10 'plebgate' officers quizzed over alleged Andrew Mitchell plot
Charlie Cooper is Health Correspondent for The Independent, i, and The Independent on Sunday, writing on the NHS, medical advances, and international health. Since joining the papers as an editorial assistant, he has been nominated for young journalist of the year at both the Press Awards and the British Journalism Awards.
Sunday 24 March 2013
Three Police Federation representatives in the Midlands who called on the Government’s Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell to “consider his position” are being investigated over their conduct during the “plebgate” affair.
The trio, which includes the chairman of West Mercia Police Federation Ken Mackaill, are among 10 police officers from four separate forces now suspected of involvement in an alleged plot to discredit the former Cabinet Minister, who lost his job as a result.
West Midlands, West Mercia and Warwickshire forces are investigating the trio, while the Metropolitan Police are continuing an inquiry, Operation Alice, into several accusations of fabricated allegations, relating to the confrontation between Mr Mitchell and officers at the main Downing Street gate last September. Pat Gallan, a Scotland Yard deputy assistant commissioner leading Operation Alice, is expected to send her report to the Crown Prosecution Service this week.
The three Midlands Police Federation representatives have been accused of exploiting media interest in the incident. In the wake of the incident they held a meeting with Mr Mitchell at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, telling waiting media immediately afterwards that he should “consider his position”. Mr Mackaill said that Mr Mitchell had apologised at the meeting, but did not reveal all that was said. However, Mr Mitchell had secretly recorded the conversation and has handed the tape to the police.
Mr Mitchell admits he swore in the presence of officers, but denies using the word “pleb”. After he quit it emerged an email purporting to be from a member of the public who had witnessed the scene was written by a police officer who had not been present.
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