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MPs recall police in 'plebgate' row

Source BBC News@ tienganhvui.com


Andrew Mitchell arriving at Downing Street on his bicycleA confrontation between Mr Mitchell and police sparked the "plebgate" saga


Two police officers accused of giving misleading answers to Parliament during recent evidence relating to the "plebgate" saga are to face MPs again.


The Home Affairs Committee wants Det Sgt Stuart Hinton of Warwickshire Police and Sgt Chris Jones, from West Midlands Police, to apologise.


Chairman Keith Vaz said later reports contradicted the evidence they gave.


MPs will also quiz the Independent Police Complaints Commission about its probe into the men's conduct.


Det Sgt Hinton and Sgt Jones, along with Inspector Ken Mackaill, from West Mercia Police, were criticised after appearing before the committee last month to explain their actions following a meeting with the former chief whip in October 2012.


The cross-party committee said Sgt Jones failed to give a "full account" of his disciplinary record when asked, while Det Sgt Hinton was "mendacious" when he refused to acknowledge that his reference to a "woman that the Conservative Party have" in the transcript of the Mitchell meeting related to Home Secretary Theresa May.


Keith Vaz, the Labour MP who chairs the committee, said MPs were "appalled" by the officers' original evidence and that if they did not "correct the record" they would be in contempt of Parliament and face further action.


The three officers met Mr Mitchell in his Sutton Coldfield constituency a month after the original incident in Downing Street, in which the then chief whip was accused of calling Downing Street officers "plebs" after they refused to let him ride his bicycle through the main gates.


The then cabinet member apologised for using bad language but denied using the word pleb. He later resigned as chief whip as the row continued.


After the meeting the officers, who represent rank and file officers in Warwickshire, West Mercia and West Midlands respectively, briefed the media.


'Irregularities'

A transcript of a recording Mr Mitchell made of the meeting raised doubts about the officers' account of what was said.


Ch Insp Jerry Reakes-Williams, head of professional standards at Warwickshire and West Mercia Police, carried out an investigation and concluded they had a case to answer for misconduct, but their senior officers disagreed.


Now the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has announced it will conduct its own investigation into the officers' behaviour, saying there were "procedural irregularities" in the earlier probe.


The watchdog has said the investigation was incomplete because the final report did not include Ch Insp Reakes-Williams' opinion and the fresh inquiry was needed because public confidence in the police was at stake.


Mr Vaz said the committee wanted to know why the IPCC had changed its mind and decided to hold a new inquiry.


He added that he wanted a quick resolution to the saga to allow the officers and Mr Mitchell to "get on with" their lives.


The three Police Federation reps had been told they would face no action over the meeting but the chief constable of West Mercia Police has said that decision should be reviewed.


At the time of the meeting, the Police Federation was in a fight with the government over cuts to police budgets and employment conditions and allies of Mr Mitchell have accused the organisation of trying to bring him down.


Eight people, including five police officers, have been arrested and bailed over the original altercation at the security gates to Downing Street amid claims that details of the incident were falsified.


The Crown Prosecution Service is currently considering charges. The new director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders, said on Monday that it would not be rushed into a decision.





Đăng ký: Tieng Anh Vui

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