If you asked what the purpose of BiB is, one of several answers would be to
convince Bexley police that it is not worth risking their jobs and pensions by
conspiring with Bexley Council to offer protection against the consequences of
their criminal activities, and thereby free Council critics from illegal persecution.
The fact that eight Bexley police officers (and former officers) have been belatedly interviewed under caution for their reluctance to properly investigate the obscenities which flowed from Cabinet Member Peter Craske’s phone line in 2011 suggests that some progress might have been made. On the other hand their jumping to Cabinet Member Don Massey’s command only a year ago might indicate there is a way to go yet.
Today I am pleased to be able to report that the number of Bexley officers (or former officers) potentially in big trouble has increased from eight to twelve.
The increase is not in connection with the Craske blogging case or the Massey’s imagined harassment, It follows on from Councillor Cheryl Bacon’s illegal exclusion of the public from a Scrutiny meeting.
To be more accurate it relates to the lies that followed that incident.
Probably you believed that criminal investigation was over and done with. Greenwich police considered Bexley Council’s lies sufficiently serious to send a fat file to the Crown Prosecution Service. After 14 months I was led to believe that the CPS stripped vital evidence from the file before sending it to an independent barrister for consideration.
Without the supporting evidence the case against Bacon and Will Tuckley, the former Chief Executive, became a her word against mine argument and the CPS decided on that basis that the case was not strong enough to charge Bacon.
However you may have forgotten that immediately after Cheryl Bacon’s exclusion of the public the police’s version of events corresponded most closely with mine and not Cheryl Bacon’s. In fact at that time even the report by Bexley’s Deputy Director Paul Moore corresponded more closely to my account than Cheryl Bacon’s.
All lies, as several Councillors present confirmed. Only Mr. Dowling said anything while the meeting was in progress.
As the months went by and the evidence against Bexley Council built up those
early reports represented a big weakness in the Council’s position. To counter
that embarrassment Bexley Council appears to have asked Bexley police to rewrite their report.
When Mick Barnbrook and I managed to get hold of the two conflicting versions he made a formal complaint to Bexley police. Their response merely muddied the waters further so Mick escalated the complaint to the Commissioner.
The police did nothing with it for about two years and Mick accepted that they would most likely be awaiting the outcome of Greenwich police’s associated investigation and reference to the CPS.
When that case fell apart the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) told Mick Barnbrook that no police officer had done anything wrong. Their letter was so carelessly written that it was obvious that there had been no comparison of the two conflicting police accounts of what took place at Cheryl Bacon’s meeting, nor had anyone called for the evidence against her collected by Greenwich police. It included evidence from four Bexley Councillors which strongly indicated that Councillor Cheryl Bacon’s statement was false from beginning to end.
Mick sent his evidence to the Independent Police Complaints Commission which instructed the Met to call for the evidence from Greenwich and conduct a proper investigation. The Met DPS refused and had to be told again. This time they fell silent for months on end; until this week that is.
Someone at the DPS has taken the time to wade through the papers and come to the conclusion that there are serious questions to be answered. Four officers are to be interviewed under caution, including the Borough Commander.
So that makes three successive Bexley Borough Commanders under investigation, suspected of aiding and abetting Bexley Council’s criminal activities.
Why any of them feel a bent Councillor is worthy of protection I have no idea. I thought the days of free dinners for top cops disappeared when Conservative Council Leader Ian Clement took his bad habits to County Hall, but maybe I am mistaken.