The cost of the Scotland Yard investigation into the so-called “plebgate” affair, which led to the resignation of Andrew Mitchell as Chief Whip, has reached £237,000.
The saga began on 19 September last year when Mr Mitchell was accused of swearing at police officers in Downing Street and calling them “plebs”. CCTV footage later emerged which cast doubt on the officers’ allegations.
In a letter to the MP Keith Vaz, Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan confirmed the mounting cost of the inquiry, Operation Alice, in which statements have been taken from all 800 officers in the Diplomatic Protection Group.
The note added that one officer had been “removed” from the investigation in January due to an “entirely unrelated matter unconnected with this investigation”. Mr Vaz said: “It has now taken more than a year to investigate an incident that lasted 45 seconds, costing the taxpayer an astonishing £237,000, the equivalent to 10 new Metropolitan Police constables.
“It must be in the best interests of the Metropolitan Police Service and Crown Prosecution Service to bring this operation to a conclusion. It is also neither good for the police officers involved or for Andrew Mitchell that this saga continues.”