Kirk Rose, the 32-year-old told officers his wife had dropped the cash the day before on a bridleway. But his colleagues became suspicious because the poor state of the money suggested it had lain undiscovered in the open for longer than a day. Their suspicion was also aroused when they called a landline number they had found for a Kirk Rose, but when he answered he said he had no knowledge of the money. The calls were eventually traced back to Yeats’s police-issue mobile phone. Sentencing him to three months imprisonment, suspended for a year, Recorder Christine Laing QC said: ``In my view what you were doing was in a gross breach of trust that the public must put into police officers. `Clearly, to say this was a complete moment of madness is fairly underestimating the situation.”

Lewes Crown Court heard that Yeats was on duty as a neighbourhood response sergeant at Hastings police station when he read on an incident log that the money had been found by a member of the public in a bag next to a footpath near Plumpton Racecourse. He called his force three times pretending to be Mr Rose from Cornwall but when officers called the real Mr Rose he told them he had no idea what they were talking about. Yeats was arrested in September when the calls were traced back to his police-issue mobile phone and further investigations found that he had researched bridleways around Plumpton Racecourse and Cornish holiday cottages on his police computer. During questioning he denied he had made the calls and claimed that he had looked the information up purely out of interest after seeing the incident on the log. Julian Dale, defending Yeats, told the court that he had been under significant financial pressure after he and his wife had their first child just over a year ago.

They could not afford childcare so the couple were juggling their full-time jobs with looking after the boy and were struggling to cope. Mr Dale said: “He’s brought shame on himself, he has brought shame on the oath he took on joining the police service five years ago, and both he and his family have suffered considerably.” Ms Laing said she had taken psychiatric reports that showed Yeats had suffered from depression into account when passing sentence, and that he had no previous convictions or cautions and was of good character. She also recognised he had pleaded guilty to the charge of fraud by false representation under the Fraud Act 2006 at the first available opportunity, when he appeared at Brighton Magistrates’ Court last month. Yeats, of Celandine Drive, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, was also ordered to carry out 60 hours unpaid work. The court heard no-one rightfully claimed the cash, so it was given to the member of the public who found it.

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SOURCE = Heart

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Metro

PC Alex MacFarlane discharged in Met police racism trial

October 25, 2012

PC MacFarlane

“…you will always be a nigger, that’s your problem…” ~PC Alex MacFarlane

Mr MacFarlane walked free from court after being formally discharged for what a judge ruled was a ‘momentary loss of judgment’. The 53-year-old was recorded on a mobile phone last August telling 22-year-old suspect Mauro Demetrio: ‘The problem with you is you’ll always be a n*****.’ ‘You will always have black skin colour,’ he also said. ‘Be proud of who you are. Don’t hide behind your black skin.’ Mr MacFarlane denied the racially aggravated intentional harassment of Mr Demetrio, who had been arrested on suspicion of drink or drug-driving and was being taken to Forest Gate police station in east London.

Judge Gledhill QC said it was ‘not in the public’s interest’ for a third trial after a jury again failed to reach a verdict following last week’s original trial. He added: ‘What is said by the defendant was said immediately after very abusive language was used by the complainant towards him. ‘It is clear to me that immediately having used the word which should never have been said, particularly by an experienced officer, he realised what he had said… and tried to undo the damage.’

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SOURCE = Metro

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The Mail UK

‘Racist Met police officer compared black men to chimpanzees and said they lived in mud huts’

November 26, 2012

A police officer told colleagues ‘all black people look like monkeys’, a court heard yesterday. PC Kevin Hughes, 42, is accused of making the racist comment as he pointed to three black men leaning against a wall. When challenged, he allegedly replied ‘but it’s true’ before arguing that the men were ‘closely related to chimpanzees and more closely related to Neanderthals’. His comments were alleged to have been made while he was on patrol in Newham, one of London’s most ethnically diverse areas. And his colleague David Hair asked a black officer if she was staying to do overtime or ‘going home to cook bananas’, it is alleged. Kate Wilkinson, prosecutor, told Westminster Magistrates Court that PC Hughes was on patrol with PC Costas Dakoutros when he made the comments. Hair, of Epping, Essex, and Hughes, who met at police training school, both deny making any racist comments. Hughes allegedly made the racist remarks while in a patrol car in Green Street with three colleagues on February 22 after seeing three black men standing on the pavement, the prosecutor said.

He allegedly turned to his colleague, PC Costas Dakoutros, who was in the back of the car with him, and said: ‘Look at them, they look like f****** monkeys.’ ‘PC Dakoutros looked shocked and said ‘You can’t say that’,’ Ms Wilkinson said. But Hughes allegedly replied: ‘No, but it’s true.’ ‘He began to deliberate that they [black people] were closely related to chimpanzees and then said they were more closely related to Neanderthals,’ according to the prosecutor. Giving evidence, PC Dakoutros, who made an immediate note of the incident, said it has had a profound impact on his wellbeing. He said: ‘It was horrible. I’d heard the comment and it was always playing on my mind. ‘It affected me at the time. I felt I was given something that I didn’t know how to deal with. I felt something should be done but I didn’t know exactly what to do. I just wanted the matter taken out of my hands.’

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SOURCE = Daily Mail

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Guardian

PC David Hair has been given a final warning after colleagues reported him and another PC for racism

March 11, 2013

David Hair

“… go home and cook bananas…” ~PC David Hair

A disgraced police officer has been given a final written warning from the Metropolitan Police Service for racially abusing a colleague, despite being found not guilty in court. PC David Hair of Stewards Green Road, Epping, was disciplined at a misconduct hearing, last week, and another officer was dismissed. In December 2012 chief magistrate Howard Riddle cleared the PC’s name at Westminster Magistrates Court over an incident in which he asked a colleague if she was going to ‘go home and cook bananas’. Commander Allan Gibson, from the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards said that an internal investigation led to disciplinary action against the duo. He said: “PC Kevin Hughes has now been dismissed from the Metropolitan Police Service.

“The Commissioner made it quite clear that racism is not acceptable within the Met, this is a view supported by the majority of officers and staff, which has been demonstrated by those who were prepared to challenge PC Hughes.” “As soon as the actions of these officers were brought to the attention of the Directorate of Professional Standards the matter was voluntarily referred to the IPCC.” In March 2012 the actions of Hair and Hughes were brought to the attention of senior officers following racist comments made by the pair. Whilst sitting in a police minibus and discussing overtime, Hair made the comment to another officer, whilst in a separate incident PC Hughes referred to a passing group of men as ‘f***ing (fucking) monkeys’.

PC Julia Dacres said that she was shocked by the actions of PC Hair who she believed she had a good relationship with. She said: “There was no background conversation. I don’t know where it came from. I thought that we got on pretty well. “I believe that he made the comment to me because of my race.” Hair managed to retain his job after a testimony from another officer who witnessed the exchange, who said that they did not believe that he meant to cause any offence.

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SOURCE = Guardian Series

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Six Met police officers could be sacked over racist joke text messages

July 17, 2013

Six Metropolitan police officers are facing the sack for sending each other racist jokes, it has emerged on the day that the police watchdog said the force was letting down the public in the way it handled racist complaints. The officers, from the borough of Kensington and Chelsea in west London, are alleged to have sent a total of 31 text messages described as being of a “highly offensive nature” in the summer of 2012. They are due to face a gross misconduct hearing in November, where the maximum sanction is dismissal without notice if they are found guilty of the discreditable conduct alleged. Of the six officers, one is a sergeant with nine years service and five are constables. Two of the six, the sergeant and a PC, have been suspended, while the rest are now on restricted duties.

Eight other officers were sent messages, one of whom reported the offensive nature of the texts to his bosses in July 2012. Those eight officers have been dealt with by management action, such as words of advice. The case is being investigated by the Met’s directorate of professional standards, which believe the texts were sent when the officers were off-duty. The incident was not made public by the Met. Instead it is contained in a report released by the police watchdog, finding the Met is failing in the way it handles complaints of racism against officers, over a decade after the force vowed to stamp out prejudice in the ranks. The report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission led the Met to admit it was letting down the public in the way it handled racism complaints.

The report followed allegations of police racism in 2012 in a series of incidents, some of which were revealed by the Guardian. Those allegations led to IPCC to investigate. The IPCC said it was “crucial to public confidence” that racism complaints were handled fairly. It found that 511 racism complaints were made against officers in April 2011 to May 2012. In some the Met investigation comprised of asking the officers to respond by email, than accepting their denial and finding against the complainant. The watchdog also found the Met issued a “standard, generic apology” regardless of what the investigation found which of “very little value”.

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SOURCE = The Guardian

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bbc

Policing ‘damaged’ after Stephen Lawrence report

March 6, 2014

Policing stands damaged after the findings of a review into the Stephen Lawrence murder investigation, Home Secretary Theresa May has said. A report found a Metropolitan Police officer spied on the Lawrence family, and it did not rule out that corruption may have compromised the investigation. Mrs May said some undercover operations could have led to wrongful convictions and miscarriages of justice. She also announced a judge-led public inquiry into undercover policing. Stephen Lawrence was stabbed to death in an unprovoked attack by a gang of white youths in April 1993.

Mrs May addressed the House of Commons on the findings in the report by Mark Ellison QC. She said the actions of undercover officers – such as failing to reveal their true identities to court or correct evidence they knew was wrong – meant there was “real potential for miscarriages of justice”. “Policing stands damaged today. Trust and confidence in the Metropolitan Police and policing more generally is vital,” she said. “A public inquiry and the other work I have set out are part of the process of repairing the damage. “Stephen Lawrence was murdered over 20 years ago and it is still deplorable that his family have had to wait so many years for the truth to emerge.”

Mrs May said she had commissioned Mr Ellison, and the Crown Prosecution Service and attorney general, to conduct a further review into cases involving Scotland Yard’s undercover Special Demonstrations Squad (SDS). She said: “In particular, Ellison says there is an inevitable potential for SDS officers to have been viewed by those they infiltrated as encouraging, and participating in, criminal behaviour. We must therefore establish if there have been miscarriages of justice.” Labour former home secretary Jack Straw responded: “I have to say to you in the 35 years I’ve been in this House, this is one of the most shocking and serious statements I’ve heard by any minister from any party.” Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: “Twenty-one years later no one should underestimate the gravity of the institutional failure two decades ago but also the continued institutional failure to get to the truth and the seriousness of this.” Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted: “Like the Home Secretary, I find the conclusions of the Stephen Lawrence review profoundly shocking. It’s important we have a full inquiry.”

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SOURCE = BBC News

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Police face racism scandal after black man records abuse

March 30, 2012

Scotland Yard is facing a racism scandal after a black man used his mobile phone to record police officers subjecting him to a tirade of abuse in which he was told:

“The problem with you is you will always be a nigger”.

The recording, obtained by the Guardian, was made by the 21-year-old after he was stopped in his car, arrested and placed in a police van the day after last summer’s riots. The man, from Beckton, east London, said he was made to feel “like an animal” by police. He has also accused one officer of kneeling on his chest and strangling him. In the recording, a police officer can be heard admitting he strangled the man because he was “a cunt”. Moments later, another officer – identified by investigators as PC Alex MacFarlane – subjects the man to a succession of racist insults and adds:

“You’ll always have black skin. Don’t hide behind your colour.”

The Independent Police Complaints Commission referred the case to the Crown Prosecution Service on the basis that three officers, including MacFarlane, may have committed criminal offences. The CPS initially decided no charges should be brought against any of the police officers. However on Thursday, the service said it would review the file after lawyers for the man threatened to challenge the decision in a high court judicial review. MacFarlane has been suspended. The inquiry began after the victim handed his mobile phone to a custody desk in Forest Gate police station and told officers he had been abused. Earlier, he had been driving through Beckton with a friend when he was stopped by a van containing eight police officers from Newham borough. London’s streets were flooded with police who had been drafted in to contain the rioting.

The officers arrested the man on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs and told him he was being taken to a police station to be searched. After being taken into the van, the man was also arrested for missing a previous magistrates court appearance. No further action is to be taken in relation to the suspected driving offence. It was once inside the van and handcuffed that the man said he was assaulted by police. He described having his head pushed against the van window and said one officer placed his knees on his chest and began strangling him. “I couldn’t breathe and I felt that I was going to die,” he said.The man said he decided to turn on the recording facility of his phone after MacFarlane allegedly made sexually explicit references about his mother and telling him he would be “dead in five years”. In the recording, the man sounds agitated; he raises his voice to complain about his treatment and in places insults the arresting officers. The verbal exchange lasts several minutes.

When the man tells an officer: “you tried to strangle me”, the officer replies: “No, I did strangle you.” The officer adds that he strangled him “‘cos you’re a cunt” and that the man had been “kicking out”. In relation to the strangling, the officer says: “Stopped you though, didn’t it?” Minutes later MacFarlane, who is white, begins abusing the man. After a period of silence, he can be heard telling him:

“The problem with you is you will always be a nigger, yeah? That’s your problem, yeah.”

The man reads out MacFarlane’s badge number and complains that he had subjected him to racist comments: “I’ll always be a nigger – that’s what you said, yeah?” MacFarlane replies:

“You’ll always have black skin colour. Don’t hide behind your colour, yeah.” He adds: “Be proud. Be proud of who you are, yeah. Don’t hide behind your black skin.”

Shortly before the recording ends, the man can be heard saying: “I get this all the time.” He then tells the officer: “We’ll definitely speak again about this … It’s gonna go all the way, it’s gonna go all the way – remember.”

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SOURCE = The Guardian

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The Independent

Two police officers sacked over using Taser on innocent man five times

October 22, 2013

Two police officers have been sacked after they wrongly arrested a man and Tasered him five times. The pair were only dismissed after a drawn-out legal battle which saw them twice cleared by their own force and after the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) upheld two complaint appeals. Kyle McArdle, 26, was detained by officers from Merseyside Police in December 2009 when he was spotted urinating in an alley off Elliot Street in Liverpool city centre. He was put into the back of a police van and hit with five Taser rounds, including three times in drive-stun mode – where the weapon was pressed against his chest, leg and upper abdomen.

The arresting officers said he was violent and the Taser was needed to restrain him. Taser barbs were also removed from Mr McArdle’s chest in contravention of Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) guidelines which say they should only be removed by a medical professional unless there is an “operational necessity”. The officer who took them out said he feared Mr McArdle would remove them himself and use them as weapons. Mr McArdle, 26, was charged with assaulting two of the officers but was found not guilty at a Magistrates’ Court hearing.

He said: “After three Merseyside Professional Standards Department investigations and nearly four years since the original complaint, I’m very happy that it went to a misconduct hearing. I would like to sincerely thank the IPCC for upholding my appeals. I feel that justice has now been done and I can get on with my life.” After he was cleared by magistrates, Mr McArdle made a number of complaints, including that multiple use of the Taser in the confined space of a police van was disproportionate. But Merseyside Police recommended the officers receive only “management advice” about their lawful use of powers.

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SOURCE = The Independent

News Shopper

Paedophile ex-policeman pleads guilty to making child porn

December 17, 2010

A FORMER police constable has pleaded guilty to making and distributing indecent images of children. Jordan Janssen of Maryon Grove, Charlton appeared at Southwark Crown Court on December 15. He pleaded guilty to one count of distributing indecent images of children and one count of making 183 indecent films and images of children.

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SOURCE = News Shopper

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mail

BBC undercover reporter arrested

A BBC reporter was arrested after going undercover in a bid to investigate claims of institutional racism in the police force. The journalist, believed to have been working on a BBC documentary, had undergone training and was working as a probationary constable for Greater Manchester Police. But the force hit out at the corporation after the officer, working in the force’s Stockport Division, was arrested on suspicion of obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception. The BBC said any pay he had received had been kept in a separate account and was to be returned to the force at the end of the investigation. The journalist, believed to be in his 20s, had undergone training and had been “operational”, working as a probationary constable, for about a month. In doing so, the force said the reporter had broken an oath he had taken on joining the force and may have breached people’s human rights.

Chief Constable Michael Todd said: “If true, we deplore this tactic, which would appear to be an outrageous waste of public funds used to train, equip and pay this individual. It has also deprived a genuine recruit of the opportunity to join the service.” A spokeswoman added: “Greater Manchester Police is accountable at all times to the public we serve and welcomes legitimate scrutiny. But this behaviour, if true, is reprehensible and only serves to undermine the work of the police service. “The journalist is also in breach of an oath of attestation that he made in becoming a police constable as he has failed to act with integrity. In condoning this act of unethical journalism, the media organisation may well have breached people’s human rights.”

A BBC spokeswoman said: “The BBC has spent several months investigating allegations of institutional racism within the Greater Manchester Police. We believe this to be a matter of significant public interest. We believed the only way to test the allegations was by a BBC journalist going undercover to be a part of the recruitment process, to see what happens when a recruit joins the force, is instructed at the training school and is then placed on the force. “That is the investigation that was under way. Monies paid by the police to our reporter have always been kept in a separate account and always with the intention of being returned to the Greater Manchester Police.”

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SOURCE = Daily Mail
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Death crash policewoman escapes prosecution for being on mobile phone… because it was on her lap

Collette Carpenter

PC Collette Carpenter

A policewoman who repeatedly denied that she was talking on her mobile phone to her lesbian lover when she caused a fatal crash has escaped prosecution. Despite a police investigator saying that Collette Carpenter ‘very likely contributed’ to the accident, the Crown Prosecution Service said there was no evidence she had committed an offence because the phone was on her lap and set to loudspeaker. Miss Carpenter, 23, a special constable who has handed out at least six fixed penalty fines to motorists for using their mobile phones while driving, was talking to girlfriend Rosemary Bonny when she drove into the path of David Bartholomew’s motorcycle, an inquest heard. The father of two died hours later of horrific head injuries and multiple fractures.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.’
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SOURCE = Daily Mail
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Police account of Mark Duggan’s injuries ‘differs’ from pathologist

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.

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SOURCE = BBC NEWS

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G20 death: PC Simon Harwood sacked for gross misconduct

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.

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SOURCE = BBC News

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Sussex Police Chief Constable Martin Richards investigated

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.”

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SOURCE = BBC News

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Undercover policeman ‘fire-bombed shop,’ MPs told

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’.”

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SOURCE = BBC News

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Call for police links to animal rights firebombing to be investigated

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.

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SOURCE = The Guardian

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Nick Herbert: “It’s important police are allowed to have sex with activists.”

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.”

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SOURCE = ITV News

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Police Staff Fined Over Prisoner ‘Torture’

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.

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 SOURCE = Sky News

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Anti-fees protesters’ trials are putting policing in the dock

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.

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 SOURCE = The Guardian

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‘Excited delirium’ finding in custody death angers parents

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]”

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 SOURCE = The Guardian

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Police ignored pleas for ambulance, say family of man who died in custody

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.

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 SOURCE = The Guardian

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The moment protesters found a plain-clothes cop in their midst

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.”

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SOURCE = The Independent

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The Mail (UK)

Undercover policeman planted bomb in 1987 Debenhams…claims Green Party MP

June 14, 2012

An undercover policeman planted a bomb in a department store to prove his commitment to animal rights extremists, an MP claimed yesterday. Bob Lambert is accused of leaving an incendiary device in a Debenhams in London – one of three set off in a coordinated attack in 1987. Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party, used parliamentary privilege to claim that Mr Lambert – who went under the alias Bob Robinson – carried out the attack after infiltrating the Animal Liberation Front. The group planted the devices in protest at the store’s decision to sell fur products. The attacks caused £8million of damage and led Debenhams to stop selling fur. The claims were strongly denied by Mr Lambert, who is now a leading academic and expert in terrorism and Islamophobia at St Andrew’s University. Following the July 1987 attacks on Debenhams, two activists – Geoff Sheppard and Andrew Clarke – were jailed for planting devices in the Luton and Romford stores.

Sheppard received a sentence of four years and four months, while Clarke was jailed for more than three years. The third activist involved was never caught. Miss Lucas yesterday said she had seen a witness statement from Sheppard claiming the third man was Mr Lambert and that he targeted a store in Harrow. She told MPs that Sheppard was not there when the bomb was planted. She read from his statement, which said: ‘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.’

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SOURCE = Daily Mail

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