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Kevin Nunes investigation: Whistleblower's call over murder and raid

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The whistleblower who exposed serious wrongdoing in the Kevin Nunes murder probe is calling on the Staffordshire force and police watchdog to investigate two other cases.

Former Detective Inspector Joe Anderson fears that the convictions in the Pendeford 'body in the barrel' murder case and a £2 million bank heist in Staffordshire could also be unsafe because of tactics used by detectives.

Over the last week the Express & Star has been revealing shocking details about how the Nunes case fell apart because of police blunders and wrongdoing.

Mr Anderson has written to the last three Staffordshire Chief Constables and the Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis about his concerns with the 1999 murder investigation of Floyd Dodson on the Wolverhampton-Staffordshire border, known as Operation Pendeford, as well as the ram raid at a Royal Bank of Scotland cash counting depot in Tamworth in 2006, codenamed Operation Sanctio.

Mr Anderson, who was head of the Sensitive Policing Unit (SPU) at the force, fears that the same 'impropriety' exposed in the Nunes case existed in the other two investigations.

His central concerns are that rewards were paid to witnesses that may be contrary to police guidelines and considered as 'inducements'.

He said: "I have repeatedly raised concerns about potentially improper payments offered or made to a potential witness but Staffordshire Police continues to refuse to have my concerns properly investigated, exactly as they did with my concerns in the Kevin Nunes case.

"Why don't Staffordshire Police want to get to the truth about this case? Or do they already know the truth but prefer to conceal the facts from the public?"

Mr Anderson, who retired early in 2010 after the force settled an employment tribunal with him, has also raised concerns about the Police Reform Act.

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In 2009 he made complaints about what was going on in the SPU to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

But as he was an officer the IPCC had to pass the complaint back to Staffordshire Police to investigate.

The force initially told Mr Anderson it did not intend to investigate the matter further.

But later it chose to appoint the head of professional standards at Cheshire Constabulary Detective Superintendent John Armstrong to look into the complaint, but even by the force's own admission he was somewhat limited because of the on-going IPCC investigation into the Nunes case, known as Operation Kalmia, at the time, which meant he couldn't conduct interviews.

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A letter from Deputy Chief Constable Nick Baker – then Assistant Chief Constable – in 2013 concluded: "There is no evidence of material impropriety in the handling or management of a protected witness in either in investigation.

"I am satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to conclude that there are no grounds to consider either operation to have led to any miscarriage of justice."

Mr Anderson said: "If you don't investigate reports of wrongdoing you won't find any evidence, but that doesn't mean that there is no evidence.

"I got the same response from Staffordshire Police when I raised concerns about the Kevin Nunes case and look what happened, it seems that they haven't learnt anything from that sorry episode."

Mr Baker said today: "In the case of operations Sanctio and Pendeford, we commissioned a senior investigator from a neighbouring force to undertake an independent assessment of the allegations made by Joe Anderson.

"This was a detailed and thorough report and no evidence was found to support his allegations.

"To ensure transparency, the report was handed over to the IPCC and to Operation Kalmia. Indeed, the IPCC had already taken the decision not to investigate either of these cases.

"As such, we have no plans to undertake a further review.

"It is important to remember that both operations Sanctio and Pendeford led to convictions against a number of individuals accused of the most serious crimes, and these individuals rightly served substantial custodial sentences."

Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis said: "We looked closely at issues raised around Pendeford and Sanctio in March 2015 when former DI Joe Anderson formally highlighted his concerns.

"After discussions with Staffordshire Police our conclusion was that no further action was required and that the police response was appropriate. Any further investigation should in my view be the prerogative of the IPCC." The IPCC declined to comment.

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