23 Apr 2014

Police crime figures whistleblower faces dismissal

The police whistleblower who exposed the manipulation of crime figures faces being put on a public register of disgraced officers, Channel 4 News can reveal.

The Metropolitan Police have accused James Patrick of gross misconduct because he appeared on a television and a radio programme to talk about senior officers’ treatment of him without getting their permission first.

Should he be found guilty, he would be placed on the College of Policing’s new “struck off list”, which the body plans to make public.

According to both PC Patrick and his local MP Bernard Jenkin, who is also chair of the parliamentary committee that held the inquiry into crime figures, the move by the Met is an effort to blacken the whistleblower’s name.

“What is the point? It seems massively vindictive,” said PC Patrick.

Mr Jenkin agreed with PC Patrick’s analysis that the force’s allegations – which come less than three weeks before he is due to leave – represent an effort to place a dismissal for gross misconduct on his record.

“Speaking purely as his MP, I think he has been treated very unfairly,” he said.


The public administration select committee chair added: “The police do not seem to have acknowledged the seriousness of what they sought to suppress and what he exposed. This is an indication of the police leadership in denial.

“They should have welcomed him back as someone who was vindicated and who could have helped them put right the issues he raised. They said they would meet with him, but they never have.

“I am sad about it because whistleblowers are, by definition, difficult people; otherwise they would be easier to intimidate. All the way through, the Met Police have tried to intimidate James Patrick for raising legitimate concerns. But they have lost and cannot acknowledge that they have lost.”

The news comes two weeks after Channel 4 News revealed that PC Patrick was being forced to go without pay while fighting his employer at tribunal after the Met successfully argued that police officers did not qualify for the same financial compensation available to other people.

A document seen by Channel 4 News shows that PC Patrick was accused of gross misconduct on Monday after appearances on BBC programmes on 9 and 10 April.

In March, he announced he was to resign from the force, saying he had been left no choice because of senior officers’ treatment of him after he raised his concerns.

He is due to leave on 9 May but, under measures introduced by Home Secretary Theresa May in February last year that were designed to stop officers retiring and resigning to avoid misconduct proceedings, Mr Patrick would still face the gross misconduct allegations and could be dismissed retrospectively.

What is the point? It seems massively vindictive Police whistleblower James Patrick

The College of Policing said that its “struck off list”, on which PC Patrick would be placed if found guilty, is currently only available to police forces. But the body said it plans to make it public, subject to legal deliberations.

A Met Police document sets out the allegations against PC Patrick. He is accused of having appeared on the BBC programme The One Show “without the appropriate authority”. It also sets out an accusation that he gave in an interview to BBC Radio 5 “also in breach of the MPS Media Policy and direct instructions”.

PC Patrick says that the One Show appearance was recorded before a letter warning him not to go ahead with it was sent to him.

As a result of his evidence to the select committee, both the Met commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe and the police watchdog HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) head Tom Winsor were forced to admit that police crime figures were being manipulated. In response, the UK Statistics Authority removed the crime figures’ gold standard “National Statistics” status.

The MPs also demanded that HMIC open an investigation into the Met’s treatment of PC Patrick, whom the Met tried to silence on at least three occasions, it was revealed earlier this month.

A spokesman for the Met Police said: “Can confirm PC James Patrick is being investigated for potential misconduct following allegations he failed to seek the appropriate authority prior to undertaking two media interviews in April 2014 as required by the MPS Media Policy. PC Patrick has been informed of this investigation.

“PC Patrick remains a serving police officer and is therefore held to the same standards as any other officer.”