A female made a complaint against two Norfolk police officers, Chief Inspector Amie Abbs and Detective Sergeant Matthew Abbs for breaking Covid Rules. The allegation was that DS Matthew Abbs and CI Aimie Abbs (Now Supt) breached Covid-19 government guidelines by attending a gathering of more that 6 people.
Angela (not real name) reported this Covid breach to the police, but rather than investigate the allegations made against their own officers, Norfolk police subjected Angela to a vindictive police arrest and invasive raid of her home seizing her personal belongings.
Angela is the former partner of DS Matthew Abbs with whom she has a child.
Angela received a phone call from their then 14-year-old daughter who was at the time spending time with her Father (Matthew Abbs).
Her daughter asked her mum (Angela) if she could have her hair cut. This was during Covid lockdown which had imposed strict rules, supposedly enforced by police, about numbers of people within households being restricted to 6 with social distance measures.
Angela was told by her daughter that the father (PS Matthew Abbs) and his partner Chief Inspector Amie Abbs were taking the daughter to another house, which was in breach of Covid guidelines as there were 9 people present.
During the gathering, Angela was in contact with her daughter by Facetime and Angela witnessed 9 people, illegally in close proximity.
Angela was furious about this as it exposed her daughter to the unnecessary Covid risk during the pandemic, and this was done knowingly by serving police officers, CI Amie Abbs and DS Matthew Abbs of Norfolk constabulary.
This also presented Angela with unnecessary risk from transmission via her daughter who was unlawfully put in contact with others.
Angela made the complaint to Norfolk police on the grounds that the two police officers, DS Matthew Abbs and Chief Inspector Amie Abbs, knowingly breached the Covid regulations, the same regulations that police were imposing fines on other civilians for breaching.
Not surprisingly, Norfolk police dismissed Angela’s complaint in a show of ‘apparent bias‘, dismissing any wrongdoing of their own officers and even dismissing Angela’s concerns over the welfare of herself and her daughter.
Unhappy with this outcome, Angela took to Facebook to vent her frustration against the police officers, this was done by posting a number of articles highlighting the complaint, including the official police response.
Using an alias account (her nickname), Angela posted the following comments;
“Norfolk police cover up again. A gathering of nine people by Chief Inspector Amie Abbs area commander for Norfolk and her partner DS Matthew Abbs in the emergency lockdown period is justified as ok and not a conduct issue! Excuse is the host family locked their three little kids inside the house all day on their own. So the gathering was just six… its one rule for them and another rule for us… joke.”
and in another post;
“Why is it one rule for the public and one rule for the police. How can we have confidence when the police cover up and break the rules. The police are paid to enforce the rules and keep us safe. This is a massive breach in public confidence….Help get this corruption exposed! DS Matthew Abbs and Chief Inspector Amie Abbs who is Norfolks area commander. During the lockdown they attended big illegal gathering and all had hair cuts. Even the queen couldn’t have her hair cut! A complaint was made to Norfolk PSD and the PSD have covered it all up. Look at the PSD Official…”
Neither of the above posts can in any way be Malicious Communications contrary to the Malicious Communications Act 1988.
For such an article to be an offence under the Malicious Communications Act, the person (Angela in this case), must send to another person, a letter, electronic communication or article of any description which conveys—
- a message which is indecent or grossly offensive;
- a threat; or
- information which is false and known or believed to be false. (read the full Act here)
Nothing within the above postings by Angela is indecent or grossly offensive. Neither are there any threats. The allegations made by Angela are known to be true by Angela as she witnessed the gathering via a Facetime chat with her daughter.
Nevertheless, Angela was arrested on ‘suspicion’ of Malicious Communications.
How and why did Norfolk police come to this wild allegation?
The answer is simple, Malicious Communications is an ‘either way’ offence, therefore it is indictable and an indictable offence gives the police a whole host of power over and above a summary only offence.
The ‘useful’ power the police gained, in this case, was the power to search Angela’s home (under Section 32 of PACE).
So, an ‘unlawful’ search is what they did. For a search to be lawful, there must be a genuine suspicion of an indictable offence and the offence alleged was, by all accounts, not criminal. It is alleged that Angela was intentionally punished by Norfolk police, abusing their powers because she dared to exercise her right to Freedom of Expression, protected under Article 10 of the Human Rights Act.
The two Facebook postings above resulted in 4 police officers attending Angela’s home and pushing their way in after arresting her for a crime she did not commit. They then searched Angela’s home to her objection.
They seized various computers, phones and tablets, they also took the internet router and all cables making it impossible for her to continue her work which is internet-based.
Angela was arrested, taken away and detained at a police station where she was interviewed under caution. Angela was not charged but released initially, bailed to return however, bail was dropped and she has now been released under investigation.
A police officer agreed that what Angela posted was not a lie (therefore cannot be Malicious Communications), however, emphasised that the offence was using a Facebook account if a different name than her own (an alias account).
This is an apparent show of ‘don’t mess with us‘ by Norfolk police after an allegation against two police officers.
An action against police solicitor has agreed to undertake civil proceedings against Norfolk police on a conditional fee arrangement (CFA), or more commonly referred to as No Win No Fee).
Norfolk police have been asked for their comments on this article.
A Norfolk Constabulary spokesman said:
“This matter was investigated by our Professional Standards Department who found no case to answer. This decision was appealed by the complainant, who took the matter to the Independent Office of Police Conduct, who, after reviewing the matter, also found no case to answer and offered no formal advice to the constabulary. In respect to the ongoing criminal investigation, this matter is being dealt with by another force.”
Cambridgeshire police who are conducting the criminal investigation have been asked for their comments in this article.
Their initial response was;
Thank you for your email. Apologies, I can’t see a Cambridgeshire link here. Please may you clarify or forward to Norfolk Police if it concerns them?
Clarification was sent to Cambridgeshire from UKCP saying;
Sorry for the confusion.
Norfolk police did provide a response but we have been notified that Cambridgeshire police are the investigating force for the alleged offence. The victim has provided us with the comments that she made, which do not breach the Malicious Communications Act 1998. The victim believes her arrest and the subsequent investigation by Cambridgeshire police is unlawful and formulated by the two serving police officers.
I will publish the above if you could provide a response to it.
A Cambridgeshire Constabulary spokesman said:
We have been asked by Norfolk Constabulary to investigate an allegation of malicious communications which allegedly took place in Norfolk. A [redacted]-year-old woman from [redacted], Norfolk, was arrested on suspicion of malicious communications on 4 November last year. She has since been released under investigation and our inquiries continue.