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

Examination of Witnesses (Question Numbers 520-539)


23 NOVEMBER 2009

  Q520  Mr Howard: You were the person to whom the investigating officer had delegated the responsibility of obtaining consent for the search.

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: Not quite, sir. My role is to bring people together and on the Wednesday afternoon I did just that, so the investigating officers, the Detective Chief Inspector and the Inspector, came together with Jill Pay and they then had that conversation more formally about consent, and indeed, on the Thursday morning all the conversations around consent and the signing of the register were done not by me but by the investigating team.

  Q521  Chairman: Were you in the room at the time?

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: I was, sir.

  Q522  Mr Howard: So are you suggesting that it was the duty of someone else to have given the clear information that PACE requires?

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: I am not abrogating responsibility. I did not do that. Normally, it would be the investigating officer who would do it, sir, not, I suppose, the person that brings them together, but certainly I did not do it.

  Q523  Mr Howard: Are you suggesting that it was someone else? We are looking at PACE. There is no dispute at all that the warning that PACE requires was not given.

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: It certainly was not given by me, sir.

  Q524  Mr Howard: Well, I do not think there is any suggestion that it was given by anybody else. As the Chairman has just put to you, you were present at the other meetings; you do not recollect it being given by anybody else, do you?

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: I do not, sir.

  Q525  Mr Howard: So we can assume, I think, no-one else has suggested that they gave this warning and my question to you is, if you do not think it was your responsibility under the provisions of PACE to give the warning, whose responsibility do you think it was?

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: It would normally be given by the officer investigating.

  Q526  Mr Howard: But whose responsibility was it in this case?

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: These are new circumstances. These are unique circumstances. I would suggest it would be the investigating officer—and they were there; the investigating officers were there with me, both the day before and on the morning.

  Q527  Mr Howard: Did you then say to the investigating officer, having regard to your responsibility to parliament, "Hang on a minute. You have not given the Serjeant the warning that the law requires"?

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: Mr Howard, I did not, and I regret that, but I did not, no.

  Q528  Mr Howard: Expanding also on the earlier questions that Ms Coffey put to you in relation to the basis of the conversation which suggested not that you coerced the Serjeant but that, not to mince words, you tricked the Serjeant—that is the allegation that is made—it is true, is it not, that in all your conversations with the Serjeant leading up to the search, you emphasised the confidentiality of the conversation you were having with her?

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: Undoubtedly—and I was trying, again, to think about this the other day—I did. I certainly had a number of conversations with Jill Pay where certain issues were confidential. I cannot remember the words used. What I would say is that my relationship with Jill Pay is not exclusive. I know that anything I discuss with the Serjeant at Arms, as with Black Rod, is never going to be a personal thing between me and them. It is always likely that matters will go to either the Speaker or the Lord Speaker. My relationship with the Serjeant at Arms and Black Rod, as I say, is that I know whenever I give them information, it could always go elsewhere. I know that.

  Q529  Mr Howard: But if you know that, if you know that in the normal course of business anything you say to the Serjeant is likely to be shared with the Speaker or with Black Rod, but you say to the Serjeant at Arms, "Now, what I am about to tell you is confidential," is she not then likely to form the impression that what you mean is that she should not share that information with Black Rod or the Speaker or the Clerk or any of the other officers of the House?

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: As I said, Mr Howard, I cannot recall exactly what I said was confidential. What I know was not confidential or what I knew that Jill Pay was seeking advice about was whether she could authorise consent to search, and that was not confidential; that was something I knew she would have to go and ask someone about. But I do not recall the words used or exactly what it was that I asked Jill not to disclose, because I did not tell Jill Pay very much until later in the week.

  Q530  Chairman: Did you tell her that it was the Counter-Terrorism Unit that was investigating?

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: I did, sir.

  Q531  Chairman: So she had two pieces of information: one, it was confidential; the other, it was counter-terrorism, putting the matter loosely—is that correct?

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: Yes, sir, but she did not have the Member or the party or the details of the offence. Jill Pay did know that it was not a terrorist-related matter. She knew it was the Counter-Terrorist team but certainly she also knew that it was not a terrorist-related matter.

  Q532  Chairman: Had you explained that distinction to her?

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: Yes, I had, and I think it is in my memorandum that I had explained. Sir, whether it was on the initial meeting or later on I do not know but it certainly was a conversation I had.

  Q533  Ann Coffey: Jill Pay obviously had a different understanding of confidentiality than you had because she regarded that the information you gave her was so confidential that even Malcolm Jack was not aware of it. In fact, the first time he realised the offices were searched was when he saw it on Sky News. It is difficult to understand how this relationship operates when she believes that it is confidential, you work on the basis that it is not—how does that work?

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: I do not quite understand. I share confidences with Jill Pay and Black Rod on a day-to-day basis and it works very well.

  Q534  Ann Coffey: I am talking about the different understanding of the term "confidentiality" between you. You do not share the same understanding as Jill Pay does of confidentiality. Clearly, you do not, because your whole premise is that she must have consulted other people about what was happening, and that was the premise upon which you had discussions with her, whereas in fact it is clear that she was not taking advice from other people because she regarded the conversations that she was having with you as confidential. It seems a very difficult state of affairs.

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: I think clearly the Serjeant at Arms would explain that as she wants to explain it. My understanding was, from my first meeting, the very reason I went to see the Serjeant at Arms was to ask her the question could she give consent. Jill Pay—and I have worked with her now for two years—is incredibly dedicated and she will always, from my knowledge, seek advice, and good advice. My understanding of this incident was, I left the room with a provisional "yes" but a very clear steer: "That is provisional. I am going to seek advice." That is where I get the indication that she was going to seek advice, and I was not surprised because that is how she works.

  Q535  Chairman: She must have trusted you very considerably because she conducted a conversation with the Speaker, allowing you and colleagues to listen to it.

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: We were actually close enough. Albeit she was in a separate room, we could hear.

  Q536  Chairman: One of your colleagues stood by the door, but the conversation was conducted in sufficient terms that everyone in the room could hear—is that right?

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: That is true, sir.

  Q537  Ann Coffey: Did the Speaker know?

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: I do not know. I would be surprised if the Speaker did know. Again, it is 11 months ago. I do not recall the Serjeant at Arms mentioning it on the telephone.

  Q538  Mr Howard: Did you tell the Serjeant that you wanted to listen in to the conversation with the Speaker?

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: I think that probably was ... Again, I cannot remember the words used but we disclosed a certain amount of information to the Serjeant at Arms, and although it is not in my memorandum, I think it was as much the officer being there for the Serjeant at Arms in case there were any questions from the Speaker as it was listening to the words used. So I think it was as much to support the Serjeant at Arms for questions as for any other reason.

  Q539  Chairman: Do you have any recollection whether in the course of the one side of that conversation you heard the Serjeant at Arms say anything about a warrant or consent?

  Chief Superintendent Bateman: No, and if I can just return to my memorandum, clearly, the words have become more important as I have been listening to the evidence, because she specifically said ... She definitely said that she was authorising a search of a private office. This note was made probably about a week after the incident and she definitely said that she was authorising a search, and there was no mention by the Serjeant at Arms of a warrant at that stage.

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2010
Prepared 22 March 2010