The police watchdog has questioned the ‘honesty and integrity’ of Police Federation officers from the Midlands who met Andrew Mitchell over the Plebgate row.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission said there should be a panel to determine whether the three gave a false account of that meeting with the former Tory chief whip. The officers are from West Midlands, West Mercia and Warwickshire forces.
The three officers had been accused of deliberately misrepresenting what Mr Mitchell said during a meeting in his Sutton Coldfield constituency office on October 12 last year when they gave interviews immediately afterwards.An investigation by West Mercia Police concluded the Police Federation representatives had no case to answer for misconduct.
But the deputy chair of the IPCC, Deborah Glass, today disagreed. However, she said that as Mr Mitchell has chosen not to make a formal complaint, she is powerless to direct misconduct proceedings.
Mr Mitchell met the representatives after he was accused of calling officers guarding Downing Street ‘plebs’ in a foul-mouthed rant.
He insisted he did not use the words attributed to him, and later said he was the victim of a deliberate attempt to ‘toxify’ the Tories and ruin his career.
Ms Glass said West Mercia Police found although the Police Federation contributed to the pressure on Mr Mitchell and his decision to resign, none of the officers had a case to answer for misconduct or gross misconduct.
She said: “In my view, the evidence is such that a panel should determine whether the three officers gave a false account of the meeting in a deliberate attempt to support their Metropolitan Police colleague and discredit Mr Mitchell, in pursuit of a wider agenda.
“In my opinion, the evidence indicates an issue of honesty and integrity, not merely naive or poor professional judgment.”
A statement from Warwickshire, West Mercia and West Midlands Police said: “Despite a thorough investigation under the supervision of the IPCC we do not believe that there is sufficient evidence to support the view that the officers concerned should face misconduct proceedings.”
Mr Mitchell today said: “It is a matter of deep concern that the police forces employing these officers have concluded that their conduct has not brought the police service into disrepute. Most people will disagree.”
The West Midlands MP added: “It is a decision which will undermine confidence in the ability of the police to investigate misconduct.”