Investigation into CSA or rather not investigation!

 Letter from Professional Standards Department (PSD) of the IPCC; regarding failures to investigate crime reported to them over a 28 year period.
Response to PSD (edited);

                                                                                Your Reference; PC/01/302/17

My reference; Knock-knock

09 May 2017.

Dear Sergeant Grey,

Many thanks for your correspondence, received on 08/05/17. You have requested ‘more information’ about a ‘complaint’ the IPCC received directly from the National Crime Agency on 30/03/17 (PC/01302/17).  You also indicated that you would ‘apply to disapply’ the ‘complaint’ as, in your view, it is ‘repetitious’.

The issue I raised with the NCA was forwarded to the IPCC on procedural grounds. My correspondence with the NCA concerned indications of Police complicity with ‘serious and organised crime’, including the repeated failures to investigate on the part of the MPS (neglect of duty). I understand the NCA had a procedural duty to forward my concerns to the IPCC, which they duly did.  I have since indicated a preference that no further information is shared with the IPCC by NCA, without my consent. I am sure you are familiar with the ECHR and article 8; it is the legal convention to which all legislation and associated statutory procedural frameworks must comply, I do not seek to reiterate this, other than to request the legislative framework is considered and respected within the context of your professional operations and decisions.

That said, I would like to take this opportunity to respond to your letter in full, it presented an interesting view; although unclear as to what constitutes ‘repetitious’.   Your request for information to prove that the complaint is not ‘repetitious’ left me rather puzzled. It seems to me that in order clarify what, if any, information is being requested, we must first define and reach agreement as to what constitutes ‘repetitious’. For the sake of expediency I have assumed the Oxford dictionary definition of the word; repetitive; particularly when unnecessary or tiresome.  

In the spirit of considering your request for information; it is my initial assessment that repetition is indicated. Crime has repeatedly taken place and has repeatedly been reported, it has not been resolved to satisfactory conclusion and thorough and effective investigation has not taken place, hence complaint has been made.   Crime towards myself and my family has continued and escalated in nature and gravity, having serious and life altering consequences on a number of people I know and myself. The impact has been far reaching.   It has not been investigated to a satisfactory standard by Police. This has constituted grounds for complaint, there is ongoing stalking and harassment; threat to life and finance continues.   Whilst repetition of crime is indicated, it has been necessary to report this. Failures to investigate those allegations have however been both unnecessary and tiresome, they have constituted a ‘repetitious’ ‘neglect of duty’.

It would therefore appear that no further information is required by the PSD/IPCC, as ‘repetitious’ is stated as grounds for ‘no investigating’ in your correspondence.

MPS failures to investigate allegations of serious crime have been particularly ‘repetitious’, both in my individual case, professional cases I have raised as a social worker and indeed, across the Met. A conclusive summary from the HMIC report was provided by Sir Thomas Winsor;

“Protecting the vulnerable, particularly children, is perhaps the most important job that police officers and staff undertake. Staff whose job it is to respond to and investigate these challenging and often distressing cases need to be competent, trained, and supported: this is not the case consistently in the Met.

“Of course, child protection is not the sole preserve of the police, but we found inexcusably poor practice at every stage of a child’s interaction with the police and across the parts of the force we inspected.

“The Met is a large and complex force but, nevertheless, the importance of the police getting this right and protecting children cannot be overstated.”

As I am sure you are aware, the HMIC has made a number of recommendations to the MPS, some of which were to be implemented immediately and others between three to six months from the report; released 7 months ago.

Sergeant Grey, whilst you are correct in your assessment that this ‘complaint’ has been made before (PC/6075/16), you are not so clear as to ‘repetitious’, nor why ‘repetitious’ is grounds for ‘no investigation’.   You may also note that the original complaint was taken out of context by the investigating PSD and that IPCC ‘procedures’ were not consistently implemented; namely that any allegation of corruption within the Police should not be investigated locally, but rather escalated to the IPCC, which was indeed what I requested at that juncture. In my view, thorough and effective investigation has not happened; from Police or the IPCC.   The procedural scope and investigative integrity of IPCC appears insufficient to address the matters I have raised.

It occurs to me that there is little to be gained from the IPCC appeals process; it is not geared to address procedural limitations. Continuing with any formal complaint is, at best, laborious and time consuming and the scope for investigation and addressing imminent safeguarding issues is limited. Safeguarding is not being achieved by the safeguarding system, nor is thorough and effective investigation of criminal allegations into serious crime.  The IPCC have not proven helpful in ensuring relevant investigations take place to date, nor has operation Hydrant. Not much appears to get investigated, indeed it is proving a real struggle for me to recognise the value of the Police to our society at this juncture, this despite having relatives and friends in the Police whom I believe to be hard working, committed and decent individuals.

In recent correspondence with Internal Investigations Unit of the IPCC, it was stated that matters I have raised could be dealt with under ‘disciplinary procedures’.   This again, in my view, is a profoundly inadequate response to what constitutes a major failure in investigation and safeguarding.   What is ‘repetitious’ Sergeant Grey is the failure of safeguarding across Lambeth, the Met and the country, on such a massive scale, it presents to me as a ‘criminal’ failure of children and those whom genuinely seek to safeguard them. There appears to be an associated, inconsistent and ineffective implementation of procedures.     This is now very well evidenced.

All that said and with due consideration and respect, it appears to me that the human condition is particularly fallible when it comes to repetitive behaviours. For example, when it rains (a particularly repetitive behaviour on the part of the atmosphere), humans tend to use an umbrella or waterproof to protect themselves. This use of an umbrella/water-proof is repetitive, as is the rain.   When it’s cold, we wrap up, when it’s warm, we wear lighter clothing and so on and so forth, it is a human response to environmental change, it repeats itself according to the behaviour of the atmosphere. Human behaviour, not unlike the weather, can be cyclical and repetitive, human behaviour is interactive by nature. Should we consider it ‘repetitious’ is a matter of perspective & opinion.

It appears that ‘my’ ‘complaint’ (PC/0130217) is consistent with the findings of the HMIC; it is also consistent with the foundation for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and the reason many Serious Case Reviews, charities and organisations exist.   The ‘complaint’ is as ‘repetitious’ as the failures to safeguard by Police & wider safeguarding system.

I have consulted with the Home Office safeguarding department regarding IPCC operations. It is their view that the IPCC are the relevant body for thorough and effective investigation, clearly they have a different interpretation and experience of the operational procedures to you and myself.  Whilst your letter did not reference the procedural frameworks guiding your conclusion of ‘repetitious complaint’, it appears what this comes down to is; what is being measured; by whom; and from what perspective? What hasn’t been measured is the impact and harmful nature of the crimes that have been reported and not investigated.

It is my personal and professional view that Police have failed to thoroughly and effectively investigate; repeatedly. It is my further view that these repeated failures to investigate are often justified on the basis of procedure, the failures to investigate are repetitive, unnecessary and tiresome, by definition; ‘repetitious’.   The failures of Police to investigate are part of a wider safeguarding system, there has been significant indication of historical failures and there is little reason for confidence in the current system according to; the Inspectorate; Serious Case Reviews; whistle-blowers and the survivors who continue to experience adverse and criminal consequence as a result of speaking out.   This said; an inconsistent application of the procedures could also present as a lack of integrity in the system and lend itself to corruption.   It probably goes without saying, that any investigative system only has the integrity of those devising, utilising and implementing it.

Many thanks for giving this matter your consideration Sergeant. Grey and please be my guest; show this letter to your Chief Inspector and ‘apply to disapply’ this ‘complaint’. I agree; it is ‘repetitious’. What I require and request is institutional integrity in investigation, in both my personal and professional experience, this has been profoundly absent, both from Police and the IPCC.

On a final note and at risk of sounding highly ‘repetitious’, I thought I would share an alternative version of an old joke;

A; Knock knock

B; Who’s there?

A: Sergeant

B; Sergeant? Sergeant Who?

A; Sergeant Repetitious

B; Sergeant Repetitious; What?

A; Sergeant Repetitious; failures to thoroughly or properly investigate!

B; Sorry, I can’t open the door on the basis that your knock was ‘repetitious’.

Don’t worry I am not considering stand-up comedy, with jokes like that I’d be laughed off the stage! Social Work has always been my calling Sergeant Grey. That said, I must go, I have a dinner to cook, whoops, there I go again with those repetitive behaviours! Thank the Lord, it’s not grounds for arrest, I would undoubtedly fall into a recidivist category, as, it seems, would the whole of the Met and, in all probability, the whole of the human population, the animal kingdom and indeed the weather!   Life itself is repetitive! Plenty of evidence on that!

Many kind regards

Paula Donohoe

BSc; Psychology; MSc; Social Policy and Social Science; PGDip; Social Work.

Ps; I would prefer that you do not have cause to write to me again.

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