While the war on democracy being waged by the City of London council is the primary concern of this blog, the arcane practices of this unaccountable local authority can’t help but impact on other institutions including the City of London police which it controls. As we’ve noted before:
…rather than being overseen by a police and crime commissioner, the police authority for this force is the City of London common council, a body largely elected on undemocratic business votes given to the same banking and insurance companies who are buying policing (in what amounts to a conflict of interest banking and insurance companies funded the City of London police to the tune of £29 million of five years). One hopes they are not also buying off those who might otherwise be investigating criminal activity within their own sections of the finance industry. While nothing untoward may be going on, these potential conflicts of interest still have a negative effect on public perceptions of probity and undermine belief in the impartiality of the City of London police. Reclaim EC1’s view is that in the interest of democratic accountability, the City of London police should be merged with the Metropolitan force, and business votes must be abolished.
We’ve also previously addressed the issue of the City of London’s blown police budget and councillors Chris Hayward and James Thomson‘s roles in both the police and planning committees raising questions about the sale of a City of London police section house to Taylor Wimpey and the subsequent granting of planning permission for its demolition and the building of an overscaled development called The Denizen. Allegations of cronyism against top City cop Dave Clark make these issues appear even murkier. A current media story carried by the likes of The Times and Daily Mail about two City of London police officers being investigated for coaching witnesses makes our ongoing call for the City of London police to be merged with the Metropolitan force appear even more urgent. Here’s concise coverage of the matter from Socialist Worker*:
Two police officers face disciplinary action after the collapse of a fraud trial amid claims that expert witnesses, one of whom was not of “suitable calibre”, were coached.
The City of London detectives investigated an alleged £3.5m cold-calling scam.
In it eight men were accused of duping 72 people into making bad investments in carbon credits and diamonds.
As Troublemaker reported, Andrew Ager gave evidence as an expert witness.
But the case was thrown out after he admitted under cross-examination that he had never read a book on carbon credits.
Now two unamed police officers will face an internal investigation. It follows the disclosure of emails that appear to show one detective constable, Stewart Walker, telling Ager what to write in a statement.
Judge Loraine-Smith said in his closing comments that Walker told Ager “exactly what he wanted and even suggested the wording”.
Documents also suggest that another witness, diamond expert Peter Buckie, was also tutored.
He was apparently coached on what to write in a report about the value of rare pink and yellow gems that were allegedly sold to investors at inflated prices.
In emails sent in 2015 and 2016, Walker appears to ask Buckie to delete parts of his statement and add in a paragraph he wrote himself.
“Can you replace all the text with the following, or something similar,” he said.
He also asked Buckie to “give further comment” on the fact that an element of the case was “something you have NEVER seen before, or have only seen in fraudulent circumstances”.
A second officer, Detective Constable Abdun Noor, is alleged to have signed off a report with sections that were copied by Ager from an earlier trial, the judge said.
The CPS is reviewing a raft of prosecutions and cases—and number of convicted people are heading to the appeal courts.
Cops investigated over their non-expert expert witnesses by The Troublemaker, Socialist Worker, 12 June 2019.
The header to this post is a photo of Wood Street Police Station, the City of London Police HQ.
*As we’re noted before, it shouldn’t need stating that Reclaim EC1 is NOT Trotskyist – nor do we adhere to any other form of Bolshevism; we find the lines many Leninists take on the current authoritarian regimes in China and Russia almost as problematic as the City of London’s willingness to launder money for these oppressive political cliques. Nonetheless we felt the Socialist Worker did a good job on the story that concerns us here.
Cops investigated over their non-expert expert witnesses by The Troublemaker at Internet Archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20190612141837/https://socialistworker.co.uk/art/48468/The+Troublemaker+cops+investigated+over+their+non+expert+expert+witnesses
City of London police probed after collapse of fraud trial with ‘expert witness’ Andrew Ager by Shanti Das, Sunday Times, 9 June 2019 at Internet Archive: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/city-police-probed-after-fraud-trial-folds-2fkxtgf8d
City of London police detectives are facing disciplinary action after a £3.5m fraud trial collapsed amid claims the ‘expert’ witness had no qualifications by Luke Andrews, Daily Mail, 9 June 2019 at Internet Archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20190613082440/https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7121159/City-London-police-detectives-facing-disciplinary-action-3-5m-fraud-trial-collapsed.html