Thursday, 24 April 2014


PC James Patrick, the police whistle blower who exposed the manipulation of crime figures faces being put on a public register of disgraced officers, Channel 4 News can reveal.

The Metropolitan Police have accused James Patrick of gross misconduct because he appeared on a television and a radio programme to talk about senior officers' treatment of him without getting their permission first.

Should he be found guilty, he would be placed on the College of Policing's new "struck off list", which the body plans to make public.

According to both PC Patrick and his local MP Bernard Jenkin, who is also chair of the parliamentary committee that held the inquiry into crime figures, the move by the Met is an effort to blacken the whistleblower's name.

"What is the point? It seems massively vindictive," said PC Patrick.

Mr Jenkin agreed with PC Patrick's analysis that the force's allegations – which come less than three weeks before he is due to leave – represent an effort to place a dismissal for gross misconduct on his record.

"Speaking purely as his MP, I think he has been treated very unfairly," he said.


The public administration select committee chair added: "The police do not seem to have acknowledged the seriousness of what they sought to suppress and what he exposed. This is an indication of the police leadership in denial.

"They should have welcomed him back as someone who was vindicated and who could have helped them put right the issues he raised. They said they would meet with him, but they never have.
"I am sad about it because whistle blowers are, by definition, difficult people; otherwise they would be easier to intimidate. All the way through, the Met Police have tried to intimidate James Patrick for raising legitimate concerns. But they have lost and cannot acknowledge that they have lost."

The news comes two weeks after Channel 4 News revealed that PC Patrick was being forced to go without pay while fighting his employer at tribunal after the Met successfully argued that police officers did not qualify for the same financial compensation available to other people.

A document seen by Channel 4 News shows that PC Patrick was accused of gross misconduct on Monday after appearances on BBC programmes on 9 and 10 April.

In March, he announced he was to resign from the force, saying he had been left no choice because of senior officers' treatment of him after he raised his concerns.

He is due to leave on 9 May but, under measures introduced by Home Secretary Theresa May in February last year that were designed to stop officers retiring and resigning to avoid misconduct proceedings, Mr Patrick would still face the gross misconduct allegations and could be dismissed retrospectively.

What is the point? It seems massively vindictivePolice whistleblower James Patrick

The College of Policing said that its "struck off list", on which PC Patrick would be placed if found guilty, is currently only available to police forces. But the body said it plans to make it public, subject to legal deliberations.

A Met Police document sets out the allegations against PC Patrick. He is accused of having appeared on the BBC programme The One Show "without the appropriate authority". It also sets out an accusation that he gave in an interview to BBC Radio 5 "also in breach of the MPS Media Policy and direct instructions".

PC Patrick says that the One Show appearance was recorded before a letter warning him not to go ahead with it was sent to him.

As a result of his evidence to the select committee, both the Met commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe and the police watchdog HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) head Tom Winsor were forced to admit that police crime figures were being manipulated. In response, the UK Statistics Authority removed the crime figures' gold standard "National Statistics" status.

James Patrick @J_amesp
Open Letter to Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe
The MPs also demanded that HMIC open an investigation into the Met's treatment of PC Patrick, whom the Met tried to silence on at least three occasions, it was revealed earlier this month.

A spokesman for the Met Police said: "Can confirm PC James Patrick is being investigated for potential misconduct following allegations he failed to seek the appropriate authority prior to undertaking two media interviews in April 2014 as required by the MPS Media Policy. PC Patrick has been informed of this investigation.

"PC Patrick remains a serving police officer and is therefore held to the same standards as any other officer."

Over on James Patrick's site, he published an open letter to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe which is reprinted below:-

23rd April 2014
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe
(Commissioner of the Police of the Metropolis)
N.B. This is an open letter


Following our impromptu conversation on LBC the other morning, (I called in after being alerted to the fact you were discussing me, while I was cuddling my children over breakfast), I am following up in writing as I said I probably would.

I thank you for your offer to consider meeting with me, which I said I would welcome, and arrangements for which I shall leave to you – my calendar is becoming largely clear very soon.

I hope, as you said in reply to my first question on LBC, that you are genuinely committed to changing the way that the MPS deals with whistle blowers in the future, and perhaps this letter – if read to the end – may further some understanding.

Having now listened back to the comments regarding my case earlier in your appearance, I feel it’s best that some facts are clarified – I appreciate that you are juggling a lot of shreds of information, so may have made the mistakes honestly.

1) You stated that, to paraphrase, what happened in the time before the PASC wasn’t whistleblowing. This is, in part, currently a matter before the Tribunal, and the one which I refused to discuss with you on air. Perhaps you should talk about this further with Legal Services, to clarify it for future reference: there appears to be some breakdown in communication. I also know, because I served the Directorate of Professional Standards with the papers in November last year, that the MPS is fully aware of the history of my whistleblowing since 2009, which is not a matter before the Tribunal (other than as background). Again, perhaps, a conversation on that may assist. In the alternative, my written submissions to the Public Administration Select Committee give an outline of the history which you may find helpful, as may the last pages of the document entitled ‘The London Policing Model’ which I sent to you first in December 2011, and then again (at your request) after I contacted you regarding it in October 2013.

2) You stated that, in response to my PASC evidence in November 2013, you had called in Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary to vet the crime data. Was this not part of the inspection programme agreed and ordered by Parliament in or around June 2013? And wasn’t the Mayor’s Office audit commissioned even earlier in the year by the Deputy Mayor? If that is the case, perhaps a clearer use of wording may avoid any future confusion for people less closely following the topic. In any case, I have met with the CIHMIC and expressed my concerns in person – I personally found him very impressive and open minded. I also note that you are under the impression that I was contacted after writing to you, (I was offering to meet after your appearance at the PASC, during which you stated an internal inquiry would contact me in due course). I was, in March, offered a ‘debrief’, the reason I gave a long notice period. I have this morning been informed that this will take place on the 30th of April, which I have accepted, but: a debrief is not the same as an inquiry, or the treatment of someone who reports wrongdoing in line with MPS policy, as you well know.

3) You stated, emphatically some might say, that I had not been hounded from my job: this is currently a matter before the Tribunal, and one which I refused to discuss on air. Perhaps, again, you should talk this through with Legal Services.

4) You stated that the MPS did not ‘look’ at my Gross Misconduct case, in fact referring it outside and having it externally chaired. I found this statement quite shocking. I first asked for the matter to be externally referred in 2012 and again in 2013 but this was declined; the DPS then opposed an application for the hearing panel to be externally constituted, due to a risk of bias, in November 2013. Thankfully my submission prevailed despite the representations of the MPS to keep things ‘in house’. I was notified in February 2014 that, following an external review, the case had been downgraded to Misconduct, then found that the DPS had appointed an MPS Inspector to chair the meeting. Once again the already decided bias issue had to be raised and then, and only then, a Chief Inspector from the City of London Police was appointed. I am not sure whether you were poorly briefed, but the statement made was outrageously misleading.

5) Along with the Press Office, you have stated that I have received a final written warning. Again things are not so clear cut. Firstly, the decision has been immediately appealed on the grounds of lack of evidence and perverse reasoning (to keep it short-hand), and the arrangements for this appeal, I can only assume, are being properly dealt with. Secondly, and most gravely: I have not received a final written warning. As the DPS are well aware, the regulations require service of the written notices within five days. The meeting took place on the 2nd of April 2014 and I put the DPS on written notice, on the 18th of April, that they have failed to comply with the regulations by not serving these notices. This is clearly unacceptable and also makes the statement “received a written warning”, at best, spurious.

Regrettably, I must raise one further issue, which has landed on me yesterday.

Having agreed to an earlier departure date than the 6th of June, namely the 9th of May, with payment in lieu of the remaining notice, I have today been sent a notice stating that I am being investigated for ‘Gross Misconduct’ on the following grounds:

“On 9th April 2014 you breached the MPS Media Policy and direct instructions provided to you by appearing on the BBC programme ‘The One Show’ without the appropriate authority.

You also participated in a radio interview with BBC Radio 5 on the 10th April 2014 without the appropriate authority also in breach of the MPS Media Policy and direct instructions”.

I have not found a hard copy of a letter from Temporary Detective Superintendent Simon Laurence stating that the policy existed and should be complied with, dated the 7th of April. Several others were however among a stack sent to my home address by recorded delivery and found on about the 16th of April, after I had been at my sister’s since the 9th, with my family.

It appears the letter in question was sent by email but, on the 7th of April, I was fully focused, as I am sure you can imagine, on preparing to act for myself at the initial Tribunal hearing the following day (Tuesday the 8th).

I can’t find any written acknowledgement of receipt, by me to the Met, regarding emails sent to me (by the Met), until the 11th of April. If it helps, I sent five emails on the 7th of April, four of which were to the same person, and none of whom have anything to do with the Met; additionally there are no emails to the Met at all on the 7th, 8th or 9th. On the 10th I emailed regarding welfare at 07.11, that being it until lunchtime the next day.

In any case, the One Show was pre-recorded at the end of the week before this letter appears to have been sent. As regards Radio 5, it was pre-recorded on the 10th of April and the interview was broadcast on Friday the 11th of April 2014, after the conclusion of which I did receive a copy of a letter by email, stating the matter had been referred to the DPS. I tweeted about a threat of further discipline at 12.32 on the 11th April – as I normally do with any significant developments.

I replied to the Met by email at that time stating:
“I look forward to being pursued with further malice and vigour”

This is becoming a little bit like the detention scene in The Breakfast Club.

I won’t ask you about the freedom of expression, about what it safeguards, nor about the other freedoms enshrined in law – mine have only just ceased to be restricted; nor will I ask you to look up legislation, like Section 43J of the Employment Rights Act 1996. All I would ask is: who in the Met would authorise me to speak out about my side of the story? (That’s rhetorical, by the way).

A reasonable person might well ask questions about the motivation of this new action. Another reasonable person might simply see it is as vindictive. Another might see that you could make a finding in my absence, after I’ve left, and have me added to the College of Policing struck off list – a permanent tarnish for all future employment.

Someone like my wife, who has been on the receiving end of the Met for a long time now, might burst into tears and be scared witless of what else you will do.

Personally, I am just tired and, while I will continue to fight my battles in the Tribunal, I just want the Met to leave my family and I alone: you have done enough to us. More than enough. As anyone who saw the One Show would know, the effect on my family has already been devastating and I have walked away from a job I love, and have loved, for the best part of a decade.

Lastly, I want you to know that I am not scared of you, nor the Met, and because I am not, I will ask you this: have you ever picked a cat up by the tail?

As Mark Twain said, someone who does learns something he can learn in no other way.

Let me walk away in peace.
Yours faithfully,
James Patrick
By Email

Thin Blue Line Comment in response to James on his site:-

And so it continues.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe must surely have been instrumental or at least made aware that further Gross Misconduct matters were being considered.

“On 9th April 2014 you breached the MPS Media Policy and direct instructions provided to you by appearing on the BBC programme ‘The One Show’ without the appropriate authority.

You also participated in a radio interview with BBC Radio 5 on the 10th April 2014 without the appropriate authority also in breach of the MPS Media Policy and direct instructions”.

He surely cannot claim he knew nothing of the new proceedings. As such, surely it was improper of him to permit the LBC conversation to proceed as he was aiding and abetting the alleged breach? Agent Provocateur springs to mind. (a person employed to induce others to break the law so that they can be convicted).

The comedy of errors continues, and it would be a comedy if it wasn’t so vindictive, unjust and a blatant immoral attempt to silence you once and for all.

What a joke then, to read CC Nick Gargan’s piece in the Guardian on Tuesday 22 April

To paste the first few paragraphs of the article:-

Gratuitous criticism will not help the police to improve

 Politicians’ sweeping condemnation of police leadership may bring short-term political gain, but it will undermine the future of the service.

“I was stung by the words of Bernard Jenkin MP, chair of the public administration select committee at the launch of its police crime statistics report earlier this month. “Poor data integrity reflects the poor quality of leadership within the police”, he said. Not “the poor quality of some leadership,” nor even “the poor quality of leadership of some within the police”. Instead Jenkin dismissed police leadership at a stroke. It has become the height of fashion to dismiss police leadership. And the place where it is most fashionable to do so seems to be Westminster, and Whitehall”.

Nick may well be one of the “Good Guys”, but sadly there are all too many examples of ACPO ranks whose conduct and attitude is well deserving of the criticism.

Your case James is a perfect example of what is wrong with policing today. A lack of probity, honesty and moral compass, replaced with greed, pernicious deception and downright corrupt behaviour by high ranking officers who should be setting exemplary standards.

When looking for reasons why public confidence in policing has plummeted, look no further than the ACPO ranks. Rank and file officers are forced to compromise their professional integrity carrying out ACPO and SMT strategies that are not in the public interest.

And when someone dares to blow the whistle with the truth, look at how they form a cordon of defensive and attacking strategy. It reminds me of Custers last stand, with the police Chiefs formed in a circle protecting their jobs, pensions and fiefdoms with their obfuscation, denial and deceit. We all now how that one ended up.

My continued best wishes to you and your family James.

Kind regards
Steve Bennett
Retired West Midlands Officer
Author of the Thin Blue Line UK Blog


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