LadybirdIt’s not a question I suppose is posed every day of the week, but has anyone reading this ever made a complaint against a serving police officer? I did about two weeks ago, and it was interesting to see how the police responded with such unexpected promptness, something that encapsulated the speed with which they apparently ‘resolved’ the complaint. Perhaps two factors played a part in this promptness – a) The officer is gay; and b) The officer is with the Metropolitan Police Force. The Met has had so many PR disasters over the past decade or so that a copper intimately acquainted with Dorothy accused of being bent (albeit not in the traditional cockney lingo way) is probably not something that will do much for their attempts to improve their image. Therefore, he has been exonerated; but that fact doesn’t clean up an ongoing mystery. I think I’d better backtrack a little.

My girlfriend is a married woman, albeit one whose marriage exists on paper only. Her (soon to be) ex-husband evidently has a problem with her moving on and has extended this to ‘checking up’ on me. Only, he doesn’t have the facilities on hand to do so. How fortunate for him that he has a pal in the Met! He asked said pal to do some background research on my career as a criminal mastermind, which consists of one poxy caution for a minor offence born of financial desperation fifteen long years ago. This is something I am neither proud of nor something I make a habit of bringing up in conversation; it bears so little relation to the person I am today that it is beyond irrelevant.

However, Mr Ex couldn’t resist bragging about his ‘revelation’ to my girlfriend, despite the fact she already knew about it. He even bragged as to the means by which he acquired the information, dropping his pal in the proverbial manure in the process. He probably didn’t expect me to register my annoyance at this illicit snooping with the relevant authorities, but I did.

Having sought legal advice from an acquaintance in the legal profession, I approached the Met directly rather than the IPCC, and within a day or two of my initial phone-call, I was contacted by a Met Inspector who required the details of and reasons behind my complaint before she could take the investigation further. I knew nothing of the officer in question other than his rank and his name, which was easy to remember on account of him sharing it with a former Radio 1 DJ whose highest profile period was in the 1980s – and he is also one of that illustrious club yet to be cited as a retrospective Paedo, which admittedly narrows it down a bit.

Anyway, having told everything I knew, the Inspector promised me this would not be swept under the carpet, and a serving officer using police databases to check up on an individual who hadn’t been arrested or charged with any offence since a solitary caution in 2001 was indeed abusing his privileged position. I was right in making the complaint, and it would be taken extremely seriously. A week later, I was contacted by someone working for what I presumed was a police department that trawls through digitised records not available to the general public; further details were divulged, and it was made clear to me that an investigation into the officer’s conduct was very much in full swing.

A few more days passed and another phone-call informed me that all relevant checks had been made. Apparently, the Force responsible for my arrest and caution had deleted my offence from their records five years later due to my not having being arrested for anything else after it. That’s the unknown reward for ‘good character’. This means, according to what I was told, the arrest and caution in 2001 couldn’t have been accessed by the officer against whom I was making my complaint.

There is a national database available to all Forces across the country and I wasn’t even listed on it; I am seemingly on another database that a simple shoplifting offence shouldn’t really make me eligible for inclusion on, though I was told my star-studded entry on there hasn’t been accessed recently, which would appear to clear the officer I’d complained about from rooting around it like some grubby little knicker-sniffer sticking his nose in his sister-in-law’s drawers when pretending to pay a visit to the loo at her home. A man who one imagines to be amongst the Met’s poster-boy officers due to his sexuality is not guilty, okay? That doesn’t explain one thing, however; and that is, how did the ex receive the info he used as bragging ammunition?

There is absolutely no way this – and one other personal, albeit non-law-breaking – item of information could have been accessed other than the way Mr Ex described it. The police telling me that nobody has attempted to access the info recently just doesn’t wash, I’m afraid; I can’t help but feel they’re covering their backs and looking after their own. And, as stated earlier, the thought that a gay officer could be exposed as a wrong ‘un is the last thing they need right now.

The Met representatives I spoke to were very civil and gave every impression they were there to help, but their findings don’t ring true. I won’t be taking the matter any further, as my annoyance with the actions of the officer has been registered now; but I shouldn’t have expected anything less from a Force with one of the country’s most disreputable reputations, I guess – even on a scale as small as mine. It’s certainly not a nice feeling, knowing that one foolhardy moment of weakness fifteen years ago and several hundred miles from the capital can be located by a policeman whose day-job is supposed to be policing London in 2016. A diabolical bloody liberty, if anything. What indeed would Sgt Dixon say?

© The Editor


  1. It’s sad that the default view is now ‘cover-up’, but they’ve only got themselves to blame.

    That said, it’s important to acknowledge what is fact and what is hear-say – you know that Mr Ex knows about your historic event, but you only have his word for how he discovered that (via PC Gay, allegedly). Plod’s IT system may be the most likely source, but you don’t know that for a fact – PC Gay has not confessed to the illicit research and Plod’s standard system-audit reportedly finds no trace of access. So maybe Plod are telling the truth and the source lay elsewhere.

    But my background was in systems management and almost all such systems have ‘back-doors’ – it is an irresponsible system manager who does not have a ‘back-door’, you need it for all manner of purposes, mostly quite legitimate (although the most popular one which allowed us to observe, live, what anyone on the network was doing with their screen & keyboard was just lots of fun). Trouble is, over time, knowledge of the ‘back-door’ route leaks out (trusted techies move on etc.), so you have to close that ‘door’ regularly and open another one. Again, that’s just responsible mangement.
    You don’t know that PC Gay actually accessed the record himself, under his own ID, instead he may have used an accomplice, one with higher technical skills or system authority-level – indeed it would be foolish to do any illicit access under your own ID anytime and all PC Plods will know this.

    Usually a ‘back-door’ ingress would not leave a trace on a bog-standard audit-trail so, if PC Gay (or his accomplice) knew the current ‘back-door’ channel (fnaar, fnaar, unintentional) he may still have learned of your record, but left no sign of that presence for the standard Plod Audit to discover. In that case, you are both right – you are right that PC Gay snooped for Mr Ex, the Met are right that they can find no record of any such access in their audit-trail.
    Only a full-on forensic IT audit could uncover the access in those circumstances and the Met probably judge that it’s not in their best interests to go to that level in such a case, as they only have a downside outcome in view.

    The balance of probabilities is that you are right, which is regrettable, but doing anything more about it may be futile.
    Sgt Dixon would probably have said “Nothing to see here, Sonny, move on”, whilst delivering a swift clip around your ear in the process, smiling benignly, before leaving the scene with an avuncular “Evenin’ All”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I admit what I was told sounded plausible, but somebody had to have snooped to find this info; as you say, PC PC could have phoned a friend and got him or her to do the dirty work on his behalf. And the thought of a chain of people rooting through my cyber dustbin is a dirty one indeed. Makes me feel unclean, so God only knows what it makes them feel like. Mind you, some don’t have a problem with wallowing in shit.


  2. I came very close to making a complaint once but then kept putting it off, putting it off, making excuses (for the copper’s behaviour) until it was really too late; I regret it to this day.

    Cycling to work along a very busy road one summer’s day I was forced into taking preventative action by the ‘illegal’ driving of a police car & I made an ironic comment to its occupant through the open window – something along the lines of: “What a wonderful example to be setting for others! You nearly knocked me off my bike.” No shouting, no swearing; I’m not that stupid!

    I think it was the tone of the comment which so enraged the nutter inside, as he put the lights/siren on, made a pointlessly dangerous manoeuvre crossing lanes (there was more than one) and pulled up on the grass verge at the side of the road. It was totally surreal, I just couldn’t believe what was happening and said to the sole occupant (uniformed): “You have GOT to be joking?!?”

    Well, he really wasn’t joking & in full view of those other drivers – several of whom had been forced to brake/stop to allow him to cross lanes & clamber up the kerb – he just totally lost it and was screaming, spittle flecking my face, urging me to push him so he could batter me (seriously). I couldn’t believe that he would do this in front of so many witnesses & had to wonder what his behaviour would be like towards a suspect in a cell, for example…

    I always manage to stay strangely calm in these situations & it’s only shortly after when my body reacts and legs turn to jelly. I told him that his reaction was astonishing and that I was taking his badge number (I did) and would be reporting him (I didn’t). It fizzled out and I continued on my way to work, and it’s probably those 8-hours which saved him from having an official complaint made against him.

    Turning it over in my head I tried imagining what had led him to lose his rag in such a way – wife just left him / just delivered bad news to parents of young child / death of family member??? Surely there must have been something at the root of it as I had, after all, done absolutely nothing wrong! At the same time I pictured a suspect being interrogated by this unhinged lunatic…

    As I said, I took it no further. Had I been returning FROM work rather than going TO it then I’ve no doubt I’d have gone through with the complaint. I hope he HAD just had a bad day as otherwise there was a uniformed psychopath at large. What would have happened with that complaint? Well, probably nothing, I suppose, but at least it might have helped establish a pattern if similar allegations were made against him.

    Right-o, enough of that. Glad to hear you are courting, Petunia!

    Liked by 1 person

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