Tuesday, 16 July 2013

An open letter to Avon & Somerset PCC

Dear Mrs Mountstevens,

I am writing to you to express my grave concern over the conduct of Avon and Somerset Police in the matter of an alleged fraud by Rundles Bailiffs.  Yet again, the police have refused to investigate the matter, despite there being no evidence whatsoever that Rundles visited my home on either occasion they attempted to charge me for, nor have Rundles kept any record of what they attempted to charge me on the first date they actually visited, which is well in excess of what is permitted by law.  Had the police bothered to investigate I could have demonstrated this clearly.  Further to this I have only had a phone call from a police officer to explain their reasoning, who refused to let me speak at any point and did not listen to anything I said. 

The police have taken the view that as I was found guilty of criminal damage for removing the bailiff's clamp, that de-facto, there is no fraud to investigate, however, no verdict was passed on Rundles or the evidence presented in that regard; only a verdict on whether my actions could be said to be reasonable in light of the circumstances.  And so in essence, the police have summarily acquitted Rundles without investigation or charge, and had they done their jobs in the first place (and interviewed me as to why I suspect fraud) I would not in all likelihood have even faced a trial to begin with.  Given the timing of today's phone call, one takes the impression that the police have merely sat on the matter until the verdict of this trial, which is has no bearing on the matter of fraud.  That is breathtaking negligence even by Avon & Somerset standards.

I require a written explanation as to why it is the policy of the police not to investigate matters of fraud.  The police have been rude and uninterested from the outset, and not at any point have they taken a legitimate complaint seriously.  At this point I am considering legal action against the police because I feel there is little alternative.  

The police have acted with contempt and with a total disregard for their duty to uphold the law in this matter - and have have merely acted as agents on behalf of council collection agents.  I need not tell you how much this harms the standing of the police in the community.  Now that the councils are significantly increasing their council tax liability order summonses, someone will eventually take the law into their own hands on the basis of police negligence - and somebody, possibly a police officer, will get hurt.  On that day, I will be sure to remind them who is at fault, and that you had every opportunity to remedy it.

Peter North.

1 comment:

  1. A Freedom of Information request made to the Crown Prosecution Service focussing on cases it decides to prosecute is understandably proving difficult to provide a meaningful response, especially with it being tailored around bailiff fraud committed against members of the public.

    It's introduced with information taken from the CPS's website:

    "I refer to the CPS lawyer's decision process for filtering out cases to prosecute.

    The stages being:

    1) The evidential stage: Lawyers must be satisfied that there is enough evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction... If a case does not pass the evidential stage it will not go ahead, no matter how important or serious it may be.

    2) The public interest stage: If the case passes the evidential stage lawyers then decide whether a prosecution is needed in the public interest. A case has to pass both stages before the CPS can start or continue a prosecution....

    Background information provided to set out the request goes on to include another quote from the its website...

    "The lawyer is also in a position to identify weak cases without a realistic prospect of conviction and make sure they are not pursued.

    And contrasts the above with a statement made on national TV by a CPS representative:

    "People who commit fraud, in any walk of life, should know that the scale and technicality of a case is no barrier to bringing it to justice. At the heart of any complex fraud is a simple notion of dishonesty which is something that we can all understand."

    The above quote is included in a CPS statement on conviction of Kweku Adoboli and on a link to the Daily Mail's article covering it and in this post on similar matters.

    Before the question was put to the CPS, it was finally set in the context that police forces routinely dismiss serious allegations of bailiff fraud on the grounds there is no prospects of successfully prosecuting them:

    "In light of the conflicting messages, what policy does the Crown Prosecution Service hold that recommends against or deters police forces taking on cases of bailiff fraud against members of the public."

    On another but related matter a Freedom of Information request made to Northamptonshire Police was sparked off by this article involving that police force fobbing off allegations of fraud against Equita which is based in Northamptonshire.