In nearly 28 years of policing, I’d never been dealt with for Misconduct before. I knew that I would need some advice from a Police Federation Representative. I also knew that I would have to think long and hard about what it was that was happening to me and who was orchestrating events. What were the motivations? It was going to be vital to make a detailed record of everything that happened and continue to do this in order to evidence what had happened previously and what would happen in the future. Many other people had been involved and would become involved in future events, but none of them would know the full story, only the parts that they played in it. I had the overall greatest knowledge of what had happened and needed to keep it that way. It was a imperative that I could evidence events in order to try to protect myself later on. Well, the first thing I did was to email a full copy of my grievance and the supporting documents to Wendy Elliot at Professional Standards Department, (PSD). This may hopefully have put into context, what it was I was being accused of.
Having spoken to my Federation Rep, (Fed Rep 1) we worded a response to the allegation made against me which I sent to PSD on 29th December 2016…..
Please find my Reg 16 reply below. Thank you for the extension given over this Christmas period. I have now had a meeting with a Federation Representative. I give my reply based on the assessment of this being treated as misconduct.
On Monday 25/07/16 I attended a meeting in the Delacy Room at Hereford Police Station. Present were, Stephen Davies from the CPS, DI Taylor, DS Wells, DC Cleeton and myself. I was the investigating officer in an animal cruelty case at this time and had been investigating this offence since 28/05/16. CID at Hereford had been asked to give an input into this investigation and DC Cleeton arranged the meeting to discuss the case with Mr Davies. He explained this in an email to me on 03/07/16.
I was not aware that this meeting was a ‘sensitive case conference’ as described on the Reg 16. I am not sure that the case had been given an operational name at that time. I had not been conducting any covert policing and was investigating the case in an open and transparent way.
Following this meeting I can confirm that I have spoken to the ‘victim’, (HIT member ‘Andy’) by telephone approximately 3 or 4 times. These calls and the conversations that took place were to update ‘Andy’ as the reporting person/ victim in this case in accordance with the Victim Charter.
At no time did I ever knowingly disclose confidential and sensitive information from the meeting of 25/07/16.
Richard PC 3202 BARRADALE-SMITH
On 30th December I phoned Wendy Elliot to check that she had received my response which she said she had. She then proceeded to ask me some questions which I answered!
On the same day day Wendy Elliot sent me the following email….
Thankyou for your reply to the Regulation notice served. During our telephone call today I explained that I would email you to seek clarification on a few points which we talked about, one being what was said to ‘Andy’ after the meeting on the 25/07/16. You said that you had spoken to her after the meeting to update her on what actions had been decided on at the meeting and in line with the victims charter. What did you say to her.
As we discussed, Mr Davies the District Prosecutor says that what was discussed at the meeting on the 25/07/16 was confidential and that he made clear to all who attended, his expectation was that nothing would be discussed with anyone outside of that meeting. You stated to me on the phone earlier today that you knew it was confidential but that you disagreed with it.
I received the above email when I returned from leave on 6th January, 2017………… I replied to Wendy on this day copying in my Fed Rep of course……..
I have just returned to work following leave. In respect of my call to you on 30/12/16 this was to check that you had received my reply to the Regulation Notice served which you said you had. You then proceeded to ask further questions on the phone.
Having read your email below I think that you have either misinterpreted what I said or perhaps I did not explain clearly.
To clarify and as per my previous response, following the meeting of 25/07/16 I spoke to ‘Andy’ by telephone approximately 3 or 4 times. This was not as a direct result of this meeting or to update her on what actions had been decided on at the meeting. In fact, if you remember, I said that I could not remember specifically what I spoke to her about.
I asked you if you would clarify specifically what this complaint was and your reply was, “I’ll see” or “I’ll have a look”. Without knowing what the specific complaint is, I am unable to say whether or not I have knowingly disclosed confidential and sensitive information from this meeting. I would also refer you to my grievance resolution form which I have already forwarded to you on 15/12/16.
………..and on 9th January 2016 Wendy’s response…..
Thankyou for your email and I note your comments & response. I would like to take this opportunity to assure you that I have not misinterpreted or misunderstood our conversation and am surprised that you believe this may be the case.
This complaint arose from a comment made at a meeting in August 2016 where ‘Andy’ stated that PC Barradale-Smith told her that during the meeting with CPS the solicitor stated “it was clear that you haven’t investigated hunt saboteurs before”. This was a comment made by Mr Davies and as we discussed previously Mr Davies had stated that the content of the meeting on the 25/07/16 was confidential. Enclosed is the email from Mr Davies for your information;
“The background to my involvement in this case is this; I am West Midlands CPS Area Lead on Wildlife Crime and have over ten years’ experience in dealing with Animal Rights Extremism and Wildlife Crime cases specifically in the West Mercia Police force area and latterly for the West Midlands CPS Area. I am therefore used to dealing with Animal Rights Activists as both witnesses and defendants. My comments at the meeting were based on this experience. I can confirm that there was a meeting with Pc Barradale-Smith, DC Cleeton, Ds Wells and DI Taylor on the 25/07/16.
On the 25th there was an operational briefing and discussion and I emphasised to those present about the confidentiality and the integrity of the investigation as well as the potential difficulties with dealing with animal rights activists [as witnesses or defendants] due to their inherent mistrust of the police. I would have made the comment, in similar terms, that those present had not investigated Hunt Saboteurs before to underline the difficulties of working with these people and obtaining fully the background to, and any relevant disclosure from them. It is this aspect that causes the most difficulty and I provided details of my contact with the League Against Cruel Sports [because LACS had published the CCTV on YouTube] that DI Taylor subsequently used to further the disclosure issues in the case. This is no criticism of the complainants, but this is an inherent problem in such cases, and trust must be earned; I wanted all officers to work on this case with ‘their eyes open’ as I was aware that none had worked on a similar case before [I am aware of all cases in this area].
Furthermore I emphasised that there must be no discussion outside the team about this case as this is a very emotive subject with people both for and against hunting and this is a rural area; i even suggested privately that a ‘confidentiality contract’ should be employed as had been done previously on Animal Rights cases to ensure it’s confidentiality”
I refer to the Regulation notice served on the 14/12/16 and your response to the allegation, would you please let me know if you have any further response to make and if so please send it to me within the next 10 days.
I remind you that whilst you do not have to say anything, it may harm your case if you do not mention when interviewed, or when providing any information (under the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2012 or The Police (Complaints and Misconduct) Regulations 2012), something which he or she later relies on in any misconduct proceedings or special case hearing or any appeal proceedings
Please contact me if you have any queries at all about this request or wish to discuss.
Blimey….. no wonder she didn’t want to give me the full details of the complaint from the CPS at the beginning!!!!!! Did Stephen Davies, a senior prosecutor really write this?
I’ll leave it with you