Leaving the Met and Michael Menson case
During my service in the Metropolitan police, I was quite fortunate having worked on various squads and departments gaining various skills and experience; I had served on Drugs Squads for 7 years, travelled abroad on cases whilst working on International and Organised Crime and when promoted later I ran Domestic Violence and a Community Safety Unit dealing with Hate Crime.
I worked on several murder cases and received a number of commendations including for investigating a racist murder case where 2 suspects received life sentences.
Whilst serving on Enfield Borough I was conscious that my station was under scrutiny relating to the murder of Michael Menson.
Michael Menson was set on fire by racists and subsequently died from his injuries.
As a result of an inquest into the death of Michael Menson a verdict of unlawful killing was reached. I was aware that a number of officers at my station were under investigation in relation to the case.
After a meeting with the family and the Home Secretary a new team of investigators were appointed to reinvestigate the murder. Several suspects were subsequently arrested and convicted.
At that time I was a Sergeant at Edmonton police station and my role alternated from patrol, custody sergeant and controller.
When employed as the controller and changing shifts, it was necessary for me to review what incidents had taken place during the previous shift.
It became apparent that a large number of hate crime offences were not being recorded or given crime reference numbers. On occasions I had to instruct officers to return to scenes of crime and to submit crime reports.
I identified that at least fifty percent of hate crime offences had gone unrecorded including offences of arson.
Despite the high profile case of Michael Menson, victims of hate crime were being put at risk on a regular basis by officers not following force policy or taking positive action as required.
A ‘tag’ on the computer system could be used by controllers to refer hate crimes to the CSU but this was not often used. Those crimes not ‘tagged’ were not monitored by the CSU and as such did not receive any enhanced service as required by force policy introduced following the Lawrence enquiry.
I took a number of positive steps to improve the situation.
I did not consider myself a whistleblower and was just doing my job as a superviser however “Shooting the Messenger” began to kick in.
I was bounced around from the property store to the Criminal Justice Unit checking files and efforts were made to make things difficult for me.
There were good senior officers around who knew me and raised their own concerns regarding my treatment.
The next thing I knew was that the Directorate of Professional Standards had taken me to a hotel and took a lengthy statement from me.
I was subsequently thanked by a Commander for raising the issues and that a number of crimes had been reviewed and systems improved.
I later discovered that an Inspector at the same station had also raised similar issues regarding victimisation having challenged the investigation of another death of a black male. The following links provide information regarding that case:
Officers involved in the Menson case had managed to escape punishment by retiring and the involvement of the DPS appeared to be a way of damage limitation and to avoid leakage of information which tended to show that the force were misleading the public and the Menson family.
This was my first experience of what I subsequently discovered to be standard practice to try and silence whistleblowers and that the police had an inability to say "sorry" or learn lessons.