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.


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.”