Page last updated Thursday 27th February 2014 at 2135hrs
Most people who meet C/Supt Andy Battle would find that he is an agreeable, charming, well mannered individual. He also writes a good letter and talks the corporate-speak so beloved of the Sir Norman Bettison crop of senior recruitees who still populate the upper echelons of West Yorkshire Police. Having joined the police service in 1994, with the totally discredited South Yorkshire force, Battle (pictured on left of centre picture above) has made rapid strides in his 19 year career, which included a transfer to West Yorkshire Police in 2005. He is currently Divisional Commander in Wakefield DA Division, a post he took up in September 2012, following a year in charge of the now nationally disgraced Professional Standards Department: Which is, of course, where he first came to the attention of uPSD. Interestingly, although he joined South Yorkshire Police in 1994, five years after the Hillsborough Disaster, Battle has a spell as ground commander at the stadium on his CV. It is, therefore, reasonable to assume that he will be very familiar with the force-wide cover up of events of the fateful day on 15th April 1989 which South Yorkshire Police first engineered, and then perpetuated, over the succeeding 23 years. He must, surely, have stood in the police control box above what were Pens 3 and 4 at the Leppings Lane end of the stadium and mused on how, why and by whom two crucial CCTV tapes could have been removed from a locked box, in a locked cupboard from the well secured football club control room in the early hours of the morning after the disaster in which 95 people had died. The fact that he graduated to Chief Super in Bettison’s West Yorkshire Police tells the reader he never made it his business to find out what happened to those tapes – and which of his police colleague(s) had possession of the keys at the material time to be able to remove and, presumably, destroy them. There are some other interesting nationwide scandals where Battle has been “present at the scene” as it were. After joining WYP as a Superintendent in 2005 he was promoted by fellow Rotherham man Bettison to run the Communications Division as a Chief Superintendent. That placed under his wing the now disgraced Inspector Mick Starkey: Better known as chauffeur and bodyguard to the country’s most prolific rapist and paedophile ever, Jimmy Savile. It also means that Battle had overall responsibility for the “missing” communications from other Forces at a time when exposure of his activities would have meant Savile could have faced his accusers at criminal trial. Instead WYP preferred to bury the scandal out of sight and continue to use the sick pervert in their advertising campaigns and photograph him wearing items of Force uniform. During his short time in charge of Professional Standards, Battle further practised his skills at looking the other way or concealing evidence (particularly CCTV) as a number of high profile complaints passed through his Department. uPSD also went to war with Battle over the attempted cover up of disgraced paedophile, DC Mick Vause, and the dumbing down of the criminal charges against Vause. Most notably, the mysterious dropping of the Level 4 child sex images charge and the destruction of the evidence shortly after a court hearing from which Vause walked away smirking, whilst two of Battle’s own PSD officers stood yards away in silent assent. More can be read on Vause and other West Yorkshire Police paedophiles by clicking here. Battle would also have assisted the Force wide cover up of the Danny Major miscarriage of justice by ‘burying’ the ever more bizarre offending of co-conspirators PC Kevin Liston and PS David Oldroyd. This would have been a good career move for Battle as ACC Geoff Dodd is also strongly implicated in the cover-up. The Major case is now, of course, being investigated by Greater Manchester Police under the codename Operation Lamp of which more can be read by clicking here. Another telling summary of Battle’s career over convictions approach is to look at the bent PSD ‘detectives’ on his watch led by the infamous DI Damian Carr, and followed closely by DI Andrew Knapton and DCI Osman Khan. In case after case in which these three have been involved and for which uPSD hold files they are characterised by just one aspect, blatant dishonesty and investigation outcomes that are generally works of fiction from start to finish. These include the now nationally known police assaults on Tony Ramsden case and the still unexplained “disappearance” of three complaint letters concerning phone hacking sent by a former Notts Constabulary officer to the Chief Constable. At a time when the News International hacking scandal was at its peak. The presence of those three detectives, in particular, provided a malevolent and poisonous barrier to legitimate public complainanants receiving fair assessment of their complaints. Which has, undoubtedly, contributed to the “root and branch” investigation into the huge and well publicised failings of that Department by the Crawford Inquiry. Battle was hurriedly taken out of Professional Standards days after the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s momentous report on 12th September 2012. uPSD submits confidently that this was a change designed to move attention away from the ex-SYP officers “sleeping” in WYP. (He was replaced in PSD by an officer with no detective background who self-styles as “Big Boss Hogg” and will also feature on this website in the coming weeks: C/Supt Marc Callaghan). Other ex-SYP officers lurking in WYP include the notorious C/Supt Clive Wain of Hillsborough “drunken, ticketless fans” claim, a position from which even the David Crompton led SYP Command Team have now migrated. Habitual liar and half naked exhibitionist, CI Paula Booth, has been a close Divisional colleague of Battle’s and was famously described by another WYP Divisional Commander as ‘the most evil woman he had ever come across’. Crime Squad’s Supt Lisa Griffin had an assault charge against her hushed up on Bettison’s watch. An attractive bunch they all make and inform plenty about the long-standing culture of deceit and cover-up in two of Yorkshire’s police forces. That deceit and cover-up extended to the extraordinary sex in the sauna incident at the notorious Killingbeck Police Station involving sex addict DCI Liz Belton and the preening C/Supt Ian Whitehouse which Battle’s PSD tried put the lid on. Offences not prosecuted included criminal damage, affray, assault by Sgt Chris Beddis (Belton’s life partner) on Whitehouse and misconduct in public office. Battle also covered up that this was the second occasion that Belton and Whitehouse had been caught having sex on duty. The first occasion over 30 miles away from their operational bases. uPSD, via their network of whistleblowers, were responsible for bringing this story into the public domain and the Yorkshire Post coverage can be read by clicking here. To give the reader an insight into Battle’s – and West Yorkshire Police’s – mindset we impart the unsurprising news that Belton was moved, after the sex episodes, into Professional Standards dealing with complaints from members of the public in Leeds. Where she has crassly provided false outcome, after false outcome. Whitehouse now works for the National Police Air Service (NPAS). More recently, Battle has been involved in a case which has featured in the local press and is due to be aired on Channel 4 television in June 2014. At the heart of the case is the bullying, aggressive, we-do-what-we-want, lawless culture that has brought West Yorkshire Police into national disgrace. Huddersfield businessman, Mr Stephen Bradbury, (pictured above left), has been assaulted in the street by police officers no less than five times. On one occasion, allegedly cash-strapped WYP – who cannot send an officer to attend a burglary or car break-in – mustered eight officers within two minutes to wrestle a small, totally compliant, 62 year old man to the ground. Cuffing his hands behind his back and leaving him with extensive bruising, cuts and torn clothing. On another occasion six officers were involved in a similar incident outside Huddersfield police station where, mysteriously, the CCTV “wasn’t working” at the time of the assault but Battle’s PSD refused to produce the engineer’s report that attested to the “repair” of the same CCTV equipment. More recently Mr Bradbury was assaulted by DC Shaun Hurd in an unprovoked attack that has resulted, ultimately, in the Independent Police Complaints Commission conceding a Judicial Review at Leeds High Court concerning the outcome of complaints against Hurd and the lack of criminal action taken against him. This complaint would have been binned long ago by WYP except for one crucial factor: Unbeknown to Hurd, the incident was filmed. Which came as a shock to that officer as he had tried, the day after the incident, to have Mr Bradbury prosecuted for breach of the peace. West Yorkshire Police, via Battle and the Force Solicitor, have understandably sought to bring to a close all issues with Mr Bradbury, by way of a financial settlement, but those negotiations broke down in December 2013 due to the intransigence of the Force’s Legal Services Manager, Mike Percival. Best known for coercing a detective sergeant into give false witness box testimony in a civil trial last summer. Unfortunately for West Yorkshire Police the genie is now out of the lamp and Mr Bradbury is now lawfully pursuing serious complaints against the officers involved in “investigating” the Hurd assault, DCI Simon Bottomley and Supt Gary Baker, and also against Battle himself. These complaints against Battle arise out of breaches of professional conduct in a number of areas which include failure in discharging duties and responsibilities, failing to challenge inappropriate conduct and, most crucially, honesty and integrity. These include a piece of traditional South Yorkshire Police historical revisionism by Battle in clumsily backdating a document by 14 days and covering up for his officers who are plainly guilty of misconduct in an incident now known as The Video Van Three. Battle repeatedly refused to name the three officers in the picture at the top right of this page and, uPSD submit, ordered others not to name them either. Using their own resources uPSD – whom Battle claimed he had never heard of as recently as last October – named two of the three as PC Sian Simons and PC Sally Court, who will now face complaints for PACE breaches, intimidation, assault and incivility. Unfortunately, for Simons and Court the incident involving them was filmed. Battle will also be called on as to why he lied about uPSD. He was Head of the Department that issued a force-wide intranet message in August 2012 banning all officers from viewing uPSD’s pages on force computers. The internal police email falsely claimed that uPSD represented a virus threat. This episode has also already exposed another failing by the disgraced Norman Bettison, who failed to pass on to his Force the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) guidance on how to deal with members of public using photographic equipment in public places. This was sent to Bettison in October 2010 and uPSD now holds a copy. A formal complaint concerning this issue lodged by Mr Bradbury with the Police and Crime Commissioner has now been recorded. An investigation decision is now awaited from the PCC’s Chief Executive and Solicitor, Fraser Sampson. Bent lawyer sitting in judgement of disgraced senior cop is an unappealing proposition – and the outcome of that conundrum is anyone’s guess. It has also exposed failings in Battle’s own Wakefield DA Divisional “Quality and Standards” Unit who, presumably, enthusiastically take their lead from their Commander in their approach to public complaints and covering up for colleagues. It is a complete shambles of an operation run by C/Insp Jackie Turton where, if you receive a response to an email, it is anonymous – and phone messages are routinely ignored as part of the process of angering and disenfranchising the complainant. Who is likely to then receive an “investigation” outcome from Wakefield Division with plainly fabricated police evidence threading through it.
With a boss like Andy Battle, and his track record, why would anyone expect anything else of officers who report to him?
More to follow…..