Plebgate: IPPC criticises police officers over 'false account' of meeting with Andrew Mitchell following Downing Street gates row
Watchdog says that there should be a panel to determine whether three police officers gave a false account of meeting
The independent police complaints watchdog has launched a withering attack on a police force that cleared three serving officers of deliberately lying about a meeting with a cabinet minister.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission said it disagreed with a decision by West Mercia Police not to bring charges of gross misconduct against the men because of clear evidence that they a “gave a false account” to discredit the former Tory chief whip Andrew Mitchell.
However the IPCC admitted it was powerless to compel West Mercia to instigate misconduct proceedings as Mr Mitchell himself had not made a formal complaint.
The three officers, who were all Police Federation representatives, were accused of deliberately misrepresenting what Mr Mitchell said during a meeting in his Sutton Coldfield constituency office on October 12.
The ‘clear the air’ meeting was held in the wake of the ‘plebgate’ row – in which Mr Mitchell was accused of calling a Downing Street protection officer a ”pleb”.
During the meeting, which was recorded by Mr Mitchell, he told the officers: “I did not say and I give you my word, I did not call the officer an f**king pleb...............But I did say, you know, under my breath but audibly, in frustration, I thought you lot were supposed to f**king help us. I did say that and it is for that, that I apologise.
In media interviews afterwards one of the officers told journalists: “He will not tell us what he actually said.”
In a statement Warwickshire, West Mercia and West Midlands Police said they did not believe the officers had been guilty of misconduct.
“Despite a thorough investigation under the supervision of the IPCC we do not believe that there is sufficient evidence to support the view that the officers concerned should face misconduct proceedings.
“Our view is that the officers have demonstrated poor judgement in arranging and attending the meeting in the first place. In light of this our position is that management action is a proportionate response.”
But Deborah Glass, IPCC Deputy Chair, said she did not agree with their conclusion.
“In my opinion the evidence indicates an issue of honesty and integrity, not merely naïve or poor professional judgment,” she said.
“As police officers they had a responsibility to present a fair and accurate picture. Their motive seems plain: they were running a successful, high profile, anti-cuts campaign and the account that he provided to them did not fit with their agenda.
She said while she did not have the power to “direct misconduct proceedings” because Mr Mitchell had not made a formal complaint she believed “it is important to put my disagreement on record, and to set out the evidence so that the public can judge for themselves.”
In a statement Mr Mitchell said he hoped there would be “considerable public concern” that three Police Federation representatives accused of trying to discredit him will face "no disciplinary consequences for their behaviour”.
“I flatly reject the conclusion of the police that 'there was no deliberate intention to lie',” he said.
“I welcome the statement from Deborah Glass disagreeing with that conclusion and holding that the officers should have been made the subject of disciplinary proceedings.”
Matt Smith is set to join cast of Jane Austen classic - with a twist
Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas
Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
Scottish independence: Final opinion polls show undecided voters could swing result either way
Isis release 'Flames of War' video warning Obama of attacks troops could face in Iraq
Jennifer Lawrence 'naked sex video' will be leaked next, threatens 4Chan celebrity photo hacker
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
- 1 Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
- 2 Scottish independence: Learn from Quebec's mistakes and beware of promises. Vote Yes.
- 3 'Necrophilia-obsessed' girl among double murder accused in three-way sex case
- 4 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Revealed after 75 years of secrecy: 'Fifi' the glamorous WW2 special agent who tested British spies' resolve