21 May 2014

Police officer sacked by Met over ‘Plebgate’ involvement

Susan Johnson, formerly a police constable in the diplomatic protection group, is dismissed without notice after a gross misconduct hearing.

In a statement the Metropolitan Police said: “The panel found the case against Susan Johnson proven as she had breached standards of professional behaviour in relation to honesty and integrity; confidentiality; discreditable conduct and challenging and reporting improper conduct.”

‘Plebgate’ began on 19 September 2012 when the Conservative chief whip Andrew Mitchell had an argument with police officers in Downing Street after being told he could not take his bike through the main gate.

Conflicting accounts

Mr Mitchell has always denied the allegation that he used the word “pleb” during this altercation. However, some days later accounts of the row, featuring the use of the word “plebs”, were all over the national press, with the Sun publishing the following headline: “Cabinet minister: police are plebs”. The ensuing furore eventually led to the resignation of Mr Mitchell from the cabinet.

Ms Johnson was not on duty in Downing Street at the time of the row, but Operation Alice (which investigated police involvement in ‘Plebgate’) found evidence that “a person closely connected to Susan Johnson contacted the Sun newspaper on 20 September and that around that time the two exchanged text messages and a phone call”, according to the Metropolitan Police statement.

Discreditable conduct

Operation Alice also found evidence that later on the 20 September, another PC from the diplomatic protection group, Keith Wallis, emailed Susan Johnson a copy of an email that he had sent to his MP falsely claiming to have witnessed the incident.

Mr Wallis, who has since been sacked, told Ms Johnson on 25 September that he had a meeting with his MP, but at no time did she report this to a senior officer.

Ms Johnson was arrested on 3 July on suspicion of misconduct in a public office, but was told by the CPS on 26 November that she would face no further criminal action. She has been suspended from duty since the time of her arrest.

Plebgate fallout - sacked police officers
PC Gillian Weatherley sent a photograph of an email written by PC Rowland (who confronted Andrew Mitchell) to another officer James Glanville
PC James Glanville leaked that information to the Sun newspaper
PC Keith Wallis falsely claimed in an email to his MP that he had witnessed the row
PC Susan Johnson failed to tell senior officers of this deception