Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting WN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
'Plebgate' scandal fallout continues after Home Affairs Select Committee meeting
THE chief constable of West Mercia Police has pledged to restore faith in the force after appearing before MPs to face a grilling over the ‘plebgate’ affair.
David Shaw appeared at yesterday’s meeting of the Home Affairs Select Committee at Westminster.
He was called to appear after a report concluded three members of the Police Federation, inlcuding one from West Mercia, who met former Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell following the incident in which he allegedly called police officers ‘plebs’ had misled the media in what was said.
Mr Shaw told the committee he had apologised personally to Mr Mitchell and he was sending the report – which concluded the three officers should not face a misconduct hearing – to be re-examined.
West Mercia Police Inspector Ken MacKaill was one of the three officers who met Mr Mitchell in October last year and also appeared at yesterday’s meeting with the two others from Warwickshire and West Midlands Police.
Following that meeting the officers told members of the media that Mr Mitchell had denied using the word ‘pleb’ but he had failed to tell them what words he had used.
However, a transcript later showed that Mr Mitchell had in fact given the exact wording he had used to the officers outside of Downing Street after being asked to dismount from his bicycle.
Although all three apologised earlier this week for their actions they refused to apologise personally to Mr Mitchell, who was forced to step down following the incident.
Insp MacKaill said his only regret was making a statement immediately after the meeting without discussing it amongst his colleagues first.
“I gave what I believed was an accurate account of the meeting, but I agree that I should have not done it so soon,” he said.
But MP for Northampton North Michael Ellis described the three officers’ actions as an example of their “disrespect” towards politicians and “disgraceful conduct”.
“I think you should give an apology for spinning a yarn to the media in order to get someone out of public office,” he said.
Although Insp MacKaill’s conduct will be reviewed the chief constables of West Midlands and Warwickshire police, Chris Sims and Andy Parker did not follow Mr Shaw’s lead in calling for their officers to be reviewed.
Deputy chairman of the Independent Police Complaints Commission Deborah Glass told the committee she was “astonished” when the report – compiled by West Mercia Police – did not recommend the officers face misconduct panel.
Asked by Mr Ellis if she considered the report to be a ‘whitewash’ she replied: “I thought the investigation was thorough but the conclusions were wrong.”
She has since said the officers should face a misconduct hearing.
The report’s author Chief Insp Jerry Reakes-Williams, of West Mercia Police told the committee he believed the officers still had a case to answer – something he included in his draft report but was later removed – but they had not deliberatey lied.
Committee chairman Keith Vaz, MP for Leicester East, praised Mr Shaw’s decision to send the report back and criticised the other two chief constables for not doing the same.
Comments are closed on this article.