Police face probe over Plebgate

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Published: Monday 3rd November 2014 by The News Editor

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Three officers are to be investigated by the police watchdog over their links to the so-called Plebgate row.

The Police Federation representatives are accused of giving a false account of a meeting with MP Andrew Mitchell during the high-profile dispute over whether he called Downing Street police ”plebs” on September 19 2012.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is to investigate the officers’ conduct after it rejected the findings of a supervised investigation by West Mercia Police, which found the men had “no case to answer” for misconduct.

Mr Mitchell, who was Tory chief whip in September 2012, apologised for using bad language but denied using the word pleb. He later resigned as chief whip as the row continued.

Mr Mitchell held a meeting in his Sutton Coldfield constituency with Detective Sergeant Stuart Hinton, Inspector Ken MacKaill and Sergeant Chris Jones from the Police Federation in an attempt to smooth things over.

After the meeting the men, who represented officers in Warwickshire, West Mercia and West Midlands respectively, made public comments about Mr Mitchell’s position.

Their account was questioned when a recording of the meeting was released and the matter was referred to the IPCC.

The watchdog body decided not to conduct its own investigation but to direct the police forces involved to investigate under IPCC supervision – West Mercia to investigate the case of Mr MacKaill, Warwickshire to investigate Det Sgt Hinton and West Midlands to probe Sgt Jones. All three police authorities concluded the officers had ”no case to answer”.

Unhappy with the conclusion, Deborah Glass, then the IPCC’s deputy chair, decided on October 30 2013 that the investigation into the officers’ conduct should be turned into ”an independent investigation” conducted by the IPCC itself.

All three officers applied to London’s High Court for judicial review and, at a two-day hearing in July, asked two judges to quash the decision on the grounds that the IPCC had no power to re-determine the case.

Last month, Lord Justice Davis and Mr Justice Wilkie found decisions made by the police forces were so legally flawed that they were ”invalid and of no effect”.

But while he ruled that the IPCC did have power, Ms Glass’s decision must be quashed following allegations of apparent – though not actual – bias and a fresh decision taken.

The IPCC has now taken that fresh decision and reached the same conclusion.

Published: Monday 3rd November 2014 by The News Editor

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