Monday, September 20, 2010

Police Investigative Methods

Following on from our post of 19 August 2010, in which we decried the fact that after a FOI request, one demand for an internal review and one complaint to the FOI team within the Information Commissioner’s Office, the mystery surrounding the content of paragraphs 8 to 18 in the assessment report complied by the Metropolitan Police in response to our allegations about the Gaul RFI remained unresolved.

Persistence, however, brought some results, for, after having submitted another complaint - this time to the Data Protection team within the Information Commissioner’s Office - the Met was forced to release their case assessment report - unredacted.

And what a letdown that was. The eleven paragraphs in question refer exclusively to our allegations in respect of the 2004 Gaul RFI, which they reproduce therein almost word for word. No personal data in there, except for our names mentioned once or twice. A copy of the Met’s unredacted report can be seen HERE.

The report contains no information to suggest that the Met contacted any witnesses or in any way probed the alleged facts.
Contrary to what we had expected, the Specialist Crime Unit in the Met does not appear to have even tried to obtain any further information about the case, by contacting for example, experts in the domain, the Department for Transport, the Gaul RFI legal teams, the Treasury Solicitor, the representatives of the victims’ families or any other witnesses.
The Met, although conceding in an addendum to their assessment report that "the Inquiry’s findings as to why various chutes were open are not necessarily correct" [LINK], chose not to pursue the matter any further.

At the end of their assessment, they concluded that, based on the information we had provided at that time, they were "unable to find sufficient evidence to support any further investigation into the allegation" and that they "did not detect fraud, any other crime, or any other matter which warrants any further Police investigation.".

Based on the same approach, the police could just as well refuse to investigate a murder and claim that, although it was reported that a person had been seen gunned down on the street, they did not visit the scene or verify any of the alleged facts, and that, therefore, there was insufficient evidence to suggest that a crime might have been committed.

Back in December 2008, in their first refusal to disclose the contents of their case assessment report, the Met argued that the disclosure would expose to the layman the "operational methodology and investigative techniques" of the Police. They were quite right. Now, that we’ve seen the unredacted report, we know precisely what these techniques really are.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A trip down memory lane

Having recently leafed through some old books about the Gaul, we found an interesting paragraph at page 62 in John Nicklin’s book, The Loss of the Motor Trawler GAUL, which we have reproduced below.

Sadly, Mr Nicklin is no longer with us and will not be able to read copies of two of the official memos that were circulated at that time (see below). These memos provide the answer to his question as to why the Department of Trade, who had commissioned the NMI report on the Gaul, declined to make its findings public.

The last paragraph in the memo above shows that the Department of Trade were not prepared to permit the publication of the NMI report on the Gaul’s stability, for fear that its conclusions might provide evidence to one of the parties to the litigation.

The above memo shows that only after the prospect of litigation had disappeared did the NMI think it likely that the Department of Trade would grant permission to make the results of their research public.

Unfortunately, this is all we have time for at the moment, but we shall come back to this subject (and to the Trident affair) in due course.