Friday, 5 October 2012

IPCC / ITCC


“Policing in England and Wales is, as you know, based on the principle of policing by consent, which relies heavily on a relationship of mutual trust and respect between the police and the public. Trust is essential if the police are to receive information from the public which helps them to detect and combat crime. It is also essential to enable the public to feel able to seek the assistance and protection of police officers when necessary. The police have significant powers to intervene in our lives when they believe we need to be prevented from harming ourselves or others, or from committing acts of criminality. Their powers are such that there are even circumstances in which a police officer may lawfully take a life.”

“Given these powers, it is important that the public know that if police officers fail to uphold the very high professional standards expected of them, or break the law, their actions will be dealt with robustly. It is vital therefore that members of the public know how to make a complaint against the police, have confidence that the system will take their complaint seriously and believe it will be dealt with rigorously and fairly.”

“A key reason for the creation of the IPCC was widespread public concern about deaths and serious injuries in police custody and the policing of black communities. The predecessor body to the IPCC (the Police Complaints Authority) was not seen as sufficiently independent or robust in its oversight of the complaints system. Since the IPCC became operational in 2004, the Commission has investigated a significant number of cases which have caused high levels of public concern. These have ranged from deaths in custody, deaths and serious injuries following police contact through to matters of serious corruption.”
Corruption in the Police Service in England and Wales
About the IPCC

  • The IPCC was established by the Police Reform Act and became operational in April 2004.
  • The IPCC is independent, making its decisions entirely independently of the police, government and complainants.
  • Its primary statutory purpose is to increase public confidence in the police complaints system in England and Wales.
  • The IPCC also investigates the most serious complaints and allegations of misconduct against the police in England and Wales, as well as handling appeals from people who are not satisfied with the way police have dealt with their complaint.
IPCC values

Justice and respect for human rights
  • We use our authority and powers unflinchingly to help those who suffer injustice because of an abuse of police powers to obtain redress. Our activities support policing by consent and help to sustain justice.
  • Equally, those against whom allegations have been made can be sure that the IPCC will be impartial and our activities timely and fair.
  • Justice must be sure and proportionate. People who never make mistakes, never make anything. We discourage a blame culture amongst the police where ever appropriate and carefully managed risks are avoided. “What can we learn ?” is often a more useful question than “Who is to blame ?”
Independence

We demonstrate our independence by :
  • Our resolve under pressure.
  • The people we appoint.
  • The work we undertake.
  • Scrupulously avoiding conflicts of interest.
  • Our organisational culture.
  • The communications we make.
Valuing Diversity
  • We know that gaining the benefits of diversity is not easy.
  • However we are open to the experience, insights and skills of people of different race, religion, ethnic origin, gender, sexuality, disability and other backgrounds from both inside the IPCC and from external partners.
Integrity
  • If the IPCC is to hold the police to account then it must maintain the highest standards itself.
  • We need to act, and be seen to act, with integrity in both our private and professional lives.
  • We act with integrity in our public statements, acceptance of hospitality and gifts, dealings with stakeholders and use of public funds.
  • We will be honest about our mistakes.
Openness
  • We seek maximum disclosure and regular communications with all parties during the course of a complaint.
  • The Commission meets in public where possible and communicates information about its work and performance widely.
  • We carefully define where we need to maintain confidentiality or secrecy for operational reasons so that we can protect individuals and retain the confidence of other agencies.
  • We work with stakeholders to develop our policies.
  • We learn lessons from what we do and take responsibility for our decisions.
  • We make sure that communication is two way between staff and Commissioners and that they share information and experiences.
  • Commissioners accept corporate responsibility for the work of the IPCC.
Our regional offices are based in :
  • London (London and south east region)
  • Cardiff (Wales and south west region)
  • Sale (North region – north west)
  • Wakefield (North region – north east)




Sadly there is no such agency as the ITCC. An independent and accountable organization that possesses the skills needed to not only investigate allegations but able to take firm and decisive action.

Gove, unions and others tinker with peripheral trivia – anonymity – and the teacher is made to feel reassured and grateful. They are told that they might be able to now ‘enjoy’ anonymity !

In reality, who cares ? Anonymity is nothing – the magician continues to deceive and distract through misdirection.

Until those in power admit and confront the corruption that is rife throughout education and LEAs then nothing will ever change.

Unions are to blame – they must represent their members at all costs; purely out of self interest and self preservation.

The police are not unique – they are responsible for the safety, security and care of our society and our lives. But so are teachers, doctors, nurses, health workers and carers … can’t they all come under the same shelter and umbrella of the IPCC ?

The police were found to be corrupt – we are all human – subject to a host of pressures … only when we confess and acknowledge that corrupt behaviour is a fact of life can solutions be found that might protect us all.



My case is now 5 years old - I am innocent. The school and LEA had concluded that I had committed an unprovoked, vicious and violent assault on a 5 year old child to such an extent that she suffered post-traumatic abuse for over a year. (The original allegation had been a smack on the hand !) I should have been sacked for gross misconduct - assault is what it is and there is no freedom to choose otherwise, sacking was the only option – but, to prevent me from taking the case to a tribunal, they reinstated me. They knew that I was too ill to work and sacked me 6 months later without ever offering to help my recovery.

Why should they have done this ? Understand this; assault on a child is a dirty accusation – whatever happens, whatever the conclusion and outcome there will be damage. Damage to the child, parents, school and the teacher – this is inevitable. But the path of minimum damage is to get rid of the teacher – at least everyone else comes out of the mess relatively unblemished.

At best, you are processed by ‘well intended’ inexperienced lay people – but they can be far from impartial … they all have a vested interest in the outcome for they run the school and are accountable to the parents.

The term ‘natural justice’ is banded about by those who do not understand the terms of law. It means that you are entitled to be judged by independent jurors who have no vested interest in the outcome. It means that the investigative process will be equally fair. These criteria can not be fulfilled under the current system.

I am innocent. This means that many people cheated and lied to achieve their own ends :

Andrew Kidd (headteacher), Elaine Haddon (accuser and teaching assistant), Elaine Callan (nursery nurse), Anne Callander (teacher), Vic Welch and Anne Sutton (LCC HR managers)

(Missing from the list is the 5 year old child – but her testimony was never submitted as evidence as it never existed ! Elaine Haddon and Elaine Callan, both witnesses at the time of the alleged assault, confirmed that the little girl showed no reaction either at the time or later and neither did any child in proximity. There was no evidence that it ever happened !)

Why should they all lie ? That’s what I want to know too ! I tried asking Helen Denton at Lancashire County Council on several occasions. She said that opening my case was in nobody’s best interests ! But all of the evidential notes, letters, etc. still exist – so why doesn’t someone ask her again ?



The investigative police officer of my case pointed out the paradox of my situation. The existence of evidence can establish guilt but the absence of evidence can not prove innocence !

The school’s investigative process is not based on ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ but solely on ‘balance of probability’ - ‘could I have done it ?’ I suppose that they could have concluded that I teleported from the bridge of the USS Enterprise into the classroom too - anything is possible when there is no evidence, just make up a story and it does not need to be convincing !

Friday, 28 September 2012

Anonymity For Teachers

One lonely, desperate and frightened night in 2007, I exchanged e-mails with Michael Gove in real time. I no longer felt alone and my heart was filled with hope. He said :

“Thank you for getting in touch. I very much sympathise with the terrible position you find yourself in. My heart goes out to you. And your position underlines my determination to provide more protection for teachers who’re falsely accused in the future.”
Michael
crock1 n
  1. an earthen pot, jar, etc.
  2. a piece of broken earthenware
  3. Also crock of shit UK, US and Canadian informal: a quantity or source of lies or nonsense
Michael Gove not only has failed me but every teacher in the United Kingdom. I am not given to swearing but he has delivered a ‘crock of shit’.

Anonymity is a minor consideration, the press coverage of teacher allegation cases is low and stories that are covered usually originate from events that took place many years ago. Google searches confirm this observation.

Michael Gove has introduced impractical legislation that can not be enforced.

Courtesy BBC Radio 5

So everyone in the school and the children’s parents will know about the teacher and the details of the allegation. What action will be taken when the children publish the details on Facebook, Twitter, etc ? What action will be taken when parents discuss the case with friends, family and neighbours ?

“Anonymity doesn’t do much good then either. Instead, human rights laws and bureaucratic red tape is wrapped around teachers’ necks. With their hands tied and no leg to stand on, it’s only a matter of time before they topple. “There’s no way I’d go back into the classroom without being able to prove my innocence,” says Jane. “I think body-worn cameras are needed.””

Helen Denton In a BBC radio interview, Helen Denton, Executive Director for Children & Young People, Lancashire County Council expressed doubts about Michael Gove’s promise to provide anonymity. She was of the opinion that it was not realistic and that anonymity could not be assured :


And there we have it, Helen Denton confirms that anonymity for a teacher will not work. It is a distraction but it is so dangerous - teachers should not be given anonymity - like the police, doctors and many others - they are entrusted professionals and should be and must be accountable and answerable - the child MUST always come first inspite of the possible consequences.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

5 Years Today


On 27 September 2007, I was suspended for allegedly assaulting a child. I was not allowed to know the nature of the allegation until my arrest on 31 October 2007.

The police told me that I had been accused of slapping a 5 year old girl on the hand on the afternoon of 26 September 2007. The incident had been reported by Mrs. Elaine Haddon, a teaching assistant who had been working in my classroom.

Mrs. Haddon’s statement said :

“On the afternoon of Wednesday 26 September 2007 at approximately 2pm, I was working with 2 children on the table directly opposite to the table J Watts was working with a group of children.

A short while into the activity I heard J Watts shout, I looked up from what I was doing just as she was standing up, she reached over the desk to Ebony, smacked her hand and snatched the pencil that was in the same hand from her.”

So here is the scene that was alleged :

A five year old girl writing at a circular table using a Staedtler pencil – large in comparison with her small hand. I reached over the 120 centimetre diameter table and slapped her hand, hard enough for it to be clearly audible across a classroom of 28 noisy children but not hard enough to knock away the pencil from her hand !

The police accepted my statement and passed comment on the validity of Mrs. Haddon’s version of events. They were concerned by the fact that Mrs. Haddon had waited 20 hours instead of reporting the incident immediately. The police added that they believed that I was being victimized. They asked me if there were bad feelings between myself and Mr. Kidd and Mrs. Haddon.

To explain the 20 hour delay in reporting the incident, Mrs. Haddon said that the assault had been so vicious, violent and unprovoked that she had suffered shock and had been unable to react. It had taken her many hours to recover from the effects of witnessing such an attack !

It was claimed by LEA representatives that I hit the girl so hard that she continued to suffer from post-traumatic abuse a year later including bed-wetting. It was agreed that, at the time, she showed no reaction nor did any other children.

(No supportive evidence / reports were provided by social services even though Ebony had been interviewed by their investigators. Requests for their provision were ignored and deemed unnecessary by the LEA and school.)

What was never explained was :

Why, at the moment of the alleged assault, Ebony did not react. She did not move or cry out.

Why, at the moment of the alleged assault, no other child in nearby proximity reacted nor did they recount stories of the incident to anyone.

Why, at the moment of the alleged assault, Mrs. Haddon did not go to the rescue of Ebony or make any effort to comfort her at that time or later.

Why, at the moment of the alleged assault, Mrs. Elaine Callan did not go to the rescue of Ebony or make any effort to comfort her at that time or later.

(Mrs. Callan was a nursery nurse who had been working in the same classroom - she said that she saw nothing but that she heard the assault.)

The impossibility of smacking the girl’s hand so violently whilst not dislodging the pencil that she was holding between her fingers. Mrs. Haddon claimed that I smacked her hand and that I then snatched the pencil from the same hand !

Why the head teacher was allowed to lead the investigative process when there was proven conflict between us.
Lies, Damn Lies

The truth is that the allegation was false. The police suspicions were true; I had been victimized by those who were prepared to lie for their own personal gain.

Andrew Kidd, the head teacher, had been instrumental in destroying my career through his malicious actions 5 years ago - today justice needs to be delivered to those who were responsible ...

Friday, 10 August 2012

Compromise Agreements

I was asked about the lucrative settlements that can be made – ‘Compromise Agreements’ or ‘gagging clauses’. My union became involved during the school’s final dismissal procedures due to my ill-health. The union had contributed little to my case and I continued to be disappointed by their support.

Bearing in mind that it is probably illegal for an employer to make you ill and then sack you for being ill, my union took the path of least resistance and negotiated a ‘final settlement’ on the understanding that I sold all my free rights to talk about my case – legally gagged and bound and that included my family too !

My compromise agreement is here – it offered me a paltry tax free sum of £10,393 for selling what was left of my life ! Needless to say, I did not accept their kind offer – in my book, any and every injustice should be shouted aloud and not silenced by corruption and bribery !

(In any case, the union must have either been stupid or maybe thought that my mental state and confusion was such that I would accept anything, but my salary payments until my dismissal exceeded the offer !)

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