Page last updated Sunday 16th May 2013 at 1655hrs
West Yorkshire Police has an entrenched culture of institutional bullying which routinely takes honest officers along a career treadmill of transgression and misconduct. It was a subject raised repeatedly in the PCC election campaign of retired detective, Cedric Christie, who sent shockwaves around the county when defeating established political party candidates in finishing second in the poll. His single stamped ticket for the election was to drive out corruption from his former Force.
This bullying culture instils fear in decent, genuine officers and the Masonic-dominated hierarchy of West Yorkshire Police Federation consistently fails to protect their Members from this hostile environment. Many officers have highlighted that they have no confidence in the Federation, to whom they contribute their fees, and are wary of their closeness to the Masonic-led Senior Management Team and ACPO-ranked officers. The Federation also are well aware of pathetically weak grievance investigations into supervisors and describe the organisation, policies and procedures as ‘window dressing’. This fear of victimisation results in the West Yorkshire Police having a ‘Bond of Silence’. Honest officers are oppressed into being immoral, unethical and criminal in their duties due to a misguided loyalty harnessed only through fear.
Whistle blowing or standing up for colleagues within the organisation is almost unheard of, because good officers know that if they raise their head above the parapet, the ‘big guns’ are ready to be take it clean off. Interestingly, in 2011 the Occupational Health Unit ranked ACC Ingrid Lee (a Supt at the time) as the number 2 bully in the Force measured by referrals to them. No 1 was her immediate superior at the time, Organised Crime Unit boss, DC/Supt Howard Crowther.
These are just some of the reasons officers have given for not blowing the whistle: Fear of not providing for their family, lack of skills to get another job in this poor economic climate, unable to find a similar paid job, handcuffed to their pension and fear of unfounded allegations being made against them by their Professional Standards Department. This culture has widespread, devastating consequences for the public and other police officers in the same Force. A number of serving, retired and ex-colleagues have given a very disturbing insight into the routine malpractices adopted by West Yorkshire Police on a daily basis. The unprofessional, and sometimes unlawful, conduct officers frequently undertake includes:
1. “Shonk it, bin it, get rid of it, file it” are often phrases used by officers when looking at a victim’s crime report. Officers become masters of manipulation and lies to write off a crime in the drive to be National Crime Recording Standards (NCRS) compliant. This often needs Enid Blyton style fictional skills to change what has already been written on the internal computerised STORM Call Log when the victim initially calls.
2. Being forced/intimidated to pressing their Code 6 (Officer arrived at scene) button before they have arrived to hit their precious targets. This is common in immediate ‘999’ calls where the expectation is officers arrive within 15 minutes. Officers not hitting the target time are not necessarily neglectful, or lazy, but inundated with STORM calls (both Emergency 999 and non immediate 101 calls). Why do the West Yorkshire Police insist government budget cuts will affect public safety when they are lying about arrival times for their own reputation ahead of public safety? This is concerning on many levels; some officers who are responding in back up often don’t continue after a couple of minutes because they believe the situation is in hand. This is a safety risk to the initial arriving officer on two fronts. Firstly they could be faced with an immediate threat and needed instant back up which has already diverted away and because if something serious happened in the time the officer stated he had arrived, to the time he actually arrived, he would face career threatening questions on why he had lied! Naturally the public are also at risk if the back up officers divert and they where needed to stop a dangerous situation.
3. Once at any call, police officers are already indoctrinated by the organisation on how to deal with set calls by the perennial need to manipulate and falsify outcomes and figures. Some examples are; the well known immoral notion to reduce Home Office violent crime figures by arresting for Drunk and Disorderly (D&D) instead of Section 5 Public Order Act. The massaged-figures mantra put out by West Yorkshire Police is that you are now safer from vicious violent crime when, in reality, you are not. This has led to some comical situations in custody suites where officers are booking in prisoners for being drunk when they are sober as a judge. D&D prisoners have been known to say ‘sorry for swearing’ but haven’t had a drink at all tonight. I was just letting off some steam.
4. Another well established practise which CID have mastered over the years is to record robberies as ‘A Theft and an Assault’. Again this is done in an effort to please the Home Office that they are a force driving down vital crimes like ‘Robbery’. More disturbingly so the police Senior Management Team receives bonus payments based on these falsehoods which amounts to fraud by false representation. Another unrecorded crime.
(a) A person is guilty of robbery if he steals, and immediately before or at the time of doing so, and in order to do so, he uses force on any person or puts or seeks to put any person in fear of being then and there subjected to force.
(b) A person guilty of robbery, or of an assault with intent to rob, shall on conviction on indictment be liable to imprisonment for life.
5. In West Yorkshire Police they choose to record many robberies as ‘Theft from person’ claiming there was no violence or fear of violence. Alternatively, it is recorded as a ‘Theft from person’ and a separate ‘Assault’. The maximum penalty for theft is seven years. By illegally recording the incorrect crime, potentially many dangerous and real criminals are left to continue to impose fear in the communities they terrorise.
6. Burglaries recorded as ‘Theft in Dwelling’.
7. Motor vehicles that have been stolen and then burnt out have simply been recorded as an arson.
8.Anti Social Behaviour (ASB) can be an inconvenience to some people but can seriously harm others. The media has printed many stories where ASB has made people commit suicide or driven the elderly into an early grave. Others are forced to become prisoners in their own homes. What do the West Yorkshire Police do to deal with this potentially dangerous offence? Ask any almost officer the question of how they routinely ‘shonk’ the call and they will repeat these words “Area search, no gain”. The Force target requirement is that these ASB calls are dealt with within an hour.
9. Taken into Consideration (TIC’s) crime is when offenders admit other crime offences after being charged with an offence. Although the presence of TICs may increase the sentence, the additional penalty will be less severe than if the offences were prosecuted separately. This gives the offender the chance to wipe the slate clean. The benefit to the Police is they get better detection rates without having had to investigate the crime. This method sounds too good to be true. The reality is that offenders get charged with one offence and then they have been known to TIC hundreds of crimes and only receive the punishment for approximately 2/3 crimes. This is a massive incentive for the criminal and the police detection rates. In a startling comparison to Operation Douglas were officers offered inducements of drugs, alcohol and prostitutes, officers take the offender for a McDonald’s meal deal, coffee and give out cigarretes in return for TICs. Sometimes pressure is applied and criminals admit TIC offences that they haven’t committed. Other offenders have admitted their own crime only to find out somebody else has already admitted it. Criminals are driven around areas to identify past crimes. In reality, they should have some evidential knowledge of the crime for it to be identified as one of their own TIC’s, not just a swap for a Big Mac.
10. Officers giving out Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN’s) to generally law abiding citizens, like blood thirsty dogs, when Home Office initiatives are announced for set periods ie no seat belt, minor speeding, incorrect registration plates etc when a discretional VDRS Form or words of advice would be the most sensible, public-facing option.
11. Telling arrested people to just accept a Police Caution as it won’t affect them in later life when it can and has quite severely. It is an admission of guilt and carries the same weight as a conviction for the offence.
12. Alteration location of crime in order to show ‘reductions’ in known blackspots. For example, one retired officer has given us this illustration from some years ago: Road accidents – The A64, York Road, at its junction with the A63 was a notorious accident blackspot when it was a roundabout (now altered), close to the old Gipton Police Station. The dictum for Road Traffic officers was to reduce accidents on the A64. So, whereas the accident reports submitted showed the location as A64 – Junction with the A63, Officers were told to alter it to A63 – Junction with A64. Lo and behold, the accident statistics on the A64 fell to virtually zero. However, the next year the A63 statistics went up! So the next year, it was back to the old system, A64, junction A63.
13. Another classic example submitted by the same officer concerns “Continuing Offences”. On one occasion, crimes were reported as ‘Thefts from Vehicle’, a number of which came in on one road at the same time. When the Officer submitted a number of these crimes, they were told to submit it as one crime, as it was a “continuing offence”. There was no suspect at these crimes. Some time later, the exact same situation occurred in another area of Leeds, but someone was arrested. The crimes were then all recorded as separate crimes, due to detection rates then showing a better clear up!
The latest survey figures from West Yorkshire Police reveal reductions in almost every category, a trend that allowed the Police and Crime Commissioner to say that crime had continued to fall despite the challenge of reduced police budgets. The political preoccupation with declaring reduced crime figures, year-on-year, has meant that the official figures had excluded new types of crime. West Yorkshire Police has been driven for nearly 15 years by the imperative to demonstrate year-on-year reductions in crime. So it has developed not only a bullying ‘win at all costs’ mindset but one which is resistant to recognising new types of crime, such as card fraud and the many scams perpetrated over the internet, and has been more than happy for the Home Office to absolve it of taking any responsibility for them. A classic, high profile example of that has been the advance fee frauds
Statistics have shown that the vast majority of offences committed in the County are categorised as property crime, such as burglarly or theft, whilst nationally undertaken research indicates that card fraud was three times as common as theft from the person, and at least as prevalent as domestic burglary. On top of that, the Home Office’s own research found that only 14% had reported credit card fraud to the police, compared with 91% who had reported it to their bank or credit card company.
Massaging the figures is not a new phenomenon and this is an illuminating view from a former police officer: “I retired from the police in 1998 working in crime statistics. I can confirm to you your instincts are correct. We were instructed to reclassify a number of crimes to make it a lesser offence. A section 18 wounding became a lesser section 20. A section 20 wounding became a lesser section 47. A section 47 became a common assault. An attempt burglary became a lesser criminal damage or even “no crimed” as accidental damage. Robbery became assault with intent to rob.
The list went on and on. I tried in vain to find out who had initiated all of this but to no avail. I was told to stop asking irrelevant questions and get on with my job! I suspect it was either the Home Office or ACPO but could never be sure. Anyway the point is yes I can verify the crime figures where I worked were definitely fiddled or downgraded or whatever you want to call it. All because governments and chief constables want to look as if they are winning the war against crime! Sick or what?!
In conclusion, uPSD say that surely the job of a police officer is to investigate any allegations of crime. If it is a genuine case then why on earth should good, decent police officers be coerced into fake police reports and not interviewing suspects? That is what they are there for. To serve and protect the public. If supervisors and senior officers are creating this kind of culture then they deserve, at the very least, disciplinary action. Or better still, leave the police service altogether.
This page is very much a work in progress as good officers start to come forward. Please check back regularly for updates.