I can’t say I was surprised when I read ‘Dyfed-Powys tops corruption allegation list’ in the County Times at the end of May. Why should I be surprised? I’m one of the people who made the allegations!
“Dyfed-Powys Police has topped the list of police forces with most corruption allegations for its size in England and Wales,” wrote CT reporter Emma Mackintosh.
“In the Dyfed-Powys force area, there were 146 allegations against officers. With 2,100 police officers, that gave the force a ratio of 69 complaints per 1,000 officers, the highest in Wales and England and more than twice the average.”
Only 69 complaints per 1,000? You might think those are good odds. But then, you might never have got on the wrong side of one of the officers to which these complaints relate!
A buddy of mine did, a few years ago. As a result, he was arrested and prosecuted for a particularly nasty crime – but I’m not referring to that. My complaint was about a crime related to the allegations against him, but committed by someone else, in an attempt to swing public opinion against him.*
That’s when I made my complaint. I know a thing or three about the law and I knew that an offence had been committed (contempt of court, as it happens – someone had publicised information that they shouldn’t have). I gave full details of what had happened and how, and not only did I refer to the relevant section and paragraph of the legislation – I quoted it verbatim.
The response was a flat refusal to investigate and a claim that the law had not been broken, with a reference to an irrelevant section of the same law.
You see, prosecuting this individual would have been inconvenient as it would have weakened the case against my friend. Easier to let them flout the law and get away with it, apparently. One law for us… another law for them.
“In the Dyfed-Powys force, of the 146 complaints made, only 16 found their way to the IPCC,” writes Emma. Mine would have been one of them. I made a full, detailed complaint, quoting the relevant legislation, pointing out where the officer involved had gone wrong, and explaining why I believed the error was intentional.
All I got for my efforts was another flat refusal to acknowledge the facts. The investigator spoke with the officer and decided that his interpretation of the law was correct – despite having it quoted to them, in black and white, by me!
For me, the only way forward from that point would have been to hire a lawyer and get a judicial review, but that costs money and I simply don’t have enough. Again, it’s one law for us… another law for them.
So the crime went unpunished, the perpetrator went scott free and my friend was imprisoned. He was later released by the Court of Appeal, after a hearing in which the presiding judge actually demanded to know whether the prosecutor had any concrete evidence at all! That wasn’t enough to save him at the retrial and once again he was sent down. You see, the alleged crime was one of which people tend to be found guilty merely because they have been accused.
“The IPCC has said it wants clearer information on what constitutes police corruption, with 631 complaints made in Wales between 2008 and 2011,” Emma continues. I don’t know why. My experience indicates this Independent organisation (that’s what the ‘I’ stands for) will just toe the police service‘s line, no matter what.
“Responding to the findings, a Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson said: ‘Dyfed-Powys Police notes and welcomes the report’s findings which will inform future practice locally. “’The force acts proactively to prevent corruption and where it is alleged investigates such cases thoroughly and professionally. “’We are reviewing our policies and procedures in line with national recommendations following various reviews into this subject area.’”
On past experience, I very much doubt that.
*I apologise for the necessary vaguenesses in this story. It is about criminal acts which were committed by people who have not been brought to account, and if I made my story any clearer, I might be the next person in front of a judge!