Hogan-Howe will go over plebgate

Back in October, Uncut made two predictions: that Andrew Mitchell would resign (down to the day he would go) and he would use the CCTV footage of the incident on Downing Street as the basis for an inevitable fightback.

Now a further prediction: the Metropolitan police will be looking for a new commissioner early next year. Bernard Hogan-Howe will resign.

At the moment he still thinks he can survive but this is about to change. As the new police investigation progresses and evidence mounts that key details in the log book were fabricated, the focus will move onto three areas: first, accountability for the mess; second, Hogan-Howe’s judgement over the past fortnight and third, why there wasn’t even a cursory investigation into Andrew Mitchell’s version of events at the time of the original story.

Bernard Hogan-Howe was appointed to bring more hands on, visible leadership to the Met. His reputation in his former bailiwick of Liverpool was as a leader with a grip of the detail on what was happening in his force.

Now on Bernard Hogan-Howe’s watch, it is likely that some of his policemen will have attempted to frame a cabinet minister. This constitutes one of the gravest potential acts of police corruption in recent years.

To think that at least one serving police officer could be charged and convicted in this affair and no senior officer take responsibility is inconceivable. In this context, given Hogan-Howe’s mandate, it is hard for him to abjure ultimate accountability.

Second, his judgement, over the days since Michael Crick’s explosive report, will surely be called into question.

It is near incredible that Hogan-Howe could continue to back the account in the police log, as late as a fortnight ago, even though he will have seen that the CCTV footage of the incident clearly refutes key details, such as the presence of shocked onlookers.

Andrew Mitchell has already let it be known that he was unhappy with Hogan-Howe’s statement that he had seen “nothing that causes me to doubt the original account” contained in the police logs. Mitchell fears that the commissioner was prejudging his own investigation.

This is indeed a danger, but what happens if the investigators proceed without prejudice? What happens when they highlight inexplicable factual inaccuracies in the police log? Such as the missing onlookers and physical impossibility for the exchange in the log book to happen in the window of time that Mitchell is talking to the officers, on the CCTV.

When this happens, Hogan-Howe will be on record as blindly backing his officers, regardless of evidence he will have seen. His credibility will be shot through.

Third, there is the question of why a more thorough investigation wasn’t conducted at the time of the original incident. We now know the CCTV footage was available then, but the police chose to do nothing. Even though this was as high profile a case as the Met would face all year and Andrew Mitchell was flatly denying the police’s account of events, the Met didn’t see fit to check the log against the evidence on the CCTV.

Surely as a minimum precaution, Hogan-Howe would have asked his close team to have a look at Mitchell’s claims and see if there was any validity to them?

This is a toxic affair for the police. It tars the Met with the same brush as Hillsborough has their south Yorkshire colleagues. When the investigations have been completed there will be a need to reset the relationship between the police and both politicians and public. The combination of Hogan-Howe’s personal accountability as commissioner, with his questionable recent statements and lack of grip at the time of the original incident make it hard to see how he will survive.


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8 Responses to “Hogan-Howe will go over plebgate”

  1. The police federation itself will not come out of this ‘gate’ without a blemish on its record either. They have used a PR company to push their agenda, a PR company that has gone very quiet over the last few days. Guant brothers’ (http://gauntbrothers.co.uk/) twitter account (@GauntBrothers) is very quiet now. The fed had no problem with mugs brandishing “pleb” as a means to get at the government, a government that is trying to save money, though failing.

    As to why a more thorough investigation wasn’t carried out? Because of the fake letter from the serving policeman stopped it. It was proof enough to those in charge that Mitchell was in the wrong and therefore they didn’t check any further. Plus all the media who-ha and campaigning from the Labour side made Mitchell resign and therefore preempted the need for an investigation.

  2. JohnB says:

    Many of these strictures also apply to the Cabinet Secretary, who was supposed to have investigated the allegations against Mitchell but clearly didn’t. He either didn’t look at the CCTV or chose to ignore it, and never bothered to find out that the notorious email came from a serving police officer. The number 10 machine had decided that Mitchell had to go, and from that point on the evidence became irrelevant. What are top Civil Servants for if they are so completely in the pocket of the ruling party? Who else is to investigate alleged misconduct by Cabinet Ministers?

  3. swatantra says:

    its a sad and sorry state when we have to say that even the guardians are not beyond suspicion. Who would have thaought that serving police officers allegedly fabricated evidence? But that is what appears to have happened It should send a sharp shiver down the spine of the Police Federation, and all Unions, that there is always a rogue and maverick element within, that needs to be challenged. In fact I would suggest a ‘special unit’ to be created within all Unions which checks on all mavericks and undesirables and trots who have a separate agenda from the more responsible members.
    What the article fails to mention is that not only is are management heads on the block, but what the hell were the Federation doing in not checking out this explosive story. This says a lot more about Union mismanagement and harms their reputation more.
    No doubt there was a conspiracy to stitch up Mitchell and perpetuate this posh boys myth and image. Grow up Unions and the Left! and bury this class war thing; its not worth fighting a war that was won years ago.

  4. McCurry says:

    I don’t think the commissioner is in trouble.

    Firstly, there was never a complaint made to the police. This was a story in a newspaper only.

    Secondly, the substantive fact is that a cabinet minister said to an officer “I thought you were supposed to fucking help us” at the time when the government was making the police redundant and attacking their pensions. Mitchell is not innocent, even by his own admission.

  5. swatantra says:

    We may need the assistance of a grammararian on this. Technically Mitch was NOT swearing at the Police, since he didn’t particularly say ‘F… off, you mother f….rs’. Now thats what I call swearing.
    What Mitch said was in exasperation at the tediousness of routine security measures. Those who’ve passed through Airport Security will know the feeling. Its about time we got rid of all this paranoia over security: If its going to happen it’ll happen. Lets not make a mountain out of a molehill, which is what the Federation did over this minor incident.

  6. A policeman fabricating a story, mixing the evidence, leaking to journal for cash. How very dare you suggest such a thing. I asked a policeman for directions yesterday, He hit me with his truncheon, harsh but I deserved it.

  7. cozmik says:

    He should resign over his inability to act on the charges of treason laid before him by 12 Police Stations…his refusal to take these claims seriously is testament to his inability to do the job he is paid to do and that is – uphold the law.

    Heath committed treason and because no Govt after him rectified that gross anomaly all Govt’s have been unlawful assemblies.
    This makes the EU illegal, because no laws can come from a treasonous act. Heath actually admitted he lied to the public on TV…i saw it. He should have been arrested then…but why is this not front page news now?

    Treason against the British people not serious enough for the media, or are they all complicit in this cover up?

    Plebgate is just a distraction.

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