Copwatch – October 2008 to January 2009

We’re posting the backlog of our Copwatch stories and you’ll be glad to hear that we’ll be regularly updating you on the activities of the boys and girls in blue…

Cardiff Cops “Bullied” Witness in Lynette White Case

Mark Grommek

Mark Grommek

A witness in one of Wales’s most notorious miscarriages of justice was “bullied” into lying by police, a court heard recently. Mark Grommek, a Cardiff man, initially said he knew nothing about the murder of prostitute Lynette White, who was stabbed more than 50 times on Valentine’s Day, 1988. Later Grommek signed a statement which “he knew to be a tissue of lies” after what he called “bullying” by South Wales Police. His words led to three men being convicted of murder, although the conviction was later overturned.

The CPS is now reviewing the case again to see if it can bring charges against the cops involved, but how many more innocent people are in jail because of bully-boy tactics from Welsh rozzers?

 I Spy…

Not content with spying on the public using CCTV and special anti-protest tactics, cops have started wasting public money by spying on their own officers!

watch out, there's a rozzer about

watch out, there's a rozzer about

South Wales Police wasted £100,000 keeping one of its own coppers under surveillance after it wrongly suspected he was faking post-traumatic stress disorder following a football riot. Eleven coppers were used to spy on Pc Mark Pugh, a dog handler, who said he’d feared for his life while policing a footie match. Pugh later became “severely depressed and even suicidal” claiming he couldn’t work any more after being on the receiving end of some rough stuff at the hands of Cardiff City and Leeds United fans in 2002.

But the former rugby player was refused a full disability pension as South Wales Police suspected he was malingering. A special surveillance op was set up to keep watch him at his home in Quakers Yard, near Merthyr. Eleven cops from two forces spied on him for months. Evidence gathered included footage of him watching rugby matches and putting the rubbish out!

Dougie Woods, chief bean-counter for South Wales Police, tried to justify the expense: “As a publicly-funded organisation, the force has a duty to manage and reduce sickness levels. Sometimes, where there is concern about a person’s prolonged sickness, we will investigate further.”

 Cardboard Copouts!

The Vale of Glamorgan’s bonkers bobbies have revealed the latest weapon in the fight against crime – life-sized cop-shaped cardboard cut-outs! The two-dimensional police officers are to be placed in the windows of businesses to deter criminals, and if successful, the scheme could be rolled out across South Wales.

spot the difference

spot the difference

So far Vale police have five cut-outs, which cost around £100 each to produce and will be put in petrol stations and supermarkets where shoplifting has been a problem in the past.

Unsurprisingly, the scheme’s precedents in Derbyshire have not been very successful – and a number have been stolen! CCTV captured a man carrying one out of a Co-op store in Long Eaton after paying for his shopping at the till. The theft has not been solved.

Welsh cop, Sergeant Matt Rowlands said: “We hope that, at a glance, thieves think the image is a real officer. We believe they will act as a deterrent and that will free up staff to deal with more serious crimes.”

One rule for us…

A South Wales police officer arrested on suspicion of drugs offences in 2007 is still suspended on full pay. Two rozzers were arrested in September last year but it’s already been decided not to press charges, and one of them is still getting his full pay-packet while putting his feet up at home.

Top cop Stuart Anderson, head of the force’s professional standards department, said: “The CPS has decided no criminal charges will be brought against either of the two officers. Any criminal or gross misconduct allegations against police officers are, as a matter of course, viewed very seriously and in this particular case a full and thorough investigation has been conducted by the South Wales Police professional standards department.”

We don’t speak fluent Cop-ese but we think this translates as something like: “Don’t you realise this is a police officer we’re talking about here? The same rules don’t apply to us, don’t you know? I can confidently predict the whole thing will be swept under the carpet in a couple of months once the newspapers have lost interest.”

Thug cop beats kid

Daniel Gaffney

Daniel Gaffney

Thug cop Daniel Gaffney from Greater Mancs Police has been jailed for three months after attacking a 12yr old boy in custody at a police station. Not content with leaving the boy with an apparent broken nose, Gaffney then lied to his bosses, claiming the boy had fallen. We can only hope that Gaffney discovers a similar problem with the stairs in whichever prison he ends up in.

Cardiff cops free to stop & search

South Wales Police is among 10 forces now being allowed by the government to stop and search people in so-called “knife-crime hotspots” without issuing a full record. This requirement was brought in following a recommendation from the Stephen Lawrence inquiry. Now cops will get away with giving a searched person a card, explaining how to complain if they are not happy with the way they’ve been treated. Police accountability? Don’t make us laugh.

Paedophile cop

Marc Mitchell paedophile cop

Marc Mitchell paedophile cop

After working on a paedophile enquiry himself in 2005, sergeant Marc Mitchell was convicted in September of having dozens of images of child porn on his computer. Mitchell escaped prison after Liverpool judges took pity on him – now where have we heard of cops avoiding prison sentences before…?

Bent copper shock!

Met anti-terrorist Det Sgt Richard de Cadenet has been convicted of running up more than £73,000 on the force’s American Express card. De Cadenet was convicted at Southwark Crown Court after the court heard how he paid for holidays in Mexico and Thailand, along with a corporate box at a Premier League club, with taxpayers’ money. De Cadenet got off with a mere 10 months and lots of sympathy from the judge.

More bent coppers shock!!

Freedom of Information requests have revealed how dozens of coppers across Wales have been arrested and convicted of a huge range of crimes in the past two years, including child pornography, sexual assault, arson, possession of Class A drugs, corruption, forgery, and best of all, intimidating witnesses. Some enterprising cops even managed to carry these crimes out while on the job. South Wales Police arrest on average a bent copper a month. And across the country, more than 800 police officers in England and Wales have been arrested for a range of offences including rape, paedophilia, child cruelty, assault, fraud, drink driving and drug charges. Between April 2006 and August 2008, 812 officers were arrested. 300 were Metropolitan officers, including 123 arrests for violence against the person and 17 for sex offences. Copwatchers won’t be running out of stories anytime soon!

Road to perdition

Greedy pigs

Three South Wales Valleys councils (Rhondda Cynon Taf, Bridgend and Merthyr Tydfil) have recently struck a £75 million deal to manage road and other civil engineering projects with Capita, one of the UK’s most notorious outsourcing companies. Graham Cogswell, Crapita’s managing director said:

“We have a proven track record of improving services and job creation through local authority partnerships across the UK and Wales in particular.”

Improving services? We wonder what planet Mr Cogswell has been on for the last decade. Despite winning contracts worth hundreds of millions of pounds of our money, Crapita and its vast network of subsidiaries are bywords for incompetence and, in some cases, corruption. They’ve botched staff administration services at Leicester Hospitals NHS Trust and the BBC where staff details were lost. Crapita was awarded the contract to run Individual Learning Accounts (ILAs), the government adult skills policy, which collapsed after fraudulent claims resulted in a £60 million overspend. In 2002 the company failed to provide adequate computer systems to the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) causing lengthy delays in the provision of police checks for people wanting to work with children. And to cap it all, Capita Financial Administration was fined £300,000 in 2004 by the Financial Services Authority after some of its staff helped to defraud customers.

So why does Crapita carry on winning lucrative government contracts? Could it possibly be because its former chairman, Rod Aldridge, made a secret loan of £1 million to Crapita’s New Labour pay masters before the last elections?

Clearly councillors in RCT, Merthyr and Bridgend have every confidence in the new partnership. South Wales Anarchists, however, do not and we deplore the way public services are being hived off to private sector cowboys. Watch out for the pot holes!