Mr E Cairns
17 September 2010
Mr John McNeill
HAMILTON ML3 3AR
Your refs: PCCS/00448/08 and
Dear Mr McNeill,
I refer to your report on the handling of my complaints by Strathclyde Police dated August 2010 and your letter dated 8 September 2010.
In this letter I address the section in your report reviewing how Strathclyde Police responded in respect of the fourth, fifth and sixth heads of complaint that the PCCS had identified for consideration, which were:
‘that police officers would not accept the applicant’s complaints;’
‘that police officers intimidated the applicant;’
'that the applicant was asked to leave a police station;’
Your report on these three heads of complaint includes the following statements:
‘The applicant wrote to the Chief Constable on 3, 4 and 8 April 2002 providing details of three separate occasions when police officers allegedly refused to accept his complaints...............Based on the available evidence the Commissioner considers this complaint to have been dealt with in a reasonable manner. Accordingly no further action is required in this connection.’
‘In his statement of 2 May 2002 the applicant provides details of a meeting he had with Detective Sergeant S and M on 3 April 2002............The Commissioner considers that by failing to issue a response to this complaint, Strathclyde Police did not deal with it in a reasonable manner. However, for the reason given the Commissioner does not consider there to be any value in recommending that Strathclyde Police now issue a response.’
‘The applicant outlined this complaint in his written ‘statement of police complaint’ which was given to police on 6 November 2003..............In the Commissioner’s view the applicant’s complaint should have been recorded by Inspector T. Chief Superintendent B has addressed this issue in his response and has apologised for the oversight................... The Commissioner is of the view that the applicant’s letter should have received a response. However, any response provided would not have altered the terms of Chief Superintendent B’s letter of 28 January 2004. As such the Commissioner considers this complaint to have been handled reasonably by Strathclyde Police.’
Firstly, as I have already explained in respect of heads of complaint 7 and 8, there was no requirement for the PCCS to review these matters at all. I did not request it and this fact can easily be verified with reference to the two application forms I sent to the PCCS.
Why did the PCCS select these heads of complaint for review at all?
When you did so I naturally expected that you had identified some additional concerns about what had happened in respect of these matters that had direct relevance for the two police complaints for which I had formally requested your review therefore I did not object to your selection at the time.
Secondly, for the sake of accuracy, these three points had supposedly been identified by the PCCS as ‘heads of complaint’ relative to the two application forms that I had sent to the PCCS requesting reviews. Your later reference to these three heads of complaint as separate ‘complaints’ is misleading.
In view of your report’s statements in relation to these heads of complaint clearly you actually had no additional concerns at all about what had happened and there was no relevance whatsoever to my specific requests for review.
Your selection of these heads of complaint was simply wrong.
However, your generous absolution for Strathclyde Police’s failures as detailed above adds to the reasonable suspicion that could arise in the mind of an independent observer that your intention in doing so was further to undermine my credibility unjustifiably. In contrast to the recommendation about me in your report this indicates blatant unfair treatment.
Since I did not mention these complaints at all in the two application forms that I had sent to the PCCS in 2008 and 2010 requesting reviews (reviews of only two specific complaints that had been handled by Strathclyde Police) your own selection of these three heads of complaint was, again, simply pointless and entirely your own mistake.
It is a matter of serious concern that your report inexplicably bears very little relation to the detailed requests that I had submitted for the PCCS to review.
The first application form was submitted to the PCCS on 17 November 2008 and the second on 21 June 2010.
By way of a reminder and clarification on this concern, the exact texts of the sections in these forms containing details of the matters I submitted for review by the PCCS are replicated below:
17 November 2008
’WHY STRATHCLYDE POLICE DID NOT ASK ANOTHER FORCE TO INVESTIGATE ALLEGED FAILURES, IN THE PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCES.’
‘STRATHCLYDE POLICE’S STATEMENT THAT ALL THE EVIDENTIAL FACTORS I IDENTIFIED WERE KNOWN TO THE POLICE IN 1994’
21 June 2010
‘A DELAY OF 10 MONTHS IN RESPONDING TO MY LETTERS’
‘FALSE STATEMENTS ABOUT THE 1993 INVESTIGATION’
‘FALSE STATEMENTS ABOUT THE 2004 INVESTIGATION’
‘FALSE STATEMENTS ABOUT THE 2008 INVESTIGATION’
Why have you brushed aside most of these points in your report? This defect fundamentally undermines the whole structure and content of your report.
This is such a serious defect that it provides grounds for the basic operation of your organisation to come under scrutiny. It appears that your working method is haphazard, illogical and in general a complete waste of time at considerable cost to taxpayers and to the detriment of applicants.
Why should you disregard the details submitted by applicants for the PCCS’s review of specific police complaints? And why should you trawl through any number of unrelated matters with the obvious motive of trying to blame applicants for wasting public money? You are the culprit at the heart of this profligacy and deception.
In the light of your report’s statements in relation to the fourth, fifth and sixth heads of complaint the PCCS had identified for review it is clear that you actually had no additional concerns at all about what had happened in respect of these matters and there was no relevance whatsoever to my specific requests for review.
These facts add to an impression of unacceptable carelessness on your part and overt bias against me.
They also indicate that you have wasted time and public expense thereby while outrageously falsely accusing me of having done so.
In summary, your report is of such low quality and so easily shown to be defective in almost every respect imaginable that it ought to be totally withdrawn in the public interest and in the interests of justice. It is worse than useless and a major embarrassment serving only to proclaim your own ineptitude, hypocrisy and prejudice.
In view of the very serious nature of the above and its relevance to wider issues in this case I have copied this letter to Strathclyde Police, to Scottish Enterprise, to the Scottish Government’s Ms Stella Manzie, Director General Justice and Communities, to Audit Scotland, to Mr Bob Doris MSP and to the Crown Office.
This is clearly a matter of public interest that would tend to undermine the public’s confidence in the administration of justice, justice not having been seen to be done.
This letter has therefore been put into the public domain as is entirely appropriate in these circumstances.