LORD BRIAN PADDICK saw 'top brass would defend violent, racist police'

Former senior met officer LORD BRIAN PADDICK says he saw ‘again and again how top brass would defend violent, racist police’ during his 30-year career

During my 30-year police career, I tried to put justice and the rights of victims ahead of preserving the Met’s reputation. When dangerous serving officers accused of racism and violence were hauled before me, I dismissed them.

But that was rarely the end of the matter. Astonishingly, top brass would sometimes reinstate them, ignoring multiple red flags about their behaviour. A disgrace to their uniform, a danger to the public, they were allowed to continue serving.

This all took place about 20 years ago – around the same time David Carrick joined the Met. Last week, he was unmasked as a violent sexual predator, admitting 49 charges of rape and sexual abuse against 12 women. He used his warrant card and his work guarding Parliament, embassies and government buildings to impress those he preyed on.

It makes me think that little has changed. This case has prompted me to recall the many other examples of how the Met has failed to weed out criminals in its ranks.

During my 30-year police career, I tried to put justice and the rights of victims ahead of preserving the Met’s reputation. When dangerous serving officers accused of racism and violence were hauled before me, I dismissed them

By far the bleakest I was involved in concerned an officer called Mark Tuffey. In 1995, he arrested Brian Douglas, 33, a black man from South London, over a traffic offence, and beat him with a baton. Five days later, Mr Douglas died of a fractured skull and brain damage

By far the bleakest I was involved in concerned an officer called Mark Tuffey. In 1995, he arrested Brian Douglas, 33, a black man from South London, over a traffic offence, and beat him with a baton. Five days later, Mr Douglas died of a fractured skull and brain damage.

Tuffey told an inquest he hit Mr Douglas’s shoulder and the baton accidentally slipped. But medical evidence suggested the force of the blow was equivalent to Mr Douglas being dropped from 11 times his own height.

THE inquest jury returned a verdict of misadventure and Tuffey remained in the force. A few years later, when I was a chief superintendent, I was told to take him in my borough as he was being returned to uniformed duty after an allegation was made by a woman he met at a dance. The allegation was not pursued.

Shortly after, it was reported to me that Tuffey had hit a suspect in the face while the suspect was restrained on the ground by two officers. His inspector asked me to write off a complaint made by a witness because Tuffey had been ‘spoken to’. I refused and visited the complainant, urging him to support a formal investigation. He didn’t because he had the clear impression the police weren’t interested. It was only in 2006 that Tuffey’s career ended after he lost an appeal against a conviction for shouting racially aggravated abuse at a suspect. He resigned. How many red flags did the Met need? How many second chances was he given?

Police officers just shouldn’t attack suspects who are already being safely held. But it shows how this idea that the rank and file protect their own is not always the case. In my experience, top brass thwarted attempts by the shop floor to remove officers

This was not an isolated example. I presided over many misconduct hearings. Now, most are overseen by independent, legally qualified chairs. But then, even when police chiefs held the power to fire corrupt officers, they seemed intent on finding excuses to avoid doing so. One case I remember involved the high-speed chase of a stolen car. The driver had jumped out and sprinted into an office full of people. Two officers gave chase and caught him, grabbing an arm each.

When the officer who had begun the chase caught up with them, he punched the offender in the face.

The panel I chaired agreed such gratuitous violence had no place in the service. His two colleagues gave evidence against him, and he was dismissed. But this was reversed after he appealed to a senior-ranking officer, who agreed he’d received bad legal advice recommending he should deny the offence, even though an office full of people saw it.

The superior concluded he should have admitted the punch and offered mitigating circumstances.

Police officers just shouldn’t attack suspects who are already being safely held. But it shows how this idea that the rank and file protect their own is not always the case. In my experience, top brass thwarted attempts by the shop floor to remove officers.

A similar case which came before me involved a white traffic officer who launched into a prolonged, vile, racist tirade against a black driver.

The driver had undoubtedly taken liberties – speeding past a marked traffic car – and deserved the verbal warning that was delivered.

Today, the Met is reviewing hundreds of allegations of sexual assault and violence against officers and staff over a decade. This is only worthwhile, of course, if police chiefs are given the power and find the courage – unlike their predecessors – to sack those found to be corrupt. Otherwise, the Met risks losing the public’s trust, the very cornerstone of policing in Britain

But he did not deserve the names he was called. The outburst was so appalling that the officer’s partner, who had worked alongside him for ten years, reported it. The panel agreed he should be dismissed.

He, too, appealed to a more senior officer and got his job back on the grounds he had not done a two-day race-relations course. To me, that was a technicality. You don’t need a course to tell you not to be a racist.

One of the saddest cases involved a superintendent and a female probationer at a work Christmas party in a pub. She said he followed her into the ladies, pushed open the cubicle door and raped her. She initially kept it secret, fearing it would end her police career. Later, when she confided in officers at a residential course, she was placed in the care of Operation Sapphire, the specialist rape investigation unit.

But the department that monitored professional standards cast doubt on her story, saying it couldn’t have happened the way she said.

An Operation Sapphire officer came to see me, clearly upset, to say that even though the woman was willing to give evidence at a misconduct hearing, the superintendent had been allowed to retire on a full pension with no sanction.

Today, the Met is reviewing hundreds of allegations of sexual assault and violence against officers and staff over a decade. This is only worthwhile, of course, if police chiefs are given the power and find the courage – unlike their predecessors – to sack those found to be corrupt. Otherwise, the Met risks losing the public’s trust, the very cornerstone of policing in Britain.

lBrian Paddick served in the Met for more than 30 years. His career was cut short when he revealed the true story of the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes, an innocent man shot by Met officers in 2005.

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