CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE MET KIND

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