Thursday, 22 October 2015

HASC, MPS, Settle, Rodhouse,

If as we are told, the meeting about a possible  review into the case referred to as 'jane' began  a week prior to Watson's letter to the DPP then in the absence of any other communication between Watson and the MPS on this matter, then strictly speaking Watson's letter itself could not play any part in that process because it had not yet been written.
Odd then that some 6mins 30 secs into Rodhouse's questioning, his response to a direct question
from Vaz on this matter, -asking if Watson's letter played any part in the decision to reopen the case DAC Rodhouse  responds with the words he 'didn't believe so'. Surely since he knew the timeline of events as he describes them about 20 mins later, the most unequivocal  answer to Vaz's question would have been a clear 'no' that Watson's letter played no part in the decision to review the case,because it had not at that time been written.

But the formal letter is something of a distraction in the whole matter.
We know that 'jane' was unhappy with the outcome of the investigation, & we are told that her meeting with Settle, on this matter in Feb14 was 'heated' from Settle's own remarks. Later she  had a 2nd meeting with Watson, in Feb/March14 in which she expressed dissatisfaction with the outcome of the investigation and apparently after researching police procedure and codes of conduct  came to believe that in such cases there was a requirement that meant Brittan should  be interviewed.This information she passed on to Watson according to his comments

We don't know whether Watson at this time communicated with anyone else, including the MPS
on this matter, nor do we know if 'jane' herself had done so either to her local force, or the MPS.
We do know she expressed dissatisfaction in heated language to DCI Settle at their meeting, as well as dissatisfaction to others
It's difficult not to imagine in such a case, with Watson being involved, that the MPS would neither know, or seek to know whether the complainant 'jane' was seriously demanding  further advice or action on the case
If she was, then given the position of Watson, it's quite likely Watson's involvement in the case, if not his yet unwritten letter, could have played a part in the decision making process to reopen the case, given his 'history' as a high profile campaigner, and his role as a self-appointed 'hub' between the MPS and complainants

We are told by DAC Rodhouse that reviews are quite normal, though not in every case, & Rodhouse appears to be saying reviews are chosen on a random sampling basis, much like quality control checks.
It's difficult to imagine however, that in a case of this nature in the present climate -something Rodhouse and Hogan-Howe echo - that a review of the case would not have been called for, if for no other reason that to ensure as far as possible that  the MPS and its decision making process were not later called into question

It seems likely that given either of the above, let alone both, a review would have been likely

As to the decision itself to interview LB, we know the information relating to the contents of Watson's letter to the DPP was readily available on the 17th May  within the public domain before the MPS decision to interview  was made on the 19th May. It's also not unlikely,  that assuming a reasonable dialogue between CPS & MPS given that Watson's letter was sent on the 28th April to the DPP.that the MPS were aware much earlier of the contents and existence of Watson's letter,even though they had not  at that point actually received it,  but this assumption isn't vital

It is a matter of fact from the time line of events on what was in the public domain that the essence of the letter if not the actual letter itself, COULD have played a part in the decision to interview LB, & many might say very likely  did  DAC Rodhouse doesn't believe so, though he mentions he only became involved as gold commander from July14

DAC Rodhouse frequently mentions 'media criticisms & public cynicism' in relation to these cases, & indeed there is an element depending on changing circumstances, of 'damned if you do....damned if you don't. But on reflection at the time, NOT interviewing Brittan must have seemed significantly more risky than to interview him, regardless of the evidence or the lack of it.It seems on this point the MPS senior command diverged with DCI Settle who seemed to have looked primarily at the evidence rather than being excessively concerned with covering the back of the MPS.hierarchy

It's reasonable to assume the prime aim of putting the contents of Watsons letter into the public domain, at that time was to put pressure on the MPS over the case of 'jane'
Watson claims 'jane' made the letter available to exaro website, the implication being he had no part in it. Yet where did 'jane' obtain a copy of the letter if not from Watson?
Did Exaro contact Watson as to it's provenance before publication?
If not why not, it would have been very odd not too, all considered ?
If it did contact Watson,  Watson presumably did not object to it's publication, in which case whether it came via 'jane' or directly from Watson himself seems irrelevant. Nobody seemed to query this

My  feeling is that Watson  got off lightly in his HASC appearance.Whenever Watson was taken into difficult territory he normally suggested this fell outside the 'jane' case & therefore either he or Vaz ruled no further comments. It's difficult not to conclude Watson's manner, tone and responses were somewhat understated, though calculated and reptilian
He claimed he felt he had a good working relationship with DCI Settle, describing him as a very good police officer with a dedicated team he had met, yet despite that  good relationship, Watson didn't even bother to contact Settle either to inform, or to consult him regarding 'janes' post closure situation, but instead went straight to the DPP despite admitting to knowing Settle would not like it. I fail to see how that would foster any  current or future relationship based on trust, unless the aim was  to instill some fear in his working partner, or future partners by having Settle's  decision overturned and/or him removed

The next year & more taken in the review and 2nd investigation, including a series of tennis emails between MPS & CPS which appear  to be attempts by the MPS to get the CPS to support or substitute for their unwillingness to commit on operational matters, & may further be seen by some as wasted resources in the pursuit of attempting to pass the buck & protect  senior officers against possible future criticism, & little to do with actual policing 

The end result of both investigation and review was essentially the same, namely there wasn't enough evidence to support a charge in relation to the case referred to as 'jane'  

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.