Walk half a mile? But we're in ACPO: Britain's senior police chiefs get executive coach for half-mile trip

After years pounding the beat when they first started out in the force, ­Britain’s most senior police chiefs might have been expected to manage a walk from one reception to another of just over half a mile. Instead, they were ushered on to an executive coach and escorted by two ­officers on horseback and others – in a marked patrol car – carrying guns. Once they reached their destination, the chief constables and their spouses enjoyed champagne and a feast of chocolate-dipped strawberries, Aberdeen steak and salt marsh lamb.

The bizarre journey took place in Manchester last week at the annual conference of the Association of Chief Police Officers. The country’s most powerful policing organisation, which trades as the private company ACPO Limited, is funded with £10 million from the taxpayer. The Mail on Sunday revealed last week that £500,000 of public money was being spent on the three-day junket. ACPO went ahead with the lavish event despite predictions in an internal document that 28,000 frontline police officers could be replaced by cheaper civilian staff as part of a savage cost-cutting ­programme. In his speech to delegates, president Sir Hugh Orde referred to our report last week. He said: ‘It is important that the private sector and the public sector work seamlessly to deliver the best service we can to the public. I’m also delighted that the quality of champagne is absolutely up to The Mail on Sunday standard.’ At another event later in the week, delegates were protected by a private security company.

Controlled Event Solutions were hired by the Lowry Hotel for the officers’ £98-a-head black-tie dinner. ACPO has been under fire since The Mail on Sunday revealed that it sells information from the Police National Computer for up to £70 a time – even though it pays just 60p to access details. It also markets ‘police approval’ logos to firms selling anti-theft devices and operates a separate firm offering training to speed-camera operators.

The conference was funded from ACPO’s ­coffers and by the 44 police forces which sent ­representatives. It cost £771 per person – a bill of more than £269,000 to the taxpayer. The association booked hundreds of hotel rooms at £150 a night, adding an estimated £157,000. ACPO said no special security arrangements had been laid on for the coach trip. A spokesman said: ‘These officers were already in the area, were not part of any extra security and did not cost any money. The conference provides a vital and rare opportunity for chief officers, Government and police authority members to debate how best to keep people safe.’

    acpo gala


    Britain’s top police officers will spend half-a-million pounds of taxpayers’ cash on luxury hotels and a champagne gala this week just days after the Government ordered savage police budget cuts.

    The huge outlay is for the annual conference of the UK’s most powerful policing body, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). Chief Constables and senior officers will be treated to champagne and strawberries dipped in chocolate at the three-day affair. The policing organisation, which trades as the private company ACPO Limited, is funded with £10million from the taxpayer.

    The conference comes as The Mail on Sunday has obtained a confidential ACPO document suggesting 28,000 frontline police officers could be axed and replaced by cheaper civilian staff. As police forces across the country face the threat of budget cuts and job losses, ‘not-for-profit’ ACPO stands to make about £200,000 from the event at Manchester Central Hall – adding to the £395,000 ‘surplus’ it made from similar events in 2008 and 2009. The revelation will increase pressure on the organisation which is in charge of everything from anti-terrorism policy to speed cameras, and is already facing major questions over how it is run.

    ACPO is under fire after The Mail on Sunday revealed it is:

    * Selling information from the Police National Computer for up to £70 a time – even though it pays just 60p to access details.

    * Marketing ‘police approval’ logos to firms selling anti-theft devices.

    * Operating a separate private firm offering training to speed-camera operators.

    It has also spent millions of pounds meant for counter-terrorism work on luxury London flats for senior officers. Its new boss, Sir Hugh Orde, the former Northern Ireland Chief Constable who became ACPO President last year, is also facing questions over his future after he threatened to quit if the Tories came to power. He is paid £183,000-a-year on top of a police and civil service pension to run the self-styled ‘global brand name’.

    But despite Sir Hugh’s pledge to reform the organisation, last year it had an income of more than £10 million – almost all of it from the taxpayer – and an incredible £15 million cash ‘at hand’ in its bank account. Sir Hugh put himself on a collision course with the Tories last year when he attacked their proposal to introduce directly elected police commissioners. Now he must address his police colleagues on the subject, before introducing the new Home Secretary Theresa May, who is determined to push the policy through. One senior officer who is due to attend the conference said: ‘Sir Hugh has lost face over this and has quietly signalled a U-turn. 'Powerful people are referring to him as a lame duck.’

    Mrs May is also determined to apply the 25 per cent cuts outlined in last week’s Budget. It is already feared large numbers of officers will be axed and police stations shut to make the savings. An internal ACPO ‘Insight’ report suggests ‘modernisation’ could replace 28,000 beat officers with civilians.

    The Manchester event will be funded from ACPO’s coffers and by the 44 police forces sending representatives. The individual cost of attending the conference is £771 including VAT – a total cost of more than £269,000 to the taxpayer. In addition, ACPO has booked hundreds of premier city centre hotel rooms at £150 a night, adding an estimated £157,000 to the bill.

    Officers can also attend a champagne reception and black-tie gala dinner at the city’s luxury five-star Lowry Hotel costing £98 a head. Individual police forces will cover hundreds of pounds in expenses for their officers’ travel and other costs. Last year, the Metropolitan Police’s Assistant Commissioner John Yates, who is also head of ACPO’s national counter terrorism command structure, claimed £551 for his travel and hotel room at the conference.

    Cambridgeshire’s Chief Constable Julie Spence has claimed almost £1,000 to attend ACPO conferences and the force’s Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hopkins another £553. Delegates will arrive on Tuesday night for a drinks reception. Two more parties follow. The highlight is the Gala Dinner at the Lowry where delegates have been invited to the magnificent River bar for a reception with Perrier-Jouet champagne and strawberries dipped in chocolate.

    This will be followed by an extensive menu including Cornish lobster, Aberdeen fillet steak and pan-fried wild sea bass with asparagus. An ACPO spokeswoman refused to discuss the profit the organisation stands to make from the event, or suggestions that officers’ partners are invited to some of the social events. She said: ‘The conference, held in association with the Home Office, is funded through sponsorship, delegate fees and the international policing exhibition which runs alongside the event. 'Sir Hugh Orde has made clear his wish to reform the Association’s status. We are talking to the Government and we hope they will address the issue.’

    taser Officer 's rationale: Bed-ridden grandmother 'took more aggressive stance' in her bed

    When Lonnie Tinsley of El Reno, Oklahoma, called 911 to ask for medical assistance for his disabled, bed-ridden grandmother, he couldn't have dreamed it would end with police tasering the 86-year-old woman twice, stepping on her oxygen hose until she couldn't breathe, and sending her to a psychiatric hospital for six days. Yet that's what a lawsuit (PDF) filed in a federal court in Oklahoma this week alleges.

    According to the lawsuit, in December, 2009, Tinsley came by his grandmother's apartment to see if she was doing alright in the midst of a winter storm. When she wasn't able to tell him if she had taken her medication, Tinsley called 911 and asked responders to send medical technicians over to evaluate her. But instead of an ambulance, the lawsuit alleges, "as many as 10 El Reno police" arrived and "pushed their way through the door." At that point, 86-year-old Lona Varner told police to "get out of her apartment." That's when officer Thomas Duran, described in the lawsuit as the "leader" of the police unit, allegedly told another officer to "taser her." When Tinsley responded "Don't tase my granny!" the officers threatened to taser him instead, the lawsuit states. In his police report, officer Durgan asserted that Varner "took a more aggressive posture in her bed," evidently causing him to fear for his and his officers' lives.

    Police then handcuffed Tinsley and took him to a waiting squad car. They released him without charge some time later. Meanwhile, the lawsuit alleges, officers "stepped on [Varner's] oxygen hose until she began to suffer oxygen deprivation." Officers then fired a taser at her, hitting her twice, causing her to pass out, the lawsuit states.

    At the direction of El Reno police, Varner was sent to the psychiatric ward of St. Anthony's Hospital in Oklahoma City, where she was held for six days. The lawsuit, which names the city of El Reno and 13 police officers as defendants, alleges that Varner's rights were violated under the Fourth and 14th Amendments to the US Constitution, and that "the defendants caused the plaintiffs to be wrongfully seized, assaulted, battered, physically harmed, humiliated [and] emotionally harmed."

    hayley cloud A policewoman who helped a group of criminals steal expensive cars has been jailed for two years.

    Pc Hayley Cloud, 27, used her access to confidential police databases to alter the entries for stolen sports cars so that they could not be traced. On one occasion she sent a fax to a police vehicle pound authorising a criminal associate to drive off with a £60,000 Lamborghini Gallardo. The mother of one also passed stolen police radios to the gangsters so that they could listen to conversations between officers and avoid capture.

    Cloud was paid thousands of pounds to check police databases on the direct instructions of a major criminal who was serving time in jail for serious criminal offences. She had first made contact with the underworld boss — who cannot be named for legal reasons — through her boyfriend Ian Cooper, 33, a guard at Wandsworth Prison. The court heard there were more that 80 phone calls and hundreds of text messages between Cloud and the jailed gangster. She also kept in touch with him through Cooper, and “corrupted” a civilian police worker into carrying out further checks on the system. Cloud also carried out checks on criminal associates of the gang boss. A printout of one of the checks was recovered when police raided a house connected to the gang. The court heard police became suspicious of Cloud and Cooper and planted a listening device in their house. The couple were heard discussing the conspiracy, and what they would tell police if they were caught.

    Cloud was jailed yesterday for two years at Southwark crown court. Judge Geoffrey Rivlin, QC, said her sentence would have been twice as long were it not for her young son, and the fact that she pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. Cloud, from Orpington, admitted conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office, theft and handling stolen goods. Cooper will be sentenced at a later date. He has admitted conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office and handling stolen goods.


    A police officer and former Mr Gay UK winner has been charged with a number of sex offences. Pc Mark Carter, 27, was charged following an incident at the Etap hotel in Leeds on 19 December 2009. The serving officer, who was suspended from duty in December, will appear at Leeds Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.

    Pc Carter was crowned Mr Gay UK in 2006 at the Flamingo Club in Blackpool, beating 25 other contestants to win £5,000 worth of prizes. A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said: "A 27-year-old man has been charged with a number of sexual offences. "He was arrested following a police investigation at the Etap hotel in Leeds on 19 December 2009. "He has been bailed to appear at Leeds Magistrates' Court on 22 June."

  • Cop and former Mr Gay UK charged with male rape
  • Cop strips off uniform to become Mr Gay UK

    Mistakes by a police force contributed to an innocent man being jailed for indecent assault, a watchdog has ruled. Warren Blackwell, of Woodford Halse, was jailed having been found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman with a history of false claims against men.

    A report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) criticised Northamptonshire Police's handling of the case. Mr Blackwell, 40, spent more than three years in jail before being cleared. The IPCC report said a detective was told the woman was "unreliable" and "unstable" but did not pass the information on.

    Delay in apology

    Mr Blackwell was accused of a violent sexual assault by a woman who had suffered mental health problems and had a history of making false allegations. The IPCC report criticised police for failing to challenge discrepancies in the woman's account and for not interviewing witnesses whose evidence would have undermined her claims. The report said one officer, which the IPCC felt should have faced a misconduct hearing, had retired from the force. Two detectives have been given management advice about their conduct.

    "Warren Blackwell was subject to a terrible miscarriage of justice" said Commissioner Amerdeep Somal IPCC

    Mr Blackwell had his conviction overturned by the Court of Appeal in September 2006. Northamptonshire Police only apologised to Mr Blackwell four years after he had been cleared. The IPCC said it was "dismayed" it had taken so long to issue an apology. Mr Blackwell was jailed after a woman claimed he indecently assaulted her outside a social club in the early hours of 1 January, 1999 after a New Year's Eve party.

    Mr Blackwell was convicted in October 1999 at Northampton Crown Court, despite maintaining his innocence. He was jailed for three years - later increased to five. But the conviction was overturned after the case was referred by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC). Commissioner Amerdeep Somal, of the IPCC, said: "As the Court of Appeal has ruled, Warren Blackwell was subject to a terrible miscarriage of justice. "Nothing can bring back the three years four months he wrongly spent in prison.

    She said a request that the Chief Constable withdraw a commendation given to the detective constable by the former Chief Constable for the original investigation had not been accepted. She also expressed her "deep dissatisfaction" for the "unacceptable" length of time the force had taken to resolve disciplinary matters. "Such unnecessary delay is neither in the public interest, nor in the interest of all those involved, including the police officers," she said. In October 2006, Mr Blackwell's accuser was named in the House of Lords by Labour peer Lord Campbell-Savours during exchanges about the rape laws.


  • Seattle police officials said Tuesday that their officers are trained to throw a punch in certain situations, but said they have a "number of concerns" regarding the tactics an officer used in dealing with a 17-year-old girl he punched in the face while trying to cite a group of women for jaywalking.

    "The issue we have to investigate is whether the force he used is reasonable given the combative resistance he was facing... and we're not going to pass judgment on that until the matter has been thoroughly investigated," said Assistant Seattle Police Chief Nick Metz. Seattle police have directed a review of Seattle police tactics and training to ensure the training and implementation of those tactics are appropriate and consistent, Metz said. The review comes in the wake of an altercation captured on video that shows Officer Ian Walsh punching the teenage girl in the face while struggling to get her and another teen under control in South Seattle.

    The incident began when Walsh spotted four young women jaywalking the 3100 block of Martin Luther King, Jr. Way S. Walsh asked the group to step over to his patrol car, but the women were being "verbally antagonistic toward the officer," according to officials. Police said the 19-year-old woman, identified in documents as Marilyn Levias, was resisting when Walsh tried to place handcuffs on her. Officials said the 17-year-old girl intervened and placed her hands on Walsh's arm, "causing the officer to believe she was attempting to physically affect the first subject's escape," police said.

    Walsh pushed back the second girl, but the girl came back at him. Walsh then punched her, police said. Metz said Walsh will be transferred to a training section and the department will conduct an internal review. "The officer is going to be transferred to the training section for a few days to review the tactics that he's been taught," Metz said. "The issue we have to investigate is whether the force he used is reasonable given the combative resistance he was facing. We're not going to pass judgment on that until the matter has been thoroughly investigated." Veteran police trainer: Officer was 'well within scope' of appropriate response.

    A 30 year veteran of law enforcement training told KOMO News Tuesday Walsh was "well within the scope of appropriate responses to the situation." Robert Bragg, the program manager for Fitness and Force Training, said a blow to the face is also within the scope of their training and would be considered a "reasonable response". It was a potentially threatening situation for the officer, Bragg said, not only with respect to the physical actions of the two women involved but also the group of on-lookers surrounding them and the comments they were making. Bragg said one area where the officer might have done better was in getting control of the first woman faster. He says Walsh should probably have taken her to the ground quickly instead of trying to cuff her standing up.

    Metz: Situation could have been easily defused

    Metz said his department has been proactive in reaching out to the African-American community over this recent incident, but added the two women bear some responsibility for their actions because "even if you believe an arrest is unlawful, it does not give you the right to resist." He added the situation could have been defused if the women had just cooperated. "It certainly would have not escalated to what it did and the these women have to bear much of the responsibility in the altercation that occurred," Metz said. But at a press conference later Tuesday, leaders of the Urban League and NAACP said the officer's reaction didn't fit the action, and that the punching was extreme, even if it was a taught tactic.

    "That appears to be an overreaction to what appears to be a nonviolent jaywalking situation," said James Kelly, President and CEO of the Urban League of Seattle. "Unfortunately this seems to become too far and too often of the typical police response. The provocation of the 17-year-old may have presented a confrontation situation but the violence in the form of a full-blown fist to the face was wrong. "This is another case where we stand here and say to the police, 'Shame on you.' " Kelly added that while he wasn't making excuses for the way the 17-year-old acted, two wrongs don't make a right. "The overreaction of non violent situation should be the last resort, not standard police practice," Kelly said.

    He called upon Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and the two candidates for Seattle police chief to determine how to "put an end to this kind of overreaction." "If not, the video will keep playing and the world will keep wondering how we've lost our niceness to Seattle." Both teens were cited for jaywalking. Levias was booked into the King County Jail for investigation of obstructing an officer and released on her own recognizance. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Thursday. The 17-year-old girl was booked into the Youth Service Center for investigation of assault of an officer. Nobody was injured during the incident, police said.
    Neighbourhood police probed over drug dealing, corruption and misconduct

    Met's Safer Neighbourhood officers are under investigation for offences including alleged corruption, dealing in Class A drugs and failing to undertake their duties. Two police community support officers and a woman police constable have been arrested. Three others, a PCSO and two police officers, including a sergeant, have been warned they are being investigated for misconduct. All are members of the Mottingham and Chislehurst North Safer Neighbourhood unit in Bromley. Based in Chislehurst High Street, it is responsible for street patrols and investigates anti-social behaviour and burglary.

    The inquiry follows the arrest of a PCSO on suspicion of supplying Class A drugs last Tuesday. The PCSO, who has since been suspended, was also arrested on suspicion of misconduct in public office and harbouring an offender. A woman police constable, a second PCSO and a member of the public were arrested yesterday by members of the Directorate of Professional Standards. They were held on suspicion of misconduct in a public office and attempting to pervert the course of justice. The second male PCSO was questioned over claims he undertook police checks on people on behalf of his colleague arrested on drugs allegations.

    The woman Pc was arrested on suspicion of falsifying information about speeding points on behalf of her partner. This is not linked to the drug-dealing inquiry. Three others, a male sergeant, a male Pc and a male PCSO, all in their thirties. have been formally notified they are subject to a misconduct investigation. This centres on claims they failed to undertake their duties properly, including allegations they did not spend enough time on patrol. The PCSO has been suspended and the sergeant and constable have been placed on restricted duties. This is not a criminal inquiry. Three further suspects, none of whom are Met employees, were also arrested last week on suspicion of conspiracy to supply class A drugs. The men, in their twenties, have been released on police bail. Bromley Borough Commander Charles Griggs said other safer neighbourhood teams will undertake the Chislehurst High Street unit's duties while the inquiry takes place.

    jamie slater A traffic police officer has been jailed for having sex with female drivers in exchange for excusing their motoring offences.

    Jamie Slater, 33, of Port Talbot, was sentenced to three and a half years at Cardiff Crown Court for misconduct while in public office. He contacted the women after stopping them and offered to let them off if they had sex with him. Slater was dismissed from South Wales Police in December.

    The court heard how the South Wales Police officer used the police national computer to access personal data on his victims. The married father-of-two stopped six women for minor motoring offences and requested their mobile phone numbers. He later sent the women drivers text messages asking them to meet him for sex. The court heard Slater harassed women who refused to meet him.

    Peter Davies, prosecuting, said all Slater's victims had felt powerless to complain because he was a police officer in uniform. He told the court how one woman was driving with only a provisional licence when Slater asked her to stop. He said: "He told her he would have to retain and impound the motor car she was driving. "This caused her to be upset and she began crying." She agreed to give Slater her number so her car was not impounded. The court heard they began an affair and once met for sex while Slater was on duty and he received an emergency call on the police radio. He then took part in a pursuit while the woman was hiding in his patrol car, the court was told. Mr Davies added that when the woman's husband found out about the affair, Slater looked him up on the police database and sent him taunting texts.

    Another victim was pulled over for jumping a red light and was also asked to give Slater her phone number. He later used the number to send her graphic text messages. Mr Davies said: "She was left scared and upset and said she will never get into a police vehicle again, having lost faith in the police force."

    'Rotten apple'

    Sentencing Slater, Mr Justice Lloyd Jones said he acted in "a particularly predatory manner." He added: "These offences were deeply stressful to the victims. "They felt powerless because you were a police officer. "Your activities have caused immense damage to the public confidence to South Wales Police." Tom Crowther, defending, said Slater was full of remorse for his actions. He said: "It was his long-standing ambition to be a police officer and the fulfilment of a dream." Slater earlier admitted eight charges of misconduct in public office relating to eight different women.

    Tom Davies, Independent Police Complaints Commissioner for Wales, reassured the public this was a rare case. He said: "Slater was a disgrace to all who work for the police service and abused the position of trust a serving police officer is given." He added: "Slater was a rotten apple and acted alone."


    A former police officer has been jailed for 30 months after taking part in indecent chats on the internet with a 13-year-old girl.

    Russell West, 26, admitted last month that he had sent sexual messages to the Clackmannanshire schoolgirl. West, an officer for Essex Police at the time, was traced after she went missing and her computer was checked by specialist detectives. He has been placed on the sex offenders register for life.

    Temporary judge Michael O'Grady QC said: "You pled guilty to indecent behaviour over a fairly lengthy period towards a young and self-evidently vulnerable girl." The judge said he had concerns about the lengths to which the former police officer had gone to cover his tracks. The court heard in May that West had used a false name to register with an online chat service and used a pay-as-you-go dongle to connect to the internet. Judge O'Grady said he accepted that West had made no attempt to meet up with the schoolgirl.

    Computer search

    But he added it was clear that the first offender, who resigned from Essex Police as soon as the crime was detected, still posed a risk. The court heard that West would have been jailed for three years, but for his guilty plea. West will be supervised for three years following his release and was warned he could be returned to custody during that period if he failed to comply with release conditions.

    Advocate depute Derek Ogg QC said the offence came to light after a search of the missing girl's computer revealed a large number of internet contacts - some of a serious nature. He said: "There is no suggestion that West's conversation was anything other than fantasy chat. There were no practical attempts to seek a meeting."

    Attack threat

    West targeted the girl after meeting her on an internet chatroom where he used the name "Fit Essex Guy". In messages the girl said she was 13 and at school. The investigation into West was part of a major inquiry, codenamed Operation Defender, into internet sex offences against children. Defence counsel Tom Ross said: "Apart from the commission of this offence he has led a wholly law-abiding existence and contributed to the community through his service in the police force."

    West has been held in prison on remand since October last year and Mr Ross said it had been "a very uncomfortable time for him" because he was an inmate charged with a sexual offence against a child and a police officer. He added: "There has been the daily possibility of attack."

    northern cops

    Freemasonry dominates the control of cops in Northern Scotland and the main reason they are getting away with MURDER


    The north and north-east’s police forces have spent more than £2million paying officers to stay at home and do nothing. The huge bill includes the salaries for 21 members of staff suspended from Northern Constabulary, Grampian Police and Tayside Police for more than year. A total of 77 officers have been suspended from the three forces over the last 10 years for offences including assault, corruption, or for “conduct likely to bring discredit” to their employers.

    Each of them was placed on fully-paid “gardening leave” while complaints against them were investigated. They include Ewan McHardy, a former Grampian officer who was convicted of trying to pervert the course of justice by watering down a urine sample after being accused of drink-driving in Elgin. It is understood he was suspended on full pay for five years and 17 days before he quit the force after his trial at Inverness last year. The statistics have been provided in response to freedom of information requests submitted by the P&J and last night they sparked criticism from the Taxpayers Alliance.

    A spokesman said: “Leaving officers sitting around at home on full pay doesn’t help anybody. If they have been suspended because of a serious offence then that should be dealt with and they should be sacked swiftly. “If they’re innocent they certainly should not be left in limbo for months or even years. Taxpayers can’t afford for police budgets to be paid to people in return for literally no work.” The Association for Chief Police Officers in Scotland (Acpos) said it was working with the Scottish Police Federation and the Scottish Government to try to “improve our existing processes”.

    North-east MSP Richard Baker, Labour’s shadow justice secretary, said he had written to the Scottish Government about the issue but had not been told if there had been any progress. Thirty-seven police officers have been suspended from Tayside Police over the last 10 years, including four for more than a year and four for more than two years. The force’s wage bill for suspended officers stands at £783,233. Among the reasons for the suspensions were assault, “conduct likely to bring discredit”, being found guilty of a criminal offence and “corrupt practices”. The force said 27 of the officers later resigned or were dismissed. Northern Constabulary said that, since 2004, it had stopped 15 officers from working, including one who began a suspension lasting two years and 236 days in 2006. That officer is one of five suspended for more than a year since 2005. Nine have either resigned or been sacked in that time and the wage bill for the suspended staff has now reached £425,463.


    Grampian has spent £798,000 on the wages of 22 suspended officers since December 2003, including eight who have been off work for more than a year. Twelve officers have since resigned and three were dismissed. While Ewan McHardy was not allowed back in the uniform for more than five years, another Grampian officer was suspended from duty for three years and 99 days.

    Caroline Scott, general secretary of Acpos, said: “The financial cost of such suspensions and the length of time it can take to conclude proceedings is recognised by the police service as not being in the interests of the service or the individual concerned. “Work is actively being progressed in conjunction with the Scottish Police Federation, the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents and the Scottish Government to consider the changes necessary to improve our existing processes, with a view to reducing the time it can take to conclude misconduct proceedings.”

    Police have agreed to compensate three people - including 13-year-old twins - who were unlawfully stopped and searched at a climate camp protest, lawyers said.

    Thousands of other people, who were wrongly apprehended under controversial counter-terrorism legislation, could also be in line for payouts. An urgent review was launched after officials discovered 14 forces had failed to get the correct authorisation for operations that allow them to stop members of the public without reason. They found 40 operations dating back to 2001 where police who were granted powers to use section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 had no legal basis after they applied for an invalid timescale or were not countersigned quickly enough.

    Meanwhile, it has emerged that the Chief Constable of Kent Police has apologised about a stop-and-search operation in August 2008. Twins, then aged 11, were stopped while attending a demonstration against the proposed and highly-controversial Kingsnorth coal-fired power station in Kent. The children and a third person, long-standing environmental campaigner David Morris, from north London, brought the legal action against the police. All three were searched under section 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, which requires officers to have "reasonable suspicion" that an individual is carrying prohibited weapons or articles that could be used for criminal damage. The twins and Mr Morris were among 10,000 protesters who were processed through airport-style "checkpoints" and their lawyers told the High Court in January that some 3,550 were subjected to unlawful searches as part of a £5.3 million police operation. Their solicitor, John Halford, of Bindmans LLP, said: "Kent Police has been forced to make a remarkable admission, thanks to this test case.

    "It is that the outcome of one of the most expensive policing operations ever in the UK was a massive violation of the human right to protest." As part of the settlement, campaigners said damages would be paid to the trio. Kent Police assistant chief constable Andy Adams said "a number" of searches should not have happened at Kingsnorth.

    "We attempted to engage with the organisers of Climate Camp and, despite their refusal to co-operate, we did allow a peaceful protest to take place," he said. "The publicly declared aim of some protesters was to break into Kingsnorth Power Station, an action which could have had the consequence of disrupting power supplies to a great number of people in Kent and could also have caused death or serious injury to anyone trespassing on the site." He added: "We have accepted that many people were searched as a result of officer briefings which took place at the time of Climate Camp. "A number of these searches should not have happened."

    Earlier this year, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that indiscriminate section 44 searches were illegal but they remained in place while the Government sought permission to appeal. The coalition Government has already ordered a wide-ranging review of counter-terrorism legislation and pledged to introduce safeguards to prevent misuse of invasive powers. Campaigners, who have already highlighted how the powers are often used against demonstrators and photographers, said the "dangerous and undemocratic law" must be dumped immediately.

    The discovery came after the Metropolitan Police, which is responsible for about nine out of 10 section 44 searches, began to investigate a request under the Freedom of Information Act. Officials found former Home Secretary David Blunkett had not signed an authorisation form for an April 2004 operation in which 840 people were stopped within the 48 hour deadline. This sparked an internal Home Office review which uncovered a further 36 cases of dodgy authorisations, including 35 occasions when forces asked for a search window in excess of the maximum 28 days.

  • Police to compensate stop-and-search climate camp twins, 13

    haydn evans The dangers of the rise of the gay mafia within the masonic run British police forces.

    A MARRIED police officer is facing the sack for using the force computer to get details on men he had illicit sex sessions with, a court has heard.

    PC Haydn Evans, 55, an officer with South Wales Police, admitted illegally using the police national computer to check on six men after having sexual encounters with them. Swansea-based PC Evans, a respected officer married for 31 years with two adult sons, led a double life unknown to his family and police colleagues. He met men in a series of gay haunts then used the police database to check on their health records, criminal convictions and addresses.

    The court heard he also made unauthorised checks to see if colleagues had spotted his car in “areas known for homosexual activity”. Father-of-two PC Evans hoped to keep the affairs from his family – but admitted his secret gay sex life just hours before appearing in court yesterday. PC Evans, who has been a policeman for 28 years with the South Wales force, admitted 12 charges of causing a computer to perform a function to obtain withheld data.

    Prosecutor Rob Simkin said: “He made searches on seven people – six of whom belong to the homosexual community. “They were interviewed and said they met him during his social life. “He was arrested and said he accessed the computer system to obtain information about men he’d had sexual encounters with. “He provided different explanations, saying he wanted to check their health status and that he was checking contact details after losing them from his telephone. “PC Evans also accepted undertaking general searches on the computer for ‘homosexuals’ and ‘gay guy’. “He admitted these were to provide his own personal interest and gratification.”

    Magistrates in Newport heard Evans had served most of his career with the Swansea division of South Wales Police and worked as a community and local intelligence officer. The court heard he was suspended from South Wales Police pending investigation and faces an internal disciplinary hearing which could see him lose his job. Andrew Nutman, defending, said: “He accepts it was unlawful access and he regrets that. “He is a married man of 31 years but regrettably his wife and two adult sons were unaware of these matters. “This morning he had to telephone family members and discuss deeply personal matters.

    “Whatever the sentence, the real sanction will take place beyond these doors.” PC Evans, who gave his address as the South Wales Police Federation, was handed a conditional discharge and ordered to pay £85 costs. Magistrates chairman Paul Lovin said: “The greatest punishment to you is you’re still subject to police disciplinary action and the effect this will have on your family.” Following the hearing, a spokesman for South Wales Police said: “We will always undertake swift and robust action when investigating allegations of staff misconduct. “Any police officer or staff member that abuses the trust instilled in them by South Wales Police can expect to be thoroughly investigated by our Professional Standards Department. As this case demonstrates, those who fail to meet the high standards that the police service and the public demand will face appearing before a criminal court or an internal misconduct hearing.”

  • 'Family man' cop faces sack for illegally using police computer to check up on gay lovers

  • Tyrone Brown, a 32-year-old former Marine from East Baltimore, was out with his sister and her friend enjoying the Mount Vernon club scene early Saturday when he may have taken one of his trademark jokes too far. Glancing at a woman in an alley off East Eager Street, he put his hands on her behind.

    Police said the woman's companion, an off-duty Baltimore police officer, got into an argument an More..d physical confrontation with Brown after they left the club Eden's Lounge. His sister said there was no fight, and that her brother apologized and tried to walk away. What happened next is not in dispute — the officer pulled out his department-issued Glock handgun and fired at the unarmed Brown 13 times from just a few feet away. Brown, struck at 1:30 a.m. by six bullets in the chest and groin, fell to the pavement and died 45 minutes later at Maryland Shock Trauma Center. The shooting by Gahiji A. Tshamba, a 15-year veteran of the city police force, has left his commanders publicly questioning whether the Eastern District patrol officer legitimately thought his life was in danger before firing. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, using unusually harsh language, said witnesses confirmed that Brown "groped the woman," but he also stressed that homicide detectives have "not been able to find a concrete motive" as to why Tshamba fired his weapon. Police commanders said privately that they were troubled by Saturday's shooting, which took place near a rear door of Club Hippo. It raised numerous questions, they said, including whether the officer had been drinking and was impaired when he fired his gun, and why he did not call for help from the many on-duty officers stationed nearby.

    Brown's father — one of many relatives and friends who gathered Saturday at an East Baltimore rowhouse the victim shared with his mother — said the shooting was unjustifiable. "He was in a situation where an apology should have been accepted," Reginald Dargan said. "It's a young kid — gone for nothing. It don't make no sense." A department spokesman said Tshamba has been involved in at least one prior police-involved shooting. In 1998, he shot a man in the back during a foot chase, according to The Baltimore Sun's archives. Baltimore police officers are generally required to carry their service weapons while on and off duty when they're within the city limits. There are no rules prohibiting officers from carrying guns into bars, but it is against department regulations to be intoxicated or inebriated while armed. Police officials said if an officer plans on drinking while off duty, common sense dictates leaving the gun secured and at home.

    Guglielmi said the police commissioner was apprised of developments throughout the night and the commissioner ordered "his most trusted people" to ensure a thorough investigation. The spokesman said the officer refused to make a statement and declined to submit to a breath test to determine whether he had been drinking alcohol or how much he had consumed. Tshamba, who lives in Essex, could not be reached for comment. He is being represented by an attorney for the city's Fraternal Order of Police, whose president on Saturday urged the public to "not rush to any judgment."

    Robert Cherry, the union head and a former homicide detective, said Tshamba plans to give a statement to investigators after consulting with his attorney. He is not required to say anything to investigators, as is the right of any person subjected to a criminal investigation. "The officer has not yet had an opportunity to give his version of events," Cherry said. "There may be videos to review. There may be many more witnesses to interview. … The refusal by him to give a statement is not something that should raise people's concerns that he is trying to hide something." A night out on the town brought Tshamba and Brown together early Saturday. Relatives and police said both men wound up at Eden's Lounge, though the owner denied that the officer had been in his club. Baltimore Police Maj. Terrence McLarney, head of the homicide unit, said there is no indication the two men met inside the establishment or knew each other.

    It's unclear when each group left, but police said they were out by 1:30 a.m. and in a crowd of boisterous patrons spilling out of bars and nightclubs in the neighborhood known for late-night revelry. They found themselves in an alley off East Eager Street, near the back of Club Hippo. Brown's sister, Chantay Kangalee, 30, of Baltimore County, said her brother put his hands on the behind of one of the women with the officer. "He was just joking," Kangalee said. "That was just my brother's sense of humor. I said, 'Stop that.' " The woman he had grabbed also spoke up, Kangalee said: "She said, 'Don't do that. That's disrespectful.' He said, 'My bad.' And then we were about to turn and go to the car and she walked up and swung at him." Then the officer stepped up, she said.

    "The guy pulled out his gun and he said, 'Do it again. Do it again,' " she said. " 'Now get on the ground.' " Kangalee said Brown put his hands in the air and started backing up, saying, " 'Wait a minute. Hold up.' " And then the officer started shooting, Kangalee said. McLarney said Tshamba identified himself as a police officer and gave "verbal commands" to Brown to stop fighting. Guglielmi said "the incident escalated into a verbal argument which turned physical" before the officer fired his gun.

    A patrol officer standing in an alley off East Eager Street, used by officers to park their vehicles, heard the gunfire and quickly responded. "The guy was in no harm, no danger," Kangalee said, disputing that he identified himself as an officer. "He could see he had no weapon, nothing." If the investigation determines that the shooting was not justified, Tshamba could face criminal charges. Tshamba has been investigated multiple times by the department, including for a July 1998 incident in which he shot a man in the back. Police at the time said he responded to a shooting and an armed robbery of a man in East Baltimore. One officer chased a man up one street and Tshamba chased a second man along another street. The first officer fired his weapon when the suspect pulled a gun from his pants, but missed his target. Police said at the time that Tshamba heard the shot, thought the man he was chasing had fired and shot him.

    The wounded man, who survived, had been armed with a silver-colored, semiautomatic handgun, but had not pointed it at Tshamba, according to a police spokeswoman at the time. The outcome of the internal investigation could not be learned on Saturday. In March 1999, Tshamba was among 42 officers and civilians honored at an awards ceremony for acts of heroism, leadership and civic-mindedness. He was one of 20 officers given a bronze star for meritorious performance. Brown grew up in East Baltimore and graduated in 1994 from what was then Southern High School, where he played lacrosse and football. He went on to serve eight years in the Marines, half of them in Iraq. He was there from 2001 to 2005, said his mother, Vivian Scott.

    "His company was one of the first that went into Fallujah," she said, adding that her son was reluctant to talk about his experiences. "It took a while for him to, you know, start opening up. … I kept pounding and pounding him, 'Open up.' He just broke and cried. He said, 'It was so much we went through. I can't tell you.' " The aftereffects of the war took a toll on his marriage, his mother said, and he separated from his wife and moved back home with his mother. She eventually convinced him to seek counseling through Veterans Affairs and he was trying to reconcile with his wife, Scott said. Brown, his wife and their 8-year-old daughter, Jade, were scheduled to fly to San Diego Thursday to attend the 8th-grade graduation of his 14-year-old son from a previous relationship. Brown had most recently worked as a maintenance man at the city jail and had nearly completed his coursework at a technical school to become an electrician, relatives said. He had no criminal record but for a 5-year-old charge, eventually dropped, for possessing an open container of alcohol in public. Relatives who gathered at the North Broadway home remembered a die-hard Orioles fan and grilling enthusiast known as much for his excessive use of charcoal lighter fluid than for any food he produced. "He was supposed to be walking me down the aisle next month when I get married," said a sister, La-Belle Scott.
    Unarmed teen Tasered by armed police at West Norwood wake of Croydon's Wesley Sterling

    An unarmed teenage mourner at the wake of a 16-year-old stab victim was Tazered by armed police who suspected he was carrying a gun. The 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was Tazered in front of dozens of funeral-goers outside the wake of Croydon teenager Wesley Sterling at Nettlefold Hall in West Norwood last Thursday. Shocked guests and family members told a public meeting on Tuesday how they watched on as police grabbed the unarmed youth, using the 50,000 volt stun device on him up to six times.

    The youth’s family is reported to be considering making an official complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) about the officers’ conduct. Police said they were called to Norwood Road at 8pm after reports of a group of young men carrying a firearm. The Tazered youth was arrested and charged with the public order offence of provocation of violence and obstructing police. No further arrests were made. The teen will appear this morning at Camberwell Green Magistrates Court for a bail hearing. Hundreds of guests were at the party by West Norwood library after attending Wesley Sterling's funeral in Croydon earlier in the day.

    Wesley, a promising footballer, was stabbed to death outside a party at the Croydon Sports Arena on April 18. Carleto Salmons, 27, of Heath Road, Thornton Heath, has been charged with his murder.

    glen boulton A police officer who headed a child abuse investigation unit is facing a string of child sex offence charges, it has emerged.

    Detective Inspector Glen Boulton of West Midlands Police is accused of six sex offences involving two girls aged under 16. The 44-year-old from Solihull appeared at Wolverhampton Magistrates' Court on May 11 charged with four counts of indecent assault and two counts of indecency with a child. He is due to reappear at the same court next month.

    The alleged offences date back to between 1977 and 1982. DI Boulton was manager of a child abuse investigation unit in Solihull between November 2008 and February 2009. A police spokesman said: 'Given that criminal proceedings are now live we will not comment further at this stage.'

  • Cop charged with six alleged sex offences
    evil masons There are a few key positions in society that are interested in the proliferation of crime, as that has great advantages for their financial interests and job security. Cops, lawyers , judges , social services and prisons guards all have an interest in protecting their jobs and pension rights, something that would disappear if crime was greatly reduced.We have a growing body of evidence that proves the very people charged with the protection of the public, at ENORMOUS cost to the public purse, are in fact the biggest and most dangerous criminals of all.

    The masonic satanic order has massively corrupted police forces and the main cause of the ever increasing crime wave within those forces were they cover each others ass , when questions get asked about their conduct. With tier upon tier of regulators all controlled from the masonic centres of power were corruption and fraud are rife that leaves the long suffering public with out of control cops who have a very warped agenda of what their real roles are supposed to be.

    The state and its political system has also been dominated by hand picked masonic goons who bend to all arms of a legal mafia that ensure their financial priorities come above all else. The British crown that dominates legal systems across the globe maybe the most dangerous force on the planet using their masonic plants in every area of law and order to thieve our land, business and property. The Bar associations worldwide that are all controlled from temple bar in London, the knights templar centre for the evil tentacles of masonic power , circle the globe in an ever expanding behemoth devouring everything in its path . A monopoly that controls all land , property and business transactions globally, as without their dodgy contracts none of those transactions could take place. Only a global withdrawal from this massive worldwide scam can see its collapse and victims would stop losing their lifes work thanks to the evil scumbags dominating the crime wave that makes all other crime pale by comparison.

    Every man should know that placing their trust and money in the hands of the mobsters who run the courts can only guarantee their demise due to the ruthless repossession (theft) of everything they deal in. They sell you land , business and property under the guise you own it when the equally corrupt dodgy mortgages the banks create with lawyers help, ensure at some point they will retake possession of anything you are sold, or are given the impression you are sold. Only those who have sold their souls to this global satanic network have any hope in hell of holding on to their assets , but at an enormous cost to their spirit and likely most of what they have accumulated has come from the redistribution of the wealth stolen from their victims.

    Crime really does pay for those who have taken crime prevention to a new level, when they themselves are the ultimate criminals. No one could truly believe the utter depths and enormity of this global conspiracy.
    Police cannot be trusted to hand out summary justice and will act as “judge and jury” if given powers to issue more on-the-spot fines, magistrates have warned.

    In an extraordinary attack, the Magistrates’ Association said it is a “certainty” that officers will misuse powers because they cannot be “relied on” to handle them appropriately. The comments have been made as part of the Magistrates’ Association response to the Government’s plans to allow police to issue £60 fixed penalties for careless driving. Police have been accused of increasingly dealing with offences using on-the-spot fines as an easy way to hit the government’s crime targets.

    Magistrates are worried that the number of offences now dealt with in this way is keeping some serious offenders out of the courts. However, police leaders insisted that the use of the fines, which has risen sharply under Labour, helped to reduce paperwork and free up officers’ time. It leaves two of the key bodies responsible for tackling crime and administering justice at loggerheads. MPs expressed surprise that magistrates would have accused police of being untrustworthy.

    Alun Michael, a Labour member of the Commons justice committee and former policing minister, said such “grandstanding” was not helpful and both parties needed to address the issue. Paul Holmes, a Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said: “It is a sorry state of affairs when the Government’s push for instant justice is driving a wedge between different parts of our criminal justice system. “The police have been given wide-ranging powers without adequate debate. It is deeply concerning that even judges think they will abuse them.” Chris Grayling, the shadow home secretary, added: “This is the reality of a criminal justice system after a decade of government interference in policing.”

    The Government’s proposals would make careless driving a fixed penalty offence, meaning those guilty being handed an on-the-spot fine and given three points on their licence. Currently, those suspected of careless driving are prosecuted in the courts where they can face a fine of up to £5,000 and up to nine points on their licence. Chris Hunt Cooke, chairman of the Magistrates’ Association road traffic committee warned against this. In his response, he said: “Regrettably, recent experience with out-of-court disposals shows that the police cannot be relied on to use them appropriately or as intended. “Once they have been given these powers, the police will misuse them, that is a certainty, and careless driving will be generally treated as a minor offence, unless serious injury is involved. “This is a proposal that places the convenience of the police above what is right in principle, may coerce innocent drivers into accepting a fixed penalty, and is certain generally to downgrade careless driving in terms of offence seriousness.”

    Mr Hunt Cooke, a magistrate for 13 years, said the offence is a subjective matter, unlike speeding or driving with no insurance, and any judgement of how serious that is should be made in a courtroom. He said police officers will be “prosecutor, judge and jury, deciding on guilt and then sentencing the offence” . “Faced with the choice between the heavy burden of taking the matter to court and the simplicity of issuing a fixed penalty, it is certain that many police officers will opt for a fixed penalty, however bad the driving may be.”

    The Association of Chief Police Officers refused to address the accusations that officers could not be trusted to administer fines appropriately. However, Mick Giannasi, Gwent Chief Constable who is in charge of roads policing for the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: “By dealing with offences in this way, it can result in a reduction in the amount of time that police officers spend completing paperwork and attending court, while also reducing the burden on the courts and the taxpayer.” Hundreds of thousands of fixed penalties are handed out by police every year, including almost 1.5 million for speeding offences alone. Police have been given increasing powers to hand out fines since Labour took power in 1997, mainly through the introduction of the penalty notice for disorder in 2004.

    The fines can be handed out for so-called “low-level” offending such as littering, criminal damage, being drunk and disorderly and shoplifting. The number of such fines has increased more than three-fold from 63,639 in 2004 to 207,544 in 2007, the most recent figures available. The Magistrates’ Association has already said fines are being used for “inappropriate offences”, including a warning that too many shoplifters are avoiding court by being handed them. Earlier this month, the Commons Justice Committee described the growth in out-of-court penalties as a “fundamental change” to criminal justice.

    Mr Michael said it would be “nonsense” to roll back time but both the magistrates and police “need to understand why there is an issue here”. He added: “It is not helpful to have this sort of grandstanding, whether it is from the Magistrates’ Association or from Acpo. “It is an issue but it is not a cataclysmic case for a major division between the magistrates and the police.” The Department for Transport is due to report back on its proposals to make careless driving a fixed penalty offence later this year.

    It has already been criticised by taxpayer groups and motoring campaigners who warned police will take the easy option of handing out fines. They also warned minor accidents and many trivial motoring offences, such as eating, drinking or smoking at the wheel, could lead to fines. Careless driving covers a wide range of behaviour from minor inattention to driving that is only just below the level of dangerous. The Magistrates Association fears drivers who believe they are innocent will not risk challenging the fines in court while those guilty of serious offences just short of dangerous driving will escape harsher punishment.

    A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: “Bad driving puts other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians at risk. “Making careless driving a fixed penalty offence would help the police to enforce against bad drivers who admit fault with a minimum of bureaucracy, freeing up police resources. “But all drivers would always have the option to contest their case in court and we would work with the police and the courts to develop guidance to ensure that cases are handled correctly.”

    The police are keeping secret intelligence files and photographs of nearly 1,900 so-called domestic extremists, it can be revealed.

    Details of the intelligence and pictures gathered at marches and other demonstrations comes as the new Government questions whether civil liberties and the right to peaceful protest have been eroded by New Labour’s extension of police and anti-terrorist legislation. The information has been built up by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), Britain’s most powerful national policing body, whose future is in doubt after it was revealed that it was being run as a private company.

    After taking over MI5’s covert role watching groups such as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, trade union activists and Left-wing journalists six years ago, ACPO’s National Coordinator for Domestic Extremism (NCDE) has now given a detailed description of its work for the first time. It says it is targeting domestic extremism ‘most commonly associated with “single-issue” protests, such as animal rights, environmentalism, anti-globalisation or anti-GM crops’. It is also combating ‘crime and public disorder linked to extreme Left or Right-wing political campaigns’. The details of the NCDE’s role have been posted on ACPO’s website. It states: ‘Clearly, the majority of people involved in animal rights, environmentalism and other campaigns are peaceful protesters and never considered “extremist’’. The term only applies to individuals or groups whose activities go outside the normal democratic process and engage in crime and disorder in order to further their campaign.’

    It says those targeted are behind public disorder offences, malicious letters and emails, blackmail, product contamination, damage to property and the use of improvised explosive devices. The £9million-a-year unit, which has a staff of 100 including around 70 police, holds photos and other background details on 1,822 individuals.

    It says: ‘Considering this is a national database...this is a very small number of people.’ Most files and photographs are ‘only retained for a short period’, although some are held for ‘several years’. The information comes from police forces and is collated from other sources, including the media, to build up a picture of ‘extremist’ activity. The unit, headed by Assistant Chief Constable Anton Setchell, denies allegations that it is stifling lawful protest. It says: ‘Thousands of people take part in protests across the country each year and NCDE fully supports people’s rights to democratically express their views on issues they feel strongly about.’

    Scotland’s children’s champion has called for the country’s largest police force to scrap a pilot scheme which arms beat police officers with Taser guns.

    Tam Baillie, Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People, said there were no restrictions or safeguards to protect under-18s from being subjected to the 50,000 volts that a Taser gun delivers. His call to suspend the pilot immediately follows warnings last month from Amnesty in Scotland, which said it was unlawful. “Beat officers are being equipped with these potentially lethal weapons with no safeguards in place to protect children and no firm evidence of the physical and mental impacts of their use on under-18s,” said Mr Baillie. “Tasers are potentially lethal – they have been linked to hundreds of adult deaths – and the UN has made it clear that their use on children is unacceptable.

    “Arming beat officers with Tasers brings them into our communities, making them part of everyday life, and risks them being used in situations when lesser force would suffice. Police and Scottish ministers cannot wait until there is a Taser tragedy involving a child to take action on this.” A spokeswoman for Strathclyde Police confirmed the pilot had started on 20 April in two areas, Glasgow city centre and Cambuslang. “There are 30 officers trained in using Tasers, so at any one time there might be four [with Tasers] on duty,” she said. “The pilot project will last until October and will be independently evaluated.”

    HUMAN rights groups and politicians have demanded that the Scottish Government should halt a police force's pilot Taser stun-gun scheme.

    Human rights organisation Amnesty International has written to justice secretary Kenny MacAskill urging him to stop the trial immediately on the grounds that it was "clearly unlawful" under European law, and hold a public consultation on the role of Strathclyde Police's six-month scheme, which started last month, has issued 30 ordinary police officers with the electroshock weapons, which work at 50,000 volts. Amnesty's legal review of police use of the weapon, carried out by Aidan O'Neill, QC, said a European Court ruling implied that governments had a duty to define the circumstances in which police could use force and guns, and, under firearms legislation, Tasers were classed as weapons.

    He also said that Scottish ministers were required to give written authorisation before any new schemes to arm police officers could take place, and that such authorisation had been obtained for the Strathclyde pilot. So far, Mr MacAskill has insisted that the use of Tasers is an "operational matter" for police. Yesterday, however, both Labour and the Lib Dems called on Mr MacAskill to answer Amnesty's call. Labour's community safety spokesman, James Kelly, MSP, said: "Kenny MacAskill cannot simply duck his ministerial responsibilities. He must take charge of the situation and explain in no uncertain terms the legality of the pilot."

    Liberal Democrat Justice spokesman Robert Brown, MSP, added that Mr MacAskill must take the "policy responsibility" for Tasers. He said: "In England it is the Home Secretary who signs off use of Tasers among police forces, and we want to see this happen in Scotland. "In the light of the doubts about the legal position, the Taser pilot should be halted forthwith until the legal position is sorted out." Green MSP Patrick Harvie, MSP, called the Taser pilot "inappropriate and potentially illegal". Tam Baillie, Scotland's Commissioner for Children & Young People, said clear guidelines about the use of Tasers would benefit both children and police officers: "Police and Scottish ministers cannot wait until there is a Taser tragedy involving a child to take action on this."

    Diego Quiroz, policy officer at the Scottish Human Rights Commission, said that they did not believe that a "human rights framework" setting out the responsibilities of public authorities, such as ministers and the police, had been put in place. They also demanded that the justice minister "should assure himself of any evidence that a further Taser roll-out will comply with human rights obligations". But the Scottish Police Federation, which represents officers under the rank of superintendent, claimed Amnesty was "scaremongering" about police use of Tasers. Chairman Les Gray said: "We believe Tasers will make a significant contribution to protecting the public. It will also help reduce the number of assaults on police officers." In a statement, Strathclyde Police said: "Only 30 officers have been trained to use Tasers and there will only be four officers in the Strathclyde Force area carrying Tasers at any one time. The pilot will be fully and independently evaluated."

  • Children’s commissioner asks police force to stop using Tasers
    Robert Ralston A white police officer in Philadelphia was fired this week after confessing that he shot himself in the shoulder last month and blamed the shooting on a black assailant.

    According to Sgt. Robert Ralston's original story, he stopped two men on the railroad tracks late on the night of April 5. When one of them pulled a gun and put it to his head, he knocked it away, but it went off and grazed him in the shoulder. The attacker, whom Ralston described as having cornrows and a tattoo under his left eye, then ran off. The police immediately launched a massive manhunt, blanketing the predominantly African-American neighborhood with SWAT teams and K-9 units. "I think it's despicable," one resident complained.

    "The cops were stopping every man with dreadlocks. Every black man was harassed." "To us in Boston," noted the Boston Globe's James Alan Fox, "the incident is reminiscent of the Charles Stuart debacle when the police compromised the civil rights of the entire Mission Hill community in searching for the black assailant whom Stuart, a white suburbanite, claimed had shot him and his pregnant wife as they drove home from birthing class at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The aggressive and highly questionable manner in which the cops rousted countless numbers of residents of the area set race relations in the city back years upon years."

    Although no motivation has been established for the 21-year veteran's deception, Fox suggests that "Ralston was angry over having been transferred from a white community in South Philadelphia to the black neighborhood in West Philly." "I can't believe he'd really do something like that," Ralston's next door neighbor Brawly Joseph, who is black, told CNN. "That's really uncalled for. Ever since I've been living here, he's really been like anti-social around this area." According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Ralston's story quickly fell apart because "the facts of the case didn't add up. There was powder residue on his shirt that matched his own service weapon, indicating he was shot at close range. His reaction to the shooting also drew suspicion, and police said he seemed eager to cast himself in the role of a hero."

    "It's troubling in a lot of ways," Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey stated in announcing Ralston's confession. "It inflames racial tensions in our community, and that's certainly something we don't need." The Inquirer reports that Ralston "will face no criminal charges in the case, because he was offered immunity in exchange for his confession." He may also be able to collect his police pension. His badge number will be retired permanently, however, and he will "have to pay the cost of the massive manhunt that was sparked by his tale on April 5. ... [when] police spent hours combing the West Philadelphia neighborhood for possible suspects,"

    alan heap A POLICE officer slapped a drunk disabled man, hit him with his baton and then fired CS spray in his face, a court heard yesterday. PC Alan Heap's alleged victim, Ewan MacWilliam, 26, was so intoxicated he could not stand, according to the officer's colleague, Constable Susan Walker. She described how Heap, 41, "lost his temper" and attacked Mr MacWilliam, who was handcuffed, because he refused to get into a police van.

    PC Walker told Inverness Sheriff Court: "I was not happy about what had happened. I was upset. I did not think he (MacWilliam] should have been batoned, sprayed and slapped." Heap, 41, faces a charge of assaulting Mr MacWilliam at Keppoch Road in Culloden, Inverness, on 28 February last year. The constable, who denies the charge, faces losing his job if convicted. PC Walker, 30, said she and colleague Blair Lawrie spotted MacWilliam slumped at a bus stop at around 9pm on the Saturday evening.

    The court heard Mr MacWilliam, who suffers severe learning difficulties, had been watching a Rangers football match earlier in the day and had been drinking heavily. PC Walker said they were concerned for his welfare and called on Heap to collect Mr MacWilliam and take him to a drying-out centre. She and PC Heap tried carrying him to the police van, but Ms Walker said: "He was intoxicated. "He was unstable on his feet and I lost my grip. He fell to the ground, face down. After a slight struggle he was handcuffed."

    The PC said Mr MacWilliam refused to get into the van, although he eventually sat on the edge of the vehicle. She added: "He was sitting on the edge, still not going in. That is when Heap pushed MacWilliam and slapped him to his face. "It was not a gentle slap. Tempers were getting flared. PC Heap was losing his temper. There was a lot of shouting at MacWilliam to get in his van. "MacWilliam swore. I think he said, 'don't f****** slap me'. He slapped him again. MacWilliam was starting to get quite upset."

    The PC described how they again attempted to get Mr MacWilliam further into the van, without success. She added: "He kicked out. That is when Heap took his baton out and struck MacWilliam to his legs. It was two or three times. Heap then took out his CS spray and sprayed MacWilliam's face." Eventually, they managed to get him into he van and Heap drove off.

    PC Walker made a statement the following morning and later spoke to Northern Constabulary's Professional Standard Unit. Mr MacWilliam later gave evidence and said he remembered drinking earlier in the day, watching a Rangers match, but could not recall the encounter with police. The trial continues.

  • Assault charge cop must wait for verdict
  • Masonic cops
    david askew Britain's masonic cops no longer protect ordinary members of the public.

    The funeral of a 64-year-old man who neighbours say was "tormented to death" by yobs is to take place. David Askew, who had learning difficulties, collapsed and died in the garden of his home in Hattersley, Greater Manchester, on the evening of March 10. Police officers were called to his Melandra Crescent address after reports that youngsters were causing a disturbance outside.

    An initial post-mortem examination proved inconclusive but it is thought Mr Askew was not physically attacked during the incident. It emerged the authorities were previously warned he was targeted by gangs where he lived with his wheelchair-bound mother Rose and his brother Brian. One neighbour said Mr Askew was harassed for a decade and was "tormented to death", comparing his treatment to "bear-baiting".

    His mother's tribute said her son "wouldn't hurt a fly and he never saw bad in anyone. He always put others first". Greater Manchester Police referred the matter of previous contact with the family to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. The funeral takes place at St Barnabas' Church in Hattersley, followed by committal at Dukinfield Crematorium. An 18-year-old man has appeared in court charged with the harassment of Mr Askew between January 25 and March 10 this year, while another 18-year-old man arrested on suspicion of manslaughter remains on bail pending further inquiries.