Published on 23 Oct 2013

Police officers grilled over ‘plebgate’ meeting

MPs have quizzed key figures from the police over the plebgate affair, which engulfed politician Andrew Mitchell last year.

The focus was not on the initial 45 second incident itself – instead, it was on a meeting which took place between Mr Mitchell and Police Federation representatives in his constituency at a later date.

Police Federation representatives Inspector Ken MacKaill, Detective Sergeant Stuart Hinton and Sergeant Chris Jones told MPs they would only apologise for their haste in speaking to the media straight after the meeting in October last year.

Political Correspondent Michael Crick was there to watch the events unfold;

 

 

“We showed poor judgment in speaking to the media immediately following the meeting with Mr Mitchell. I think we are all happy to take the criticism on the chin for that. What we should have done is given ourselves an opportunity to debrief the meeting. We certainly didn’t lie intentionally” – Detective Sergeant Stuart Hinton

“I’m firmly of the opinion that we did represent that meeting correctly when we emerged from that meeting. At the moment I’m not “At the moment I’m not convinced that we have done anything wrong.” – Sergeant Chris Jones

“I gave what I believed was an accurate account of the meeting to the media but I subscribe to the apology that I shouldn’t have done it in the way I did. We should have considered a response.” – Inspector Ken MacKaill

 

Chief Inspector Jerry Reakes-Williams who conducted the internal investigation, told MPs that he still believes that the officers have a case to answer over accounts they gave of the meeting.

He said: “I did find a case to answer for misconduct and that’s still my view. My view is that, taken as a whole, the comments made by the federation representatives did have the impact of misleading the public as to what happened in that meeting. But I think it’s important that I make the distinction between misconduct and gross misconduct.”

 

Watch below: Michael Crick is mentioned at the select committee session.

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The IPCC’s deputy chairwoman Deborah Glass told the Home Affairs Committee that she was “absolutely astonished” when a final report came back from the three forces recommending that the officers had no case to answer.

She went on: “Nothing gave me any concern until I saw that final report on August 28 which concluded no case to answer. Until that point I had no inkling that this was going to be anything other than at least misconduct, and I expected gross misconduct.”

Ms Glass added: “All I can say is that to me the evidence and the conclusions were so at odds that I needed to put that on the public record.”

 

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8 reader comments

  1. Andrew Dundas says:

    Michael, your key finding – and the one you should emphasise – is that there were NO members of the public who heard Mitchell’s comments in Downing Street.

    Don’t get distracted by the Police Federation reps! What really matters is that one or two police officers deliberately wrote prejudicial statements about that incident. For which prosecutions for perjury are in order. Forget the politics. Justice is the priority.

    Mitchell’s office discussions are just tittle-tattle. The big issue is whether any policemen perjured their evidence to stitch up someone they didn’t like.

    1. Chris says:

      Every body has a bad day now and then, in this case all party’s concerned had one simultaneously, this Is not news worthy let alone inquiry’s and such.

    2. James Hill says:

      This whole affair is an utter disgrace and embarrassment for the majority of senior officers involved. Shambolic, appalling, I can go on and on. Ultimately today’s damage the ‘interviewing’ officer’s have bestowed on the rest of the Police force should ensure enough internal pressure for them all to resign. This of course does not include Chief Inspector’s Shaw or Reakes-Williams, who in my view should be sparred.

  2. Brigitte says:

    I’ve more of a concern over community police especially treatment of me it was thanks to proper police who told me not part of them

  3. David Blow says:

    What waste of air time for another over privaliaed schoolboy ..MOST of the English people don’t care .There is serious stuff happening in the world why give so much air time to this ..Channel 4 I used to ike your news coverage , but it used to be better and about more serious events rather than an ex public school boy wants to waste PUBLIC money about name calling … rather pathetic really..

    1. Christopher Normand says:

      What on earth has a school got to do with this? If you are not aware that at issue is whether or not someone (or how many) lied about what actually happened, then I am astonished you feel qualified to give any opinion

  4. john murdoch says:

    Well done Michael for the excellent reporting of this matter via Channel 4 – compliments for a fair hearing from you in respect of gaining the truth. These Police reps did not come out of the Select Committee with any credit at all. Their Police Federation should now ask for their resignations from the Reps positions.

  5. Davina says:

    No sign of my previous comment (yesterday)–here’s another one–since when has a corrupt policeman EVER used his corruption for political ends? I mean a DPO, OR the Police Fed? To wilfully risk PRISON to undermine a member of the Government (because his policies are unacceptable)!? To wilfully and vindictively concoct a police log IS an imprisonable offence, and he wouldn’t DO it!
    This is NOT a Hillsboro, or a de menezes, or a Tomlinson! They were ALL coverups as you well know–coverups for (in the H’boro case, horrific, career killing) mistakes. Policemen do NOT initiate criminal activity–they attempt to cover up ERROR.
    Do you REALLY think that a DPO (after having ACHIEVED that PM guarding job!) concocting a log (an IMPRISONABLE offence) is MORE likely than a Chief Whip (with FORM for blowing off as described!) blowing off and saying things that could kill his career, and is now trying to cover it up, with a selective “account”, repeated apologies for a totally inoffensive remark (his version) and repeated requests to “draw a line under it”?
    You REALLY can’t think of any way to explain the missing bystanders and phoney email other than ENTIRE LOG CONCOCTION!? I find that impossible to believe.

    DA

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