Definitive video shows Plebgate should not damage confidence in police

BBC News is today saying that a Police Complaints Commission report states that there has not been a proper inquiry into the ‘Plebgate’ row, in which MP and former Tory Chief Whip resigned over accusations that he had called police ‘f***ing plebs’.
Watch as Tory spin doctors try to make this statement mean that the police did wrong and Mr Mitchell is ‘exonerated’ (as was already claimed months ago when no such thing was true). But that’s not what it means at all – it’s a criticism of process, not of the facts or otherwise of the case.
Mr Mitchell has previously claimed that footage shows there was no opportunity for him to have had a row with police – but, as this analysis demonstrates, the footage shows nothing of the sort, and supports the police account rather than undermining it.
Please spread the word again, to get ahead of the inevitable new bout of weaseling to try to restore this odious man to the Cabinet.


The Chair of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, Keith Vaz, is quoted in today’s Sunday Telegraph and on BBC News as saying that

Public confidence in the police has been shaken after failures over the way officers responded to the Hillsborough disaster, and new disclosures over the “Plebgate” controversy

and calling for a public inquiry into policing.

Nobody can question that the Hillsborough disaster was a catastrophe for those affected by it, or that it cast the South Yorkshire police of the time in a very grim light. But to put that tragedy – which happened over 2 decades ago – alongside ‘disclosures over the “Plebgate” controversy” in order to describe public confidence in the police as ‘shaken’ is to give the supposed ‘disclosures’, by former Conservative Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell and his supporters via Channel 4’s ‘Dispatches’ programme, a weight and credence that they simply do not deserve.

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26 responses to “Definitive video shows Plebgate should not damage confidence in police

  1. The problem for the police with the video footage is that it contradicts a crucial bit of evidence against Mitchell; the police claimed they’d received an email from someone who had been in a crowd of tourists outside the Downing Street gates and had seen Mitchell’s outburst. The contents of the email supported the police version of what happened, leaving Mitchell in an untenable position. However, when the CCTV footage was analysed in December, it showed that there had been no crowd of tourists outside the gate at the time of the argument. It later emerged that the email had been written and sent by a policeman working in the Diplomatic Protection Group i.e. the very officers who guard the gates in Downing Street. And he was NOT on duty there on the evening of the argument.

    Sure, Mitchell’s an unpleasant guy, and I certainly feel no urge to defend him, but there is PLENTY in ‘Plebgate’ to undermine confidence in the police.

    • As someone else commented, the email should be excluded as it has no bearing on the truthfulness or otherwise of the officers’ report.

      You’ve looked at the analysis that C4’s Dispatches showed – which was selectively edited and presented in a skewed way. Plenty of tourists were there, as my joined-up, annotated footage shows.

  2. Had a chance conversation with an ex policeman from years ago and he said Mitchell continually rode his bike the wrong way on the footpath around Parliament Square and when charged he got strings pulled to have the charge dropped.

    • Interesting! AM also attempted to exit the same Downing St main gate before & after the night in question. It’s almost as if he relishes such confrontations to establish his status as someone ‘special’..

      Plus, from the meeting transcript, it’s clear AM has one aim, to ‘move on’ rather than make the official complaint necessary to clarify under oath who told the truth about what he said:

      He repeats what he didn’t say, mentions something he says he did say but still won’t elaborate (just as the Fed man said afterwards) what his own notes, made 2 days later, included in full.

  3. OK, I will go out on something of a limb here, in pursuit of the truth of the actual events.
    I used to work for the department that protected Downing Street, SO6. (Before I retired,which was after this event) . Both the officers involved are career police officers, and both the male officer shown in the video, and the female officer (slightly out of shot) are well-known by all, to be 100% straight, real coppers, who will always tell the truth. And that is what they did. Mitchell knows this, and -sort of- acknowledges it, by his initial apology.
    The problem arises with the email, sent by an outraged off-duty officer, who wasn’t there at the time. He has ballsed it up for the good guys, who have been plagued by reporters, been subject to disciplinary action, and generally put on the back foot, ever since. We need to exclude the misguided e mail, and go with the truthful statement of the officers on scene, both of whom I have worked with, and can completely vouch for.
    I have a terrible fear that they will be hung out to dry, at least one of them. That is just not right, and Mitchell knows it. If he were more of a man, he would just cough to the whole episode, and do the decent thing.
    But he’s a Tory. Enough said.

    • Yes, a shame also if the press was given the location & time of the meeting between the 3 Fed members & AM, as has been suggested. If true, this may raise the suspicion that the result of the meeting was foregone and an agenda was just to be played out.

      It’s surprising that no-one from the Fed had checked the words of AM quoted in the original police log rather than base their comments to him during the meeting only on a newspaper report of it. They assumed the officer(s) who wrote the log would otherwise have challenged the report by then.

      There were two options, AM was lying or remembered his outburst incorrectly or ‘bad apples’ existed in SO6, falsifying their recollection of the words used by AM. The Fed members gradually insisted during the meeting that, to avoid trust in the word of all police collapsing, the reports of what had been said must be clarified. Yet AM still preferred only to ‘move on’, continuing only to claim concern regarding the consequences for the guard(s) if their word was challenged.

      As for the 3 Fed members, despite the IPCC supervised enquiry in effect coming down in their favour, Deborah Glass immediately challenged its conclusion and their veracity. Is this attack impartial or might it be seen as a counterbalance to previous criticism:

      “..MPs and commentators are calling on the IPCC to be robust, efficient and blazingly independent, but when its deputy chair, Deborah Glass, gave evidence to a Commons select committee this week, she seemed to procrastinate and flounder in the face of simple questions that required direct answers, leading to a reprimand from the committee chairman, Keith Vaz”

      Certainly, Michael Fabricant appears to think pressure is being applied to the DPS – for some reason..

  4. Pingback: Definitive video shows Plebgate should not dama...·

  5. (sorry, Fabricant suspected pressure is being applied to the CPS – not DPS)

    The reason AM gives in the Fed meeting for being endlessly concerned to “move on”, “draw a line”, “clear the air” & not root out any police guard ‘bad apples’ – if he knew they lied about his words – isn’t wholly convincing. He rather over-eggs that pudding in the transcript, as if it may be more to do with him, or his suffering & his family or their suffering, than with a concern for the police guard(s).

    AM has been critical of Cameron recently, yet Theresa May immediately mirrored the line of Deborah Glass, the IPCC Deputy Chair, using the inquiry exoneration to stoke mistrust in the police. Have David Davis & AM agreed to support a May leadership bid if she pressures the CPS, calculating that Plebgate will help her slash police numbers or trash the Fed & so help her reduce/pinch pensions?

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      • Yes, you’re right. Am afraid Mitchell, Davis, Crick & C4 stand to lose so much face now – if they can’t find some escape route – it’ll boil down to the word of one PC against that of a ‘Rt Hon’ former Cabinet Minister in court.

        If they lose, the accusation will arise that they deliberately smeared the good name of an honest policeman. The same charge previously levelled by them against other members of the police and their Federation, in order to bring down AM as a Cabinet minister. A charge which has not yet been decided by the CPS convincingly in their favour.

        They’ll also need to square the circle between..

        “the Cabinet Office provided you with a copy of the relevant CCTV footage unedited for the incident and time period in question. The pixilation was undertaken by another government department on our behalf”
        – from Sue Gray at the Cabinet Office


        “the footage [C4] showed is an edited version..people were obscured so..visible reactions cannot be seen, and the start and finish points were later and earlier respectively than the footage we have been shown and so it did not include footage of members of the public coming into view from the right hand side as you look out to Whitehall immediately after the incident who may have been visible from the pedestrian gate at the relevant time. In addition there are other cameras which are helpful”
        – from the CPS

        ( any culpability by C4 et al may hinge on the interpretation by the court of
        “unedited for the..time period in question”
        and if discarded snippets at either end left on the floor could reasonably be assumed only as ‘inadvertent’.

  8. What about the police misrepresenting their later meeting with Mitchell, and the fact that the dodgy e-mail did come from a police officer. ‘Plebgate should not damage confidence in the police’ only if you already have little confidence in the integrity of the police service as an institution.

  9. But Emillion, despite the preferred focus of many people on subsequent actions, the sentence used to state this preference..

    “this video does not mean that Plebgate should not damage confidence in the police”

    ..surely illustrates why these blog posts try primarily to uncover the initial truth of the encounter and refuse to allow it to be subsumed by events which haven’t yet been shown as linked to the original protagonists.

    “video”, “Plebgate” & “confidence in the police”

    The “video” relates only to those present at the initial incident in Downing Street, not to later participants.
    “Pleb” is the disputed word allegedly used by one of those present to insult another at the initial incident in Downing Street, not by later participants.
    “gate” relates only to the location of the initial incident in Downing Street, not of later participants.

    Yet “confidence in the police” hinges primarily on which initial protagonist is lying. Later events are subsidiary and are clearly judged according to which protagonist you already believe.

    If the PC lied, the repercussions for the whole service are immense because a cabinet minister would have been brought down, as Mitchell alleges, by someone who could then be seen as part of an extremely elaborate sting. As Mitchell supporters already assume, the later email & Fed meeting would be viewed as its elaboration. After Hillsborough etc, such a sting if proved would be the straw from which no police back could surely recover.

    If Mitchell lied, the repercussions would focus mainly on him, David Davis, C4 and Crick. Confidence in the police service might survive his implied suspicions of police probity. The later email & Fed meeting would perhaps be seen as attempts by colleagues in, or linked to, the service to defend a PC they knew to be honest*. The PC may’ve been unable to challenge suspicions publicly until the recent direct accusations by Mitchell left no alternative option available except cross examination under oath in court.

    * See example earlier (15th Oct) character reference for the PC:

  10. The Times today draws attention to Mitchell’s fury at being thwarted from cycling out of the No.10 main gates – the day before the main incident..

    Police guards made unsuccessful plea (anyone surprised?) for a management intervention to avoid future AM tantrums..

    The Sun newspaper (now behind firewall) reported a version of the spat the day before the publicised incident..

    AM tried for a 3rd time – the day afterwards – too, though described only as his 2nd attempt here:

  11. Mail On Sunday, tomorrow 26th Apr ’14

    PC Rowland says he wrote down Mr Mitchell’s ‘f****** plebs’ alleged comment in his notebook 90 minutes after the event and immediately emailed it to senior officers.

    PC Rowland says: ‘Initially [Mitchell] did not allege [Rowland] had lied. In fact he apologised [to Rowland] privately by phone not long after the incident.

    Mr Mitchell phoned him to say sorry afterwards ‘with the clear implication he admitted using the said words’ – but later repeatedly lied about it to try to save his career.

    Rowland also says:

    He had nothing to do with any plot to ‘stitch up’ Mr Mitchell.

    Mr Mitchell launched a ‘wholly gratuitous attack’ on him accusing him of ‘dishonesty and corruption’ to deflect attention from a law chiefs’ ruling that the PC says rejected Mr Mitchell’s version of events.

  12. Pingback: Was Plebgate linked to corruption in Mitchell’s foreign aid dept? | The SKWAWKBOX Blog·

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