Although there have been a number of incidents in the public domain concerning police officers in Hampshire having been arrested for offences against children and vulnerable persons, the accounts below are from my own personal knowledge having been directly involved with these cases.
Recent reports from members of the public regarding similar practices have been published and can be viewed by clicking on the New Milton Watch Facebook page.
Isle of Wight
Having transferred from the Metropolitan Police, Hampshire Constabulary at that time refused to recognize any experience or qualifications from other police forces.
Before being able to return to the CID I had to go through Hampshire’s own selection process and in the interim I was a uniformed Patrol Sergeant.
I was based at Newport on the Isle of Wight and had a small team of uniformed police constables, whilst there I noticed that regularly matters involving children and young persons were not formally recorded and the relevant information was not being passed to partner agencies.
It was a similar situation with regards to domestic abuse and I took some interim measures to ensure that those matters were dealt with appropriately on my shift.
I had a good team and was pleased with their work and motivated them by actively patrolling and encouraging them to deal with those matters which I found were neglected on the Island including child protection matters.
Whilst on duty one of my officers informed me that he had been approached by a young teenage girl who informed him that she had seen a male who had previously abused her and been involved with social services and the police in the company of young girls of the same age as she was at the time of the abuse.
She was now 14 and the girls were aged around 9 and 10 years old. The suspect worked in Staples and the young girls would assist him in putting together flat pack furniture at the rear of the store.
The same suspect had previously run a small shop where he would get the young girls to try on dresses upstairs which was part of the previous case involving the 14 year old informant.
I had conducted some initial enquiries and felt that this was a matter that was best dealt with by the local child protection team or the CID.
I was at that time a patrol sergeant and dealing with immediate responses; effectively 999 calls with on occasions just a couple of PCs who were not qualified in any event to deal with such matters.
The local child protection unit and the CID was also not particularly interested, I found that there was a them and us situation with regards to the uniform branch and the CID.
In general, I found the CID on the Isle of Wight to be lazy; I had also attempted to improve the relationship between the two departments without much success.
I approached DI Dave Stewart who at the time was the Detective Inspector in charge of the CID. This was also not very fruitful but I was able to negotiate with Mr Stewart in supplying additional staff to assist me in searching of premises if this became necessary.
I then conducted the investigation and kept the CPS updated as their permission would be required to charge if the investigation reached that stage.
I sensed something was not right from the outset; the previous file held in the local child protection unit concerning the abuse against the now 14 year old girl could not be located.
My own uniform Inspector was reluctant for me to deal with the case which he stated the CID should deal with but he did not appear to have much influence in this matter.
I had previous experience of working undercover in a paedophile investigation in the Metropolitan police known as “Operation Hedgerow”.
I had been in cells with a suspect who was a barrister and subsequently pleaded guilty in relation to attempting to prevent children giving evidence in this case.
During the Isle of Wight investigation I was able to identify grooming and gather sufficient evidence to show that the suspect had taken young girls on a bus to his home address and had bought them mobile phones.
The next phase would be to arrest and interview the suspect. I arrested the suspect at his place of work and he was taken to the police station to be processed and interviewed.
Authority was obtained to search the suspect’s home address and DI Stewart allocated two officers to assist me as my own officers were actively deployed dealing with our core function of responding to emergency calls.
One of the officers PC Lyness was an intelligence officer who basically worked in the local information unit dealing with information and intelligence that would come in via various means including intelligence reports being submitted by police officers.
Previously these were known as collators and the font of all local knowledge and he was a long serving officer who also lived on the Isle of Wight.
The second officer PC Jay Hewes; although I did not know this at the time was under investigation and should have not been operational having been confined to the police station.
He was to work within the local intelligence unit whilst under investigation by the Professional Standards Department ‘PSD’.
I booked the prisoner out of custody and we all drove to the suspect’s home address.
As we turned the corner into the suspect’s street a vehicle sped away from the direction of the address and I later discovered this to be the vehicle owned by a person who was to be a second suspect in this case.
I was able to establish that both suspects lived at the same premises and also shared a computer which was located within a cupboard in the second suspect’s bedroom.
I again sensed that something was not right whilst at the premises as the two officers appeared reluctant to search anything and I had to instruct them to label the various leads of the computer in accordance with procedures at that time for seizing such equipment.
I did not know at the time that the second suspect was a prominent individual on the Island.
My instinct was that the second suspect had been tipped off and the area around the computer station had been rapidly cleared of any relevant discs from dust marks that had been left on the surfaces.
However, in the hasty cleanup operation a screwed up piece of paper was left in the waste bin which appeared to have been printed from the computer.
The image was of a vagina, I ensured that the document was forensically preserved and secured, this was then booked into the police station in accordance with policy and procedure.
I had also seized the computer and 2 floppy discs which had been concealed above the door frame inside the cupboard.
What then followed appeared to be a series of acts designed to scupper the investigation.
The first was when PC Lyness informed me that the DI Stewart had instructed me to return the computer I had just seized to the second suspect and that he would be attending the station shortly to pick the computer up.
I thought the officer was joking initially and then confirmed the information with DI Stewart; I was informed that the second suspect was making a complaint about me and that I was not to arrest him and to restore the computer to him.
Despite my representations I was ordered to return the computer under the threat of disobeying a lawful order.
The second suspect drove into the back of the police station yard as though he owned the place and left his car blocking other vehicles.
He did not make any allegations at that time and appeared very flustered. The two PCs and DI Stewart had made themselves scarce.
If a complaint had been made about me, it was also surprising that I was the one tasked to return the computer which could have caused additional friction.
I was surprised that I was allowed to continue with the investigation despite the alleged complaint. I was to find out much later on that in fact no complaint had been made.
Following interviews with the first suspect and my additional enquiries I was able to charge the first suspect with 4 child abductions and unlawful sexual intercourse with an underage girl who now had a child by him.
The second suspect was a public figure on the Island, he now also worked in the same Local authority as Cllr Dave Stewart.
If anyone wishes to find out any further information as to what if any action has been taken I suggest that they contact Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney referring to Operation Bondfield.
The correct approach should be for Mr Stewart and the other officers to be formally investigated however, I am aware that Mrs Pinkney and Mr Stewart have been witnesses together in a case recently concerning a member of the public Teresa Skelton and I feel that due to the failure to deal with any of my concerns and this recent connection between the Chief Constable and Mr Stewart that any positive action is unlikely.
I would suggest that the following link from the Hampshire Police Monitoring Group is read for more background to their connection here.
Returning to the child abuse matter, Having been successful in returning to the CID I was posted to the Public Protection Unit at Southampton as a DS and became increasingly concerned with regards to what was happening with this case on the Isle of Wight.
This was not a matter of simply trying to scupper the case but a determined attempt to prevent the case being resurrected and prevent a prosecution against the second suspect.
The two officers involved in the search of the second suspect’s premises subsequently made a statement inferring that I had planted 2 floppy discs, one of those officers I knew to be a freemason.
Their statements were fabricated and differed from the statements made at the time following the search of the premises.
I believe that this was done because it was not known at that stage by either suspect whether or not the discs contained child porn.
I reiterate no complaint was ever made and I was never interviewed regarding this matter.
I attempted to establish what had happened with the first suspect when he appeared at court and was informed that the case had somehow been dropped in return for the suspect agreeing to an adult caution, known at that time as a ‘simple caution’.
This again was unusual to say the least.
Additionally, I was also concerned that there was no record of a previous sexual assault on a child where the suspect had appeared at Crown Court on the Isle of Wight and had been acquitted on an earlier occasion, the suspect had also changed his name.
My concerns not only fell on deaf ears but I was then victimized at the highest levels to silence me.
In the interim there were the deaths of the children in the Soham case involving Ian Huntley.
An opportunity arose to again raise these concerns when Detective Superintendent Linton from Hampshire Special Branch sent an e-mail around the force requesting information to assist in the force response to the Bichard enquiry.
I don’t think Mr Linton was quite expecting the information I was to provide him to assist in the force response to the Bichard Inquiry.
Mr Linton contacted PSD regarding my concerns, the wheels started turning but unfortunately another cover up was to take place.
On this occasion the officer in charge of the case was Detective Superintendent Patricia Ogden from the Professional Standards department.
By this time DI Stewart had been promoted and was a Detective Chief Inspector in PSD working directly under Det Supt Ogden.
Detective Inspector Jason Hogg, now ACC in Thames Valley police was assigned to deal with this matter and I met him at Costa Coffee at West Quay Shopping Centre in Southampton.
He empathised with what was happening to me but I also felt from his questioning that this case was not being dealt with appropriately as an allegation of corruption or misconduct concerning officers involved in this case.
This was a criminal matter of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Mr Hogg’s investigation also revealed that there in fact was not even a trace of a caution being given to the first suspect.
He also identified that the intelligence I had submitted in this case had also been removed from the intelligence systems.
It should not be forgotten that this was the department that PC Lyness worked in at Newport Police Station.
The Crown Prosecution Service ‘CPS’ were unable to supply any information to Mr Hogg as to why the charges were dropped and apparently their papers also appeared to have gone missing.
It was not for some time despite numerous requests that I was given an update also in an unusual manner.
By this time I was now working in the main CID office at Shirley Police Station in Southampton.
DCI Colin Smith stopped me in the corridor and gave me a file to look at and informed me that I only had a couple of minutes to flick through it and was not permitted to make any notes and ushered me into an interview room.
I speed read as much as I could of the file and it became apparent that Mr Hogg had not been assigned to investigate the allegations of corruption but to conduct a ‘critical review’ of my own investigation.
Fortunately someone had left a pen and some pages of interview forms on the desk and I was able to scribble down some notes on the back of the forms.
In fairness to Mr Hogg he appeared to carry out what he was instructed to do and fortunately agreed that my actions and search and seizure of property had been lawful.
He had also been hindered in his review by the statements of PC Lyness and PC Hughes for whatever reason now being missing from the file.
Due to the manner that the enquiries were carried out by Mr Hogg, this effectively protected Mr Stewart from being disciplined as he was not served a formal notice informing him of his rights, not cautioned and any secondary investigation could be argued as an abuse of process.
I raised concerns with DI Sara Glen (Now Deputy Chief Constable) at the time who failed to take any positive action and subsequently she became my DCI and I believe was instrumental in a malicious operation against me to remove me from the force.
DI Glen had been appointed as my link to the former DCC Ian Readhead described as a facilitator role and I sacked her from this role when it became apparent that she was not willing or able to challenge wrongdoing.
Sara Glen has flown through the ranks and is now the Deputy Chief Constable for Hampshire Constabulary.
My last attempt to have this matter properly dealt with was in a report to the then ACC Simon Cole who is now the Chief Constable of Leicstershire.
He did not deal with the matter as the report also concerned his immediate superior DCC Ian Readhead.
The first response to my report was being arrested and having my home searched.
Whilst police discipline was now unlikely, the allegations made are criminal offences which are not time barred.
If the police are able to investigate the much publicized historical abuse committed by celebrities, there should be no reason these matters should not to be investigated.
From my police service I have found that in relation to offences against children, leopards do not change their spots no matter how much time has elapsed.
The critical review was to set the scene for further incidents where rather than attempting to deal with the issues of corruption and other wrongdoing; the force would target the whistleblower as an easier option.
From what I was able to glean from the short amount of time I was able to view the file, DI Hogg had interviewed Mr Stewart who had now been promoted to Detective Superintendent and was working at Bramshill.
The interview seemed to be on the pretext of seeking information to help the force in respect of the Bichard Inquiry.
Mr Stewart subsequently retired and is now the Leader of the Isle of Wight Council and Chair of Hampshire Police and Crime Panel.
Further recent development – you couldn’t make it up:
Isle of Wight Observor Article
A recent article from a new newspaper on the Isle of Wight depicts Mr Stewart with the new controversial child sex offence notices. No need to cover up now, just forewarn the suspect that he is being watched!
Should Mr Stewart even be involved in these matters, perhaps he should recuse himself whilst Chief Constable Pinkney decides to make a decision as to whether he should be investigated along with other officers in the corruption that I alleged relating to “Operation Bondfield”.
At the moment it does not appear that she is leading as a leader as opposed to be being lead down the wrong path by her force solicitor Mr Trencher who; appears to be involved in another Child abuse case where complaint’s have been made against him by a victim and also Mr John Caine regarding similar concerns of covering up paedophilia.
Additional concerns I had re police involvement with paedophilia and the now National issue with regards to Disclosure.
Whilst based in the CID office at Shirley Police Station I was surprised how easily children’s case files would go missing.
An e mail would usually be sent around the force to see if anyone had seen the case papers usually when an application had been made for compensation via the CICA.
A copy of such an e mail has been supplied to Hampshire Constabulary.
The name of the Padophilia matter was given an operation name of “Operation Bondfield” and the file appeared to have been been deliberately suppressed when it was required in my subsequent whistleblowing dismissal tribunal case.
Policy files relating to “Operation Companionway” had also gone missing, this was a related police operation forming part of the same employment tribunal case.
Since that time further evidence has come to light concerning the suppression of further relevant disclosure and other offences.
PSD again covered up for the alleged criminal offences committed including by one of its own DCIs Mr Adrian Kingswell regarding the missing policy files.
DCI KIngswell (PSD) received “Management advice” as did Mr Graham Love; the disclosure officer.
As disclosure is in the public eye at present regarding the Liam Allen and other cases nationally I will publish a separate post on disclosure.
Before finishing this particular post, I would like to highlight an article published by the BBC and my own comments in this regard.
Becky’s Story – presented by Fiona Bruce
(Cut and Pasted BBC News & Current Affairs article)
A 14-year-old girl placed in a council children’s home was prostituted to a group of depraved middle-aged men because staff were powerless to stop her going out.
The horrific story of ‘Becky’ is highlighted in a BBC programme presented by Fiona Bruce this week which reveals how she was sexually abused by 25 men over two years – despite being known to social services and having been placed on the Child Protection Register.
Even when she was put in a children’s home – six months after her earliest allegations of abuse – staff allowed her to be used as a prostitute for fear their intervention might infringe her human rights.
The investigation has been drawn from her case notes. The local authority cannot be named in case it identifies the child, now 16, and living with a foster family.
Initially, Becky went to the police claiming she had been sexually abused by her stepfather – but they said there was not enough evidence to prosecute.
She then sought solace at the home of one of her mother’s friends.
But even when police and social services became aware the woman’s boyfriend was a registered sex offender, with a predilection for underage girls, they did nothing to remove Becky.
Only after she complained she had been raped by the man and then turned to drink and drugs and began to self harm – slashing her wrists – did social services move her to a children’s home.
There, however, Becky was allowed to run riot – even being picked up from outside by a man 22 years her senior who forced her to have sex with him and his friends.
Becky absconded from the home 36 times and confided in a staff member what was happening to her – yet at no time was any recommendation made to place her in a secure unit, or restrain her from going out on the streets.
One staff member at the children’s home was concerned, but the case notes reveal she was told by colleagues she was powerless to restrain the teenager. The staff worker, who has since resigned, took the notes to the BBC.
Andrew Webb, director of the Association of Social Services, when confronted with the findings of the investigation, defended the actions of Becky’s carers.
‘We are bound by regulation not to curtail young people’s liberty – they have rights. Human rights. The issue isn’t one of the care home – it’s an issue of the men who are prepared to have sex with children and pay money to have sex with children.
‘The law takes the balance of civil liberties and human rights and says there has to be a really strong case… (to restrain a child).
‘The law prevents an ordinary community children’s home from locking the doors and preventing children leaving… if you wanted to… prevent a young person from being sexually exploited in conditions that you’re describing then you’d have to apply for a secure accommodation order.’
But Liz Davies, senior lecturer in Social Work at London Metropolitan University, who has been involved in many investigations of child abuse, says Becky was let down by a crumbling social services system.
‘Becky told a wide range of professionals over many months that she was suffering sexual and physical harm from abusers in her family as well as by strangers and known child sex abusers.
‘At every stage it appears the authorities were letting Becky take responsibility for her problems, rather than trying to help her defeat them.
‘She was expected to pull herself away from the most terrifying number of serious sexual predators – a network of abusers from the way she spoke.
‘That’s pretty scary for a 14-yearold child and is symptomatic of a system which is being run down by Government policies. ‘It is becoming a disaster.
There are too many performance targets which say every child should be monitored by the local authority rather than focusing on those most likely to be abused or who are being abused.
‘Removing the Child Protection Register – which will happen by 2008 – effectively cuts spending but at what cost?
‘The focus is being taken away from detecting paedophiles and child abusers outside the family.
‘There were viable and valuable systems in place which involved all the agencies liaising to investigate whether abuse was taking place – and then dealing with it.
‘But these appear to be being ignored, or not being put into place – the consequences are that more children like Becky will slip through the net.’
Becky’s shocking story is symptomatic of widespread sexual exploitation of troubled young runaways, according to children’s charity Barnardo’s – which says up to 100 ‘Beckys’ are fleeing to the streets of Britain every week.
A spokesman said:
‘Every year we are helping 2,000 young people who are being exploited in this way across the UK. ‘And that is only in small pockets where we have enough money to help. So you can imagine the numbers of young people at risk who are not getting the help they need.’
The above article is as a result of a whistleblower from the Social Services approaching the BBC and the perspective is from a social worker.
The police have an equal responsibility and also failed ‘Becky’. I am aware of the identity of the child who regularly visited the police station where I served in the CID.
The child was regularly either sitting outside the station or in the foyer for protection.
She was not taken seriously despite numerous warning signs. Her photograph was also on the wall alongside local young criminals indicating that she made false allegations.
The reality was that she was not treated sympathetically and would clam up and on occasions refuse to be examined because she did not think officers believed her and would not provide her protection.
Uniform officers would regularly take her back to a children’s home when she would go missing.
It was rumoured that officers would also have sex with the juvenile.
I was aware of an official allegation of an officer having sex with ‘Becky’ and the matter not being investigated properly.
I became involved in this case because I was also investigating a case involving a vulnerable adult with learning difficulties who was married to a paedophile.
‘Becky’ was the other female who slept with the paedophile in the same house in an unusual relationship which usually ended in violence.
I was involved with the social services in re-housing the vulnerable adult and also protecting her from another paedophile that had been taking nude photographs and having sex with her.
In a nutshell, my concern here is that an allegation of rape towards a juvenile by a police officer was not investigated properly.
The investigating officer had sought to write the crime off immediately because initial enquiries showed that the officer was not shown on duty that day when dates can often be got wrong by vulnerable persons.
I am also concerned at the mindset adopted by officers as a result of the child’s photograph being placed on a board amongst local criminals.
Prior to going on a career break, I sent an e-mail to Detective Superintendent Linton expressing my concerns and I also raised the issue again in a report to Chief Constable Paul Kernaghan.
Despite requests, I was never able to meet with Mr Kernaghan personally, whilst the force had an open door policy, the door would be firmly shut in my case.
The new Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney has gone one step further not even responding to my correspondence and I continue to receive letters from the force solicitor which I consider to be bullying, intimidating and the usual attempts to silence me.
It would have been a refreshing change for a Chief Constable to do the “right thing” but unfortunately, the actions or failure to act by Olivia Pinkney are in direct opposition to a statement she made on joining the force and considered to be hypocritical.