West Midlands Police refuse a SAR to avoid evidence being disclosed of a crime

West Midlands Police

On the 12th February, an offence was committed in Walsall Magistrates Court.

The offence was a S4 Public Order Offence.

Fear or provocation of violence.

(1)A person is guilty of an offence if he—

(a) uses towards another person threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or

(b) distributes or displays to another person any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,

The defendant, walked into a public waiting area when he was attending his plea hearing for ‘another’ crime he had been charged for.

He saw a victim of the offence [that he had been charged with], sitting in the public waiting area. He then attacked this victim, committing this Public Order offence!

Two Security guards witnessed this.  They both quickly ran over and restrained the offender.  The offender continued to shout abuse and make threats, so much so, the security had to physically pick him up, carry him downstairs and throw him out of the court building.

West Midlands police interviewed the victim, an audio recording of this has been retained.  the officer confirmed that the CCTV had been viewed and although it had no audio, the CCTV clearly shows a Public Order offence and that the nature of the interaction was so threatening, it was crimed as S4 Public Order, not the lower S5 Public Order.

Detective Sergeant 20129 Craig Lewis, of West Midlands CID, (and for reasons believed to be suspicious), decided to close the investigation, he said;

Having reviewed the evidence in this report this report will be filed due to there being insufficient evidence to proceed.

A proportionate investigation has been carried out.

There are no independent witnesses and no audio CCTV.

The two security staff who were present will not support the investigation having declined to make a statement, with one specifically stating that he did not hear the threats that are detailed in your statement.

Therefore [redacted], there would not be sufficient evidence to pass the threshold test for charging.

This email from Detective Sergeant 20129 Craig Lewis suggests that the TWO security guards refused to assist police with enquiries, even though they both fully co-operated with the Police to provide the CCTV in plain sight of the victim.

His comments, by inference, suggest that one of the Security Guards did witness the threats by suggesting that one of the guards did not hear the threats.  This indicates police have spoken with them in detail and ascertained that there is footage of the incident and at least one of the security guards witnessed the threats.

Walsall Magistrates Court Manager Francesca Breeze has been notified that West Midlands Police have alleged that the security guards at Walsall Magistrates Court have ‘refused’ to assist in a Criminal Investigation!

An odd suggestion, especially as the guards work for the Criminal Justice System and paid from the public?

The Victim then made a Subject Access Request (SAR) to West Midlands Police for a copy of the CCTV incident.  This CCTV is personal information of the victim as he is on the recorded CCTV and under Rights Of Access within the Data Protection policies, police MUST provide the CCTV to him on request within 30 days. – YET, THEY HAVE REFUSED.

After making the SAR application on the 4th April 2020 directly to West Midlands Data Protection dept, it took almost 2 weeks for any response from them.  This response was to ask for ‘further identification‘.  Even though full ID had been provided 2 weeks earlier, this further ID was provided immediately.

This is when the suspicions were raised, the Data Protection Departement stated in a reply from Data Protection email address B_DATAPROTECTION@west-midlands.pnn.police.uk;

“A subject access request would provide you with confirmation that CCTV footage exists and a still photograph of yourself in the footage would be provided”

This is in breach of the Data Protection act, a quick phone call to the ICO confirmed this and they advised me to refer this to the ICO for investigation.  This has now been done.

Preparation has also been made for a Court Order to force the release of the footage.

It is clear the footage will show the incident which will prove there was a serious Public Order Offence and this will then raise the more serious questions;

  1. Why did West Midlands Police refuse to prosecute the offender
  2. Why did West Midlands Police lie about the evidence?
  3. Did Walsall Court Security guards really refuse to assist police in a criminal enquiry?

Francesca Breeze, (the Delivery Manager at Walsall and Wolverhampton Magistrates’ Court’s) was notified of this allegation against Security and has made some enquiries.  She has now confirmed this allegation has been passed to security guard Manager, Sean Mulvey, at OCS, who will investigate the matter and respond directly to the victim.

This begs the question… why would security guards;

  • who are paid for by the public
  • to protect the public
  • in a public Court building; then
  • refuse to assist police
  • in a criminal investigation
  • where a member of the public was assaulted
  • in the public building
  • that they are paid to protect… by the public!

We now wonder at what point it time West Midlands Police will use the old excuse ‘The CCTV footage has been deleted‘…  from the book of police excuses.

West Midlands Police PSD department have been asked for their comments on this article.

Please feel free to leave comments below.

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2 Comments

  1. This is absolutely no surprise to me, corruption is endemic. Years ago I was assaulted by a police officer outside New Street station. I was escorting a drunk friend to the taxi rank who swore at an Officer. I was sober and apologised to the Officer concerned, who still took it open himself to rush over and grab me round the neck. Afterwards I was charged with assaulting the Officer despite three independent witnesses supporting my account and *nobody* supporting his, aside from his colleague who gave a statement (word for word the same as his) but declined to give evidence in court. I realised there were no less than six CCTV cameras covering the site so I was confident it would be cleared up…. First they claimed they didn’t know who operated them, then when I dug up evidence that they did (!) I was told by two different sources that they were broken *and* that they were pointing the wrong way.

    I’m afraid I wouldn’t trust a WMP Officer to lie straight in bed and from my experience, at least, their only concern further up the command chain is to look after their own. I’ve had a lot of damage done to my life, whereas my assailant continued on with his career and enjoyed a publicly funded retirement after only 30 years of (self) service.

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