Remember when Andrew Michell, the then-Government Chief Whip in the House of Commons, was forced to resign in the aftermath of the “Plebgate” row, where police officers claimed he had called them “fucking plebs”. The insinuation was that Mitchell was a liar: after a meeting a year after the Plebgate affair with Police Federation representives from the West Mercia, West Midlands and Warwickshire forces, Ken Mackaill, chairman of the West Mercia federation, said Mitchell’s position was untenable. He resigned a week later.
But it was later alleged that they lied about what went on in the meeting – which had been taped – in order to support their colleagues in London. They were accused of deliberately misrepresenting the meeting and calling Mitchell’s integrity into question. There are even murmurings about a conspiracy to get rid of Mitchell.
IPCC deputy chair Deborah Glass said on Tuesday (15 October) the officers should face disciplinary panels to decide whether they lied. She said:
“In my view the evidence is such that a panel should determine whether the three officers gave a false account of the meeting in a deliberate attempt to support their MPS (Metropolitan police service) colleague and discredit Mr Mitchell, in pursuit of a wider agenda.
“In my opinion the evidence indicates an issue of honesty and integrity, not merely naive or poor professional judgment.”
If the IPCC has elected to investigate the case themselves, they would have the power to direct the forces to convene misconduct proceedings but have chosen not to exercise these powers. The Crown Prosecution Service is to review the relevant proof; but no officers are going to be prosecuted, are they? If the police can get away with murdering innocent bystanders (think Jean Charles de Menezes or Ian Tomlinson, or any victim of police brutality) what chance does Mitchell have? Very little. Keir Starmer, the director of public prosecutions, said at the weekend prosecutors would come to a decision on whether any officers or members of the public should be charged “as soon as we can”. I think we can all assume what that means.
Please comment on this story, it would be good to know what public opinion is about police dishonesty. There’s a Comment button below. 😉