Oct 15 2013
Former Conservative chief whip Andrew Mitchell said he and his family have "waited in vain" for three police officers accused of trying to discredit him to be held to account in the wake of fresh findings from the police watchdog.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said West Mercia Police were wrong to conclude Police Federation representatives from West Mercia, West Midlands and Warwickshire forces had no case to answer for misconduct or gross misconduct.
Inspector Ken MacKaill, Detective Sergeant Stuart Hinton and Sergeant Chris Jones were accused of deliberately misrepresenting what Mr Mitchell said in a meeting at his Sutton Coldfield constituency office held in the wake of the so-called "plebgate" affair.
But IPCC deputy chairwoman Deborah Glass said as Mr Mitchell has chosen not to make a formal complaint, she is powerless to direct misconduct proceedings.
In a statement released after the IPCC published its findings, Mr Mitchell said: "It is a matter of deep concern that the police forces employing these officers have concluded that their conduct has not brought the police service into disrepute. Most people will disagree.
"It is a decision which will undermine confidence in the ability of the police to investigate misconduct when the reputation of the police service as a whole is at stake.
"My family and I have waited nearly a year for these police officers to be held to account and for an apology from the Police Forces involved. It seems we have waited in vain."
Mr Mitchell met the Police Federation representatives after he was accused of calling officers guarding Downing Street "plebs" in a foul-mouthed rant as he cycled through the main gates on September 19 last year.
The former Tory chief whip insisted he did not use the words attributed to him, and later said he was the victim of a deliberate attempt to ''toxify'' the Tories and ruin his career.
West Mercia Police found that, although the Police Federation contributed to the pressure on Mr Mitchell and his decision to resign, none of the officers had a case to answer for misconduct or gross misconduct.
Ms Glass said a misconduct panel should be held to determine whether the three officers gave a false account in a deliberate attempt to discredit Mr Mitchell in pursuit of a wider agenda.
She said: " In my opinion, the evidence indicates an issue of honesty and integrity, not merely naive or poor professional judgment.
"In the media and political climate of the day, I do not consider that the officers could have been in any doubt about the impact of their public statements on the pressure being brought on Mr Mitchell.
"As police officers, they had a responsibility to present a fair and accurate picture. Their motive seems plain: they were running a successful, high-profile, anti-cuts campaign and the account that he provided to them did not fit with their agenda."
Ms Glass said the federation representatives must have known Mr Mitchell was under pressure to resign his post as chief whip following scenes at the Conservative Party conference at which Federation members were seen wearing "PC Pleb" T-shirts.
She said: "It was clear that the parties had very different agendas for the meeting.
"Mr Mitchell saw it as an attempt to clear the air, while the officers focused on Mr Mitchell's 'version of events' - that is what happened in the Downing Street incident on September 19 when Mr Mitchell was alleged to have called police officers 'f****** plebs'."
A statement from Warwickshire, West Mercia and West Midlands Police said the IPCC chose not to exercise powers that would have allowed it to order the three forces to hold misconduct proceedings
It said: "Despite a thorough investigation under the supervision of the IPCC, we do not believe that there is sufficient evidence to support the view that the officers concerned should face misconduct proceedings.
"Our view is that the officers have demonstrated poor judgment in arranging and attending the meeting in the first place.
"In light of this, our position is that management action is a proportionate response."