Home AffairsSupplementary written evidence submitted by Tony Wise [IPCC 16a]

Email sent 9 August 2012

On 24 July 2012 the IPCC responded to my corruption complaint against the three named Chief Constables. The IPCC took on absolutely no independent oversight of the corruption concerns against ACPO ranks as they promise publicly they will whenever they can. They exonerated the three Chief Constables in detail based purely on very unsafe and unreliable findings from the police only with no independent oversight as continually promised. Indeed I attached a resume of quotes from the IPCC along with my submission that I knew that in practice the IPCC would ignore. In ignoring their own numerous public pronouncements the IPCC also ignored relevant evidence and accepted contradictory statements and differing versions of events from the police that they knew or should have known were untrue. In this case the IPCC is actually assisting three ACPO rank officers and other public officials in covering up malpractice and corruption via wilful ignorance or worse of relevant evidence. 

The fact is that within one week of Dame Anne Owers appearing before the Committee the IPCC had actually contradicted what she said to the Committee in relation to corruption from ACPO rank officers or any officer. The most worrying aspect of this matter, and I knew that the IPCC would do this, is that they have ignored their public surveys and focus groups which found that the public required corruption allegations, especially against the most senior officers, to be investigated independently of the police. In reality the IPCC doesn’t care about public opinion or the public interest and this case proves it in detail which is the type of concern shared with thousands of people who have actually experienced the IPCC. There is always a major disparity in what the IPCC says publicly and what it actually does in reality. These disparities always fall on the side of the police in my experience. The worrying aspect that the IPCC appears to have wilfully ignored is that ACPO rank officers could only allegedly collude with the LPA in the way that they did because of their very senior ranks which was the single reason that they had the ear of and regularly met with the LPA CEO who controlled the ACPO complaint investigations. In reality it is staggering how the IPCC can directly contradict the following finding and public opinion in relation to corruption and collusion allegations against three currently serving Chief Constables.

Page 47 of “Corruption in the Police Service 2nd IPCC report May 2012”.

“A clear finding in this report is that the general public expects an independent body like the IPCC to be investigating cases of serious police corruption. This is supported by previous research, which placed investigating police corruption as a higher priority for the IPCC than investigating deaths following police contact (Inglis and Shepherd, 2007). It is evident, from the figures provided in this report, that in the great majority of these cases, IPCC investigations are able to substantiate the need for misconduct proceedings, and in nearly half of those cases, to uncover evidence that justifies a referral to the CPS.”

I predicted precisely what would happen in this case when I wrote to Mr Vaz in February 2012. I alluded to precisely what would happen in my submission to the Committee. It all came true on 24 July 2012. The IPCC actually assists even the most senior officers in covering up allegations of serious corruption and in doing so ignores its own findings in relation to public opinion and the public interest. For the record I have attached another series of relevant public pronouncements and findings from the IPCC that have also been ignored in this case.1 In the absence of a definitive and reliable investigation from an appropriately independent body I can only conclude that the IPCC is actually wilfully assisting the police in covering up serious corruption from ACPO rank officers in this case. Their own very numerous and regular public pronouncements preclude the IPCC from having no independent oversight of this serious case. Worryingly the IPCC has been so brazen in this case that they have done this when they are aware of my totally reliable, truthful and evidence based submission to the Committee. It’s as if the IPCC are afraid of what they may uncover in this case if the facts and evidence are looked at properly, decently and objectively.

In conclusion I now have some very strong evidence of a conspiracy involving collusion and dishonesty between the ACPO ranked officers and the CEO of the LPA in this case. I also have evidence that proves that the IPCC has ignored its own promises and significant corroborative evidence in this case in order to keep the lid on the alleged corruption. But as a member of the public I cannot complain to the police about the IPCC or the IPCC about the police because the ranks would quickly close. Can I respectfully suggest that as a very relevant source of a thought for this Committee because in this case and probably others there is nowhere for the public to go whatever the evidence and whatever the extent of any potential criminality? The difficult fact is that it is absolutely pointless relying on rectitude or integrity from either body. 

Email sent 21 August 2012

Further to my last email of 09 August 2012 whereas I informed the Committee that the IPCC had disregarded all of their public and Parliamentary promises via the appeal assessment dated 24 July 2012.

In train with my rights I requested an explanation as to the significant anomalies surrounding the appeal assessment via the IPCC comeback procedures on 27 July 2012. The IPCC has ignored this request as of the date of this correspondence which worries me in the context of the current inquiry. Consequently my concerns related to the IPCC in this case are now amplified. I have and always have had serious reservations about the IPCC’s conduct in this matter which is why I wrote to Mr Vaz in February 2012 and made a submission to the inquiry. However my overarching concern is that the two IPCC anti-corruption reports and the IPCC Annual Report 2011/2012 (all attached2) were laid before Parliament and all of the vitally important promises and undertakings made were disregarded immediately by the IPCC in this case. I have to bring this matter to the attention of the Committee because all along I knew that this would happen such is my experience of the IPCC. 

The two anti-corruption reports and the Annual Report raised serious issues about police corruption and indicated precisely what the IPCC would do about this serious matter based on public surveys and focus groups. Indeed the list that I supplied with my original submission contained definitive comments from both the first and second anti-corruption reports. None of the promises from the IPCC related to police corruption that were actually laid before Parliament have been honoured in this case. This raises a serious issue as to what the IPCC is up to and why has the IPCC made definitive promises to our Parliament and not honoured them on the very first occasion that it could? The compelling evidence and allegations in this case involved the most senior rank in the police service; that of Chief Constable. One of those involved is also the ACPO lead for Professional Standards, Chief Constable Mike Cunningham. Therefore it should be an imperative priority of the IPCC to see that everything is totally above board in relation to these very senior officers. Further the corruption allegations and evidence provided compelling information in relation to dishonesty, corruption and collusion in the police complaints system from senior officers. Bearing in mind that the IPCC’s main statutory role is to increase public confidence in the system surely the IPCC was duty bound to investigate these matters independently as regards both fronts. However the IPCC chose not to do this and in doing so broke solemn and transparent promises made to Parliament and the public as a whole that are not arguable. 

First anti-corruption report (September 2011).

Page 15. There is very little empirical research which explores the public’s view or perceptions of police corruption. Much of what exists comes from outside the UK and reports on countries with very different experiences of policing and, arguably, more extensive problems of corruption. However, in 2007 as part of a wider public survey, the IPCC asked a representative sample of adults across England and Wales about who should deal with cases of serious corruption. The findings showed that the vast majority of respondents (87%) believed that this should be dealt with by the IPCC.

Second anti-corruption report (May 2012).

Page 10. The public expects serious corruption to be investigated by an organisation independent of the police. The IPCC stands ready to take on more corruption cases if additional resources could be made available. Within existing resources, the IPCC will continue to conduct a small but increased number of independent investigations into corruption cases, prioritising those involving senior officers, serious criminal allegations and gross abuse of police powers.

I presented a further six definitive quotes from this report to the Committee via my original submission.

IPCC Annual Report 2011/2012 (July 2012).

Page 8. In the wake of the concerns that emerged in the summer of 2011 about police handling of phone hacking allegations, the Home Secretary used her powers in the Police Reform Act to request that the IPCC provide a report on its experience of police corruption. In addition to analysing previously published data on corruption complaints from the public and referrals from the police, we took the opportunity to consult the public on their understanding and perception of police corruption. The report was produced in two parts. It has been laid before the Houses of Parliament and made public and is informing our work for the future. Public confidence in and co-operation with the police is crucially affected by whether we believe they act in the public interest and allegations of corruption are deeply damaging to this perception. The Commission is clear that it wishes to play a significant role in investigating serious allegations of corruption, particularly when it involves very senior officers. Our report sets out the actions we intend to take and implementation is well in hand.

The list of solemn and definitive promises made to Parliament and the public by the IPCC in relation to police corruption, particularly involving senior officers goes on and on. All of these promises to Parliament have been presented as being the aspiration and intent of the IPCC in the last 10 months. But in this case for example, within weeks of the clear promise as above from Jane Furniss IPCC CEO in the Annual Report, the IPCC had disregarded each and every promise made to Parliament and ignored the evidence and allegations against three currently serving Chief Constables. Indeed it appears that Jane Furniss made a very dubious statement in the Annual report when she stated “our report sets out the actions we intend to take and implementation is well in hand”. That statement as presented to Parliament is just not true as the facts and evidence in this case prove beyond any doubt. The IPCC also effectively disregarded some of Dame Anne Owers’ evidence re: police corruption to the Committee made on 17 July 2012 within seven days of her appearance. The IPCC has also ignored a formal comeback application under its formal procedures requesting reasonable explanations as regards serious anomalies in their appeal assessment. The appeal assessment purely relied on the input of the police in gross contradiction of everything that the IPCC promised Parliament. It is clear that something very untoward is ongoing at the IPCC in this case and the overarching inconsistencies and major contradictions need to be looked at objectively and fairly in the public interest. I only say in the public interest because the IPCC makes it totally clear precisely what the public wants in relation to corruption from the police and particularly from senior officers in the three reports outlined in this correspondence. But as well as ignoring what it has said to Parliament the IPCC has also ignored what it definitively knows to be the overwhelming public opinion and interest in this case. To mislead both Parliament and the public so outrageously as the IPCC has done in this case is a serious constitutional worry to me as a bona fide complainant and citizen of the UK.

Can this matter and evidence please be presented to the Committee because the three reports as raised were all presented to Parliament and were all disregarded at the very first opportunity the IPCC had to prove that it means what it says re: senior officer corruption? The IPCC also similarly ignored overarching public opinion and public interest in this case. Clearly the IPCC is present for the benefit of the public and not for the benefit of senior officers with corruption allegations levelled against them. All of this gives me a serious worry as to the very probity of the IPCC to me as a complainant and citizen. The evidence against the IPCC in this regard is just not arguable and effectively the IPCC has misled Parliament and the public as a whole via no less than three formal reports. If the Committee could just put four reasonable questions to the IPCC it should shed some light on these matters if they are answered honestly.

1.Why did the IPCC make clear and solemn promises to Parliament re: senior officer corruption and ignore each and every promise within months at the first opportunity that it had to honour them?

2.Why has the IPCC allowed the hard evidence to prove that it does not prioritise and independently investigate serious corruption allegations against ACPO rank officers as it consistently states publicly that it does even in the context of this inquiry?

3.Why has the IPCC ignored what it knows beyond doubt is clear public opinion and the public interest re: senior officer corruption in this case as proven by its public research and surveys?

4.Why has the IPCC seemingly misled Parliament and the public as a whole via its overarching promises re: senior officer corruption?

Email sent 23 August 2012

This is the most important communication in this case that I have sent to the Committee. I have no more submissions to make after this date unless requested. Quite simply and succinctly the IPCC has finally demonstrated how and the methodology by which it operates against the public and public interest on an absolute basis. I truly hope that the Committee can get to the bottom of this and try to effect change at the IPCC and in the system for the good of all and in the public interest. In this case, for whatever reason, the IPCC does not care about what it has repeatedly stated publicly even when corruption allegations against ACPO rank officers are involved. It ignored even an acknowledgement of the comeback application for a month and then outrageously ignored the reasonable points of dissatisfaction and requests for clarification that were made. I had a right of an explanation and clarification as the IPCC procedure demonstrates but this has been inappropriately refused.

The IPCC defines a comeback as:

A comeback is a challenge to an IPCC operational decision or an expressed dissatisfaction or request for clarification on an IPCC.

One of the points that makes the IPCC so exasperating is the fact that no matter what it says it never sticks to it in reality. I am of the view that if it did or was required to the whole house of cards would collapse immediately. What I did get via the comeback was another series of blatant untruths primarily in relation to “it is clear that all evidence has been considered carefully”. Most worryingly the IPCC has not even mentioned in the letter from a senior casework manager my overarching point in that the IPCC has ignored promises to Parliament and the public via disregarding the clear undertakings from the two anti corruption reports and the IPCC annual report. The IPCC cannot reasonably be allowed to disregard solemn and repeated promises made to Parliament and the public re: ACPO rank corruption only weeks after they were made. But this is what always happens at the IPCC no matter what was said or who said it. Whatever the upper echelons of the IPCC state publicly or publish the lower levels carry on regardless and ignore it all. Then when it is brought to their attention the higher echelons take no action to alter the clear cultural and systemic issues that operate against the public interest at the lower levels. It all then carries on regardless with more and more dissatisfied and exasperated members of the public the inevitable result. This has clearly occurred here even though the issues and contemporaneous evidence in this case are not arguable from the point of view of the IPCC.

The attached letter dated 20 August 2012 is entirely indicative of what everyone gets from the IPCC no matter how important the matters of concern.3 It has flatly refused to answer each individual point in my comeback application because it cannot. It has merely distorted and avoided the vital points that I raised. The central and most vital evidential appeal issue was that of ignoring the hard evidence of initial intent to collude that was very contemporaneous with my complaints being recorded. This included a six page email string shared between the CEO of the LPA and the Staff Officer of the Chief Constable (attached4). All of the actual collusion, dishonesty and conspiracy was enacted after the 09–10 September 2008 section of the string. Meetings occurred that initially were denied and discussions occurred the nature of which have been altered repeatedly. All of what the string demonstrated was improper at the outset with documents shared, meetings held and dialogue/discussions enacted without the knowledge of the complainant; which in itself is unlawful in the IPCC statutory guidance. Since the Dave Whatton investigation further stories have also been altered based on that string and other evidence fabricated based on that evidence. And the IPCC will take no part independently in looking at the allegations and evidence as they promised to Parliament and every member of the public. The worry is that the misconduct in this case is entirely simplistic and to be ignored outright by a police force and then the IPCC can only be deliberate such is the nature of the failings.

Any reasonable person has only one quite obvious question. Why? The fact is, in my view, that none of the other undisputed (merely ignored) evidence was considered because of what it actually proved. This is precisely how the IPCC operates and it is the antithesis of the public interest. Whatever the IPCC says it always bases its whole opinion on the input of the police and then reports purely upon it with the complainant’s evidence being disregarded or at best secondary. It then resists challenge from the public whatever the evidence and circumstances and firmly puts up the drawbridge in flatly refusing to depart from the police version. Some recent high profile cases have demonstrated precisely the same but at the bottom the IPCC resolutely and relentlessly remains the same. Worryingly the Dave Whatton investigation had an overarching criminal aspect to it and the disregard of material evidence and other evidential anomalies could constitute attempts to pervert the course of justice. I have raised this with the IPCC at a senior level and even such serious criminal allegations have been entirely disregarded. This raises yet another disgraceful anomaly in the police complaints system. In this context a member of the public has absolutely no place to go. He or she cannot complain to the police about the IPCC and cannot complaint to the IPCC about the police because the drawbridge is up at both. Please, please can the Committee consider this aspect which has to be a source of absolute antagonism and disbelief from most IPCC users?

Lastly the IPCC then uses its favourite dodge and dares the citizen to find about £30,000 and challenge it through the courts at the same time as it uses public money to defend itself against the public and the public interest. That is even if the member of the public can even find a solicitor to deal with the matter in the first place because of constraints on public funding and a lack of suitable expertise. Indeed most of the expertise is London based and as I am finding at this time it is very, very difficult to engage a solicitor to deal with these cases. This aspect is the ultimate kick in the teeth to the palpably offended members of the public because their own money is used against them by the IPCC itself.

Email sent 16 October 2012

Can you please present the IPCC’s attached Freedom of Information response to the Committee.

Letter from the Independent Police Complaints Commission to Tony Wise, 1 October 2012

Your Request for Information

Thank you for your email received in this office on 24 August 2012 regarding your request for information.

I would like to apologise for the delay in responding to your request. I can confirm that I am now in a position to formally respond to you.

I note that you have requested the below details:

1.How many corruption allegations have been made against ACPO rank officers in 2010, 2011 and 2012 that have not been independently investigated by the IPCC?

Please provide reasons if they weren’t. I don’t want any personal data.

Response

There were three cases in 2010, 10 cases in 2011 and 10 cases in 2012. (One of the cases in 2010 was redetermined to Independent). Each referral was assessed on its own merits and these were deemed appropriate for managed, supervised or local investigation.

2.Please provide the forces involved at 2. I don’t want any personal data.

Response

The Forces involved were North Yorkshire, Dyfed Powys, Metropolitan, Cleveland, Northamptonshire, Staffordshire, West Midlands, Wiltshire, British Transport, Leicestershire and South Wales.

3.Please supply the full criteria adopted by the IPCC as to how corruption allegations re: ACPO rank officers are assessed for independent investigation.

Response

Paragraph 240 at Page 7 of the IPCC Statutory Guidance refers to Independent Investigations. “IPCC staff conduct independent investigations into incidents that cause the greatest level of public concern, have the greatest potential to impact on communities or have serious implications for the reputation of the police service”. Whilst each referral is assessed on its own merits, it is likely that an allegation of corruption involving a Chief Officer will meet the criteria for an Independent Investigation.

For a trial period only, the Commission agreed that all cases involving senior police officers should be reported to the Deputy Chair and that, depending on the rank, the nature of the issue and any other issues that might go to perceived bias, the Deputy Chair would agree with the relevant Commissioner whether the case should be dealt with by the Force Commissioner or elsewhere. Such cases should also be doublehanded.

4.Re 3: or does the IPCC always investigate corruption allegations against ACPO officers in concord with the undertakings and promises made to Parliament and the public as outlined above.

Response

The response to this question is outlined in Response 3.

5.Does the IPCC take seriously promises and undertakings made to Parliament and the public as a whole?

Response

The IPCC’s primary statutory function is to secure and maintain public confidence in the police complaints system in England and Wales. Information about our work towards achieving this is already in the public domain and is contained within our annual reports to Parliament which have been produced each financial year since the IPCC’s inception. These are available on our website.

6.In summary what are the IPCC’s findings from public surveys and focus groups re: corruption allegations against ACPO rank officers?

Response

The IPCC’s reports (parts one and two) do not contain any breakdown on allegations of corruption by ACPO rank. Instead, Chapter 2 of the part two report Corruption in the Police Service in England and Wales: a report based on the IPCC’s experience from 2008 to 2011, focuses on survey questions and focus groups responses from the general public. There is a section in the report in chapter five which looks at the outcome of corruption cases investigated by the IPCC. Here a number of case studies are discussed and reference is made to the seniority of officers who had been involved in corruption (see below***).

Neither of the two studies a) the public survey; or b) the focus groups, asked the public any questions relating specifically to ACPO rank officers. However both did explore public perceptions and whether they were able to distinguish between less serious and more serious forms of corruption based on a range of different scenarios. Any findings which relate to senior officers have been highlighted and appear below in the bullet points.

Details of research studies

The survey questions about police corruption were placed in a face-to-face omnibus survey and put to a representative sample of 1777 adults across England and Wales.

The qualitative research involved six focus groups and nine in-depth interviews being conducted.

Public views on police corruption: A qualitative research study (the following points were taken directly from the qualitative research report i.e. focus groups).

“Most expressed the opinion that serious corruption would be found “at the top” and among more senior officers, rather than the “bobby on the beat” as there was an assumption that a degree of power is necessary for more serious corruption to occur” (page 9).

In response to a question asking what they thought corruption is, an in-depth interview said “things like bribery, evidence going missing, cover ups, senior officers turning a blind eye—that sort of thing ...” (page 11).

In relation to levels of seriousness “six scenarios were picked out to demonstrate how the general public perceive seriousness”—“the seniority of the individual involved; the more senior, the more serious the public considered the act to be” (page 21–22).

In relation to question on factors that impact on approach for how corruption is best managed, a summary stated that “in making a decision about the ideal management approach, respondents identified a range of factors that could affect the decision. In many ways these shared much in common with the factors they identified as being important in weighing up the seriousness of the corruption and misconduct. A range of key factors to consider included—the seniority of the officer and their position within the force” (page 24).

Therefore, falsifying figures could vary in seriousness—the degree of seniority in order to falsity these pointed to a more external approach, however as not all viewed this as serious, for others internal management felt more appropriate (page 25).

*** Corruption in the Police Service in England and Wales: a report based on the IPCC’s experience from 2008 to 2011—(the following is an extract from chapter five on the outcomes of independent investigations in part two of the corruption report). The below is in reference to organisational vulnerabilities relating to management and leadership.

Management and Leadership was “an additional theme to emerge from the IPCC’s cases concerning the actions of ACPO rank officers, a number of which feature in the case studies in the report. They specifically raise questions about whether these senior officers saw themselves as being ‘above the rules’ that they expected their junior officers and staff to follow” (page 43).

7.Does the IPCC always operate in the public interest? Please produce any policy, procedure or promise that confirms that the IPCC always and is required to work in the public interest.

Response

The IPCC’s primary statutory function is to secure and maintain public confidence in the police complaints system in England and Wales. Information about our work towards achieving this is already in the public domain and is contained within our annual reports to Parliament which have been produced each financial year since the IPCC’s inception. These are available on our website. If you are not satisfied with this response you may request an independent internal review by our FOI appeals officer, who has had no involvement in dealing with your request. If you wish to complain about any aspect of this decision, please contact:

[Name redacted by Committee]
Director of Business Services
Independent Police Complaints Commission

Yours sincerely

S&Q Support Officer
On behalf of the Independent Police Complaints Commission

Tony Wise

October 2012

1 Not printed.

2 Not printed.

3 Not printed.

4 Not printed.

Prepared 1st February 2013