12 Nov 2002: Paddick cleared by disciplinary panel
The Metropolitan Police Authority disciplinary panel for ACPO rank officers today announced that there would be no further disciplinary action in respect of the allegations against Brian Paddick and that the matter was “closed”.
14 Oct: Lambeth leads London in Street Crime reduction
Figures released today showed that, since April 2002 the fall in street crime in Lambeth was 39%: the nearest borough was Tower Hamlets at 19% whilst the fall for London overall was just 11%. What better vindication of Paddick’s strategy?(Met Press Release)
14 Oct: MPA disciplinary panel spins it out
The Metropolitan Police Authority disciplinary panel has decided to ask Brian Paddick for yet more information regarding the allegations against him, this time taking 4 weeks. This after a six month investigation and a three week review by the CPS (more).
9 Oct: CPS Clears Paddick
The Crown Prosecution Service today announced that Commander Paddick has no charges to answer to. This is no surprise to people in Lambeth. lambeth4paddick press statement here
8 Oct: Paddick’s return blocked
Commisioner breaks his word (more)
1 Oct 2002: Paddick’s contribution acknowledged.
At Lambeth Police Community Consultative Group meeting, Acting Borough Commander Brian Moore was asked what had contributed to Lambeth’s police’s recent successes in tackling crime, particularly street crime, which has seen a 49% drop. He listed three factors:
Increased numbers of officers (from fewer than 800 officers in June 2001 to 940+ in September 2002);
A clear focus by officers on crimes that have highest priority in the community;
The impact of Commander Brian Paddick in forging an alliance between the community and the police;
The meeting warmly endorsed and welcomed A/B/C Moore’s gracious acknowledgement.
1 Oct 2002: Local MP speaks up.
Local MP Keith Hill (Labour, Streatham) has written to Commissioner Sir John Stevens, expressing his surprise and concern about rumours that the senior post in Lambeth is to be doowngraded (see below). In his letter he said "The new post was created only 18 months ago. The justification offered at the time was that the lead-ership of the police in Lambeth was a high-profile role because the division experiences particularly high levels of crime and significant community tensions."
He added: "You will recall the announcement was warmly welcomed in Lambeth as evidence of the Met's powerful commitment to the fight against crime in our locality."
He wants to know what has changed in the past year-and-a-half, and who was consulted about the decision.
Mr Hill has also asked if the decision will stop the return of Commander Brian Paddick to the borough.
At last, a local politician speaking up for the people of Lambeth on policing issues.
18 Sep 2002: Rank maneuvers afoot
There have been a number of reports that the Met is considering downgrading the chief officer’s post in Lambeth from Commander to Chief Superintendent, effectively precluding Brian Paddick’s return (only Lambeth and Westminster have this rank for the post). Justifiably, there has been a robust response from Lambeth. Lee Jasper said "If such a move was being done, without consulting the community, to get rid of Brian Paddick, there would be uproar”.
The decision to grade Lambeth at Commander level was made as recently as January 2001, on the basis of the size of the command (bigger than many provincial forces) and the particular policing problems in the borough. So what has changed?
Whatever deft moves were made to avoid returning Brian Paddick to Lambeth, people here and across London would draw only one conclusion. That the views of local people count for nothing when weighed against the power of newspapers chequebooks and that the Met has not the backbone to stand up to bullies and defend community policing
17 Sep 2002: Who orchestrated the media frenzy over CPS?
According to the Guardian, the report by Humberside’s Deputy Chief Constable, Gordon Clarke, into allegations against Brian Paddick,was sent to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on Friday 13 September. The CPS are required to consider if there are any criminal charges arising from the investigation and the referral, though not inevitable, was always likely given the public interest in the case.
Nonetheless, a panel of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) met to consider any disciplinary implications of the report, on Monday 16 September. Inevitably, they had to adjourn their meeting to await response from the CPS since, as the MPA press release pointed out,”it is normal practice for any criminal proceedings to take precedence over disciplinary matters”.
Over the intervening weekend, however, media expectation of the MPA meeting was carefully ramped. Several papers labeled it “D Day for Paddick”. The reports were well nigh identical - the MPA meeting was described as being one of the Association of Chief Police Officers; they all carried dated comments from Toby Harris, Chair of the CPA.
In consequence, the MPA panel met in full media glare, with the networks cameras on hand. Headline reports of the meeting’s adjournment implied that it was the panel that referred the report to the CPS and insinuated that Paddick was “facing possible charges”
In fact, informed commentators continue to report that it is highly unlikely that the CPS will find anything worth taking further in the report: “It is understood, however, that the four-month investigation has uncovered little or no incriminating evidence against the 43-year-old officer” (Independent).
On what authority did the investigating officer refer the report to the CPS - his own or the MPA (the London Tonight programme suggested an “administrative error”)?
If the MPA knew the report had been referred on Friday, why did they meet on Monday, knowing they could not make any decisions?
Critically, who was busy winding up the media over the weekend, guaranteeing “Paddick faces possible charges” headlines on Mondays bulletins?
Rank incompetence or orchestrated mudslinging? What do you think? Have Your Say here
29 Aug 2002: Paddick is Daily Mail’s “Unsung Hero”
According to the Daily Mirror’s “Scurra” column, Brian Paddick has received an Award of Merit from the Daily Mail, commending him as an “unsung hero”, in response to the wide support shown for him in the paper’s Jubilee Campaign.
The accompanying letter praises his “unstinting work” and encourages him to keep “up the good work”.
We say: There is more rejoicing in heaven..........?
11 August 2002: Paddick set to be cleared, says Sunday Times
Citing Scotland Yard insiders, today’s Sunday Times reported that:
“ An inquiry by Humberside police is expected to conclude that the commander broke no laws and should receive no more than a verbal ticking-off.” Speaking to the Streatham Guardian, Brian Paddick said he felt this report to be “premature” whilst a spokesperson for the MPA added that the inquiry was still underway
Back in March, a spokesman for Commissioner Sir John Stevens pledged “If these charges are not proved, Commander Paddick will return to his duties” (Observer, March 24 2002). We’ve no doubt the Commissioner, a knight of the realm, will be true to his word.
23 July 2002: Lambeth CPCG restates support for Paddick
At their Annual General Meeting tonight, Lambeth Community Police Consultative Group (who called the March Town Hall meeting in support of Brian Paddick), reaffirmed their support. Speaking for the Group, chair Lee Jasper said “Brian Paddick is a refreshing and honest police officer who engaged well with the his community. He was a good commander who always spoke to the CPCG in an open and honest way and who made sure Brixton police station was always open to members of the Police Complaints Authority. He contributed in no uncertain terms to maintaining a balance within our community."
Group member John Howard added “Brian Paddick is a brilliant officer and I hope he can return to his post soon”
10 July 2002: Met statement vindicates Paddick
The Met today released a media response to the Home Secretary’s statement. It welcomes the reclassification of cannabis and announces the effective roll out of the Lambeth trial, with modifications, across London in the autumn. The trial in Lambeth with formally terminate at the end of July and the new approach will be implemented with immediate effect.
The Met statement also detailed, for the first time, the full impact of the trial in terms drug related arrests.
Both the effective roll out of the trial, and the statistical report of its outcomes to date, vindicate Brian Paddick’s judgement, made over a year ago, in running the trial.
10 July 2002: Blunkett endorses Lambeth Trial
Speaking in the House of Commons this afternoon, David Blunkett (Home Secretary) announced his intention to reclassify cannabis from a Class B drug to a Class C drug, under the Misuse of Drugs Act (1971). The maximum sentence for dealing in cannabis will be increased from the 5 years determined for Class C drugs, to 10 years.
It is reassuring that the Home Secretary has withstood the intense grandstanding around the Lambeth trial, and followed the spirit of the Runciman Report and the Home Affairs Committee Report.
Now the decision has been made, it is important that an independent evaluation of the Lambeth trial is set in progress, for the benefit of Lambeth and the nation. Adverseries in the controversy should set aside their differences and work constructively, with the police, to ensure this change in policy is effectively and safely introduced.
The decision effectively rolls out the Lambeth trial to the rest of the country. That is a powerful endorsement of Brian Paddick’s farsighted initiative. It provides further justification for his return to Lambeth.
9 July 2002: Opposition Leader visits Brixton
Opposition leader Iain Duncan Smith visited Brixton today with shadow Home Secretary Oliver Letwin. He met with members of the community in a closed meeting in a local church. Accounts of the meeting vary. The Times reported that Mr Duncan Smith was met with support for the Lambeth trial, whilst the Independent reported that some of those attending wanted to see the evaluation of the trial before taking a view.
The Times:Duncan Smith’s drugs visit backfires
The Independent:Duncan Smith has a bad trip in Brixton
Meanwhile, the Daily Mail front page carried a photograph purporting to show drug dealing going on outside the church whilst the front bench duo were inside. Local residents, who say that open dealing is unknown in the quiet, residential area, are aghast. Moves are afoot to petition the Press Complaints Commission demanding that the Mail either produce the “drug dealers” or apologise to local residents.
13 June 2002: Paddick up for Daily Mail Award.
Earlier in the year, the Daily Mail announced their Unsung Jubliee Heroes campaign, inviting nominations of indiviuduals who bring real benefit to their communities, perhaps through public or voluntary service. Community Police Officers were given as one possible example.
Many in Lambeth were moved to nominate Brian Paddick, citing his clarity of vision and commitment to the local community. They were delighted to receive a letter from the Daily Mail, thanking them for their nominations, which said “It is indeed a truly uplifting story [of Brian Paddick]” and “We have been deeply moved by stories, like yours, of individuals who bring so much to their local communities and are so deserving of an honour”.
Only hardened cynics queried the sincerity of so beautifully crafted a letter and some even went so far as to suggest that it might have been written by a computer!