Page last updated 16th June 2013 at 1430
To the eyes of most of the UK – and beyond – Sir Norman Bettison is a bigger villain than David Crompton. But the latter fully deserves his place at the top table of Rogue Officers as this narrative will clearly demonstrate .
The two of them worked closely together at West Yorkshire Police, between 2006-2012, and uPSD say they are both very much of a kind. Each of them demonstrably the type of dodgy cops of which the police service needs to quickly purge itself – if it is to retain the confidence of an increasingly despairing public: Highly fond of themselves and prepared to indulge criminal acts to get their own way, avoid so-called ‘reputational damage’ and conceal the truth from an unsuspecting public.
These are very strong words – and highly emotive – but perfectly justifiable on all the evidence before uPSD. We are more than happy to have that tested in any public forum, or Court, of Crompton’s own choosing. As this page was first broadcast on 30th December 2012 the assumption is that “Disaster Dave” is not relishing such a contest.
David Crompton, cherished son of disgraced ex-HMIC Sir Dan Crompton should never have been allowed to take up a Chief Constable’s role anywhere, let alone in South Yorkshire, where they were always going to face a firestorm of criticism concerning the Hillsborough Disaster. But South Yorkshire Police were desperate – and he was being plugged for the role by Labour Party contacts close to the appointing body, South Yorkshire Police Authority. Once Stuart Hyde withdrew his candidacy to take up the Chief’s role at Cumbria Constabulary, SYP and Crompton were stuck with each other. Some may even say, deserve one another.
Crompton features in a number of high profile uPSD Case Studies where his incompetence, poor judgement and preparedness to go to any lengths to suppress the truth are a recurring feature. Crompton was a key player in concealing sustained racial discrimination against BME officers at West Yorkshire Police (read here) and operated Kangaroo Courts in the cases of the high profile Danny Major miscarriage of justice , the Gary Marsden-I’Anson case and the Cross Border Team debacle, in which 35 police years were needlessly lost through unwarranted suspensions. This cost the West Yorkshire taxpayer almost £1.5 million.
The Danny Major case is set to cause Crompton further huge embarassment as the expectation is now that Danny’s name will be fully cleared by the end of 2015 and the conviction quashed. Greater Manchester Police are currently conducting an outside force investigation under the codename Operation Lamp – and what has been found in terms of the scope and extent of the framing and cover-up that followed has shocked hardened GMP detectives. Crompton can, quite rightly, expect savage criticism from the Major family and loud calls for his resignation.
Crompton was also a key player in the attempt to reduce or remove pensions from retired Injured on Duty officers that ended up costing the police hundreds of thousands of pounds, another High Court drubbing and the legal costs to go with it. He also picked the wrong group of people to take on here as well as they include some very astute and determined retired detectives who have unearthed a scandalous conspiracy against them that was orchestrated, at least in part, by Crompton.
More significantly, he spent four years as part of the Command Team at West Yorkshire Police who deliberately obstructed the North Yorkshire Police external enquiry into Operation Douglas. This was the notorious, and now nationally-known, sustained and widespread corruption that went on right under the nose of Crompton’s father, also a uPSD Rogue Chief, and an HM Inspector of Constabulary in Wakefield at the material time. It was also the very same Sir Dan Crompton that was wheeled in by West Yorkshire Police to produce what was to be the first of an increasing number of whitewash reports that suggested that perjury and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by very senior officers was nothing for the public to trouble themselves about.
David Crompton also, quite astonishingly, promoted Supt John Holt to be his assistant AFTER Holt’s central role in the massive scandal had been made very clear, inside the Force, by the external police force investigators from North Yorkshire Police. Holt was the chief denigrator and obstructor of the NYP enquiry, aided and abetted by Crompton. What a tangled web was woven by the Crompton family in Wakefield.
One of Crompton’s very first acts, as a newly promoted Chief Constable, was to try and bury a perjury/perverting the course of justice complaint against one of his own South Yorkshire officers, PC 480 Gary Garner. Aided and abetted by his Head of Professional Standards, DCS Neil Jessop, who is one of the 1,444 Hillsborough officers referred to the IPCC. Jessop was allowed to scuttle off into retirement in February 2013 even though his 30 years service were not completed until three months later. This neatly avoids any awkward questions over the Hillsborough cover-up but would not protect Jessop if a rigorous criminal enquiry was instigated over the Garner criminal cover-up. But that is not how things work in South Yorkshire Police as Hillsborough and Orgreave justice campaigners well know.
Crompton himself was under investigation by an outside police force – and monitored by IPCC – at the time of publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel Report (September 12th 2012). This investigation had commenced in May 2012 and followed discrimination allegations made against him by no less than the former Legal Services Director at West Yorkshire Police, Ajaz Hussain. A fact he conveniently forget to mention to reporters, TV Crews and millions of readers/viewers around the UK, and beyond, on the fateful day.
Crompton is now famously exposed by the Daily Star as needing ‘a hug and re-assurance’ from ACPO’s Sir Hugh Orde on the momentous day that the Hillsborough Independent Panel Report was published. We would have said a bucket of ice cold water to wake him up would have been more prescriptive. Crompton didn’t even know who Margaret Aspinall was, until Mark Thompson, Head of Media at SYP reminded him: “David, she’s chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group. She lost her 18-year-old son James in the disaster.” Readers will draw their own conclusions from that gaffe.
As recently as February this year, even worse has emerged as Crompton has been forced to apologise as emails, that he had tried desperately to conceal from public view for the past three months, were forced into the public domain. He accused a group representing Hillsborough families of “lying”. He made the comments in the offending email four days before the publication of the Panel report in September 2012. He said the families’ “version of certain events has become ‘the truth’ even though it isn’t“.
Crompton has not specified what falsehoods he was referring to and has refused to make himself available to answer any further questions. Which is typical of the man known as a “walking disaster” at his previous Force. Or “Duck and Dive David”.
Crompton emailed the force’s Assistant Chief Constable Andy Holt (also ACPO lead for football policing matters), and Mark Thompson (see above) on 8th September 2012, four days before the Hillsborough Independent Panel Report was released. The offensive email was ordered to be disclosed by the South Yorkshire Police & Crime commissioner, Shaun Wright, following a Freedom of Information request by the Daily Star’s Jonathan Corke. The game was up for Crompton as soon as that decision was reached.
The Police Commissioner said the Independent Police Complaints Commission and the Home Secretary, Theresa May, had both been informed of the existence of the email and he was “disappointed at the use of such language” by Crompton. IPCC Commissioner Nicholas Long concurred and noted that the content of David Crompton’s email was “at best ill judged, and at worst offensive and upsetting”
In the email, Mr Crompton asked for a meeting with Mr Holt and Mr Thompson to discuss launching a web page about Hillsborough, with links to documents including previous apologies and memos. He continued: “We then publicise it on Twitter. In effect, it amounts to the case for the defence. One thing is certain – the Hillsborough Campaign for Justice will be doing their version… in fact their version of certain events has become ‘the truth’ even though it isn’t“. Really?
Crompton concludes “I just have the feeling that the media ‘machine’ favours the families and not us, so we need to be a bit more innovative in our response to have a fighting chance, otherwise we will just be roadkill.”
Professor Phil Scraton, author of the iconic book the ‘Hillsborough – The Truth’ and, of course, principal author of the Hillsborough Independent Panel (HIP) report said after reading Crompton email and apology: “As the Panel’s Report showed, the phrases used by the Chief Constable such as ‘missing a trick’, ‘case for the defence’ and ‘fighting chance’ demonstrate a mindset that prevailed in the Force at the time of Hillsborough.
“In content, language, presentation and style his comments reflect the defensive, disingenuous damage limitation that typified senior officers’ responses in the aftermath of the disaster and revealed by the Panels’s research”. Professor Scraton added: “Whatever his eventual public statement of apology, just days before the Report was published, behind the scenes he remained concerned only with preserving the reputation of his Force”.
It was, of course, a reputation severely impugned by the actions South Yorkshire Police’s own senior officers at the time. So the burning question is now: Will Shaun Wright’s actions, as their Police Commissioner, in forcing this issue into the light prompt the hapless, and hopeless, Mark Burns-Williamson into doing the same with an officer alleged to have been central in such impugning of the families’ reputations? Bettison’s Hillsborough emails, which West Yorkshire Police are doing their level best to conceal, were requested at the same time as their South Yorkshire counterparts. Again the requestor was the enterprising Jonathan Corke of the Daily Star.
Four months down the line and , as usual, with Burns-Williamson there is a complete silence on anything to do with police corruption and the Bettison emails stay hidden. But uPSD will cotinue to apply relentless pressure on the Commissioner on this and the many other issue he ducks away from.
The revelations in mid-April that Crompton’s South Yorkshire Police had continued to conceal key documents from the Hillsborough Independent Panel, despite many assurances to the contrary including from Crompton himself, that everything was out in the open. uPSD were a lone voice last September in saying that the prospect of SYP not holding back the most damaging material was inconcievable.
A further outfall from Crompton’s offensive Hillsborough remarks came in mid-June when he was made the subject of an outside force investigation led by the Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire police after another intervention by Shaun Wright. This followed a formal complaint by solicitors representing a number of concerned family members.