…I want to shout it from the mountain tops. We won! This is a massive thing for me. I have never had a good outcome like this.
Mr. D. Primus
About 6 months ago we published an article on an unlawful stop and search. It was based on a Youtube video of someone being stopped on the street by a West Yorkshire police officer.
The man who videoed it (D. Primus) had simply gone to the house of a friend that morning and knocked on the door. When there was no reply he walked away. At that point a police van whizzed past with P.C. Andrew 3390 at the wheel and a clueless PCSO in the passenger seat.
For no discernible reason, P.C. Andrew took an immediate dislike to Mr. Primus and decided to pull over and question him. After all, what’s the point in being a cop if you can’t make a random member of the public bow to your authority when you’ve got nothing better to do?
Suspecting that he was about to be subjected to a bit of police high handedness, Mr. Primus wisely took out his phone and began recording the incident.
What he captured was 7 minutes of typical police arrogance. The ‘guilty until proven innocent’ Q&A routine that police officers punitively subject innocent people to on the street because somebody has given them a sour look or made an offhand comment.
We are so sick of seeing videos like this we decided to do something about it…
We contacted Mr. Primus and told him that we would be interested in pursuing this on his behalf. By exploiting the police complaints system in a way which we had mastered over the years, to make a compensation payout inevitable.
Mr. Primus had already made a complaint however and the police had already responded with their characteristic whitewash. He sent us the 3 page excuse letter. No matter. We could still exploit the complaints process further by making an appeal.
So we wrote out a one page appeal which he then submitted back to the Professional Standards Department of West Yorkshire Police. In the appeal letter we pointed out a few important points of law in relation to the facts and explained how we regarded the entire incident as a civil tort of unlawful imprisonment. We further regarded P.C Andrews threat of gripping his C.S gas canister while making his demands as an assault.
We didn’t mention any compensation or intention to sue at that point. That would come later.
A few months later the PSD completed their appeal investigation and wrote back. Another whitewash of course, albeit a little more cautious than the last. We expected this. We had no intention of using the bent services of police complaints to right these wrongs as the system is entirely loaded in favour of the police. We were using it purely as a way of smoking out their utterly useless defence. The more they tried to excuse the officers wrongdoings, lie about the facts and manipulate the law, the worse they were making it for themselves. And the easier they were making it for us.
Next, we sent them a Letter Before Claim. Another one page affair, rejecting their report and specifying our intention to take them to court. This wasn’t a bluff as we already had a system of achieving this through the small claims track without ever having to use a solicitor. We also set out our demands for compensation. £500 for the unlawful imprisonment. And another £500 for the assault.
We sent our letter and waited.
The next response we got was very different. No more from the lie department. Now it was being handled by police solicitors. Slowly of course – it took months – but the only letter we had to send after that was a short missive setting out a time limit.
A few days ago Mr. Primus received a letter from West Yorkshire Police agreeing to a settlement of £500…
Not bad for a few letters work.
The reason we are broadcasting this fact is that we want to make it clear that it IS worth complaining against the police. Just not as a means in itself. And never, EVER bother with the IPCC. They are professional escape artists whose remit is to save as many cops as possible and prevent you from going to court.
The police and the IPCC don’t care about what you think of them. They have no other interest in your complaint except making it go away. They regard themselves as BETTER than you. More important. More honest. And they’ll be damned if they’ll ever let you touch one of their own kind. And even in the off-chance they toss you a bone and uphold part of your complaint, they’ll make sure that their brethren doesn’t suffer in any way. A bit of ‘management action’. ‘Words of advice’. All corporate speak for ‘shrugging it off’. Then they will ball up your complaint, toss it in the bin and get back to doing exactly as they please.
The complaints process should be treated as a necessary first step of bringing a civil action. You must take your complaint out of the hands of the police and put it in court. The only way you will ever get an outcome and bring the police to task. And in most cases the police are too cowardly to ever go to court anyway. Especially when they know that their entire defence is a three page novella of lies designed to save one of their mates from a fall from grace.
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