Bunhill: Police chiefs should tread softly

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FURTHER to my story about Sir Peter Imbert taking a job as consultant to ISS, the private investigators, I am forced to wonder whether the newly retired Metropolitan Police Commissioner did his homework before agreeing to join the firm of budding corporate gumshoes.

For ISS, which is led by an ex-SAS member, John Wick, and claims to have been in business for nine years, actually went bust two years ago, owing creditors pounds 350,000. ISS was then called Integrated Security Services. At the time, its managing director was the same John Wick and the company exhibited the same appeal for retired ex-Met Commissioners - a former chairman was Sir David McNee. Sir David, it must be said, resigned from the outfit before it got into financial difficulties.

Now called Integrated Security Systems (note the subtle difference) and using the same ISS logo, the firm was acquired from the receiver by P W Kininmonth, Lloyd's managing agents, and was subsequently sold to Mr Wick in a management buy-out.

When I called, Mr Wick blamed the failure of ISS Mark One on the recession, maintaining: 'Everybody got paid; nobody lost out.'

Not so. Group 4, which supplied ISS with security equipment, lost pounds 75,000. 'I'm pretty sore about that,' said Group 4's security director, David Thompson. 'We didn't get any of that back.'

Over to Mr Wick, who conceded, well, yes, Group 4 was not paid.

From his hotel room in Stockholm, where he was attending a conference of European police chiefs last week, Sir Peter said he knew about ISS's previous incarnation and demise, but he was not familiar with Group 4's loss.

'I will ask John Wick about that. I understood that all the creditors had been paid and that they were satisfied.'

Sir Peter also said he might be contacting Sir David. 'I've not spoken to Sir David but, in the light of the points you make, I may well talk to him about it.'

At his Scottish retirement home, Sir David was tight-lipped and defensive.

'When I was non-executive director and chairman (of ISS), I and my fellow directors were not involved in anything untoward.'

What about Sir Peter's involvement with the new company? 'I would not care to comment on anybody's suitability to be rubbing shoulders with Sir Peter Imbert. I would not wish to be involved in any comment on one of my successors at Scotland Yard.'

Memo to retiring senior police officers: stay away from business, stick to the pension.

(Photograph omitted)