Thursday, June 18, 2009

Police harass hundreds in Sefton

Police in Sefton have been busy lately, harassing hundreds of innocent people under 'Operation Beekman'.

This 'operation', is the latest idea from Chief Supt Ian Pilling of Merseyside Police.

Police inconvenienced 573 people who were travelling in the Sefton area, over a period of 6 nights.

Out of all of these hundreds of innocent people who had their journeys disrupted, Chief Supt Ian Pillin proclaimed the operation a great success, noting that over the period of 6 days, they did manage to find one man who had a small piece of cannabis, and they also managed to find the time to arrest one other man who took offence to the search.

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Two men assaulted and fined by Merseyside Police

Two men were ‘handcuffed, punched and stripped’ by Merseyside Police’s Matrix team.

Andy Jones, 20, and Anthony Spencer, 21, believe pressure on officers to stop a string of arson attacks and shootings lay behind their “humiliating” ordeal.

Both men say they were quizzed about drugs, petrol bombs and weapons.

The life long friends from Waterloo were driving down South Road on Thursday, June 4, in Anthony's car when a Matrix van appeared in their rear view mirror.

Anthony had just performed a U-turn, when the van roared past his Vauxhall Vectra and eventually blocked the car in Handfield Road.

The men then watched as officers wearing tactical uniforms poured from the van and surrounded the car.

Anthony, who attended Chesterfield High School and works for Sefton Council in Bootle Town Hall as an employment adviser, said : “I was pulled from the car, cuffed, and forced to the floor. I felt a knee in my back and I remember they were screaming at me to 'stop resisting arrest.' I started screaming too, because I wanted to draw attention to what was happening, but I did not fight back.

“I remember on my way in to the van feeling terrified. You hear so many stories about people getting badly hurt in custody.

“I feared for my life. They told me that they were not from the area and wanted me to tell them about the arson.

“When the officers failed to find any evidence in my car, they realised we were not involved. The senior officer advised me to accept a fixed penalty notice rather than be arrested and have my car impounded.

“I agreed, but I am worried about having a police record.

“I am not anti - police, and I have applied to join Merseyside on two occasions. I was hoping to try once more, but not any more.”
Andy, who went to St Michael's and is now one 3 Mobile's top 100 sales men and a budding graphic designer, said: “I was cuffed too. I remember an officer walking past me and delivering a proper punch to my back. It really hurt.

“I was taken in to the back of the van too, and stripped.

“After the ordeal we both went straight to St Ann Street police station, to make a complaint.

“We were informed about the professional standards department, and advised to go straight to the Royal hospital, where we were both treated for bruising to our lower bodies.”

A spokesman for Merseyside Police said: “We can confirm that we have received a formal complaint against officers from two members of the public regarding an incident in South Road, Crosby, on Thursday, June 4, 2009.

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Chief Constable escapes jail

A police chief has been forced to return 87 computer hard drives to an expert witness.

Colin Port, Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset, had been facing contempt of court charges for delaying the return of hard drives to Jim Bates, a computer analyst whose home was searched by police last year.

The police search of Mr Bates’s home was declared illegal by the High Court in May because Mr Port’s officers had drawn up a warrant incorrectly and taken away legally privileged material.

Mr Port took legal advice about how he could avoid complying with the court order.

But on Monday night, just hours before the chief constable was due in court to answer the contempt allegation, the computer material was delivered to the offices of Mr Bates’s solicitor.

Mr Bates’s lawyers, who are to seek compensation for the illegal search of his home, said the hard copy images were contained in legal case files which were stored in his garage. They said some of the material had originally been given to him by police and prosecution authorities and dated back 10 years.

Lord Justice Stanley Burnton said Mr Bates had held all the material “in a professional capacity” and that that Mr Port’s delayed compliance with a court order was “regrettable”.

The judge added: “The conduct of the chief constable since the order was made has been of concern to us”.

Mr Bates, 68, is regarded as a pioneer of forensic computer examination and was widely used as a prosecution and defence expert witness for many years. But the Crown Prosecution Service stopped using him and in 2006 issued confidential guidance concerning him to prosecutors.

Avon & Somerset police began a fresh investigation into him last September after he was given by police a copy of the hard drive of a man charged with possessing child abuse images on computer. Mr Bates was given the material at a Bristol police station when he arrived in the capacity of assistant to another expert witness.

Police later raided his Leicestershire home and he was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to possess indecent images of children. That investigation has now been dropped.

Mr Bates has long contended that the actions against him are an attempt to discredit him because he now acts as a defence expert and is an outspoken critic of police investigations.

He is particularly critical of the conduct of Operation Ore, a nationwide inquiry into online child abuse which led to thousands of arrests, convictions and cautions.

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Police searches “almost certainly” illegal

White people are being unjustifiably stopped and searched to provide racial balance in police statistics, the antiterrorism watchdog said yesterday.

Lord Carlile of Berriew, QC, described the searches in his annual report on the operation of counterterrorism legislation as “almost certainly” illegal. He said that he knew of cases where people were stopped by officers even though they did not fit any known terrorist profile.

He accused the police of wasting time and money by carrying out “self-evidently unmerited searches”, which were also an invasion of civil liberties. The searches, for example, of blonde women who fit no terrorist profile came against a backdrop of complaints from rights groups that the number of black and Muslim people being stopped and searched by police was disproportionate.

Lord Carlile said that police were stopping white people unjustifiably so that official figures would make it look as if they were not singling out black and Asian people under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000. “No police officer has admitted that to me, but I believe that is the case”

Under Section 44, police can stop and search anyone in a designated area without suspicion that an offence has occurred. Last year the number of white people searched rose from 29,900 to 73,000, blacks from 3,600 to 15,200 and Asians from 5,500 to 20,700. Although whites made up the biggest number, in terms of population, blacks and Asians were more likely to be stopped.

Lord Carlile wrote in his report: “I have evidence of cases where the person stopped is so obviously far from any known terrorism profile that, realistically, there is not the slightest possibility of him/her being a terrorist, and no other feature to justify the stop.

“In one situation the basis of the stops was numerical only, which is almost certainly unlawful and in no way an intelligent use of the procedure.”

Lord Carlile said: “I believe it is totally wrong for any person to be stopped in order to produce a racial balance in the Section 44 statistics. There is ample anecdotal evidence this is happening. I can well understand the concerns of the police that they should be free from allegations of prejudice, but it is not a good use of precious resources if they waste them on self-evidently unmerited searches.”

A racial imbalance in the numbers of people stopped because they fitted a terrorism profile was fine, he said, “as long as it is not racist”.
Nearly 90 per cent of the searches were carried out by the Metropolitan Police, whose officers use Section 44 to carry out stop and search between 8,000 and 10,000 times a month.

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Former Police officer jailed for sex abuse

A former Strathclyde police officer who claimed he was a "Black Magic" high priest has been convicted of sexually abusing three children in East Dunbartonshire.

John McFadden, 42, from Bearsden, was found guilty of abusing a boy between 1988 and 1992 in Kirkintilloch.

He was also convicted of abusing two other youngsters at various addresses in Kirkintilloch between 1983 and 1990.

The court heard how McFadden told one of his victims, a 12-year-old boy, that demons and spirits would kill him and drag him to hell unless he carried out sex acts.

He dressed in a black cloak and used a crucifix with a skull and crossbones and an onyx ring, which he claimed gave him power, to terrify the youngster into keeping the abuse a secret.

The victim, who is now 32, told the court that McFadden abused him almost every day for four years using threats to keep him silent.

The victim said: "He started to get us into this Black Magic. He described himself as a high priest with this Black Magic circle.

"He said he could have out of body experiences and could talk to demons and spirits.

"One day he said he was going to initiate me into the circle and this became the main driver for my silence.

"He had a cast iron bowl and he pricked my finger and put some blood in it, then he took some of my hair and said that he had to have some of my semen and then it all had to be burned."

The abuse came to an end when the man joined the Royal Marines and moved away.

The court was also told that another man came forward in 1999 to complain that he had been indecently assaulted by McFadden, at the age of seven.

McFadden resigned from the police that year but was not convicted at that time.

He was finally charged years later after two others came forward to report similar incidents.

When police searched McFadden's home they found a devil mask and two wands alongside sex toys and lubricants.

He tried to claim that his victims were making up the abuse but a jury declined to believe him.

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Police Officer jailed after lying about having cancer

A police officer was jailed for a year after lying to his wife, children, and work colleagues about having cancer.

Michael Matts, 34, was described as a 'conniving cheat' for telling his relatives, colleagues and friends that he was undergoing radiotherapy.

Matts was ferried to hospital by sympathetic colleagues for radiotherapy while senior officers were only too happy place him on less strenuous duties and sign him off for long periods.

He also took time off for depression while working at the serious and dangerous offenders unit in Leicester.

While his now-former wife Emma, 30, brought forward their wedding day because she was convinced Matts might die, concerned friends and workmates took the time to drive him to hospital for 'treatment'.

But Leicester Crown Court heard there was nothing wrong with the father-of-two, who secretly busied himself during his extended period of 'sick leave' by setting up a bicycle shop.

He was jailed for one year for a series of frauds.

Matts admitted obtaining financial benefit by receiving police pay when falsely claiming he was unfit to work with cancer, between July 2004 and January 2005.

He also admitted fraud between March 2007 and 2008 by falsely telling Leicestershire Police he was absent due to illness.

When he joined the force in 2001, he told colleagues that seven times Tour de France winner, and testicular cancer battler, Lance Armstrong was his inspiration.

He then promised £900,000 to sponsor a Belgian cycle team while posing as a wealthy businessman. The bogus pledge left a Belgian sports management firm with a crippling £485,000 bill and a £64,000 lawsuit.

Matts also admitted fraudulently making an Alliance and Leicester guarantee and dishonestly using it in relation to the bogus sponsorship deal.

A customer at his shop who paid £2,100 for a bicycle he never received was also fobbed off with lies, the court was told.

John Heighton, the father of Matts' former wife Emma, said the officer's actions were despicable and slammed the judicial system for giving him such a short prison sentence.

Speaking from his home in Wigston, Leicester, the 78-year-old said: 'My daughter came home last year to find police swarming the house - she thought Michael had died.

'They didn't tell her much at the time and Michael continued to spin her lies. She thought he was a good person.

'Not only did he manage to dupe my daughter, but he managed to fool the police too.

'Its unbelievable what he has done, my daughter is absolutely devastated.

'He should have got at least three years for what he's done.

'Even when they got married he was saying he was ill because of his cancer treatment, the amount of lies he has told have been harrowing.

'It has just felt like the lies are never ending and this will stay with my daughter and her children for the rest of their lives.'

A spokesperson from Leicestershire Police, said: 'It is the role of the police service and of every man and woman who serves as a police officer, to uphold the law.

'This individual has let down both his former colleagues and the community that he had served by being involved in criminal activity.'

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Man fined for littering after accidentally dropping £10 note

A man who accidentally dropped a £10 note in an Ayr street was given a £50 fine for littering.

Stewart Smith says he was at first grateful when police pointed to his dropped tenner in Newmarket Street.

And he thanked them for pointing it out to him.

But the 36-year-old, living on benefits, says that the cops then handed him the fixed-penalty fine.

Mr Smith said: “I’m living on £98 a fortnight at the moment, so £50 is a week’s living expenses for me.”

Mr Smith says he had just bought a £3 T-shirt in a charity shop, paid for with a £20 note given to him by his mum.

He said: “I came out the Capability Scotland shop with my T-shirt under my arm.

“I put £7 into my front pocket, as I was going to buy some juice.

“I thought I was putting a £10 note and the receipt in my back pocket.

“But I’ve missed my pocket, and the £10 note – along with the receipt – had fallen on to the street.”

Mr Smith insisted: “I made an honest mistake.”

The ticket gives him 14 days to pay up to South Ayrshire Council.

But he has already consulted a lawyer to see if he can fight what he sees as an unjust fine.

Formerly of Kincaidston, Mr Smith now lives in a flat in Dalrymple.

He worked at the Bed Shed warehouse at Skeldon, before arthritis in his hands forced him to leave at the end of last year.

He said: “I really thought the police were trying to be helpful, but maybe I just have the kind of face they don’t like.”

He insists he didn’t swear at the police or deliberately litter.

Inspector John Cairns of Ayr police office said: “I can confirm a male was issued with a fixed-penalty notice for an alleged act of littering on the day in question.”

Friday, June 12, 2009

G20 police officer under investigation for alleged second assault

A Metropolitan police sergeant who was filmed assaulting a female protester at the G20 protests is under investigation for allegedly assaulting a second woman.

The sergeant, a member of the Met's specialist Territorial Support Group (TSG), was suspended from duty two months ago after footage emerged of him assaulting the protester Nicola Fisher with the back of his arm.

The film also showed him striking Fisher, 35, from Brighton, on the legs with a baton while she attended a memorial vigil for the newspaper seller Ian Tomlinson on April 1, leaving her with severe bruising.

The sergeant is still under investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) over the Fisher attack and could face charges.

Today it emerged he is also under investigation by the IPCC over a second assault, against Katie Surridge, a 24-year-old student who he is alleged to have confronted in an alley off Bishopsgate, and thrown to the ground.

It is understood the IPCC only recently launched the second investigation, after establishing the allegation involved the same sergeant as the Fisher case.

Surridge, from London, has previously described an incident, in which she was shoved to the ground at the Climate Camp demonstration, as "totally unprovoked". The incident took place around 10pm on 1 April, just hours after riot police charged at the mainly peaceful demonstration.

Police have already been criticised for their actions after footage showed officers charging protesters, who resisted peacefully by holding their arms in the air and chanting "This is not a riot".

Rob Faure-Walker, 27, a teacher who witnessed the alleged assault and has given evidence to the IPCC.

"He just burst through the police cordon, pushing a couple of police out of the way," Faure-Walker said. "He picked [Surridge] up off her feet and threw her to the ground. It is my opinion that she was lucky not to have been more seriously injured than she was.

"She had her back to him at the time, and was talking to someone else, when it happened. I've no idea why he did it. Even other police officers looked shocked at what happened."

Faure-Walker demanded the officer's badge number, which was attached to his shoulder. "He walked around looking agitated for the next few minutes before I lost sight of him."

Separately, a journalist demanded the officer's number after noting what he saw as the aggressive treatment of demonstrators around the same time.

By the following day, when he was filmed striking Fisher, the sergeant's badge number was concealed. Faure-Walker said he recognised the sergeant as the officer who had thrown Surridge to the floor when he saw footage of the attack on Fisher broadcast on the news.

Three independent IPCC investigations are continuing into Met officers alleged to have assaulted women at the G20 protests. The IPCC would not disclose whether the latest assault investigation involved the sergeant filmed attacking Fisher. However, a spokesperson said: "The officer in question is subject to another complaint which is being independently investigated by the IPCC."

The IPCC has received more than 270 complaints about the actions of officers at the G20 protests. More than 50 relate to allegations of "excessive force with reported injuries". More than 75 G20 complaints to the IPCC related to police tactics.

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Give the police your DNA or face investigation

Residents of Walthamstow have been given a choice by police : Surrender your DNA to us, or face an investigation.

Police have decreed that residents of nearly 10,000 homes in Walthamstow will have to submit their DNA to the police, or they will be investigated by the police in connection with several murders.

Murder squad detectives have been drafted in from all over London to help complete the canvassing of houses within a 3.4 mile-wide perimeter in Walthamstow, East London.

Police have said that residents who do not surrender their DNA will face further investigation.

Police have not said for how long the samples will be stored, or for what purposes they may be used.

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