On Tuesday 5th February 2013, a group of Justice Campaigners from West Yorkshire, and beyond, assembled outside the Police Commissioners office in Wakefield.
The public-dodging, policing man of the people, Mark Burns-Williamson couldn’t even be bothered to come to the door or a window. Neither could his tricky gold-plated string puller, Fraser Sampson.
After protesting at the palatial Ploughland House, peacefully, for around an hour the procession walked the short distance via Queen Street and Wood Street to the top-secret IPCC Wakefield office at Pioneer House, Woolpacks Yard where nationally-known campaigner, Michael Doherty, invited Senior Caseworker, (name redacted for legal reasons), to sit in the now famous ‘IPCC Coffin’. The IPCC representative who answered the doorside intercom stated that Ms xxxx was ‘not available’.
Nonetheless, Michael Docherty treated the IPCC staff – and most others in Woolpacks Yard – to a demonstration of his oratory skills with an unrehearsed, passionate, off the cuff speech that will have shaken listeners to the core. Michael really is a Parliamentary-class speaker
Another nationally-known Justice Campaigner was also at the head of the march. Step forward, Ian Puddick, another quite brilliant speaker who gave the IPCC staff cowering inside a lesson in how to conduct yourself and articulate the justice message.
Others addressing concerns were nationally-known Janet Alder and justice campaigners representing the bereaved Grainger family. Also present, and supporting everyone in his irrepressible way, was another widely respected campaigner Miguel Cubells who braved a snow laden Pennines to travel from the Rugby League kingdom of Wigan.
Also front rank and handling the megaphone in style was Cedric Christie, a retired West Yorkshire Police detective, now nationally known for his exploits as runner-up in the West Yorks PCC elections and the Major Family whose campaign to clear Danny’s name received a boost last week with the appointment of an outside police force to re-investigate certain crucial aspects of his conviction. To read more about Danny Major’s case click here. Neil Wilby addressed the IPCC on behalf of the Majors. His polite and respectful invitation to Ms xxxx to address the throng briefly was also to no avail.
Protesters then moved around the corner to the splendid Old Courtroom at Wakefield Town Hall where the Police Scrutiny Panel met. After making their feelings known to several Panel Members, many of whom served on the old Police Authority, the campaigners sat respectfully through what was a quite farcical Meeting.
The purposes of the placard waving assembly was to raise awareness of the dilatory and unlawful manner in which the Police Commissioner, the IPCC and the West Yorkshire Police Force Solicitor, Mike Percival, approach public complainants and those seeking information. documents or evidential material from them. Although short on numbers it was a happy, cohesive and orderly group who made their points in an entirely appropriate and peaceful way.
Wakefield NPT inspector, Richard Close and Public Order specialist Inspector Dave Westwood supervised the march on behalf of West Yorkshire Police and both they, and their respective teams, left a very good impression on the campaigners, with their professionalism and courtesy throughout. This added value to what was considered to be a successful if not foot-numbing day.