Concerns over police response to alleged No 10 party referred to watchdog

Lady Jones had said there is a ‘case to answer’ for the Met.

Richard Wheeler
Tuesday 21 December 2021 22:42
Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street (PA)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street (PA)

The Metropolitan Police has referred itself to the police watchdog after a complaint was made over its handling of an alleged Downing Street Christmas party.

Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb wrote to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) to raise concerns over the reported event on December 18 2020 and the lack of an investigation.

The Metropolitan Police has now replied to confirm her complaint has been split into two parts.

Lady Jones had said there is a “case to answer” for the Met “aiding and abetting a criminal offence, or deliberately failing to enforce the law in favour of Government politicians and their staff” due to the “extensive” police presence in Downing Street.

Acting Detective Chief Superintendent Tony O’Sullivan, directorate of professional standards, told the Green Party peer in a letter: “I have referred your complaint to the Independent Office for Police Conduct given that you effectively allege misconduct in public office by MPS police officers.

“The IOPC will now make a determination as to whether the complaint needs to be investigated and if so, how.”

An IOPC spokesperson told the PA news agency: “We can confirm that, on Friday December 17, we received a referral from the Metropolitan Police Service of a complaint about an alleged party at Downing Street in December 2020.

“We are assessing it to determine what, if any, further action may be required from us.

On the second part, a Met inspector said it relates to Lady Jones’s complaint that Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick has “refused to investigate allegations of an unlawful gathering on December 18 2020.

“The Metropolitan Police Service is not the appropriate authority to handle complaints about the commissioner and, as such, this has been referred to MOPAC.”

MOPAC is the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime, which sets the direction and budget for the Met.

It is alleged a Christmas Party in Downing Street on December 18 last year saw officials and advisers make speeches, enjoy a cheese board, drink together and exchange Secret Santa gifts, although the Prime Minister is not thought to have attended.

Allegra Stratton speaking outside her home in north London(Jonathan Brady/PA)

Mr Johnson’s spokeswoman Allegra Stratton quit after being filmed joking about it with fellow aides at a mock press conference.

The event is at the heart of an investigation being led by senior civil servant Sue Gray which is examining lockdown-breaking parties across Whitehall.

The IOPC has been contacted for comment.

A spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime said: “A complaint has been received and is under consideration.”

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