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Name and shame

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Appeal, Complaint, misrepresentation of road safety results, Dorset Police

Mid 2019 I happened to notice some very bold claims released to the public from senior members of Dorset Police / PCC about them achieving a 30% reduction in road casualty. A quick check on these claims found them to be totally false. Not only is this dishonest, unprofessional and highly improper, it is likely to result in the actual poor performance continuing, and that means more killed and seriously injured than if Dorset Police improved their standards, honesty and professionalism. This is completely unacceptable.

I started by releasing a general article, which can currently be seen at www.dorsetspeed.org.uk. I sent this by email to Dorset Police complaints on the 21st Aug 2019. As the seriousness of this misrepresentation sunk in, the content was broad and Dorset Police are not known for their enthusiasm in dealing with complaints, I realised that a formal complaint should be raised detailing only the misrepresentation. I sent this to Dorset Police complaints on the 11th Sept 2019 LINK

On the 20th Sept 2019 I received a response from the PCC: letter 20 sept 2019 They also provided a copy of a previous letter: letter 8 Dec 2014 . Although the response is dated 9 days after my formal complaint, it seems to be in reply to the earlier article and no reply to the formal complaint seems to be coming. On the 30th Sept 2019 I heard that the PCC would refuse to record the complaint "It is the consideration of the appropriate authority that matters raised in your recent correspondence are substantially those that have been previously addressed and investigated thoroughly" - No, not "investigated", as you will see, but covered up thoroughly. And this is a complaint about the PCC and current CC (and 2 others) themselves misrepresenting, no such complaint has previously been made against these 4 individuals.

In short, they refuse to deal with obvious dangerous failures I have identified in 2019 because they wrote to me saying they would refuse to communicate with me 5 years ago about different matters.

I am certainly entitled to bring new complaints such as this. Additionally:

1. It is not just me that finds it so difficult to get honesty / transparency from Dorset Police. Even Annette Brooke MP got stonewalled by Dorset Police when she asked about course money.  And my simple point 5 in my formal complaint shows how my previous perfectly legitimate complaints and points to Dorset Police (including very similar misrepresentation by Dorset Police in the past by different personnel) have only been met by coverup, whitewash and protection.

2. Without wanting to dwell too much on the past at this stage this also applied to misrepresentation of course finances.

3. My complaint against the Police and crime commissioner Martyn Underhill was correctly sent to the Police and Crime Panel. There are some very serious matters including misrepresentation and conflict of interest both resulting in personal gain, so highly improper and therefore a potential case of serious misconduct in public office. The Panel should therefore have sent this to the IOPC, not to the PCC / his exec to deal with. I will refrain from commenting about past experience with the Panel just now.

4. The fact that a force, it's PCC and Panel, should try to make any attempt to dodge recognising and dealing with such self-evidently correct observations of dangerous misconduct wherever they have come from is shocking in itself.

5. "this letter makes it clear that you have exhausted all of the options available to you to pursue this matter" - "this matter" (5 or more years ago) was not the current matter which is the false representation of safety benefit arising in 2019 by the CC, ACC, PCC and Chief Inspector Adrian Leisk.

6. "However, recognising that some time has passed since this letter, and it would be appropriate to review whether the 2014 decision still stands, the PCC asked me to consider the material you have provided" - As explained the letter of 2014 is not relevant to material arising in 2019. However, let's review the consideration:

7. "Mr Belchamber quotes the Ipsos MORI report in his email and website, helpfully providing a link. I am familiar with this report, but was uncertain with the conclusion he has attributed to it. Having now reviewed the report in light of Mr Belchamber’s email, I can confirm that the report does not make the conclusion that he claims." - So Mr Bullock was uncertain of my conclusion but can confirm that the report does not make it??!! My conclusion was that "DAS is not likely to reduce your chances of killing and injuring on the roads" and this is exactly what it concludes: "However, this study did not find that participation in NSAC had a statistically significant effect on the number or severity of injury collisions"

8. "I have also reviewed the various statistics and whilst he raises some interesting points, these are interspersed with opinions that are clearly unfounded in fact. Major ones being that these courses are in some way a method of money making, and that the PCC, Chief, and other senior officers within Dorset Police have falsified the results of road safety activities." Which "opinions" please? The courses DO make money (£2.5m revenue a year) and the PCC, Chief, and other senior officers within Dorset Police HAVE falsified the results of road safety activities: "Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said: “I am optimistic that our Dorset Partnership has managed to achieve a sustained reduction in deaths and serious injuries on our roads" "Reduction", at a push, could be a remarkable combination of mathematical error and ineptitude, "sustained" is clearly just a downright lie.

9. "Whilst the schemes do allow for cost recovery this simply means that the DAS fees must only be spent on the provision of the course (admin, venue, utilities, staff) and, insofar as it can be calculated, the specific cost of detection for the individual in attendance."  So it seems that funding a "charity" (with, astonishingly, Martyn Underhill and the assistant chief constable as trustees) is a CLEAR ADMISSION of misappropriation of course money. And cost of detection is not a course cost, it happens regardless of whether a course results and the public already pay for the police. And why when I asked Dorset Police where the course money went, and the Independent investigator clearly agreed with me that top level figures from Dorset Police "did not stack up", did it spend 2 years and goodness knows how much money dodging providing a proper answer? And still, how on earth can those costs amount to £120 per course place please? Will DP / PCC answer now, 8 years after I first asked?

10. "All this means that no police force makes money from its driver awareness scheme." Absolute nonsense. If you believe this to be true, properly detail the costs you mention per person and subtract this from £120. That will tell you how much profit each course place makes.

So to conclude, the PCP has sent a serious complaint about the PCC back to the PCC himself when it should have gone to the IOPC, and the PCC / his Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer have:
a) tried to use previous coverup to ignore serious dangerous failings by others in 2019
b) tried to show that they have properly "considered" the complaint, and failed dismally
c) admitted that there are some "interesting points" but concluded that they should not be answered
d) will presumably continue, as before and now, to misrepresent, coverup and protect serious misconduct in Dorset Police. These appalling standards will not only effect road safety, they will affect all areas of policing in Dorset. There will be further deaths and serious injuries that would not have occurred if standards of policing in Dorset were where they should be.

Ian Belchamber.