Page last updated Monday 9th June 2014 at 1405hrs
West Yorkshire Police have had some real lemons as Heads of Professional Standards over the past ten years. Arguably the most rotten has been Ian Kennedy whose full catalogue of incompetence/criminality can be read by clicking here.
He was followed by the incompetent cover-up merchant Sarah Brown (probably better known as Sarah Sidney and pictured above left) and the smooth-talking Andy Battle. Both Brown and ex-South Yorkshire Police officer Battle were in post for only a year and both were instrumental in the continuing cover-up of the Danny Major miscarriage of justice which the aforementioned Kennedy thought he had buried forever. Brown/Sidney had “previous” in the “cover-up” stakes as she was also involved in the Michael Bunting case (read more by clicking here).
A more complete misconduct/criminality profile on Wakefield Divisional Commander, Battle, can be read by clicking here. As can be seen, he is a police officer who almost always finds himself at the scene of serious police wrongdoing, whatever role he happens to be undertaking at the time.
Next up was a man widely regarded in the Force as a buffoon, Marc Callaghan, to which the same propensity to lie and cover up as his predecessors can be added. The full extent of his involvement in two other nationally known cases – those of Tony Ramsden and Steve Bradbury – are still being unravelled. Callaghan was also at the centre of a disability discrimination case which cost the force a huge pay-out after it was settled at the mediation stage. If the matter had proceeded to an Employment Tribunal, lying and bullying on an industrial scale by senior West Yorkshire Police officers would have been laid bare. No officer, including Callaghan – who self-styles himself as “Big Boss Hogg” – and the obnoxious CI Paula White, has faced sanction from PSD as a result.
The latest incumbent as Head of Professional Standards is C/Supt Andy Brennan (pictured top centre) whose main policing claim to fame to date appears to be leading a murder investigation that, seemingly, saw three men wrongly jailed for life. Read more about the Bradford Three case by clicking here. Brennan also managed to “burn” a police informer during that investigation which placed that individual’s life in grave danger. Add what was perceived by justice campaigners, Just West Yorkshire, to be a racially motivated criminal pursuit of another detective on his team, DC Wasim Bashir, whose trial was stopped the night before it was due to commence at Sheffield Crown Court (on public interest grounds) and an unattractive picture starts to be filled in about this “highly regarded” detective. In the Bradford Three case Brennan preferred to back DC Glen Acornley and his “nark” which might prove to be his undoing as Acornley is now reportedly facing enquiries in several criminal matters himself.
West Yorkshire Police’s PSD have recently received a comprehensive pasting from the weak watchdog known as the IPCC over the way it handles racial discrimination complaints. A point first raised by uPSD in July 2012 – and roundly ignored by the Chief Constable at the time. None other than Sir Norman Bettison. The IPCC state bluntly that Brennan’s PSD fail at every level. Read the full report here and the Yorkshire Post press coverage here.
Brennan joined West Yorkshire from Greater Manchester Police in 2004 in a recruitment drive by the late Chief Constable, Colin Cramphorn, that saw the aforementioned Ian Kennedy arrive from Lancashire Police in the same intake. Two bad apples in a very small barrel. Remarkably, the several Manchester police whistleblowers we have on uPSD books have never heard of this “famous” detective.
To say that the running of Professional Standards is a shambles under Brennan’s management would be understating the case, somewhat. Complainants find the recognised gateways to the police complaints system regularly blocked; complaints are often not recorded; when they are recorded they are diluted or parts missed out altogether; there is no adherence to the law or due process; PSD regards itself as completely exempt from IPCC Statutory Guidance; PSD investigators are often not even named; routinely no complaint/victim statements are taken from complainant; no evidence is taken from the complainant’s witnesses; independent witnesses are not sought; independent evidence such as CCTV film or voice recordings regularly go “missing” if they are likely to support the complainant’s case.; Appeals against wholly discredited PSD investigations become lost in the system. The case highlighted at this weblink (click here) is just one shining example of the service that Brennan and his band of bent brothers serve up on the public – and is now widely held up as an example of everything a police Professional Standards operation should not do.
Last but not least, Brennan’s PSD laugh at the IPCC and simply ignore any lawful Directions the watchdog may make. As in the case of Wakefield businessman, Tony Ramsden, whose case has attracted wide publicity and with whom Brennan steadfastly refuses to engage – or more crucially deal with the lawful Directions made by the IPCC concerning the Ramsden case. It is a propitious quirk of fate that “Brennan” was the name of the police horse that was deliberately ridden into Mr Ramsden by PC Marie Lawrenson.
In spite of vigorous efforts by Brennan (the police officer, not the horse) – and his dysfunctional team – to “cuff” many police officer misconduct issues, a record number of complaints against WYP were recorded in the police year ended March 2014. Just under 1,000 which is almost a 20% increase on the last published figure.
All that is bad enough but what is Brennan’s response to criticism of his very obvious failings? He refuses to engage with members of the public and/or complainants who have very real concerns about the way in which confidence in the police service as a whole – and WYP in particular – is ebbing away. Brennan also indulges in quite childish antics in an attempt to vex and annoy complainants. Particularly, those whose evidence leaves oficers of his own Department “bang to rights”.
According to a well-placed PSD source that childishness extends to the “Judas” treatment meted out to detectives from Greater Manchester (his former colleagues), who are currently investigating the aforementioned Danny Major miscarriage of justice. Even more remarkable as uPSD are reliably informed that Brennan still has a brother (Dave) working in GMP as a substantive sergeant, based at Oldham police station.
There is also the vexed question of paedophiles operating in the ranks of West Yorkshire Police – the details of the latest two were provided to uPSD within the past fortnight – and of major concern is the details of a paedophile ring that was operated around 15 years ago in Pontefract by the CID in that town. Young girls were procured for sex and also filmed in garage premises in the town. There was also systematic thieving carried on by some of the same group of detectives. West Yorkshire Police’s PSD were made aware last autumn and nothing appears to have been done about it whatsoever by Brennan and his merry men.
But Brennan’s worst failing – and it is one that should, by any measure, end his police career in ignominy – is the blatant covering-up for bent coppers in his own Force and, more crucially, in his own Professional Standards Department. At the top of that list come uPSD regular Damian Carr who, due to “protection” he enjoys from Brennan now faces the prospect of a private prosecution on the back of four separate complainants, who each have substantive/probative evidence of misconduct in public office and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Brennan refuses to take statements from any of the four.
Another PSD villain is DI Andrew Knapton who according to uPSD’s source has been caught out dishonestly deceiving an outside force and obstructing their investigation. That same outside force were warned only weeks before by justice campaigner, Neil Wilby, that Knapton could not be trusted under any circumstances. That was a view based on Wilby’s own personal dealings with that officer who, incredibly, served in the Anti-Corruption section of PSD for almost three years after concerns were raised about his integrity.
Next up in the Brennan protected gang of crooks would be DCI Osman Khan (pictured top right), who faces a similar private prosecution fate if the Force refuse to launch a criminal investigation into his corrupt failings in the Tony Ramsden case. Brennan is currently on notice in this regard.
Other notable “duds” under Brennan’s protective wing are his “bag-carrier” DCI Simon Bottomley and Supt Gary Baker. Both of whom feature elsewhere on this website. Bottomley, amongst other serious failings, wilfully and repeatedly breached a legal undertaking not to copy or distribute filmed evidence belonging to a victim. Brennan is busy, busy trying to extricate his mate from that particular dark hole. Baker is similarly compromised in attempting to cover up a serious assault on a member of the public and criminal damage to his property. An incident that was filmed in its entirety and unbeknown to the police assailant who not only tried to over up his criminal acts, attempted to have the victim prosecuted for breach of the peace.
But the two biggest fish that Brennan refuses to net both sit on the Command Team of West Yorkshire Police and both have ACPO rank. In fact, one of them, ACC John Robins, has held the PSD portfolio in recent times. Robins is at the centre of a PCC election offences cover-up that is still rumbling on 19 months after the poll and now has its second outside police force (Humberside follow Cumbria) investigating the irregularities. The other is ACC Geoff Dodd whose role in the Danny Major fit-up, then cover-up, is becoming ever more alarming. Particularly, in covering up offences by the criminal in uniform, Kevin Liston (read more here).
Another big fish still wriggling away from Brennan’s highly selective net is DCI (now Supt) Steve Bennett whose full role in the cover-up of the Danny Major miscarriage of justice has now come to light. For more on Bennett click here.
We then turn to Brennan’s role in the John Elam miscarriage of justice case that was raised in Parliament at the end of January 2014. This is a high profile matter that potentially is going to cause huge damage, not just to West Yorkshire Police, but the service as a whole. Brennan’s response to that? He ducks and dives like an East End pickpocket and refuses to engage with John Elam’s advisors. Brennan is also the key suspect as the officer who informed West Yorkshire’s Police & Crime Commissioner that Mr Elam was a Russian mafia gangster, a murderer and an international drug dealer. Without a single shred of proof. Brennan is also dodging the question of Production Orders for evidential materials obtained from Mr Elam’s bank, and around which investigative and prosecutorial misconduct centres, which would enable the Elam team to progress his fight for justice.
There will be much more to follow on Brennan and his band of bent PSD coppers as more members of the public come forward with their own tales of malpractice. In the meantime, uPSD will contact every policing and political body available to make it widely known that a senior officer such as Brennan has spent his career contributing to evidence chains when, on the face of it, much of that work must now be tainted by what is now known of the antics of this “highly regarded detective”.