On a meeting of 16th Feb 2017 T/CI Francis gave me the outcome to my grievance. I was accompanied by Fed Rep 1 at the meeting. She concluded…….. ‘My conclusion in this investigation is that there has been no conspiracy theory against PC Barradale-Smith and in relation to the events of 05.12.16 in particular this grievance is not upheld’.
In answer to the questions I had raised, here are the answers from T/CI Francis……….. 1. Who completed/ compiled Doc 7? (The list of 10 questions). Ascertained in meeting with DI Taylor on 21.01.17 and DS Wells on 31.01.17 – They had completed the document. (They must then take responsibility for it).
2. Why could the information on Doc 7 not have been given to me when requested on 02/12/16? I was not being investigated for any disciplinary matters. Ascertained in meeting with DI Taylor 21.01.17 – In the professional judgement of DI Taylor it was not appropriate to do so. (A very poor answer)
3. Why have I not received a reply to my email dated 04/12/16? Ascertained in email from Supt Thomas 02.02.17 – “I received an email from Richard as he states. I visited Ross on Friday 9th December and whilst there I met with Richard and acknowledged to him in person that I had received his email and confirmed to him that Martin Taylor is leading on the investigation and the reasons for CID leading. This is something that I had explained to him previously. I did not see the need to then also email him further to clarify what I had said in person”. (The questions to my email were never answered).
4, What information/ evidence did/ does West Mercia Police hold about me to suggest that I was somehow involved in the ‘hunt investigation team’ and their investigation? When did this evidence/ information come to light? To what extent and how intrusive has the evidence gathering about me been? Could I have been spoken to about this at an earlier stage? Ascertained in email from Professional Standards Department 08.02.17 – No evidence is held. (Why was I asked the question then)?
5. Why was I not required to attend the CIM meeting in November having originally been invited? Ascertained in email from Supt Thomas 02.02.17. As a CIMM moves forwards, this is a small group of people directly linked to the issues ongoing and therefore Richard was not requested to attend. (Mmmmm, It was DI Taylor who told me not to attend).
6 Was the information/ intelligence about me possibly being involved in the ‘hunt investigation team’ the reason for me not being given the PLO role on Operation Themis? Ascertained in email from Supt Thomas 02.02.17 – ‘This was not part of the decision making for the PLO for Op Themis. There was a requirement to maintain business as usual in the Safer Neighbourhoods Team work and Richard is the SNT officer locally. ‘Named other officer’ had been involved last year and there was a joint decision with the Op Themis chain of command that ‘other officer’ would undertake this role again’. (This made no sense as this was the first year the badger cull was taking place in Herefordshire. The other officer had never done a PLO role before as she wasn’t trained for it. Lastly, I had been given the role of Community Liaison Officer and so I wouldn’t have been doing my SNT work in any case)!
7. What was the reason for me being taken off the Operation Childer investigation when I had the greatest knowledge of the crime? Ascertained in email from Supt Thomas 02.02.17…… ‘I have been involved in hunt/ animal protest type work for some years. In recognition of the type of issues which are raised, the various angles the groups take, the link to national issues and the reputation to the Force then, on balance I took the decision to have CID leading this work. I instigated a local CIMM which was supported by Chief Officers and it is common in such cases that the expectation would be for a Senior Investigating Officer to have the lead and for trained detectives to progress the investigation. The decision was made on this basis and nothing to do with the capability of Richard or his knowledge. Infact, his knowledge at the early stages was important and I asked that this was transferred to the investigation team. I also acknowledged at the early stages that due to the knowledge Richard had that he could still assist the investigation team i.e. who is who? What links there may be? Intelligence on the ground – I had no concerns about the involvement of Richard – I just wished to ensure that CID were leading due to the complexity of issues. I also wish to raise that this matter was occurring at the same time the Force were planning the work around Op Themis and the impact that any action taken by Police could have on that operation. I do not believe that Richard at any stage has fully understood the wider issues which were considered as part of my role as local commander e.g. press enquiries, interest from the Home Office, Chief Officers. It is common that officers hand over cases. It is my decision to decide on the lead/ OIC and I did so balancing resources, time, key risks locally and nationally’. (If this was really the case, why did Supt Thomas let me investigate this, alone, from 28th May until 26th July. It was obvious from the start the media attention this was likely to attract. This was just not a credible answer)!!
8. What is the evidence of me having an affair with ‘HIT member Andy’? Ascertained in email from Professional Standards Department 08.02.17 No evidence is held. (Why was I asked this question then)??
9. Why did I have to confirm in an email that I was not having an affair with ‘Andy’? Ascertained in meeting with DI Taylor 20.01.17 – for inclusion in file of evidence and to minimise the disclosure issues it would create. (what about the previous answer from PSD. There was no evidence held about an affair with ‘Andy’)!!
10. Is Stephen Davies best placed at making a decision on prosecuting this case in light of what he said on 25/07/16? Ascertained in meeting with DS Wells 31.01.17 – Prosecuting Lawyer now is a member of the Complex Case Unit. (The Complex Case Unit is a section of the CPS. Was Stephen Davies now a member of this ‘Unit’? We will find out later).
11. In respect of the interview on 05/12/16 surrounding Doc 7…. Relationship with ‘Andy’ – I had already answered points 3, 3 and 4 in my meeting of the 06/10/16 with DS Wells. Why were they asked again? Ascertained in meeting with DI Taylor 20.01.17 – for clarification. (Really)?
Email update 09.02.17 from DI Taylor –
RBS did not see the relevance of ‘Andy’ ringing him to make an appointment to see him on 28th. His statement made it out that she just came in by chance to see him, which was not the case. (CID had a copy of my pocket note book detailing the previous contact I had with ‘Andy’. This makes no sense. It was not evidential and therefore no need to be put into my statement)
So the result of the grievance was just what I expected really…….but I wasn’t going to leave it at that!