Coffee House

Andrew Mitchell: A strange apology

21 October 2013

4:51 PM

21 October 2013

4:51 PM

Over the past thirteen months since the ‘plebgate’ row broke over Andrew Mitchell and subsequently broke the then chief whip’s career, a number of pieces entitled or themed ‘Andrew Mitchell: An apology’ have appeared here and there as more has come to light about the allegations levelled at Mitchell. In most cases the writers accept that an initial op-ed or blog that they penned about his alleged behaviour wasn’t, with the benefit of hindsight and more information, correct. None have been quite so striking as the statement released this afternoon by the three Police Federation officers who met Mitchell after the allegations surfaced. Here is the statement from Inspector Ken MacKaill of West Mercia Police, Detective Sergeant Stuart Hinton of Warwickshire Police and Sergeant Chris Jones from West Midlands Police:

‘We are making this statement in response to public concern generated by the widely reported outcome of West Mercia’s investigation into matters arising from the meeting we had with Andrew Mitchell MP in his constituency on 12th October 2012.

‘The reputation of, and public confidence in, the police service is of immense concern to each of us.

‘We acknowledge the investigation’s criticism relating to our poor judgement in talking to the media following the meeting with Andrew Mitchell, for which we take this opportunity to apologise.

‘We would like to emphasise (as we did to the investigation) that in no way did any of us ever plan or intend to mislead anyone about what occurred during this meeting or otherwise.’

This is a funny apology indeed. It doesn’t say sorry for what the officers said – which was ‘he’s continuing to refuse to elaborate on what happened: I think his position is untenable’ – but apologises for talking to the media, and then says the officers never intended to ‘mislead anyone about what occurred during this meeting or otherwise’. You can watch the statement the officers gave after the meeting below:

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The chief constables of West Mercia, Warwickshire and West Midlands Police are up before the Home Affairs Select Committee on Wednesday, where they will doubtless by asked by the MPs in the room why on earth their colleagues issued the sort of non-apology that you’d normally hear from a politician, not a policeman.

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Show comments
  • David Booth.

    The three policemen concerned will present a superb target to any half decent barrister defending a client at a criminal trial.
    Having there honesty trashed on live tv in the House of Commons will hardly induce a jury to believe them when they give evidence against the accused.
    Once you’ve lost your good name for honesty as a policeman you will never regain it.

  • snowright

    When is Miliband going to apologise publicly – he is ALWAYS quick to jump on the bandwagon although why should he and the Labour party change tack – they never apologise for anything!
    Twerp.

  • Dick_Turpin

    I’m rather glad I don’t live in any of the areas these three serve. Imagine you report a serious crime, and Insp MacKaill, or either of the other pair, turns up to investigate. Can imagine defence barristers making mincemeat of them in any forthcoming criminal trials too. Sheesh

  • Knives_and_Faux

    They just need to let off some steam batting middle aged ladies around the head dressed as stormtroopers. It’s what they do.

  • wobble

    not exactly a loss to politics , though ….is he ?

  • NewImprovedPretendName

    “where they will doubtless by asked by the MPs in the room why on earth
    their colleagues issued the sort of non-apology that you’d normally hear
    from a politician, not a policeman.”

    Well, given that ousting a Cabinet Minister is a sort of mini-coup, perhaps they don’t know the difference.

    • Kennybhoy

      NewImprovedPretendName wrote:

      “…a sort of mini-coup…”

      Precisely so. Borderline treason.

  • Abhay

    A strange tussle this! A non-apology!
    Shouldn’t the sense of outrage from the elected reps be expressed louder?
    I don’t hear that.

  • Smithersjones2013

    This is a funny apology indeed

    They are sorry they had poor judgement or that they spoke to the media at all? That’s like a convict saying they’re sorry they got caught. Its not an apology as such. Its a thinly disguised “up yours”..

    • telemachus

      As a response to Mitchell’s own not disguised at all up yours

      • Smithersjones2013

        I appreciate that in Teletubby land everything is surreal but even in that context your response has absolutely no relevance at all to three police officers attempting to deceive the media and the wider audience and their subsequent non apology for doing so.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Face it, contempt for the police is rising ever higher in the social stratum.

    • Andy

      Face it, the Police LIED.

  • Real Nurses Don’t Kill

    …but the fact Mitchell admitted using the F word..and wasn’ t charged…..lest we forget….

    • Andy

      Had he been it would have been laughed out of Court. What he said wasn’t an offence.

    • neotelemachus

      Charged with what? Saying f@ck in the presence of a policeman? You would have to arrest the BBC after 9.00 PM every night you numpty. You are not related to the idiot Arden Forrester by any chance? I note that you recommended his inane comment above. It’s like being infested with sub-normal trolls having you lot come here from the Guardian to visit the clever people.

      • Real Nurses Don’t Kill

        What an ignorant bore – to recap from case law and UK Statute…. in August 2005, Andrew Michael Southard was arrested because he swore at a police officer. Southard and his brother were out cycling when two officers stopped them one evening in central Portsmouth. As the officers searched his brother, Andrew took pictures of the incident on his mobile phone saying, “Don’t fu##ng touch me, you can’t touch him.” This and telling the officer to “f##k off” led to his immediate arrest. Southard was charged, and later convicted in the magistrates court, of using “threatening, insulting and abusive behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby, contrary to section 5(1) and (6) of the Public Order Act 1986”.

        The CCTV camera footage clearly showed several independent people were present at the time…..as were Downing Street staff.

        Mitchell did break the law, he admitted it himself.

        And as far as being a member of the ‘loony left’, as you so eloquently put it, I am a lifelong Conservative voter who dislikes hypocrisy. It is precisely this type of squalid behavior that will fuel the growing sense of disenfranchisement, and lose the next election .

        • MikeDLN

          As clarified by Mr. Justice Bean in the Court of Appeal in 2011, when overturning a public order conviction for using the “F” word against a policeman, swearing at a policeman is not a crime.

          He also said that officers were so regularly on the receiving end of the “rather commonplace expletive” that it was unlikely to cause them “harassment, alarm or distress”.

          • Andy

            And had the idiot read the piece of staute he quoted he would have seen that nowhere does it state that swearing at a Police Officer is an offence. But of course Mitchell didn’t swear AT a Police Officer.

            And mi’learned friend is quite correct to quote the judgement in the Court of Appeal.

        • neotelemachus

          If you want to claim you are a lifelong conservative I suggest you remove your Facebook link from Disqus profile and stop posting anti-tory messages. You are obviously a labtard obsessive with a chip on your over-large shoulder.

          As for your rewriting of UK case law and the facts relating to the CCTV footage of the incident in question, how pathetic. Get a life fatso.

        • Knives_and_Faux

          Fuck off love.

        • HJ777

          He didn’t admit to breaking any law. What law do you think he broke?

          He swore in the presence of police officers, he didn’t direct abuse at them. In what way was Mitchell’s behaviour either ‘threatening’, ‘insulting’ or ‘abusive’?

    • Nicholas chuzzlewit

      That is because swearing at a police officer is not against the law of England Wales either Common Law or statute. He did not break a law and thus cannot be charged.

      • Real Nurses Don’t Kill

        You are totally incorrect on both counts –
        (A) Statute: Section 5(1) and (6) of the Public Order Act 1986 – Harassment, alarm or distress.http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1986/64
        5. (1)A person is guilty of an offence if he—
        (a)uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or
        (b)displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,
        within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby.
        (2)An offence under this section may be committed in a public or a private place, except that no offence is committed where the words or behaviour are used, or the writing, sign or other visible representation is displayed, by a person inside a dwelling and the other person is also inside that or another dwelling.
        (3)It is a defence for the accused to prove—
        (a)that he had no reason to believe that there was any person within hearing or sight who was likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress, or
        (b)that he was inside a dwelling and had no reason to believe that the words or behaviour used, or the writing, sign or other visible representation displayed, would be heard or seen by a person outside that or any other dwelling, or
        (c)that his conduct was reasonable.
        (4)A constable may arrest a person without warrant if—
        (a)he engages in offensive conduct which [F2a] constable warns him to stop, and
        (b)he engages in further offensive conduct immediately or shortly after the warning.
        (5)In subsection (4) “offensive conduct” means conduct the constable reasonably suspects to constitute an offence under this section, and the conduct mentioned in paragraph (a) and the further conduct need not be of the same nature.
        (6)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

        (B) Case law, see below.

        • Peter Harrison

          No, it is you that is incorrect. See R v Harvey in the High Court referred to above. You can find the details easily by Googling “bean swearing policeman”. The judge decided that it was unlikely that police officers would be harassed, alarmed or distressed by the swearing in that case which was considerably more extensive than anything Mitchell said (or is reputed to have said).
          Magistrates courts are required to follow judgements made by the High Court so your Southard case is trumped by this case. It is not automatically an offence to swear at (which Mitchell says he didn’t) or in the presence of (which Mitchell admits) a police officer. That will remain the case until this precedent is overturned or parliament changes the law.

  • ButcombeMan

    Because it is absolutely plain that Officers were very deliberately, dishonest, the Constabularies concerned should be examining any criminal convictions in which any of these Officers ever gave evidence.

    They would be wise to set about that before a smart Solicitor brings a case.

    The Constabularies and Chief Officers involved, have some explaining to do. I suspect they did not want to do anything about the dishonesty because they realise the repercussions around criminal cases these Officers had been part of.

    Is the HASC up to the task?

    Probably not. The HASC seems to be about Keith Vaz, rather more than it is about real business.

  • McRobbie

    I think this disingenuous so called apology is even worse than their original “incorrect” statement..all they’ve said is that they wished they had spoken off the record. They are police officers and they did not accurately report what was discussed in their meeting with Mitchell. They lied and should be dealt with accordingly. How can anyone trust the word of a policeman again if these sort of people are allowed to continue in the force?

    • Andy

      Correct. If you were sat on a Jury and these three idiots appeared in the Witness Box to give evidence would you actually believe a word they said ? I wouldn’t. They are liars and should have been dismissed. The fact that the three Chief Constables felt the need to alter the IPCC report shows another three idiots closing ranks to protect their own. Well it wont wash and we should make sure it doesn’t.

  • Russell

    These police officers should be sacked immediately, along with theLabour idiot PCC Bob Jones.

    • Andy

      Seeing him being grilled by Brillo was fun. He made himself look a complete and utter moron. As he campaigned on this issue I think he should resign.

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        He didn’t ‘look’ a complete moron because he ‘is’ a complete moron.

  • Reconstruct

    This is getting brilliant. ‘It’s not the crime that gets you, it’s the coverup.’

    Or, in this case, it’s not the crime, its the apology for the coverup of the coverup of the coverup of the conspiracy that gets them.

    And within a few hours it’ll be the apology for the apology of the coverup of the coverup of the coverup of the conspiracy that gets them.

    • HookesLaw

      The issue is of ckourse a very serious one, one where the police saw foit to ‘fit-up’ a member of the government. Befor this we had the police raid on a tory MPs office and his spurious arrest.

      Various groups (like journalists for instance) have a self interest in undermining the government of the day. In the case of Labour they got round this by corrupting groups like the police and journalists (what else was the operation of Alistair Campbell but one where he corrupted journalists?)

      • Reconstruct

        Of course, you’re absolutely right: this is deadly serious – elements of the police plainly conspired to bring down a Cabinet minister, evidently for political purposes. Heads should, must, roll.

      • Andy

        Well you get it. Yes, it is about a group of Police Officers ‘fitting up’ a Minister of the Crown. The fact that they even considered doing this speaks volumes. They cannot be allowed to get away with it. There should be some sackings and some appointments at the Old Bailey. I also agree that the arrogance of the Police, raiding a Member of Parliament’s Office within the Palace of Westminster should not have gone unpunished.

        • HookesLaw

          I agree with you agreeing with me. I would add that I associate it with a trade union mentality. The motive force was cuts in spending and changes to their terms of employment.

        • Kennybhoy

          Amen.

  • startledcod

    Why doesn’t Andrew Mitchell sue for slander, which would elicit at least a proper apology not the fulsome rubbish above.

    • Andy

      Mitchell should certainly sue the Police Officer who wrote an email to another member of parliament. That was libel. That Police Officer should be dismissed and charged.

    • HookesLaw

      Well I imagine that one reason is that there are investigations still ongoing. But equally I imagine if he won damages he would give it to charity (good for thew charity) so the issue is one of the the truth and the due process of law.

      • startledcod

        The investigation is continuing about the Plebgate incident not the Police Federation meeting. I like HookesLaw’s suggestion of a libel case as well.

      • Andy

        Yes well that ‘investigation’ has been ‘ongoing’ for 13 months. It was as clear as a pike staff that something was amiss within 13 hours. As the Plod has been rather busy interviewing every member of the Diplomatic Protection Squad, regardless of if they had anything to do with this or were even in the country, creating 800 statements strongly suggests the blizzard principle – so much detail and so much paper you can’t find a damn thing.

        As Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe came out with hours to praise the officers concerned I doubt very much that we can expect a proper outcome to these events.

        As to the three cretins in question here the IPCC has already said that the decision by their Chief Constables not to discipline them is wrong and was not what was recommended by the investigating officer – the three Chief Constables altered the report. So no question of any integrity there then.

    • neotelemachus

      He is already suing the Sun, though his lawyers have made a complete mess of that. I would suggest he is waiting for the final exoneration after the useless CPS gets these lying bastards convicted. I hope he goes after those idiots who posted their vile slurs here also – does anyone know if the labtard wannabe Bercow also libelled him? Mitchell can justifiably look forward to a very big payday indeed.

  • Andy

    You only have to watch these three idiots at their ‘press conference’ and then listen to the recording of the meeting – which they were unaware at the time had been made – to understand that these three Police Officers are liars. Why are they still Police Officers ? They are dishonest, dishonourable and despicable. They should be dismissed immediately.

    • HookesLaw

      They make good trade unionists though.

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        Agreed. Also quite fascinating to watch these bumbling idiots discover that they are in a hole and so reach for the spades to keep digging.

        • neotelemachus

          If only they would jump in so we could fill it after them, but unfortunately…..

        • Kennybhoy

          Aye. Corrupt and thick in equal measure…

  • alabenn

    The whole ethos of public service has been corrupted over the last 50 years, it really started to gather momentum with the most base lies issued by public bodies against Thatcher, then we got Blair and the swamp rats called New Labour.
    They have infected all sections of society and stuffed all public bodies with talentless placemen who are basically unemployable anywhere else, it even stretches to the Armed Services with politically correct promotions which will come to destroy in the next few years the service commitment it has not already debased.
    That any of these creatures involved in the framing of Mitchell are still in place reflects how deep this cancer has infected society.

  • Arden Forester

    I don’t understand why these police officers are now being castigated, with half the country now in a complete mental mix-up. To say ‘he’s continuing to refuse to elaborate on what happened: I think his position is untenable’ sounds a reasonable reporting of the situation. OK they probably shouldn’t have spoken to the media but Mitchell says he recorded the meeting. Is a transcript available so we can all determine the truth?

    • Andy

      The three Police Officers in question came out of the meeting and said that Mitchell had refused to give a full account of what had occured at the gates of Downing Street. The recording Mitchell made clearly shows this was untrue. You can heard both Plods press conference and the Mitchell Meeting on youtube – so yes a transcript of the recording is available and in teh public domain. Go and listen.

      • Real Nurses Don’t Kill

        so what?

        • Andy

          Not very bright today are we ? Lets hope these three lying Police Officers fit you up. You might then have a different opinion when doing your bird.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          Let me explain. There is a distinct possibility, according to the IPCC, that the police colluded to falsify evidence which led to the resignation of a cabinet minister. If they are willing to do that to a well connected politician they would hardly hesitate to do the same to an ordinary citizen. Are we clear now?

    • HookesLaw

      You must not be familiar with the facts.

      • Russell

        Or related to Bob Jones PCC and ex Labour Councillor who denied any wrongdoing even after hearing the facts.

        • HookesLaw

          You make a fair and interesting reference to the mans Labour connections.
          Labour and corruption go hand in hand.

          • Russell

            It is no coincidence that the now ‘Lord’ Blair ex Met and many of his cronies that are senior police, alongside senior positions in many taxpayer funded charities and Quangos and the BBC are all dyed in the wool Labour supporters and Tory haters.
            Blair, brown, Campbell, Whelan, Mcnasty and all the other nasty people in labour have stitched up this country good and proper. I think it will take military intervention to rid ourselves of the socialist scum who have infested every area of government and all taxpayer funded. Even the senior military are infected.

          • Nicholas chuzzlewit

            Labour the party of lies, lying and liars.

        • Tony_E

          Of course the BBC didn’t actually mention that he was a Labour PCC when they interviewed him on the matter – as if Miliband’s current silence on the issue after his vociferous attack in the commons (hiding behind his priviledge) was of no consequence to the outcome.

          That’s Vic Derbyshire for you – impartial to the last!

    • Fergus Pickering

      No it doesn’t. Not in the slightest. You are a fool. Send the lying bastards to jail.

    • neotelemachus

      Are you a complete moron, and/or a policeman, perhaps? Have you trouble reading? Are you unable to comprehend how to use: Google, or Bing or Yahoo? The transcript has been available from the IPCC since they produced their report. As you appear to be of limited intelligence, here is where you can read it, or have it read to you if that is beyond your, obviously limited, capabilities.

      http://www.ipcc.gov.uk/sites/default/files/Documents/investigation_commissioner_reports/Transcript%20of%20meeting.pdf

      • Arden Forester

        Thank you most kindly for the link. Us morons do indeed need a helping hand from time to time.

        • neotelemachus

          That will be £5 cretin. You can pay it towards Mr Mitchell’s legal costs.

          • Andy

            You should have charged him £10.

          • Arden Forester

            Being both a moron and a cretin with a modicum of cerebral nous I’ve just read the transcript. Mitchell does deny using the word pleb, and says so on his honour. But he seems rather diffident about having to repeat it in a court of law, suggesting that would not happen. This bit I find strange. Is his honour at variance with his oath?

            • neotelemachus

              Christ, you are even more stupid than I thought. £10 please.

              • Andy

                Demand £20.

  • Faceless Bureaucrat

    “‘The reputation of, and public confidence in, the police service is of immense concern to each of us.”
    Glad to hear it – so when are you three lying scumbags resigning with a full loss of your Pension rights?
    Just askin’…

    • telemachus

      They have had the good grace to apologise in respect of the distress of talking to the media
      You have to remember that while there was much hype in the media following the statement of that PCC woman, the statement of the Commissioner that they had done nothing wrong was little reported
      We have to go back to Mitchell’s own statement confessing to swearing at the Police toiling to protect him
      Less sympathy please for a Minister of the crown who does not know how to behave

      • neotelemachus

        And right on cue, fresh from his Labtard HQ briefing, we have #1 idiot to add to the spread of lefty lies. That makes 3 idiots so far including Forrester and the fat Nurse, so just waiting for idiots numbers 2&3, Lindsay and guevara, to join us and we will have a full house.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          I have just marked the idiot down and will now sit back and watch as he pollutes the entire thread with his bizarre comments.

          • neotelemachus

            You have to pity him. He isn’t very bright and can only cut and paste or write what the fat controller Balls tells him. I am sure he is a sexual inadequate or something like that – it would go some way to explaining his obsessive behaviour.

          • telemachus

            Better to pollute the thread of a right wing magazine than pollute the Downing Street air with the F word thrust at one of our hard pressed public servants
            The media, obsessed a year ago with knifing a Government Minister, now wish to atone
            But conveniently forget that a silver spoon Minister swore at a working class minion
            I have not heard shame or contrition
            Save your abuse for those who deserve it

            • Nicholas chuzzlewit

              you deserve all the abuse you get.

            • neotelemachus

              Stop crying you pussie and take your beating like the man you wish you were.

            • RavenRandom

              Angry man swears and apologises. Not good but not earth shattering. Police fit up Government minister and lie on record. Hmm much more serious.

            • Marcus

              ‘our hard pressed public servants’
              Why so?

          • snowright

            Perhaps if you ignore him he will go away.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          What a truly depressing prospect.

        • Andy

          The Fascists are out in force tonight.

          • telemachus

            Yes
            Chuzzlewit should be proscribed

            • Andy

              You should be.

            • neotelemachus

              Lie, cheat, ban, pollute, destroy, spin, libel, smear – the Telemachus guide to lefty politics. Disgusting.

              • Andy

                That’s what evil Fascists do.

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        In the absence of Colonel Mustard I will do the honours and call this grade A tripe. were you expressing the same concerns when that oaf Gordon Brown was hurling phones at civil servants?

        • telemachus

          Mustard is off trying to figure how to praise the European Court of Human Rights in their Russian Judgement
          Mustard needs to understand that if you find 21000 bodies riddled with German Bullets then there can only be one conclusion

          • Nicholas chuzzlewit

            yes Stalin was a murderous swine. the relevance of this matter to this thread?

            • telemachus

              Speccie, usually hot on crazy ECHR judgements, has omitted to attack that of today
              On this occasion I would agree with Speccie
              They did not give me the opportunity so I created it

              • Andy

                We are busy attacking your stooges in the Police Force. Now get ye back to the Fascist Party HQ where you belong.

          • neotelemachus

            Yes, your friends the National Socialists killed your enemies, fighters for freedom and democracy.

          • Hexhamgeezer

            Enough.

            You should be barred and will be asking why you aren’t..

      • The Laughing Cavalier

        Not an apology but weasel words.

      • mikewaller

        You are making a perfect fool of yourself by repeatedly demonstrating that, to you, right and wrong are matters of supreme indifference. Normally you would be kicking the police; but in a case of police vs. a politician, you sad little mental algorithm instructs you to kick the latter quite regardless of the merits of the case. Any chance that some time soon you could actually start exercising judgement?

      • Dick_Turpin

        Mitchell was perfectly entitled to be somewhat ticked off with them. They were obstructing him trying to lawfully ride his bike out of the Downing Street gates. Part of their duty – the very reason they were there – is to open the thing to anyone with right of entry/exit and to deny entry to anyone without such entitlement.

        Whether AM had enough attitude and “previous” to prompt them to try and teach him a lesson is, or should have been, irrelevant. Whether they liked it or not, the job of this pair involved letting Mitchell out through the road gate. Telling him instead to ride his bike on the pavement was at least laziness on their part, if not a deliberate attempt to bait him – and he has a certain amount of justification for the “I thought you were supposed to f***** help us” retort – whether said under his breath or not.

    • mikewaller

      I really cannot see how they can keep their jobs. Although others may be more imaginative, I can only think of two possible explanations for what they did: (a) not knowing about the recording, the spokesman thought he could safely lie; or (b) having entered Mitchell’s office with a fixed view, his mind was simply not open to the implications of new information, a pattern of police behaviour that has caused numerous miscarriages of justice
      in the past. Should no other explanation be forthcoming, either of
      these possibilities seem to me to render the individuals concerned of no further value to the Police Service. I say this because were they in future required professionally to give evidence in a Court of Law, even a tenth rate Rumpole would now be in a perfect position to destroy their credibility.

      Much the same seems to apply to at least two of the Police Commissioners involved. Both the Warwickshire and the West Midlands men stood solidly behind the police and the former was highly critical of Deborah Glass, Deputy Chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, who refused to sign off on the whitewash of an inquiry the police at all levels seemed to expect us to swallow.She, of course, is the true hero of the hour. What now seems all too obvious is that Police Commissioners have to have exceptional strength of character if they are not “to turn native” in respect of their individual police services . As with the police, forcing those who have failed us into resigning would be very much to the public good.

    • Kennybhoy

      Pension rights are, and should not be, subject to conduct. Mitchell should however sue and take every last thing they own including their pensions. They should spend a very long time behind bars and be made destitute. Their actions border on treason. Makes one wish for the old law of attainder.

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