PCC / IPCC cover up £1million Dorset speed camera fraud
See below for updates
This is the conclusion of a comprehensive and totally independent investigation into this and other failings of some 10 years, started by popular concerns about the motivations and competence of traffic enforcement. What has been found is dishonesty (to say the least) on a truly massive scale. Although this article touches on just the tip of one of the icebergs, you will see below countless examples of lies, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and matters of serious misconduct. The original issue of road safety is of little interest now as while policing is like this road safety doesn’t stand a chance.
This is a massive scandal effecting not only Dorset Police and I am sure this will one day join the list with Rotherham, Stephen Lawrence, plebgate, Hillsborough, etc.
The case I describe concerns a formal complaint mishandled by the IPCC with 2 main terms against the former Chief Constable, Martin Baker, misrepresentation of camera safety benefit and misrepresentation of driver course finances. You will see below proof of both and yet by totally ignoring all of the inconvenient evidence all have avoided reaching the correct decisions in the public interest, obviously only because they would be seriously damaging to those responsible. And central to these misrepresentations is a fraudulent speed camera which made Dorset Police £1million.
The motivations for these failures are obvious – senior members of “safety” partnerships have been able to influence enforcements, and it is the enforcement money that pays for the partnership and the wages of the staff, departments, empires, egos, jobs, etc. This is a fundamental, blatant and totally unacceptable conflict of interest. This toxic situation really wasn’t likely to result in anything different. And corruption is not the only problem – road safety work is distracted and therefore more are killed and seriously injured on the roads.
The full background, evidence and analysis can be explored to the full depth by following the links in this article and my previous overview . Here are some of the deceptions published to support the “speed on green” camera:
1. They originally said it was for casualty reduction . When the site stats were forced out of them, they showed zero KSIs so no casualty reduction was even possible.
2. As it is also written that this is “part of the drive to meet the Government target of a 40% reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured..” , this also misrepresents the possible safety benefit of the camera.
3. They then changed the lie to one of community concern . I immediately asked for the evidence of any relevant “community concern” and they were completely unable to provide any. And recently, in Martyn Underhill’s supplementary investigation into the Holes Bay camera, “community concerns .. are not available for review as the data was held by individual analysts who have now left.. Data prior to 2010 has been lost” More lies and cover up, Mr Underhill, the “community concern” didn’t even exist at the time, it was the only thing
they could think of as a made up justification when their previous lie was exposed. Are you really suggesting that having been found to have lied with the first justification, if they were lucky enough to find a genuine justification, that it would not be carefully recorded?
4. Also on the Dorset Road “Safe” website at the time it stated that there was no financial motivation to use speed cameras to make money as all fine revenue went to the government, when they were already making about a £million a year through courses and that money was paying the wages of Dorset Road Safe staff as other funding rapidly disappeared .
5. In public statements of accounts (2010, 2011, 2012) Dorset Police listed amongst other things the costs of provision of the Driver Awareness Course. These were clearly excessive and to this day Dorset police have resisted explaining them at all costs, including corrupting the information regulators right up to and including the Judicial Ombudsman . The
fact that they were corruptible is of course another matter altogether. The Hampshire report made the mistake of saying I had misinterpreted the numbers when I had simply quoted the numbers give to me in an FOI response. They were therefore unable to avoid admitting that this figure was wrong but it made no difference to their conclusion that there was no financial misrepresentation and the other even more absurd costs, such as the equivalent of 10 staff on £52K to deliver a simple course to 40 people, remain unexplained. The only conclusion possible is that Dorset Police lied about the finances (a further offence of false accounting) in order to hide to obscene course profits, most of which came from the Speed on Green camera that year.
6. They even lied when the camera was shut down, clearly because they had been found out, Dorset Police deflected the question to Poole Council and Martin Baker (the other one at Poole Council) lied by saying that this £1million camera was shut down to save money!!!! This was probably the easiest way to try to get out of the situation which my investigation had exposed, without admitting that it was just a money making scam.
The Serious Fraud Office website describes fraud as follows:
“Fraud is a type of criminal activity, defined as:
'abuse of position, or false representation, or prejudicing someone's rights for personal gain'.
Put simply, fraud is an act of deception intended for personal gain or to cause a loss to another party.
The general criminal offence of fraud can include:
- deception whereby someone knowingly makes false representation
- or they fail to disclose information
- or they abuse a position.”
I have already demonstrated, regardless of anything else, or whoever else was involved, such as members of the Borough of Poole, that Dorset Police, under Martin Bakers leadership, have done all 3!!
We are not talking about a few bent coppers making a few quid which MB could claim not to know about, we are talking about a £1million fraud in an entire organisation (Dorset Road “Safe”) headed up by the Chief Constable, Martin Baker, with the lies coming from, and the money going to Dorset Police, as one part of dangerous and corrupt “enforcement” operations (which have resulted in at least one death ) going on year after year which I and others have been raising serious complaints about for a decade now and which everyone addressed, including Martin Baker, have persistently refused to
deal with. And partly because of this refusal to listen and learn, we seem to have operations just as corrupt and incompetent from the current regime, under the current Chief Constable Debbie Simpson, the Assistant Chief James Vaughan, and Head of operations including traffic Nicky Searle, with no-one taking the slightest interest in past failings or showing any fundamental knowledge about road safety.
One other astonishing failure has been in relation to the course costs mentioned in point 4 above. Dorset Police have dodged (for nearly 4 years now!) explaining these clearly absurd figures, a fundamental and blatant failure of transparency and honesty. Any normal person could tell at a glance that these costs are vastly inflated and totally unrealistic.
But what is even more astonishing is the way in which Dorset Police, Martyn Underhill, the Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Colin Smith, the head of “Professional Standards” at Hampshire Police, the information regulators and the IPCC have acted together not to properly investigate and put right these failings but to comprehensively ignore them and cover them up. The full information and evidence is in my previous overview , although a few things stand out:
1. In my initial meeting with Colin Smith, the chief investigator and head of professional standards at Hampshire Police, agreed with me that the top level costs Dorset Police had provided “didn’t stack up”, and then went on to conclude, without even explaining this concern, that there had been no financial misrepresentation!!! He then silently disappeared from his responsibility as Head of Professional Standards, quite possibly to evade my obliteration of his report and misconduct questioning (like Martin Baker and Mike Glanville) which he must have known would come.
2. The evidence suggests that Martin Baker, and Mike Glanville, and possibly others, have retired from the force in order to avoid scrutiny from misconduct proceedings. Why would any honest and ethical person who was confident they had done nothing wrong open themselves to this suspicion rather than ensure that any questions of misconduct (or worse) were fully closed before they left? It seems that with the knowledge of what they had done, and the possibility of a proper investigation against them, avoiding misconduct questioning was crucial.
3. Martyn Underhill, PCC for Dorset, who is meant to be making the police accountable to the public, DID EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE. He keenly accepted the obviously badly flawed Hampshire report, and published his acceptance of it, before even allowing me the opportunity to see it or respond to it and point out any “weaknesses”. As he said in the meeting, he was simply trying to shut this down, not find the right conclusions. James Vaughan subsequently dodged providing a proper response about the
press release to this by making a vague comment of "opinion" about a newspaper article
4. If you compare the clips taken from the 2 meetings and the contents of the final report you will see the multiple massive inconsistencies, omissions and errors, which would have to be evident in such an obvious and deliberate cover up. It is clear that Colin Smith understands the issues and agrees with them, but avoids dealing with them in his report (like Martyn Underhill) and any debate about them. As well as identifying
that the costs “didn’t stack up” he agrees that Dorset’s assessment of its contribution to road safety “hasn’t been properly reflected in the communication” (is that just a slippery way of saying misrepresented?) and that this will be in the report. It wasn’t. No matter how they have tried to deflect everything by the narrowest interpretation of the “terms” the simple fact is that even then Colin Smith should have concluded that Martin Baker, who was ultimately responsible at the time, and who himself covered up the issues when I directed my complaint at him, had in fact failed against them. Instead, he was unable to find any misconduct by Martin Baker or anyone else!
5. The complaint was appealed back to the IPCC. When the complaint was originally upheld in November 2012, the IPCC wrote “As Mr Belchamber suggests in his appeal, there is no discussion of the presented allegations or any answers to the questions posed within the complaint”. The IPCC have now done exactly the same! The full information is in my initial response but the real proof of the blindness of the IPCC is in my responses to the 2 brief replies I had from Matthew Johnson at the IPCC, where he is quite happy to make a decision about the appeal when it is to drop it but seems to suggest he would not have been allowed to do anything else!!
. Further to all this, I have just found someone exposing similar
corruption in Hampshire Police
1. The £1million fraud facilitated by lies from Dorset Police personnel with the money going to Dorset Police was a key part of terms of the complaint, relating to both misrepresentation of finances and of “safety” camera benefit. It is quite disgusting how this has been ignored, even point blank by Mr Underhill who said it was nothing to do with them and I should talk to the council about it.
2. Another simply astonishing point is that now as we approach 4 years from my one sentence FOI request it still remains unanswered as to why Dorset Police needed the equivalent of 10 staff on £52K to deliver a simple course to 40 people, or to charge 3 times the going rate for their own premises, or to charge £71K (or even the later “corrected” figure of £14K – so the original £71K I was quoted was both absurd and misleading) for “desktops and peripherals” – and that with this still unexplained, a decision of “no misrepresentation of finances” was not even possible.
3. All of those involved in this widespread fraud, misrepresentation and cover-up have behaved appallingly and this in itself is a further matter of serious misconduct and corruption.
4. The deactivating of the speed on green camera demonstrates that the 30 limit on Holes Bay is unenforcable. This is because the speed limit is incorrect, too low. Not only does simple common sense tell us this but also even DFT guidance , see point 26 and others. The fact that the solution to the over-enforcement problem was to stop the enforcement, rather than increase the limit, demonstrated that like so many other decisions from Poole Council, the main consideration was not to be seen to be wrong or admit a mistake. This makes a mockery of speed limits and everything that goes with them, "speed kills, it's 30 for a reason, 20's plenty", etc etc. and
demonstrates that those who are still continuing to influence such decisions are not qualified, competent or fit to do so.
Nov, 2014: Clearly one of the major failings has been the corruption of the report by Colin Smith, Head of Professional Standards, Hampshire Police. So I raised a complaint about him. I can now declare without any hesitation whatsoever that Hampshire Police are just as bad as Dorset Police, and the IPCC have covered up for them too!
Complaint to Hampshire and the IPCC
IPCC decision and my response
29 Nov 2014: I raised a complaint against Martyn Underhill. The Dorset Police and Crime Panel passed it to the IPCC, it's hardly surprising that the
IPCC ignored it!
Dec 2014: The complaint was passed back to the The Dorset Police and Crime Panel.
They ignored it too!