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Southern Update w/c 21 October

By DPF Admin29th October 2013August 6th, 2019Area Updates, Latest News, Southern Updates

Surrey police station sales to go ahead

The sale of nine Surrey police stations should go ahead, the police and crime commissioner (PCC) has announced.

A review looked at the sale of stations in Esher, Haslemere, Epsom, Old Woking, Leatherhead, Banstead, Camberley, Horley, Sunbury and Chertsey.

The sale of Chertsey may be deferred, as it might be kept for operational use by Surrey Police, Kevin Hurley said.

The sale of Haslemere will be delayed by six months to allow community groups to bid for the property.

Mr Hurley, Surrey's PCC, said: “After careful consideration, my decision is that, with the exception of Chertsey, we should continue with the sales of the remaining sites.”

The commissioner asked for a pause in the sales of police stations during his first week in office, in November 2012.

But the review of the plan, which was led by deputy PCC Jeff Harris, has recommended the sale of nine of the 10 stations should go ahead.

“The world has moved on – the police operate differently and the public access the police differently,” added Mr Hurley.

“At a time of significant pressure on our finances, we can no longer justify the expense of keeping these sites open.

“We can only sell them once and I wanted to be absolutely satisfied about whether this remained the right approach.”

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Thames Valley Police car crashes cost force £350,000

More than £350,000 was spent by Thames Valley Police repairing their vehicles following collisions last year.

Figures show the force was to blame for 466 crashes in 2012, more than half of those involving their vehicles.

But, it was at fault in a third fewer crashes compared with figures for the last five years, spending £216,000 less on repairs than in 2008.

Officers involved in collisions are subject to sanctions ranging from prosecution to retraining.

A Freedom of Information Act request by the BBC showed nearly 700 collisions have been recorded this year to date.

Ch Insp Henry Parsons, from the force's roads policing unit, said officers cover more than 27 million miles in the force's vehicles, as they respond to around 250,000 emergency calls every year.

He said: “We will take a look at this year's figures so far and try and understand why there's been an increase.

“If there are any deficiencies in training, we will address that.”

Black box tracking technology and CCTV cameras are among the measures being introduced in a bid to reduce collisions.

“All collisions are recorded, from striking a kerb or an animal, to tactical contact where officers make a decision to end a pursuit,” added Ch Insp Parsons.

“CCTV will allow us to capture evidence, but can also be used to improve our performance.

“The black box technology helps with vehicle tracking and allows us to review collisions when they occur and prevent them happening again.”

The force confirmed two officers have been prosecuted for their involvement in collisions since 2010, both of them last year.

One officer was convicted of dangerous driving and disqualified for 15 months and ordered to retake the driving test as well as being fined.

Another was convicted of careless driving, as well as failing to stop and report an accident. They were fined and points added to their driving licence.

Former Thames Valley chief constable Peter Neyroud, said: “These accidents matter a lot, particularly some of the serious ones.

“Every time those happen, either a policeman isn't getting to an emergency or a member of the public has become a victim of an accident that's caused by the police. That's not a good thing to happen.”

But he added: “[The figures] tell a tale of progress over five years.

“It's a considerable reduction in costs.

“You're talking about several hundred thousand pounds being saved and that suggests that the management action being taken is working.”

Thames Valley Police is the largest non-metropolitan police force in England.

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Essex Police sacks 999 call handler Sue Heeney for 'laughing'

A 999 call handler was sacked for “laughing unprofessionally” with a nervous caller.

Sue Heeney, 38, who worked as an Essex Police call handler, is now appealing against the dismissal.

She was sacked after taking a call from a man reporting a relative for drink driving who he thought may have been in a crash. At one stage the pair joked.

The force said she was “unprofessional” in “laughing with the caller” and had graded the incident wrongly.

She said the man was nervous about calling because “he knew what the repercussions” would be to his relative.

Ms Heeney, who worked as a call handler with the force for five years, says she was building up a “rapport” with the man to put him at ease and to enable her to take down the information needed.

During the call, a copy of which has been heard by the BBC, the male caller struggles to remember the phonetic alphabet for the letter “E” while telling Ms Heeney the man's car registration number.

When Ms Heeney, of Marks Tey, near Colchester, tells him it is “echo”, the caller starts laughing and she laughs as well.

'Wrong grading'

But her handling of the call, Essex Police say, was negligent – an allegation strongly disputed by Ms Heeney.

In her dismissal letter – seen by the BBC – Essex Police describe her laughing as “unprofessional”.

The force also said she should have graded the call as a “road traffic accident – fail to stop”.

However, Ms Heeney said when the man called he only said there “might” have been an accident, all he knew was there was damage to the relative's car.

As a result, Ms Heeney said, she decided to grade the call under “suspicious circumstances”.

Ms Heeney maintained she was correct in her grading of the incident, claiming the fact there had been two collisions while the caller's relative was behind the wheel, was not known at the time.

“I only acted on the information he had, which was minimal,” she said.

Ms Heeney was suspended in December following the call on 9 November. She has appealed against the decision made in July to dismiss her.

“I'm devastated by this,” she said.

She and her partner Scott Findlay have put their home up for sale because of their loss of income.

A spokeswoman for the police force said “the fact that the drink driver was subsequently imprisoned” showed the seriousness of the initial call.

She added: “The failure to properly assess the gravity of this incident led to her being investigated by the force's professional standards department.

“We can confirm the civilian member of staff was dismissed from the force for gross misconduct following an allegation of negligence.

“An appeal against the dismissal has been made and it would be inappropriate to comment in detail at this time.”

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Ex-officer sues Met police over alleged racist abuse

Lawyers for Urijah Phillips seeking £300,000 in damages over allegations he suffered 'blatant and direct discrimination'

The Metropolitan police is being sued by a former constable who claims he was racially abused in a three-year campaign by supervising officers.

Urijah Phillips, whose police unit was commended by the Queen over its response to the 7/7 bombings, claims in high court papers seen by the Guardian that he was labelled “nigger” by two Scotland Yard officers.

The former officer alleges that he was described as a “cocky black bastard” by one detective constable and, in a second incident, that he was told by a police federation representative: “At least you're not a nigger and can talk like the white man. If you were a nigger you'd be out so quick. The Met don't like niggers.”

Lawyers for Phillips are seeking £300,000 in damages from Scotland Yard over allegations that he “suffered from blatant and direct discrimination during his years as a police officer from as early as 2005” until he was dismissed from the force in 2008.

Phillips claims he was racially abused by a detective constable in September 2007 after he was arrested and later cleared in connection with a series of threatening messages. Phillips claims he was strip-searched and left naked in a police cell following his arrest, with his clothes only returned after a police federation representative intervened.

The former officer says he was taken to the police interview room where he was called “nigger” and “cocky black bastard” by the detective constable, who allegedly promised to “do all in his power” to ensure he lost his job.

“The claimant had never met, worked with or knowingly corresponded with [the detective] in any way before so could only extrapolate from his comments that it was because the claimant is a black male that [the detective] was so aggressive towards him,” says Phillips's lawyers in the high court papers.

The force is accused of treating Phillips “very different on the basis of his skin colour as to how his white colleagues”.

In a separate incident almost a year later, Phillips was subject to a disciplinary hearing over driving offences that eventually led to him being dismissed from the force in 2008. In a meeting with a police federation representative before the hearing, Phillips claims he was told: “Don't worry about it. At least you're not a nigger and can talk like the white man. If you were a nigger you'd be out so quick. The Met don't like niggers.”

Phillips is described in the legal papers as being “very shocked and distressed by this language and couldn't believe that a federation representative would be expressing such views”. The former constable believes that he was singled out and “continuously belittled” as the only black officer at Charing Cross police station in central London.

In another incident, Phillips claims he was banned “purely due to the colour of his skin” from attending an awards ceremony hosted by the Queen, where his unit received commendations for their response to the London terror bombings on 7/7.

He also claims to have been unfairly overlooked for a promotion to the Central Investigation Department (CID), despite passing the examination with a 100% score.

A Metropolitan police spokesman confirmed that the force had received notification of the legal action and said it expected to defend the claim. The spokesman said it could find no record of any complaints alleging racism or bullying by Philips when he was employed by the force. He said: “The Metropolitan police service are committed to taking action when cases of alleged racism are brought to our attention.”

Phillips was required to resign from the force in 2008 after being found guilty of driving “otherwise than in accordance than with a licence” and exceeding the speed limit. He was also found to have breached the Met's code of conduct in relation to honesty and integrity, and performance of duties.

A Met police spokesman added: “We take convictions of officers for criminal offences extremely seriously, and in this case the decision of the misconduct panel, having considered the evidence put before them, was that the officer should be required to resign in line with police regulations at that time.”

The allegations come three months after a damning report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which found that the Met was failing to deal effectively with race complaints. The police watchdog criticised Scotland Yard's “unwillingness or inability” to tackle the issue after examining a sample of 511 allegations of racist behaviour against its offers made between 1 April 2011 and 31 March 2012.

Bernard Hogan-Howe has taken a tough public stance on racism since being appointed Met police commissioner in July 2011, saying last year: “Racists will find me an implacable enemy. We will get rid of them, we will drive them out of the Met.”

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Former Essex Police SOIT officer charged with misconduct in public office following IPCC investigation.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has been authorised by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to charge a former Essex Police constable with the offence of misconduct in public office.Hannah Notley, 30, a former sexual offences trained officer based at Rayleigh Police Station, will appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday, 25 October.The charge relates to her alleged failure to properly investigate an allegation of rape between July 2011 and February 2012. It is alleged that she falsely informed her superiors and the victim that the CPS had decided to take no further action, when in fact the case had not been submitted to the CPS.The IPCC independently investigated the allegations following a referral from Essex Police in June 2012. –

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IPCC investigators serve notices on Surrey Police officers who had contact with Jan McLean before his death Oct 23, 2013

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has served misconduct notices on a total of four Surrey Police personnel in connection with an investigation into police contact with Jan McLean before his death.Mr McLean, 34, was arrested at an address in the Boxgrove Park area, on suspicion of drug related offences, and taken to Guildford Police Station on Monday, 12 August. When the police van arrived at the station Mr McLean was visibly unwell and was taken, by ambulance, to hospital where he died on Wednesday, 14 August.IPCC investigators are examining the reasons behind officers attending the flat in Collingwood Crescent and the decisions taken by those officers which led them to enter the property. The investigation is also looking at contact between officers and the three people found inside the flat including the decisions made by officers. Investigators are probing contact between Surrey Police and Mr McLean from the point of his arrest to the subsequent transfer to hospital. The information provided to emergency services, the force’s contact with Mr McLean’s family and whether the police presence at hospital was appropriate and proportionate also forms part of the investigation.The investigation is looking at potential misconduct matters and IPCC investigators have served misconduct notices on three officers, all below ACPO rank, and a civilian member of staff in connection with their actions on 12 August. Interviews with the officers will take place at a later date.Commissioner Jennifer Izekor said:“Both myself and our lead investigator have met with Mr McLean’s family and we will continue to keep them informed of developments in this investigation.“I have assured them that we are carrying out an independent and rigorous investigation into the full circumstances surrounding his death.”

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