Police Searches on the Parliamentary Estate - Committee on the Issue of Privilege Contents

Examination of Witnesses (Question Numbers 500-519)


23 NOVEMBER 2009

  Q500  Chairman: Is that by regular arrangement or is it ad hoc, as and when issues arise?

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: Both, Chair. You are in quite a complex working environment and there are an awful lot of events or incidents to deal with. Probably two or three times a day it is not unusual for me to talk to the Serjeant at Arms or indeed Black Rod. Formally, I meet on a weekly basis, so with the Serjeant at Arms and her deputy I meet on a Thursday morning, and again, the same with Black Rod on a Monday, where I am formally held to account about what is going on and what is going to happen. Finally, through one of your parliamentary committees, bi-monthly, I go and input and am asked questions from the parliamentary side. So there is a number of levels that I attend to.

  Q501  Chairman: Who holds the post of Parliamentary Security Co-ordinator at the moment?

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: It is a member of the Security Services, sir.

  Q502  Chairman: I see. So effectively, you may talk to the Serjeant at Arms two or three times a day but you meet her once a week on a formal basis?

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: That is correct, although again, on various committees across the House I will see Jill Pay two or three times at other meetings as well, and I have a very effective relationship with her.

  Q503  Chairman: That, no doubt, is a relationship based on confidentiality.

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: And trust, sir, yes.

  Q504  Chairman: What I am surprised about is the fact that Mr Green's name had to be wreathed in mystery right up until the very last minute. Why was it that you were not informed of that, since you are the senior police representative on the parliamentary estate?

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: Following it through from the beginning, sir, which is from 20 November, when I had a first meeting with the investigating officers, it is quite normal that they will disclose certain things to me that I can disclose, and I think it protects a lot of parties. I was asked to go and speak to the Serjeant at Arms and ask the question around search. So "Serjeant at Arms, would you give the authority to consent to search?" It was not until, I think, the Wednesday afterwards, when I myself was informed of the name of the Member and the party. I do not think that is unreasonable. I did not need to know it at that stage. It could well be the CPS may have come back and said no further action would be taken at that stage. I was not close enough to the investigation, in which case it would have been, I suppose unhelpful to share that with the Serjeant at Arms when on the Wednesday I may be saying to her, "Well, actually, nothing is going to happen."

  Q505  Chairman: But if the relationship is as close as you describe, that could have happened without any prejudice to the relationship, could it not?

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: It could have done, sir, and I do share a lot of things with the Serjeant at Arms, appropriate things, but in this case I had an investigation. It is their investigation, not mine. My role is to facilitate the relationship between the Police Service where possible and the officials of the House, and I was unable—I think probably rightly unable—to share that information with Jill Pay. At the most appropriate time, which was on the Wednesday ... Sorry, on the Wednesday the police officers came and explained more, and on the Thursday morning we disclosed the name of the Member, the party and the offence.

  Q506  Chairman: I do not want to get into the 2 December conversation for the moment, but did you conceive of yourself as having, as it were, a dual responsibility, first of all to your line manager, whoever that is—who is your line manager, by the way?

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: Commander Michael Wood, who is, again, part of the Special Operations.

  Q507  Chairman: And also to the House of Commons?

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: I do. I have not ever found a time where that relationship has changed. Indeed, it is interesting a previous witness here I do not think questioned my loyalty or duty but made mention of it.

  Q508  Chairman: Yes, he did. That is why I am putting the point, so you can have a chance to respond.

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: Had the metropolitan Police on the Thursday morning, on the 27th, turned up at Parliament with a warrant for the Member's office, I would fully expect officials to say to me, "Mr Bateman, why is this the first time we are being told?" I went to the Serjeant at Arms a week beforehand and did what I would say is my duty, which is bringing the House and police together to work it through. I have a lot of other examples, whether it is expenses or lots of other issues, on which I have brought the two together, and that is my role.

  Q509  Ann Coffey: Going to the meeting on 2 December, Malcolm Jack, Lord Martin, Angus Sinclair and Michael Carpenter all said that they felt, although they used different language, you put pressure on the Serjeant to consent to the search of Damian Green's office. Why do you think they were saying that?

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: First of all, it is grossly unfair.

  Q510  Ann Coffey: Why do you think they were saying it? Why were four people saying that, not one, not two, not three but four people?

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: Just following the evidence given to the Committee, I have not yet heard why they think that. I have given no reason for them to think that. From the beginning, my first conversation with the Serjeant at Arms was saying, "This is the situation. Will you please ask the people you work with and come back to us with how you want to go ahead." So I have gone to the House right from the beginning, been very open—as open as I could be, should I say—and Jill Pay has come back to me. At no stage, and it is not my role to influence or coerce Jill into doing anything.

  Q511  Ann Coffey: I think the point was, and it has been referred to before, and you say it yourself in your own memorandum, "I do not recall advising Jill Pay that she did not have to consent." I think some of the concern about it is that she was not told that she did not have to consent, and clearly, you cannot recall telling her she did not have to consent.

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: No, I am sure I did not. At no stage did I say to Jill Pay "You do not have to consent."

  Q512  Ann Coffey: Do you not think, in your relationship with her, in your dual responsibility, and in order to keep the delicate balance of that relationship, you should have, as a Metropolitan Police Officer, with your duty to the House, informed her very clearly that she did not have to consent? This is the basis of the difficulty here.

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: I think she would probably have thought I was patronising her. If I said to Jill Pay, after all the conversations we have had—we had had a conversation where I had explained why I was seeking consent, I had had a conversation explaining that "This isn't a problem. We will get a warrant. If you don't consent, we can get a warrant"—I think she would have thought I was ... If I then said, "Jill, do you understand what the word `consent' means?" I think she would have looked at me—

  Q513  Ann Coffey: Excuse me. It is not a question of her not understanding what the word "consent" meant. It was a question of her understanding that she did not have to give consent and that indeed, you would go and apply for a warrant. It is nothing to do with patronising her. It is simply informing her of the facts, which clearly you did not do, as you just said, for whatever reason.

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: My understanding—perhaps I am not being very clear—is that Jill Pay fully knew; she knew that she did not have to consent. Every conversation we had led me to believe that.

  Q514  Ann Coffey: Led you to believe it but you did not at any stage tell her that she did not have to consent.

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: At no stage did I say, no.

  Q515  Ann Coffey: So it could have been based on a misunderstanding on her part, that because you did not have the conversation, that was not clarified.

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: Everything Jill Pay said to me in a series of conversations over the seven days led me to believe that she knew what consent meant.

  Q516  Ann Coffey: You did not explicitly have that conversation, did you?

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: At no time did I say to Jill Pay that she did not have to consent, no.

  Q517  Chairman: It is not just understanding, Mr Bateman, is it? If we look back at paragraph 10, you say "My presumption was, knowing the alternative, she knew she didn't have to consent." Now, there is a difference in meaning, is there not, between understanding and presumption?

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: I think, sir, it is 11 months ago and, as I have followed the evidence, I have tried very hard to think back as to what were those conversations and what was said, but I had a series of conversations, as I say, with the Serjeant at Arms that led me to believe—it is a presumption, sir, and I cannot give direct verbal evidence from the Serjeant at Arms to say exactly why I formed that assumption, but I was certainly left with a very strong assumption that Jill Pay was aware of the meaning of consent, although at no stage did I say to Jill Pay "You don't have to consent."

  Q518  Mr Howard: Mr Bateman, it is not merely, is it, a question of your duty to the Serjeant or your duty to the House; it is your duty under the law? The PACE Code says as clearly as it possibly could that the person concerned must be clearly informed they are not obliged to consent and that anything seized may be produced in evidence. That is what PACE requires, is it not?

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: It is, sir.

  Q519  Mr Howard: And you did not fulfil that requirement.

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: I did not. I did not. I am not the investigating officer but I did not, no.

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