18 February 2009

Complaint against West Mercia Police

I felt that I had to make a formal complaint against West Mercia Police following my false arrest on 5 November 2008, which was as a result of action by Professor Meirion Francis Lewis. It was clear that Mr Lewis was attempting to stop me revealing that he had given false evidence at my trial in 1993, although I have the proof that demonstrates that he was plainly wrong.

This is the e-mail I have just sent to West Mercia Police:

From: Michael John Smith
To: professionalstandards.hq@westmercia.pnn.police.uk
Cc: Mr Paul West (Chief Constable), Mr James Duddridge MP
Subject: Complaint against West Mercia Police

Dear Sirs,

I wish to make a complaint against West Mercia Police for their handling of a case in which I was arrested and questioned under The Protection From Harassment Act 1997.

I had already been in contact with your Chief Constable in July 2008 regarding action I had taken concerning Mr Meirion Francis Lewis, and I had made him aware that I was trying to persuade Mr Lewis to tell the truth about the false evidence he gave at my trial in 1993.

In order to protect himself from being investigated for a crime, Mr Lewis went to Malvern Police Station and claimed that I was harassing him, which was not true. Effectively Mr Lewis has wasted the time of two separate Police Forces, and made false allegations against me. I was released from my local Police Station without charge on 5 November 2008.

An issue that quickly became obvious, as soon as I discussed the matter with the local Police, was that West Mercia Police had sent an incomplete dossier of documents to the local Police, which did not include my correspondence with the Chief Constable.

I ask you to please:

(1) Investigate the cicumstances that led to my arrest, when no threats or false accusations had been made by myself against Mr Lewis.

(2) Explain why West Mercia Police sent an incomplete dossier to the local Police, which effectively caused my arrest.

(3) Issue a written warning to Mr Lewis not to waste Police time in future.

(4) Remove my DNA from the Police database, because it was obtained as a result of a false interpretation of events given by Mr Lewis to Malvern Police.

Yours faithfully,
Michael John Smith


  1. What is the progress of your complaint?

  2. My complaint has been officially logged and is currently being investigated. I will report back here when I have some answers.

  3. Anonymous2:51 PM

    Sorry to hear of your difficulty. I have lodged my own complaint with West Mercia Police about the way they handled a false allegation of harassment against me. Your comments fit in with the pattern of behaviour I have been subjected to by West Mercia Police.

    In my case, I was not arrested and was "merely" issued with a warning notice but they then leaked information to third parties causing me enormous embarrasment.

    I made a Data Protection Act request to seek to find out what was really going on and was shocked by the material I received.

    I've pointed out the serious errors and distortions in the material and asked them to take action against the person who has made false statements to the Police but it appears to me that they couldn't care less.

  4. I was told recently by West Mercia "Professional Standards" Dept. that my complaint is currently under investigation, so I don't want to say any more about it until I receive their report.

    As my career was in Quality Assurance I know all about the methods of assessing standards, and so I shall check carefully everything they have to say. I also have some police contacts, and so I can get the inside story of how they work on such investigations.

    However, like you, I do not have a great deal of faith in the outcome. Even when the evidence seems fairly straightforward it can be twisted to suit the desired conclusions, as you have noted.

    There is always the next stage of taking out a complaint to the IPCC, but they are also in the game of brushing the dirt under the carpet.

    It depends how far you want to take it, but I think it is worth pursuing all avenues if it is important enough. Naming and shaming is one tactic that can work, if you are convinced that the evidence is in your favour.

  5. Anonymous1:36 PM

    Sadly I must also agree with you about the IPCC. It is certainly what happened in my case amd it appears it is a common experience.

    See the "Appellants’, Complainants’ And Police Officers’ Satisfaction With The Independent Police Complaints Commission" document which is available at http://www.nao.org.uk/publications/0708/police_complaints_commission.aspx published in August 2008.

    I note that amongst its key findings

    Just over half of the sample (54) stated that they were either “very” or “fairly” confident that the IPCC would treat their appeal fairly.

    Four-fifths of complainants (80%) stated that they were either “dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied” with the manner in which their appeal had been dealt with.

    Eighty per cent of respondents stated that they had “far less” faith in the complaints system.

    These are shocking statistics but given my own experience, reading this report came as no surprise to me.

    I note that over 60% of those who said they had confidence the IPCC would treat their appeal fairly ended up reporting being dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the manner in which their appeal had been dealt with. Note: it was the manner in which it was handled, not the outcome. The same proportion reported they had "far less" faith in the complaints system as a result of their experience of the IPCC.

  6. Anonymous2:44 PM

    I note you received a warning letter dated 14 July 2008 and assume this counts as a warning notice.

    I made a Freedom of Information request for details of warning notices issued by West Mercia Police during 2008. The response I received on 3 March 2009 stated that only 11 warning notices were issued during the whole 12 month period by West Mercia Police.

    I also asked for a copy of all procedure and policy documents relating to the way West Mercia Police handle harassment complaints. I pointed out that Hampshire Police has published its procedure on the internet - http://www.hampshire.police.uk/NR/rdonlyres/1C97440D-2990-424B-B560-FD980F20CBD5/0/12901.pdf

    The answer I received from West Mercia Police was: "I have been informed that the Policy and Procedure will be published in late spring/early summer 2009. Prior to this no such Policy or procedure existed."

  7. Yes, I guess that would constitute a warning notice, and it is interesting that West Mercia Police only issued 11 warning notices in 12 months - I take it that these were all for "harassment"?

    It is not very transparent if the policies and procedures being used by West Mercia Police are not published and available to the public. The fact they did not exist means that the rules are being made up as they go along.

    Perhaps I have not made it entirely clear what happened in my case, but I wrote a couple of times to Professor Meirion Francis Lewis, who lives in Malvern, asking him to comment on the evidence I have discovered which cast doubt on the testimony he gave in court in 1993 at my trial. It took me a long time to get to the truth because it has been hidden, and all requests were met with claims that national security could be compromised to release the information.

    I even offered the get-out to Lewis, by saying he could claim that he simply made a mistake in giving his evidence. Unfortunately he appears to be an arrogant and stubborn man, and he refused to even discuss it with me.

    Realising that I would get nowhere with Lewis, and wanting to push the point home, I wrote to every neighbour in his street with a leaflet I produced setting out the errors in his evidence, and this is what caused him to go to the Police to complain.

    I then published an article in the Cold War Times (an on-line US ezine), in which I referred to Lewis's evidence. I sent him the link so he could reply to my points, but this caused him to again complain to Malvern Police.

    It doesn't matter, because I am pretty certain of my facts. Lewis either committed perjury or he perverted the course of justice, and sooner or later it will be resolved. I intend to publish the details in any case when the West Mercia Police has finished their investigation of my complaint. Let whoever cares to read it decide who is telling the truth. I don't give a sh*t.

  8. I see what you say about the IPCC, and it doesn't really surprise me. We hear all the time about strange decisions, where the IPCC say the Police have done nothing wrong. In my complaint to the IPCC last summer, they said that the Police may have acted illegally, but then decided to leave it at that.

    I think we have to ignore these apologists for bad policing, and go with our gut instincts. If there is something wrong, and you really believe it should be exposed, then just make a lot of noise about it. Embarrass these officials who make illogical rulings. It is either a case of rolling over and dying, or going back for a serious fight to get the decision you deserve.

  9. Anonymous1:40 AM

    Have you had a response yet from West Mercia Police?

  10. I'm still waiting for a reply to my complaint. I have had (I think) two interim letters saying that the Policeman investigating my complaint is still gathering evidence. I cannot see why this is such a complex matter, and I am thinking of complaining to the Director of Public Prosecutions about the way I was treated, based on a false allegation made by Professor Lewis.

  11. Anonymous1:36 PM

    Interesting. Ignoring the Loacl Resolution Agreement which I agreed to on 18 December 2008 which was a joke (for anyone reading this, be very wary about agreeing to a Local resolution Agreement) my complaint was first made on 22 February, and acknowledged, after prompting on 5 March. The investigation did not start until 22 April. I received the response to my complaints by letter dated 1 July. Needless to say the response is a joke and I am now preparing an appeal to the IPCC. In relation to which I have commented above.

    I was promised 28 day updates which I did not get. So if you have had only two updates since 18 February they are not complying with their practice standards.

  12. I am writting a book about the things you are talking about above. miscarriages_of_justice@yahoo.co.uk
    It will be about West Mercia and the Local Courts

  13. Anonymous7:04 AM

    Have you considered writing a stage play of your trial. You will find plenty of drama students, aspiring producers etc. You could put it on in a few London pub venues and then take it to the Edinburgh festival. I have never had a confidence at all in the Police Complaints Authority.


  15. I was told long ago by an ex-policeman that any complaint to the IPCC, or to any other of the police complaint systems, was simply a waste of time.

    The whole point of these systems is to protect the police from such complaints and to divert them into a safe dead end. This makes it impossible for the general public to ever make a satisfactory complaint against the police and to get an acceptable conclusion.

    I made my complaints as a formality and do not expect any decision in my favour. That is why I am continuing to publicise what happened on my blog - this is the only way to air the issues and to explain what happened. I have a lot of material to reveal, not only about the Police, and that is what I intend to do.

  16. Anonymous6:49 AM

    I, and two others who are directors of a company, turned up at company premises to investigate theft and fraud from the business. Prior to attending, we notified West Mercia Police of our attending and reasons why. When we attended, we were met with violence and defended ourselves. The police were called and arrived from outside the force area, and we were arrested for gaining false entry and grevious bodily harm. (we were injured far worse) We fully expected the situation to be reversed when an officer from West Mercia arrived some 11 hours later to interview us. However, the police officer attending came with a preconceived opinion and to our surprise took no notice of the status of the directors and our allegations. The consequences of this, the office was removed of all office equipment, motor vehicles etc and used to fund a parallel business set up by the management. Consequently 96 people lost their job, the directors incurred financial penalties and guess what? all the criminal activities were ignored. We went to Crown court where CPS on looking at the papers decided to reach a deal. The complaint is ongoing but no resolution in my opinion can be reached. West Mercia police had all evidence of wrongdoing but did nothing.

  17. It appears that West Mercia Police are all too often incapable of performing normal police investigations. I wouldn't like to accuse them all of being incompetent, but certainly there must be a culture within West Mercia Police that makes them prone to this type of systematic failure.

  18. Anonymous9:40 AM

    Perhaps Officers should hold more than one GCE?