A complaint was made to the Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner (‘the PCC’) Andrew Snowden of a criminal allegation against the ex-Lancashire police Chief Constable.
Ian Dickinson, the Governance & Policing Lead for the PCC has to date, made all decisions on behalf of Andrew Snowden. Mr Dickinson has been asked to clarify if Mr Snowden is aware of the following incident. Mr Dickinson has so far failed to confirm so for the purpose of this article, it is assumed that Mr Snowden is aware of the criminal allegations.
The complaint is now with the IOPC because the Crime Commissioner refused to
record investigate the serious complaint, a failure that was quickly overruled by the IOPC. [inline correction made after Ian Dickinson response]
The IOPC went on to direct the Crime Commissioner to
record and investigate the criminal allegation made against the ex-Chief Constable but the Crime Commissioner refused to do this! [inline correction made after Ian Dickinson response]
Instead, the Crime Commissioner referred the complaint back to the IOPC, seeking the IOPC to make an ‘indication test’ (10.9 of the IOPC Statutory Guidance).
The allegation made against the ex-Chief Constable was that he brought a malicious civil application against Mr Ponting, a resident of Lancashire and an editor of this website. Further details of the full circumstances of the alleged offence are here.
The application was sought to prevent Mr Ponting from blogging about Lancashire police. (and only Lancashire police). This application which relied upon perjured evidence, was granted by a police defence barrister, QC David Knifton who was acting as a recorder at the time (a part-time judge).
Within the Civil evidence bundle, perjured evidence was positively identified and brought to the Chief Constables attention before the civil trial took place. This was done to ensure the Chief Constable had every opportunity to correct his perjured evidence bundle.
Rather than Investigate this serious criminal allegation that had supporting evidence, the Chief Constable put his own ‘civil application‘ above the law and stated that the reported perjured evidence, will be tested in a civil hearing. (not in a criminal court as it should have been)
Perjury is a serious offence and Mr Justice Fraser is quoted as saying it ‘strikes at the heart of the administration of justice’ (Para 2, Mr Justice Fraser, The Queen v Jennifer Johnson).
There is never a lawful justification for the police to ignore a criminal offence in favour of a civil application, especially when the civil application heavily relies upon the alleged perjured evidence.
The ex-Chief Constable should not be allowed to hide behind his (ex) Chief Constable status or be in any way protected by the Police and Crime Commissioner, Andrew Snowden who has a duty to hold the chief constable to account.
Andrew Snowden has been contacted asking for his comments on this article.
RESPONSE From Ian Dickinson 10/9/2021 (Not PCC Andrew Snowden as requested)
I write in response to your e-mail of the 7 September 2021, providing a link to an article on your website and would make the following factual observations.
I consider that the headline is both misleading and inaccurate.
As you are aware, your complaint was made on the 12 February 2021. At the time, the Police and Crime Commissioner was Mr Clive Grunshaw.
Neither Clive Grunshaw nor Andrew Snowden have made any decisions in relation to your complaint. Mr Dickinson, the Governance & Policing Lead, has to date, made all decisions on behalf of the Police and Crime Commissioner under delegated authority.
The decision to refer the matter to the IOPC was taken by Mr Dickinson following guidance from the IOPC to ensure the correct legislative requirements are followed to avoid any issues that may make what has been done to address your complaint invalid under the Police Reform Act.
Mr Snowden is aware you have made a complaint against the former Chief Constable.
The IOPC did not instruct the Police and Crime Commissioner to record your complaint. Your complaint was recorded on the 26 February 2021 by Mr Dickinson under schedule 3 of the Police Reform Act 2002 which afforded you with the right of review of Mr Dickinson’s decision to the IOPC.
The Police and Crime Commissioner has not refused to investigate your complaint as requested by the IOPC nor is he hindering the complaint process. The Police and Crime Commissioner is awaiting guidance from the IOPC as to what form the investigation will take following an ‘indication test’.
I hope this is of assistance to you.
Governance & Policing Lead
Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire
Tel: 01772 533587
OUR RESPONSE TO IAN DICKINSON
Dear Mr Dickinson,
My email was addressed to Mr Snowden, I was seeking his comments, not yours; however, I will respond to your comments but I do still seek the comments directly from Mr Snowden.
- The headline is factual, subjective and is an opinion. It is true that an allegation has been made that the PCC (Andrew Snowden), who heads the office, is hindering the investigation. While you may disagree, the allegation is based on substantive evidence and is subjective.
- The criminal report (complaint), was reported to the Police and Crime Commissioner. I accept it was Clive Grunshaw at the time; however, he has now been replaced by Andrew Snowden, who has the power and jurisdiction to review his predecessor’s decisions. Furthermore, Mr Snowden was notified of this incident during his election campaign for the PCC position
- You say neither Clive Grunshaw nor Andrew Snowden has made any decisions? I reject this because they are the PCC office holder and that all decisions that emanate from the OPCC are the decision of the PCC, whether direct or by delegated authority.
- As you admit that Mr Snowden is aware, please can you explain why he did not provide his comments as requested?
- I stand corrected. The IOPC wrote on the 6th May 2021 and confirmed that the complaint was recorded by the OPCC but that the OPCC decided to take no further action (refused to investigate). I remind you that the criminal allegations (the complaint) is based upon prima facie evidence that you have full access to, and it is suspicious to say the least, that you refused to take any action whatsoever! A refusal to take any action indicates a refusal to investigate, does it not? It would be argued that it was a ‘Wednesbury unreasonable’ decision for you to take no further action; however, the IOPC did overrule this flawed decision, and therefore, a judicial review was not required.
- I reject your comment that the OPCC has not refused to investigate. The OPCC was in receipt of a complaint of a criminal offence and, without considering the crime or evidence, made a decision to take ‘no further action’. This is a refusal to investigate.
The above will be published in response to your last reply, and I ask for your further comments.