Officer faces inquiry over book exposé


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The Independent Online

A Scotland Yard officer faces a gross misconduct inquiry after writing a book critical of police service reforms.

James Patrick, 33, has been moved to restricted duties and been told "not to have contact with the public, external agencies or stakeholders," according to his solicitor. His book, The Rest is Silence, is critical of cuts to the service, the increasing role of the private sector in policing and the politicisation of the service with the election of police and crime commissioners.

It is being sold on a self-publishing website and is described as a fully documented background to police reform and an "exploration of the next political scandal waiting to happen".

Mr Patrick's legal team said yesterday that the material was all publicly accessible and drawn from mainstream media or freedom of information sources.

However, the Metropolitan Police said that Mr Patrick, a constable who has received four commendations during his career and is also an active blogger, was under investigation because he failed to declare a business interest and ask permission from his superiors to publish the book.

His solicitor Karen Todner yesterday denied the claim and said the proceeds of the book were going to charity.

She said that he had unsuccessfully raised issues with the Met including manipulation of crime statistics and the effects of cuts. “He did try to raise his concerns through legitimate sources and effectively hit a brick wall,” said Ms Todner.

Mr Patrick has nearly 3,000 followers on Twitter, including Andy Trotter, the chief constable of British Transport police. Mr Patrick’s book has been entered for the 2013 Orwell Prize for political writing.

The Metropolitan police said inquiries were continuing into the conduct of the officer who started his police career in Derbyshire in 2004. “A serving police constable currently based within territorial policing will be subject to gross misconduct proceedings,” said a Scotland Yard statement. “He was placed on restricted duties on Friday November 30.” It said that some of the contents could be harmful to the reputation of the police and have an impact on public confidence.

The investigation of Mr Patrick follows last week’s Leveson report, which called for a more independently operated system so that whistle blowers had confidence that their grievances would be addressed.