Complaint against Judge Farrer, Information Tribunal



Direct Application to Upper Tribunal

Complainant: Ian Belchamber,

17th Feb 2013

(EA/2012/0163; Mr Ian Belchamber v Information Commissioner & Chief Constable of Dorset Police)


My Background

I am an accomplished engineer with safety responsibility for industrial products sold around the world. I have a great understanding of how complex systems work, and how to identify weaknesses and improve on them, as demonstrated by my patent portfolio:

I work as technical team leader in a UK company, but take an interest in important local matters. In this area I have an advantage of complete independence, I am unpaid, and can therefore consider factors without the distraction of what might or might not bring financial gain or popularity.

It was completely obvious to me when speed cameras became common that the main interest was not road safety, it was jobs, money and empires. I also became aware of highly inconsistent limits and other interventions such as traffic calming, which although perhaps introduced with good intention, often did not deliver the intended improvements and in some cases made things worse. I made enquires and asked questions of the Council, Police and Camera Partnerships, but rather than receiving explanations that made any sense, I received only opinions without any logic, and in most cases, nothing at all. The same happened when I contacted the DfT, no answers, no explanations, just disinterest and cover up.

I put up with this for years, and took it as far as I could. When I had nowhere further to go, and my substantial investigations had confirmed my fears, I could not let it drop. I started the Dorset Speed website and published the failings, and started pursuing the authorities more firmly. This was in about 2007.

I am not at all alone. There are many campaign groups and professionals who are equally as concerned as myself about how inefficient and dishonest some of the authorities are. And you only have to consider a few recent scandals in Police Forces and Government to realise that these things do happen.

Since 2007 I have published over 100 articles demonstrating without any doubt the failings of the Dorset (and some other) Authorities, not inconsistent with other things going on elsewhere. I have at all times invited discussion and communication but this has been avoided. I have always made it clear that if anything whatsoever I have published is incorrect or unreasonable, if I am informed what the error is I will apologise and remove the article. At no time have I ever received from any of the Dorset Authorities any complaint or challenge to any one of my articles or emails whatsoever. This is almost certainly because you can’t argue against the truth:

It is hardly surprising when you know for sure that something is wrong, but are prevented from exposing it due to communications “brick walls”, that you will try a number of different approaches and keep trying. And when all the authority has to do to avoid accountability is to do nothing and ignore complaints, those approaches will eventually become heated.  But to try to use this as a further defence against having to reveal inconvenient truths is simply a further failure – in fact, as Mr Huhne discovered, the cover-up is often more serious than the original issue.

Freedom of Information

From the ICO website, "Openness is fundamental to the political health of a modern state”, also "Unnecessary secrecy in government leads to arrogance in governance and defective decision-making”.

These are bigger issues than the characteristics of whoever happens to ask the questions or whether or not they have offered a number of articles and asked a number of other questions. A dispute about information clearly has not been handled properly if it has not been put into the context of what may have caused that person to act the way they have, or what the person is complaining about.

In this case, the question that has been refused is blindingly simple and valid: Why does it require, to deliver a simple course to 40 people: -

-          10 staff on £52k? Or maybe 5 staff on £104k?

-          £153,000 on premises, I found on google within minutes premises entirely in excess of what would be required for less than a third of this?

-          £71,000 on “IS services”? This would buy 150 laptops.

-          £100,000 on “back office” and “SEES command”?

You will not see anywhere in anything produced by Dorset Police, the Information Commissioner, or the Tribunal, any consideration at all whatsoever of these important and relevant issues, which any normal person could tell at a glance indicate misrepresentation or inefficiency on a massive scale. The freedom of information process has failed.

Also from the ICO website: “While some Freedom of Information Act and Environmental Information Regulations requests for information may embarrass or subject public authorities to levels of scrutiny they wish to avoid, public authorities may not reject requests on these grounds.” That would include trying to claim the complainant vexatious, for the same purpose.

In the remainder of this document (and support documents) I will demonstrate beyond any doubt the “poor political health”, “arrogance” and “defective decision-making” that is exactly what the freedom of information system is meant to be preventing but so far in this case has spectacularly failed to deliver.

Complaint Background

This complaint stems from a question I asked through Dorset Police Freedom of information nearly 2 years ago. Even though Dorset Road Safe mentioned on its website that it had no financial interest in speed cameras at all as it received no money through fines, it failed to mention that it was making £millions from driver awareness courses from speed camera detection. It was lying (one of a number of lies I have seen over the years).

I asked, on the 26th April 2011, “Could you please detail to me the COST OF PROVISION of the course (per person), and what makes this up?” A proper answer to this question would take this entire dispute decidedly in one of two opposite directions:

1.       It would show that I had been an argumentative nuisance, entirely wrong, and that Dorset Police in fact had road safety as its primary concern and was fairly and efficiently using money raised from enforcements to save life (although it may have “slightly misled” about having no interest in speed camera money), or

2.       Fully expose the incompetence, greed, extortion and waste that I had suspected, and add weight to everything else, law breaking, failure of duty of care, misconduct, cover-up, and the danger of interfering with traffic to make money that had resulted in at least one death.

The motivation for Dorset Police to obstruct this simple, fair and reasonable question, could not be any clearer or greater. And if I had been wrong, the opportunity to demonstrate it by being completely transparent could not be more attractive.

The history of the first FOI request, and the one that led on from it (asking for some kind of usable detail to the pitiful response eventually produced from the first), are detailed in document “history.pdf It is a sorry sequence of desperate avoidance and ultimately, when everything else had failed, declaring the person asking this incredibly simple, single sentence question with clear public interest, vexatious in order to keep the lie and the extortion hidden. Remember, this goes back to the simple question asked on the 26th April 2011 – why was it only when everything else had failed nearly a year later, that this question suddenly became vexatious? The original question had not changed, but the realisation of the extent of the trouble Dorset Police were in most certainly had. So it is clearly this that triggered the attempt to declare me vexatious, nothing to do with the question or the history.

In July 2011, Annette Brooke, MP for Dorset, in response to public concern, also started asking questions about course costs. She was unable to get any proper answers either:

I don’t know how much more blatant it can be that Dorset Police after avoiding a question for nearly a year, that would reveal dishonesty, misconduct and extortion, when it had run out of all other options, used vexatious as an excuse to try to continue to hide the truth. There clearly needs to be a way for an authority to avoid meaningless repetitive time consuming requests, but this is clearly not the case here and the IC and Tribunal should have recognised this in an instant.

The letter from Mike Glanville declaring me vexatious, and my response demonstrating how wrong he was, can be seen here: . Needless to say, there was no reply.

Information Commissioner

Having been declared vexatious by Dorset Police, I referred the information request to the Information Commissioner. I received a response in July 2012. Despite the factors mentioned above, the IC supported Dorset Police. The IC response, together with a detailed reply to each and every point made in support of Dorset Police, can be seen here:  This is a perfect example of a comprehensive demolition of an erroneous decision based on irrelevant / substanceless reasons and an outright avoidance of the real issues.

So IC supported the vexatious claim of Dorset Police when it had, shortly before and ON EXACTLY THE SAME ISSUE had to force Dorset Police to answer a question that it was trying to avoid simply by ignoring it in an astonishing and blatant breach of its FOI obligations. How does that make any sense whatsoever?

IC took no interest in the facts, evidence and common sense I had written, refused to comment on my demolition of its decision and reasons and referred me to the Tribunal.


My initial application to the Tribunal is shown in attached document “ir-notice-appeal-t70.doc

The description is just a page, but it briefly presents some of the main points above. I also included the history, and the IC decision and my response. While I was waiting for the tribunal decision, some other things happened:

-          The IC contributed to the Tribunal, document “2012_08_29 ICO Response.PDF

-          I responded with “IB-IC 29 Aug 2012.pdf” again explaining in depth why EVERY SINGLE ONE of the IC’s points were either incorrect, unreasonable, irrelevant, or completely substanceless. IC and DP didn’t comment or show any interest in supporting the IC case.

-          Dorset Police joined the case, I was waiting for them to contribute and was expecting to respond also with a summary, but by the time the deadline for this passed, they had contributed nothing whatsoever, despite the incredible volume and quality of information against them. I presented my summary anyway:  summary.pdf

-          I heard that my complaint with Dorset Police, escalated 3 times, had been ignored yet again. In response I released an article about this: “article.pdf

-          The IPCC upheld my complaint against Dorset Police about the same and other issues. Just as in the IC contributions: "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. And, crucially, there is no discussion why the complaint cannot be upheld. On this very basis, the appeal must be upheld"

The Tribunal therefore had the following when it made its decision:

-          The original statement of the IC and the statement in relation to the tribunal and against both, a detailed and comprehensive explanation from me as to why the decision and each and every point behind it was without any kind of merit

-          Nothing whatsoever in response to any of this from the IC or DP

-          All the information, evidence and explanation it could possibly have wanted to backup a long list of serious failings of Dorset Police including a death resulting from one of its operations

-          Proof of at least one lie in the submission of Dorset Police to the IC.

-          An upheld complaint from the IPCC including the same issue

-          Similar unanswered concerns from the MP for Dorset, Annette Brooke

-          A totally overwhelming motive for Dorset Police to keep the information being requested secret

-          A simple question which ON ITS OWN, WITHOUT EVEN AN ANSWER was concrete evidence of serious misrepresentation and / or waste of precious public resources of a shocking magnitude

-          And against me, in comparison to the above, nothing whatsoever but a claim of vexatious because I have been unable to make progress with all the failures above because Dorset Police were failing to communicate about them – by comparison, a drop in the ocean.

If there was just a trace of impartiality in the judge, only one outcome was possible. I was therefore totally astonished when I heard the complaint had been rejected: “20130115 Decision EA20120163.pdf”.

My request for appeal “requestforappeal.pdf” yet again, comprehensively set out why the decision could not have been more wrong – not least because the Judge appeared to have ENTIRELY IGNORED absolutely all the factors that were inconvenient to the decision that he must have pre-determined would be the result before he even looked at the evidence (if he did at all).

A few days later, it occurred to me that I had not yet built a likely scenario of what was really going on, and set about doing this in support of my request for appeal. As I was preparing this, I experienced a number of “light bulb moments” as I realised that everything was slipping perfectly into place. And the conclusion was inescapable – FRAUD in Dorset Police – I found that ALL of the indications of fraud mentioned on the Serious Fraud Office website were fulfilled in plenty:

“The general criminal offence of fraud can include:

·         deception whereby someone knowingly makes false representation (top level costs)

·         or they fail to disclose information (costs detail)

·         or they abuse a position.” (700% profit!! – and communications shutdown to try to hide this)

So now it was also clear that the IC, Tribunal and judge were AIDING AND ABETTING that fraud by contributing to the cover-up – it simply was not possible that a “mistake” of such magnitude could come from incompetence alone.

I presented this scenario urging all involved to read it: “19Jan2013.pdf”. A month has passed and there has been no response, denial or challenge from ANYONE, not even Dorset Police themselves.

I received the decision about the request to appeal on the 4th Feb: “20130204 PTA Determination EA20120163.pdf

It now didn’t come as much of a surprise that:

-          The request for appeal was refused

-          The person who decided about the appeal was the same person who made the decision!! (Judge Farrer). Was he seriously likely to make a decision, and then allow it to be appealed? Ridiculous.

-          The judge had an easy way to deal with the proof of fraud in the letter sent on the 19th: he simply “disregarded” it.

Once again, I was astonished by how easy it was to create a natural and total demolition of the points made by Judge Farrer: “appealreply.pdf”.

The main points were:

-          the appeal was refused for the wrong reason (error in law) where I had stated inadequate reasons due to the fact that he had ignored ALL of the important factors of the case.

-          His appeal refusal totally avoided any reference whatsoever to the important factors that he had ignored in his decision.

-          The judge again demonstrated complete disinterest in the lie Dorset Police had presented.

-          I quoted an extract from the “Guide to Judicial Conduct”, highlighting areas of competence and conduct where Judge Farrer had now most definitely failed.

-          I asked, due to the seriousness of the failures of Judge Farrer, for this to be reviewed by another judge.

By now, it should have been clear that even if I was the most irritating and vexatious person on the planet, the accumulation of issues and failures was so serious that the vexatious issue, even if it was, was totally and completely insignificant. In fact, a balanced approach would probably consider that the lie from Dorset Police on its own was worse than the fact that I had got a bit angry and tried a few different approaches to obtain the truth.

I was told the case would be looked at by the “Chamber President”. After 10 days I asked if there was any progress. I was told that “The Chamber President has advised that as the First Tier Tribunal has refused permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal it has no jurisdiction to comment further.”

So now it was starting to turn into a farce.

Therefore I now request that this and the referenced support documents form both:

1.       A formal complaint against Judge Farrer, who has demonstrated an appalling favour for Dorset Police and omission of the most serious points of the case, demonstrating a clear breach of the judicial code of conduct in the areas of competence and impartiality.

2.       An application for this case to be considered directly by Upper tribunal.

Ian Belchamber