January 29th, 2014

SKETCH: It’s Plodgate II

The Sussex police seem to have taken offence at their dapper Tory MP Tim Loughton. They issued him with a written warning for harassment of one of his constituents.

It’s a proto-ASBO. Like a cease and desist letter. It’s called a Police Information Notice, a PIN, a “peace-keeping” device the police have come up with on their own initiative without the aid of Parliament.

The PIN issued against Loughton said that any infringement of its instructions could lead to criminal proceedings. No small matter for an MP.

Loughton’s offence?

Sending a vexatious constituent a Hansard containing a speech explaining why he was no longer able to represent him.

Exhibit A – shortly after the Columbine massacres, the sometime Schools minister was photoshopped by this disaffected constituent into carrying a gun, wearing swastikas, and terrorizing school children. The image was put up on the constituent’s blog.

Exhibit B – the minister’s daughters had their Facebook pages penetrated, their photographs taken and doctored with horses’ heads. The image displayed as above.

Exhibit C – the MP sent a copy of Hansard to the constituent. It contained a record of a debate in which the MP explained why, partly on account of the first two exhibits (and much else beside), he felt unable to represent his constituent any more.

The police did nothing about the first two. For the third, they issued Tim Loughton that PIN threatening possible prosecution and have registered a hate event against him.

Why? He had repeated the Council’s description of the shaggy, bearded, pony-tailed constituent as “unkempt”.

The constituent has taken this mean “dirty” and because he claims Romany ancestry he has taken it as a racist slur.

The fact that he is wrong, and that “unkempt” means untidy (at root, “uncombed”) hasn’t registered with the police’s philologists. Nor that the constituent’s assumption that “scruffiness” is a characteristic of Roma is probably racist in itself. Nor that any reasonable person would see the nuisance is generated by the constituent and not by the MP.

The police have robustly taken the constituent’s side. We can see that by the fact that they describe Loughton’s behaviour as “harassment” and the constituent’s brutal internet activities as “alleged harassment”.

Leave that to one side.

The police and parliamentary privilege

The committee didn’t go into the dispute itself. They wanted to know what the police thought they were doing intruding on parliamentary privilege like this.

MPs are allowed to send parliamentary papers through the post. There’s even a law to that effect, passed in 1840.

The police had seven officers working on “the dispute”, and there was, we were told, a police GOLD group watching the committee proceedings because there was no doubt that the constituent would regard the meeting as an attempt to “antagonize, goad, exacerbate the situation”.

A man on the Clapham omnibus would see that in itself as evidence of the constituent being vexatious.

The committee’s questioning showed Sussex’s Chief Constable and the ex-Assistant Chief as evasive, obdurate and self-contradictory.

They’ve had seven officers working on this dispute for well over a year, half a dozen PINs have been issued, £100,000 has been spent and a QC’s opinion taken.

Guidelines ignored

Committee member Robert Buckland had ex-Assistant Commissioner Merret agree that the dispute was “entrenched”.

Buckland went on, the ACPO guidance specifically says that these Police Information Notices aren’t to be used in “entrenched disputes”. Nor, indeed, for behaviour that wasn’t criminal in itself.

Merret used an old favourite of Tony Blair’s – the situation needed to be taken “in the round”.

He said that “guidance was only guidance”.

Hmm. The PIN was issued without first notifying Loughton. Was that true?

Merrett: “I couldn’t actually answer that immediately.”

Buckland: “I can tell you. He wasn’t told.”

Merrett: “I would have to refer to more detailed notes about that.”

Buckland again: “There are several important parts of the guidelines, NONE of which have been adhered to. Is this document of no relevance whatsoever?”

Merrett: “It is clearly guidance and things we bore in mind.”

Buckland: “You ignored the guidelines in every respect!”

Merrett: “We chose to act in good faith.”

Slippery but not smooth. The wriggling was too obvious.

It’s their reputation at risk

Paul Beresford asked why they thought sending a copy of Hansard to a constituent would constitute harassment? What was it they viewed as threatening?

Merrett then said, “We would welcome guidance from this committee.” That was odd, as he had just told the committee what he thought of “guidance”.

It became clear to the committee from the minutes of police meetings that they had precious little concern for parliamentary privilege (it was never mentioned) but only for “the reputational risk to the service, exacerbated by TL’s position as an MP”.

We also learned something about the way the modern police work.

Hidden in the mind of the citizen

Because of the hearing, a Gold group was being held to address the fall out. “There’s no doubt that other parties will view this as an attempt to antagonize, to goad, to exacerbate the situation.”

So, the police will “work with partners” to try and make sure this does not “spill over into a further dispute.”

It may be that the police have taken leave of their senses.

It may be that they are using their powers to intimidate elected representatives and to assert their authority over them.

The awkward fact is that the Commons has brought this on itself by passing such a damnfool law saying that a person who feels harassed, alarmed, distressed, is the sole arbiter of whether they are justified in so feeling.

The constituent thinks “unkempt” is a racist slur so it’s a racist slur. He feels harassed by a copy of Hansard coming through his letterbox, so an offence must have been committed.

And there’s no way round that. Chief Constable Richards was asked: “Would you have advised against sending Hansard?”

He said: “No.”

“And yet you issued a PIN on the basis of it.”

He said: “It was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

No offence had been committed until the constituent declared himself offended.

Chief Constable Richards: “It was never the intention in the PIN to say that further action would be dealt with criminally. That was never the intention.”

But, Alan Whitehead quoting the PIN said, “If the behaviour described continues, you would be liable for arrest and prosecution.”

“The issuing of the PIN was the right thing to do,” the Chief said, “but the wording could have been clearer.”

The wording could have been clearer by saying the opposite of what it said.

To stay within the law you have to be able to look into the minds of citizens to gauge their feelings, their mood swings, their covert cultural origins – and also into the minds of the police to see that they actually mean the opposite of what they say.

There’s a great war brewing between Parliament and the public service. These preliminary battles are drawing up the battle lines.


93 Comments

  1. 1
    The Police are our enemies says:

    A Hate event registered against him?

    What on earth is the country coming too?

    • 3
      The Hate Offenders' Register says:

      I hate Gordon Brown for his final two years of Slash and burn to the British economy when he realised that it was all over. Does that now make me a criminal?

      • 66
        Osama the Nazarene says:

        Sussex plod chiefs – pure Common Purpose. A conspiracy if ever there was one.

    • 9
      ktygu6 says:

      How about finding out why the constituent hates this Politician?

      • 10
        Nothing Better To Do says:

        Do you need a reason to hate a politician? If you really do then I can think of dozens that apply to all of them.

        • 68
          bananarella says:

          The constituent hates the Mp because he is lying through his teeth, this poor guys family has had their lifes made unbearable by Mp, and his stepson has been abused by mp and other councillors re the see how you like it then “horses heads on mps daughters” the pic incidently came from loughtons own twitter page. I know for a fact this guy contacted Mp only once maybe twice. So guido pull your head out your arse and get your facts right!

        • 75
          Anonymous says:

          Yes you do now. The politican could claim that he has been “haressed and offended”.

          Thhe law, I think was quite sensible in context but the Sussex police have chosen to expand it into a “catch all.” The problem lies with the abscence of common sensene by the police and then trying to cover it up.

          • Anonymous says:

            adurcalling.blogspot.co.uk…….he was encouraged to write this blog because for several years of this abuse could not afford a solicitor. It is wide spread and been going on for years. TL is just making stuff up as always. But if you read the entire blog from the beginning you can see the abuse. And I can assure you the local councillors and MP will not stop.

    • 23
      Hitler was right about Pikeys says:

      Dirty pikeys should be told to FRO.

      Stupid plod should be sacked, imprisoned, all assets confiscated, all pension void.

      If the above was done perhaps just 3 times, this shit would cease immediately.

      The Police are a bunch if utter wankers, secret society, arse bandit, mealy mouthed criminals.

    • 38
      Pedantic Pete says:

      I hate myself for scoffing Nanny’s teacakes so I have made a Citizen’s Arrest. Take me away rozzers!

    • 67
      Mike Litorus says:

      The pigs are a bigger danger to this country than Al-Qaeda will ever be.

    • 79
      pootle says:

      Common-purpose at work, the language and mindset is there, lead beyond authority.

    • 93
      broderick crawford says:

      it s a bit like when the old inland revenue used to note that a

      ” taxable event ” had occurred in a taxpayers fiscal domain .
      In other words , tell us and pay the due tax …… or else !!

  2. 2
    Common Purpose says:

    Boaz.

  3. 4
    Displaced Brummie says:

    Fitting up a minister of the crown and now threatening to prosecute an MP for daring to exercise Parliamentary Privilege.

    Is a pattern emerging?

    Is it a campaign?

    If so, who is orchestrating this?

    What should be done?

    • 25
      Winston Silcott says:

      I could make a couple of suggestions.

    • 26
      Democracy says:

      Sack the chief constable, without pension.

    • 44
      Dougie says:

      Don’t forget their searching of Damien Green’s office in Parliament using completely inappropriate anti-terrorist provisions.

      • 88
        Anonymous says:

        Don’t forget the collusion of a partisan speaker, who allowed such a violation of the commons.

    • 52
      Cinna says:

      These so-called policemen are getting way yo far above themselves. Always the same; persecute the innocent whilst turning a blind eye to the truly guilty.
      And they wonder why the general public despise the. There must be some he can seek redress over this blatant piece of political skullduggery.

  4. 5
    Ivan Agenda says:

    This unbelievable denial of common sense by the police surely reveals a political agenda.
    Tony Blair did it with the police (starting with his namesake now in the Lords) and GB negative carried it on with his aides.
    Now we seem to be reaping the whirlwind.

  5. 6
    Sue says:

    Un-bloody-believable.

    This is New Labours Police Force again using their authority to attack political opponents.

    When they hell is this Government going to fight back against the embedded Labour stooges across the public & charity sector?

  6. 7

    It’s gonnabe Scruffygate, innit?

  7. 8
    bartfartbastard says:

    I am a middle-aged white Caucasian male and I am immediately applying for a job in an Indian resturant.

    When I fail to succeed, I’m straight off to the Old Bill for a bit of argy bargy which will hopefully earn me some money from the Daily Mail.

  8. 11
    Anonymous says:

    This really is quite serious. In many respects we seem to have forgotten the importance of Parliamentary privilege. This is an another example where the executive tries to control the legislature. It is no difference from Charles I trying to arrest commoners; but a modern example.

    Parliament should reassert its supremacy by getting the Sergeant at Arms to arrest the Chief Constable.

    But perhaps Parliament has lost the will to assert its privileges.

    It allowed the Executive and Judiciary to take control in the expenses scandal, rather than dealing with the matter itself and telling the Police and Courts to get lost. If it had failed, then the solution was in the hands of the electors – us.

  9. 12

    I had a PIN made out against me, implying that I had visited the flat of committee member of our neighbourhood partnership, (previously a friend, or at least aquaintance of long-standing) three times, despite being asked not to. Actually, I paid those three visits over several weeks, to try to establish if he had made any attempt to raise some issues for me with the committee. Finally, I sent him an email noting that he had, in my view, accomplished very little as a committee member.

    He responded waspishly, telling me NOT to visit his flat again, which I never did, but I did reply, calmly, to his email, and subsequent increasingly abusive (and on one occasion, threatening) ones, telling me not to reply (and therefore begging a response). Result? A misleading PIN, which really means nothing. Happens all the time, I’m sure…

    • 28
      Whatever happened to real men? says:

      Serves you right for pissing about with ‘community committees’.

      Just tell him to piss off, up close and personal, no witnesses, nothing written down.

  10. 13
    Moley says:

    What the police are doing is to establish a police state whereby they are able to create an offence out of thin air and persecute somebody for the invented offence whenever they so choose.

    I have to say that I am deeply offended by this and I want the police to take action immediately, investigate themselves and send PINS to each other immediately.

    Joking aside, it is time the police were reminded in no uncertain terms that they are the servants of society and not its master. An element of the Police have clearly declared war on Parliament as we saw with Green, Mitchell, and now Loughton. It is no longer sensible to pretend otherwise.

    • 29
      The Police are a criminal gang says:

      I have actively and thoroughly indoctrinated my children with an intense dislike of the Police.

      If you are ever in trouble, Old Bill will not make the situation better.

  11. 14
    Jim says:

    What on earth is a ‘Hate Event’ ?! And surely if the evidence and events are as described above, then there is no demonstration of ‘Hate’ in any capacity. Hansard is offensive literature, is that what they are saying?

    • 57
      Number 7 says:

      WRT Exhibit B – the police also seem to have forgotten to read the Computer Misuse Act.

  12. 15
    Anonymous says:

    This is brilliant reporting. I see nothing else like it the mainstream media

  13. 16
    Casual Observer 6 says:

    Sussex police were involved in the later stages of the Savile cover up.

    They are a rotten force.

    The moronic law which was put in place for this offended bullshit has reaped what it was trying to sow – perhaps more closer to home than some now feel comfortable with.

  14. 17
    Charles C Hardon says:

    What else can you expect from a gang of fucking pig thugs who murder a man in the street seen by half the people on earth and literally get away with murder.

    I despise the bastards even more despite getting even with a fat piggess who physically and verbally abused me some years ago, it took 10 months but I got the twat.

    • 72
      English Heretic says:

      Charles, succinct and understated. +1 BTW, which murder are you referring to? There have been several, allegedly.

  15. 18

    It was found to be simpler to emigrate.

  16. 19
    Naughty Nev says:

    Fucking pig motherfuckers

  17. 20
    Displaced Brummie says:

    As a matter of interest, just Google “sussex police corruption” and see the large number of results that come up.

    It appears Sussex Police has form.

  18. 21

    Coincidentally, as I hadn’t been getting much joy from my own MP, Richard Graham, I asked him this question, in March last year, to clarify if he regarded me in a similar light. He’s never answered the question…

    Perhaps my MP would like to clarify if he regards my correspondences with him as remotely resembling those of one Kieran Francis to his MP, Tim Loughton? If the answer is that he does, I wouldn’t expect any response, but I would expect solid evidence for such an opinion, which has so far not been forthcoming…

    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2013-03-13a.425.0

    Regards, Joe Kilker

    • 51
      You live with you mom, don't you? says:

      We really don’t care about your pathetic crusade.

    • 89
      Anonymous says:

      Dear Trollhunterx KF only had contact with TL once or twice, please read blog throughly. TL is a media seeking z lister!

  19. 22
    WTF says:

    A couple of years back, our son, who was 20 then and had grown up and gone to school in Oz, was on holiday in the UK. He popped in to a police station in Leeds, wanting to enquire about career opportunities with the police (he had been an avid rugby player, had advanced as a cadet at school, etc.). He was more or less told that there was no use for him unless he was from an ethnic minority or from within the gay, lesbian or transsexual community, as the emphasis was firmly on “inclusive policing”. Enough said about the police in the UK.

  20. 30
    Graham says:

    The Sussex Chief Constable and his Deputies should be sacked immediately. Yet another example showing how far the politicisation of the police has now gone. In effect the police now appear as a mixture of the Liebour party’s equivalent of the SS and Gestapo. Truly we are becoming a totalitarian police state, and most certainly will be if the deluded electorate put Miliband into Number 10 Downing Street.

  21. 32
    Police (in a ) state says:

    The Police appear to be uncontrollable and account only to themselves or their unelected politically correct masters sitting on committees.
    These are indeed, worrying times.

  22. 36
    AJC says:

    Common Purpose?

    • 47
      Fly on the wall says:

      Yet again it needs shouting:

      A C P O = ASSOCIATION OF CORRUPT/CRIMINAL POLICE ‘OFFICERS’…..

      When is Theresa May going to stop fucking around with Syrians who are none of our business and grow a set and kick these thick, crooked, overpaid barstewards into touch (or over the wall and out of the ground)?

  23. 37
    John Bellingham says:

    From the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner’s website

    The PCP WILL NOT have :

    The ability to scrutinise the force or its work;
    The ability to work with the PCC on decisions about funding and priorities;
    Management or control of Community Safety Partnerships; and
    Local police or community safety scrutiny.

    So what’s the point of it?

  24. 39
    Odd Job says:

    The Police in Bxley do the same thing. Especially when bloggers try and uncover corruption

    http://www.bexley-is-bonkers.co.uk/documents/harassment/2011_04_09.shtml

    Eventually after taking it further the police had to admit wrong doing.

  25. 40
    cop says:

    I am a front line Police Officer and have given out numerous PINs. I agree that the legislation on harassment is disgraceful. The police don’t help either. The modern Police system is designed to have multiple layers of bureaucracy, from computer databases to endless desk jockeys, in order to prevent any officers thinking independently or using common sense. So when someone complains to me that they received two text messages saying ‘hello’ within two months and that they feel harassed by this I cannot tell them to ‘wise up and stop wasting my time’. Instead I have to serve a PIN so that the number crunching office warriors get off my back.

    The fact that something becomes a crime simply when someone thinks or feels like they are the victim is bollocks. I should be able to go and investigate what has happened and through a thorough investigation make a judgement. But Labour took that away from us as well.

    • 56
      If you want to know the time don't dare ask a policeman. says:

      I feel very sorry for you, I’m sure.
      I know a retired police sergeant of the old school. He now works on the desk of our “local” nick. He’s quite happy to hand out the advice to these “victims” you seem reluctant or unable to do.

      • 61
        cop says:

        The police Sgt you talk about is what we need more of. He clearly sends people away before anything gets typed on a screen or written on a piece of paper. We have some brilliant ex-bobbies in the same position on the desk and on the phone. However not everyone is like that and the second something is recorded on the police system there is no way to get rid of it. Crime Assessors monitor every incident reported to Police and then close the occurrence as the relevant crime. Once they have ‘crimed’ an occurrence all common sense and personal judgement goes out the Window. It becomes an exercise in ticking of each box of the investigation plan, no matter how stupid the report.

  26. 41
    Hell for Leather says:

    We need lots more of this:

    – both the sketch (tremendous, yet again)
    – and MPs falling foul (deservedly or not) of the barmy, politically-correct legislation they pass.

    “The awkward fact is that the Commons has brought this on itself by passing such a damnfool law saying that a person who feels harassed, alarmed, distressed, is the sole arbiter of whether they are justified in so feeling,” notes Simon.

    No idiot passing that sort of law deserves to be paid, let alone be paid more.

  27. 43
    Lardy Blair says:

    My Granny always said that if the people who make up the police ‘service’ were not police, they would be the thugs and criminals the police are looking for.

    Ironic, eh?

  28. 46
    Anonymous says:

    Please tell me this is some kind of parody? Please.

  29. 58
    Moleykins says:

    On a commuter train this morning I was sitting next to a large young woman with dyed red hair who was reading a book about Kinnock and his relationship with the TUC. Nothing wrong with that.
    After about 15 minutes she said crossly ‘ Could you stop jabbing your elbows into me’ (I wasn’t, obviously) and then, ‘I find the way you are reading The Daily Telegraph offensive’

    Cue sympathetic eyeball rolling from fellow passengers

    • 70
      English Heretic says:

      If you really want to annoy the lefties carry something by Anais Nyn or Margaret Thatcher, the Downing Street Years. Works every time.

    • 74
      (That's enough Eds, Ed!) says:

      You should have said “Shut the fuck up you fat, ugly bitch! I’m not complaining about the way you smell, am I?”

      • 78
        Get your own back on fat women says:

        I always carry a tampax dipped in tomato sauce, in a poly bag, then when offended by a fat woman you can quietly slip it on to the floor by her foot. Then just as you are getting up, you say in a loud voice “I think you have dropped something” and point at it. Works every time

  30. 59
    burkian says:

    qui custodiet custodies

  31. 60
    Moleykins says:

    The point being, as Simon points out, that just saying, as wimmin in particular do, things like ‘ I felt very threatened/ upset/ offended by your behaviour’ in itself proves that one has done something wrong. My usual response would be’ I’m not responsible for your feelings’

  32. 63
    Ditherywig says:

    He could always reject the PIN note, send it back to plod and inform them that if they try this again he will take out a private prosecution against them for harassment.

  33. 65
    FFS says:

    Hilarious,

    Shocking but hilarious.

    TL should keep sending these copies of Hansard until the idiot plod feel they need to take the whole thing to court. Then maybe the judge will set a legal precedent that renders the law as it stands null and void.

  34. 69
    English Heretic says:

    Now then, now then Guido, some more interesting stuff here:

    http://shadowsussexpolicecrimecommissioner.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/sussex-police-chief-constable-martin.html

    Common Purpose, coming to a copper near you, know your enemy.

  35. 71
    bananarella says:

    COLOMBINE was 13 yrs ago Guido you bloody sun reader!

    Your trying to make your crappy blog exciting, infact you know none of the facts, if you read this guys blog from the start you will see why he is so bloody angry, but of course you cant be bothered and just listen to the lies falling from politicians mouths because of course they are right cos their on the telly….parliament is a farce, self serving privileged blood suckers.

    Incidently TL only serves the constituents that agree with him.

  36. 73
    bananarella says:

    ‘Perception
    Guido sees himself as a journalist, a campaigning journalist who publishes via a website. He campaigns against political sleaze and hypocrisy. He doesn’t believe in impartiality nor pretend to it’

    Guido you seemed to have lost a plot…….. What are you campaigning for?? electing yourself as a corupt political editor?? You are a spiteful narrow minded bigot, jumping on the bandwagon for your own laughs.

    The TL investigation was NEVER into race, The poor guy can hardly help his heritage. TL is talking complete rubbish and your all falling for it! DUH!

  37. 82
    Isaak Rinkfern Bananaemma says:

    Even this Guido Fawkes site has allowed Loughton to be blamed for a post.

    On the abuse Adur Calling blog the character of the blog owner shows up.

    its rubbish to say the blog was because he could not afford solicitor or that the blog was the start of his abuse.

    He posted years before about Gordon Brown and words to effect that NHS were Hunts!

  38. 83
    Isaak Rinkfern Bananaemma says:

    Impartiality to some means only those that agree with them

    The abuse and hate on the blog and implied threats illustrate it

    Just example of his previous words not mine:

    “Oh, and the NHS are still Hunts.”

  39. 84
    Isaak Rinkfern Bananaemma says:

    The word Hunt is spelled with a c in the original

  40. 85
    Jim Halpert says:

    Just want to say that these sketches by Mr Carr are excellent and must-read pieces, this being one of the best yet.

  41. 86
    stushie says:

    The police are really obtuse if they cannot see how stupid they’ve been.
    What comes across is that they have no intention of apologising.After all it’s only our money.

  42. 87
    goggzilla says:

    Sussex Police. The folks who gave you James Ashley (shot dead whilst in bed asleep), “Insp Gadget” and Sion Jenkins fitting up.

  43. 90
    Smack My Nigella Up says:

    Surely it is parliament being hung by its own petard? The various ‘hate crime’ laws, the prevention from harassment act, asbos etc were all brought in by new labour….. 10 years ago. They can’t now complain that MPs are being subjected to the same ridiculousness that the little people have for a decade.


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