Dear Chief Constable,
My partner and I are beginning to recover from more than 7 years of what we are tempted to call ‘utterly dismal policing’. The problems are actually much wider than this and it is unfair to lay all the blame on your force. It is sadly clear our political and legal systems have reached a point of decadent decay. Instead of being helped, we have been left exposed to danger and frankly beaten up on by your force, Town Hall agencies and politicians we will never vote for again. I would ask you to take this ‘beating’ into serious consideration of whether criminal charges can be brought. We have not been directly attacked in a straightforward physical manner, but our health can be shown to have suffered severely and there can be little doubt malicious intent has been involved. I have suffered physical beatings paying rugby league and as a cop, and can attest they are nothing in comparison with this bureaucratic bullying of already traumatised victims.
We like most of your officers we meet. They are not the problem in the main. They tell the same story most of the time, one amplified over the country in police blogs and books such as those produced by ‘Inspector Gadget’. This doesn’t get to the crux of the matter, but is a fair place to start, not least in wondering why officers who attend violent incidents with so much bravery are ‘cowed’ into private and anonymous revelation of what is really going on. The story is that they can’t do the job they joined to do because of a collapsed legal system and Senior Management Teams farcically out of control and demonstrating chronic self-interest. This is much deeper than crass allegations I can remember from motorists and crooks who would say I was only acting against them to gain ‘promotion points’.
We can only conclude, after 7 years that nearly killed us and done irreparable damage to our health at a time when we were already otherwise ill and vulnerable, that there is nowhere to complain to. Complaints systems across all agencies are not independent, and none have proper mechanisms to collect evidence in a timely and direct manner. They should, properly, be seen as part of a bureaucratic cover-up intended to prevent public scrutiny of the mess that is now our political and legal system. Victims are denied representation and access to the ‘evidence’ used in the decision-making process. There is no need, in the first place, to look into our individual case on this matter. Indeed, we can only apprehend further individuation and character assassination in this route. In Public Law, we should not be put into a situation in which we can only apprehend bias. If we are to be treated fairly at all, this needs to be understood. We are simple souls who have told the truth throughout this sorry mess and if you wish to say otherwise you need to state on what grounds and make yourself available for proper civil action for defamation.
The main perpetrators of our harassment have moved down the road. One is in court next week for ‘arson with intent’ (trial) and sentence for a serious assault. The cases are 12 and 18 months old already. Neither involve us directly, though we did witness the violent affray and disturbance starting the night before the ‘arson’, which contained reference to a machete and death threats, and a number of shouted admissions of the arson prior to the noisy arrest (some made in the presence of your officers), and attempts by the ‘arsonist’s’ partner to prevent witnesses giving evidence shortly after the arrest, an incident dispersed by your officers. The case has already been adjourned several times because witnesses have not turned up. Our new local inspector assured us he would stop anyone else falling victim to these two recidivist and violent criminals, but it is clear the same old story is emerging at their new address. We see no sign that the trial judge will have the full case before him or her and such matters as ‘community impact’ seem so much hot air. This should rightly concern not just the impact of this dreadful couple in our area, but also the failure to provide them (and consequently us decent folk and their children) with meaningful interventions from the other agencies we are told you have effective partnerships with. In as far as we would give them the time of day, these odious crooks have been let down too, though it is the effects on their children that should draw focus.
I have seen excellent comments by you as Chief Constable and detailed presentations by ACCs from your former force that do you great credit if you mean them. Since your appointment, there has been substantial improvement in the manner and speed with which the force telephone is answered. One is not now treated as some kind of dreadful pariah in phoning to report or complain. I have little doubt that you took over a ‘failing force’, and it is disturbing that you have publicly credited the former Chief (known even in the broadsheet press as ‘Shagger’) with laying good foundations. One obviously wants to spare the blushes of his bereaved family, but it would be interesting to know on what evidence you based this statement. It is not that shared by official reports and wider public opinion. It brings some of your more welcome public statements into possible disrepute as ‘just another positive mouthpiece’, something your predecessor was good at whilst allowed to range about as a sex-pest and in a severely distressed condition by the Police Authority. You look much the better man, but the lack of honest disclosure on what has gone before leaves the public with apprehensions that we may have ‘business as usual’ under a new voice. I have read you criticising the target culture and the ‘statistical lying’ going on. This is, in fact, nationwide and will take more than words to put right.
On the ground, we have a better telephone system and some sense of a change in officer attitudes and response. Yet around the corner we have seen racial attacks on a neighbour and much of the same old, same old. Our ex-neighbours are still ‘at it’. Arriving to take a complaint of an assault on our grandson connected to the racist stuff, in which an older boy had hit him several times and warned him off playing with the Asian children (lovely lads), something witnessed by a girl concerned enough to turn up at our house to ask if he was OK, the female officer told us it might be better to let sleeping dogs lie. She was very well-meaning and we would commend her honesty. She didn’t realise how patronising she was being after our previous experiences, but soon got up to speed. She came over as the ‘right stuff’ and we would not want to complain about her, rather the opposite. This is more or less what she said:
‘I can see there is a good case. You need to be careful though, because this is what will happen. Even if we get it to court [comments about CPS dross] and he is convicted, he will still be here and likely to make further trouble. I know him and his family. You will make enemies and we won’t be able to protect you. Some of these families are out of control and we can do almost nothing about them’.
She was, of course, ‘preaching to the converted’. This voice is all over the police blogs (we live in something like a democracy – please encourage them). There is a blog in your force area, started by a woman (a PR professional with a law firm) ‘blitzed’ by criminality living opposite a park. Cops are useless. Down the pub, I run into a mature student friend, visibly shaking. ‘Jesus, Arch’, he says, ‘I thought you might have been over-the-top about your neighbours, but now it’s happening to Clare and me. The drug-dealing bastards next door are threatening us. I think I’m going to have to kill him. Clare can’t sleep. Look at the state of me. Cops keep coming saying they can’t do anything’. He lives in the force area on an adjoining division.
There is a statistical element to this Chief Constable. Let me loose with a few resources to collect the evidence from victims on what they are suffering, what’s being done right, done wrong, what the real situation is. The key statistical consideration is to get to the right population. I am well-qualified to do research. Some may say I am biased after my experience, yet they will not consider just how biased those with financial and prestige interests already are when they commission ‘research’. Over at the IPCC they have just wasted what will be a lot of money on an IPSOS Mori survey of the national population. This is not the relevant population and constitutes just the kind of ‘statistical blind’ you have commented on yourself (cited in Harriet Sergeant’s scathing book on policing in the country – available free at CIVITAS). What’s needed is a full ‘data catch’ from the relevant population, the victims (which would include many of your officers who are stressed and disillusioned because of what they cannot do). There have been examples of this. When done, we discover the horrors of ‘Baby P’, the miserable state of IPCC look-a-like in social care with a CEO instructing investigators not to investigate, paedophile social workers left in post for months (what of the officer in your force branded a liar and incompetent by two judges yet re-appointed to the same job as a civilian?) and, always, the cover-up by highly paid ‘managers’. Can we trust you to be any different? Or our Police Authority to do anything about you if you are not? These independent examinations always reveal that the ‘managers’ of our public systems have been very cosy with the politicians in presenting a false view of what has been going on, suppressing anyone wanting to blow-the-whistle. Are you much of the same old, same old? One hopes not. We should be able to do more than hope.
We have seen our PCSO. Nice guy up to some good stuff. He admits his efforts are likely to be marginal, but one has to admire that he is just trying to do what he can. He’d be a good cop and we’d rather see him as one. Our local Bobby has been round. He’d do better in one of my critical reasoning classes than he might think. He is a good cop. Another response officer has been round today. Another good guy. What they are doing isn’t enough and it’s not their fault. The racist situation is almost being policed as badly as that of our criminal neighbours for more than 25 years (this is how far back I can trace their criminal and violent benefit exploitation, drug-dealing and use, drunkenness, domestic violence, burglaries, thefts, ASBOs, ASJs, intimidation and serious assaults).
You and many of your senior officers claim to be learning lessons. This is glib ‘managerialist’ nonsense, almost the first excuse now of politicians and senior people wanting to evade blame and proper focus on their incompetence. It would be better if we regarded such statements as likely lies or equivalent to ‘no comment’ strategies by street-crooks. One of your senior officers has stated in a letter that our problems were a result of a ‘neighbour dispute’. Our local inspector and another I saw fairly recently both said it looked nothing of the sort. Our local Bobby does not believe there was any kind of ‘neighbour dispute’ and another, putting a file together for yet another CPS-rejected case of 29 pages didn’t believe a word of this either. Another of your senior officers, since promoted by you, foisted an inspector on us in ‘local unresolution’ when he must have known that inspector had conducted a secret, false investigation into me for ‘conspiracy to pervert the course of justice’. This effectively put the enquiry into the hands of the very person who was conspiring to pervert the course of justice. All attempts to get this investigated were blocked. We both know this is true and want to make formal statements in a criminal complaint to this effect. Your recently promoted senior officer must have know the inspector was trying to make a false case against me, or at least a case against me that rendered him unfit for ‘local unresolution’, or was negligent in not discovering this, not taking action later, and making seriously false and incompetent claims to me about the suitability of this officer.
There have been around 200 police visits to the ‘criminal scum’ who harassed us for years, most not at our behest. In the course of our “neighbour dispute”, one of them got a two year sentence for drugs trafficking. There have been other convictions, though we have not been told about them. How many crimes were recorded as a result of these police visits? I have not been told of the basis of the false case attempted against me and as a consequence no lessons can have been learned about this. The inspector concerned lied to us for more than two years. I’m told he now has nothing to do with your force, yet he turned up hosting a ‘Crimefighters’ conference and tried to stop me having what say I could.
How many crimes were recorded during our 7 years of hell? We know there must be severe unrepresentation, as some of your officers drove off whilst crimes were being committed. Has the assault on our grandson being ‘crimed’? Have the many incidents such as those in the Pilkington disaster been ‘crimed’? Where is the collated case of our experience, and where is that of these racist-linked incidents occurring now?
What are you doing to ensure our politicians are receiving a true account of what is going on? Where is the public record of this? I have made a recent complaint but not received a response from your PSD. It might be better to get these matters into open court. In order to present this case I will need to interview a number of your officers to get their views collated. What can we do to ensure they feel they can speak freely? You and other agencies, let alone political depravity (against which we can at least withhold our votes – I shall actively campaign to remove our Nulabour MP), have cost myself and my partner our careers and our health. All we did was tell the truth and try to stand up against very nasty criminals and try to get help for their children and prevent them affecting others (which included a Fagin-like element).
Now, involved only because our grandson plays with Asians, we find the same old, same old. What we should be able to expect from you is an honest and open approach. Have you learned this key lesson, or will you just be same old, same old? Why not meet us and some other victims to start the ball rolling?
You may not like your integrity being challenged Chief Constable, but before umbrage, spare a thought for what happens to victims when they complain to your Farce (common blog term) and other agencies rotten at the core in this respect. We merely told the truth until we were blue in the face. Your officers and especially officers from Town Hall agencies responded with false accusations, smear and by putting us in harm’s way. None of this contemptible behaviour has been investigated and what has been reviewed in secret only led to more of the same. Your officers are now supporting what we said all along. Where were they when we needed them and what mechanisms prevented this?
We have no explanations about why such a malevolent and violent couple were given tenancy or allowed to harass us, assault us, be a constant nuisance, commit drug crimes and be allowed to retain their house, why there was no investigation into claims a ‘social worker’ (probably a housing officer) phoned them to lie that I had called their daughters ‘prostitutes’, leading to two assaults on me (were these ‘crimed’ as such?) and why no one was present at our house when an inevitable set of further threats from a guy with an ASBO came, and why none of your officers came as a result of that 999 call (had I been told the truth at the time of this call I could have pointed out they were not where they later claimed to be). Our integrity is still maligned and we want a full report and all details as to how this position is being maintained. We have no fear of the truth or open court. You put us in a situation far less favourable than that of the most disgusting criminals in terms of disclosure.
We should not forget here, that in the Nico Bento case (Newsnight reporting), police, CPS and prosecuting council, failed to disclose vital and official forensics, and used an already discredited ‘expert’ (who has since killed himself) from abroad to convince the judge and jury not to believe the evidence in front of their eyes from CCTV. The highly regarded official forensic scientist involved has been ‘gagged’.
The problems in our case clearly continue across the board. One of your officers ‘forgot’ to process a Harassment Act case. Given that your inspector had tried to persuade us this act was ‘only for film stars’ (despite the most used investigation manual at the time stating it was not), we are not inclined to think the officer merely forget – he seems more of a fall-guy. Now your officers have let a racially motivated assault case ‘time-lapse’.
Our case could be used to demonstrate just how poor your officers are at working out who is telling the truth, even when a decent couple are complaining about notorious local criminals. You can’t do this unless you admit your failings. You don’t. Katie Boardman (aka Summers) might be alive now had you done this. The IPCC ‘report’ fails to link this case to ours or the Cochrane disaster (not even published – shame on the IPCC) – clearly demonstrating you have no clue about how to learn lessons. Not only could your officers not tell who was telling the truth, they also engaged in hideous character assassination which should be dealt with as an assault. Given that we ended-up clinically depressed, this should be crimed on each occasion. I can sense your officers doing this to the Asian family being severely harassed at the moment. They are mistaking their standing up for themselves as being party to the criminal events. That they feel an Asian officer might do a better job for them is being seen as some kind of ‘reverse racism’ (I’ve met them, they ain’t) rather than a genuine and justified concern. I’ve seen this reaction many times and many surveys have found ethnic minorities often fear bland politically correct guff far more threatening than a few direct words like ‘black bastard’. Racism is complex and to call our local Bobbies such as pathetic as doing this to me after a lifetime acting against it. One does not get to be non-racist by vapid application of diversity training, almost all of which I have found to be based on the idiot notion of it being ‘white on black’, and about learning PC-speak. One has to understand though, that people being victimised by racists, can call into question whether we understand their plight and think one of their own race might understand better. We do not have a good track record on this nationally and your force is no exception.
The assault on our grandson was independently witnessed, my partner, an ex-nurse, saw the bruises later in the day and all would give evidence. There have now been many incidents, many I suspect, as in our case, not properly recorded and collated. Our local Bobby has been along to set up some kind of video interview. A substantial improvement and one we will go along with, admittedly in some trepidation. We accept no one is ever entirely innocent (though on reflection this isn’t completely true when one considers awful crimes against babies), but this is surely to be expected, not something relevant to stopped gross bullying and, hopefully, in the process, changing the bully.
There is still a total absence of ‘community impact’ study and evidence-gathering regarding a few grim recidivists and violent families, and the ability of our local authority to continue dumping them in communities in which they will do the most harm and where generally decent people will be most vulnerable to them. I believe human rights are being flouted in this policy, generally made and executed by people who will never have to live next door to the problem. Why should the better-off be relatively protected when the rest of us are expected to take it? If you are not prepared to share you house with such types (which is what it felt like to us), why should we have to put up with it and policing led by someone of your privileged class (the argument here is not dissimilar to the Asian family wanting an Asian Bobby)?
Everywhere, there are privileged people talking up new initiatives and telling success stories as though they are the norm. They are not telling the truth and are supporting their own self-interested careers. Pretty much every street cop or local authority worker admits this estate has real problems and despairs of being able to sort them out. What we have found is that they are ‘cowed’ from such admission to public scrutiny and that some will lie and otherwise beat up on victims already on their last legs. This is more dangerous to victims’ health than having to stand next to a vicious drug-dealer and let him hit you, as I had to do. The crimes need to be identified, ‘crimed’ and dealt with. Your force has totally failed in this respect, still harbours some of the criminals, and has done nothing to use law on such psychological abuse, which we can demonstrate has severe physical effect. Your officers would not know where to start.