Investigation into the meeting between Andrew Mitchell, MP and Officers of Warwickshire, West Mercia and West Midlands Police
Dear Ms Glass
I write in response to your letter to me of 16 October, which gives me great cause for concern on a number of fronts.
Firstly, I remain concerned that in a matter of such significant public interest when the trust and confidence of the public in the Police is so at risk of being undermined, the decision was taken by the IPCC that the investigation both into the original complaint and the subsequent events here in the Midlands, should be a supervised investigation by the forces themselves. We all have difficult decisions to make about the allocation of scarce resources and about priorities. I continue to believe that your decision was wrong in such a high profile matter.
Secondly, I accept that at any time, you could have taken over the conduct of the investigation. I now understand from your letter that you were content with the conduct of the investigation and that it was only the decision with which you disagreed. I will return to that point, but wish to comment on the suggestion in your letter that there were two reports and that the conclusion of the senior investigating officer changed between the two versions of the report. I understand that a more accurate version of events would be to say that in July the Supervising Officer did in fact offer an opinion that there was a case to answer for misconduct. This view however was different from the investigating officer who came to a different conclusion. The Deputy Chief Constable charged with making the final decision made his own judgement as he was entitled to do, that there was no case to answer although advice should be given for an error of judgement.
While there may be some discussion about the process followed by the two Police Forces and the advice of the IPCC the version of events in your letter has in my view lead to a public perception that senior officers in Warwickshire Police interfered inappropriately in the drafting of the report. It has called into question in a totally unwarranted way the honesty and integrity of officers involved in this matter. Ironically in a case which involved officers allegedly misleading the public, you have yourself in my view misled the public.
I am also very concerned at your decision to disagree publicly with the judgement of the senior officers who took the decision that there was no disciplinary case to answer on the basis of a full and detailed investigation which you yourself stated was carried out in an appropriate way. It does seem to me that the action you took, when taken with your subsequent comments which cast doubt on the integrity of the process and of officers, has been unfairly damaging to the reputation of the police. I am concerned that this has offended principles of natural justice. These are values I understand should underpin the work of the IPCC.
I hope that you would feel able to clarify your position as a matter of urgency.
I would welcome your comments. I am very supportive of a strong and well resourced IPCC. I believe that is crucial to our just aim of ensuring the public trust and confidence in the Police.
I have copied my letter to those to whom you sent your original letter and as your letter was apparently inadvertently made public, have made my response public. I have also copied it to Dame Anne Owers who I know has been in correspondence with my counterpart in the West Midlands, Bob Jones.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Police and Crime Commissioner