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Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has published it’s second interim report into Operation Lynemouth, the Met’s major criminal enquiry into any alleged criminal or electoral wrongdoing connected to Lutfur Rahman’s administration.
While the report is good news for honest law-abiding Tower Hamlet’s residents it looks like bad news for anyone who carried out crimes relating to the corruptly-elected Tower Hamlets First administration between 2010 and 2015.
Really bad news.
The sort of bad news that comes with some nice colourful sprinkles on top just to take the edge off when the handcuffs are applied.
It should be emphasised that the scope of Op. Lynemouth is not restricted to electoral corruption – it’s remit is any alleged criminal or electoral wrongdoing committed between 25 October 2010 and 23 April 2015 or any other matter which detectives consider warrants further investigation.
Any other matter? In Tower Hamlets that covers a lot.
Senior figures? Who they?
The HMICFRS report now makes clear that the investigative parameters are specifically focussed on wrongdoing that ‘was committed, counselled or procured by a senior figure (or senior figures) within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.’
Senior figure? Wonder who that could be?
Actually you might be surprised – ‘senior figures’ are just as likely to be senior council officers as senior elected politicians.
If justice is finally done in the Lutfur Rahman case then it might be that one or two people are soon to have their retirement rudely interrupted. Shame that.
They might even have to forfeit their more than generous Council final settlements.
Just to recap that HMICFRS is monitoring the Met’s Operation Lynemouth as a result of the Met not doing as good a job as they should have done after Lutfur Rahman was found guilty of electoral fraud and corruption in a civil court.
This time the Met has everything to prove.
You can download the full report from the HMICFRS site here but for your reading pleasure are a few choice quotes that caught the eye of the Wapping Mole.
Extracts from HMICFRS interim report
Investigators taking imaginative approach – p 3
“The investigation team, which is led by an experienced senior detective, has a sound grasp of the issues and what is required. We were encouraged to find that investigators are taking an imaginative approach and have adopted the broader perspective that was lacking in previous investigations. They are seeking early advice from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) as to whether evidence they have already uncovered provides realistic opportunities for further investigation and prosecution.”
Temporary redeployment of detectives – p 8
“A HOLMES [Home Office Large Major Enquiry System] -equipped major incident room was made available with the team of 18 as requested, and the officers and staff began working on the operation on 2 May 2017. However, at the time of our first inspection five of the constables had been temporarily redeployed to homicide investigations. The officers did not return to the operation until the beginning of July 2017, because of the Grenfell Tower fire and terrorist attacks in the MPS area. While they were away, the rate of progress was unsurprisingly slower.”
Another experienced financial investigator needed – p 9
“We agree with the SIO’s [Senior Investigating Officer’s] view that the operation would benefit from the addition of a suitably experienced financial investigator to offer strategic advice and practical support.”
180 allegations of criminality – p 10
“A master schedule of all allegations should be completed. A master schedule has been created but we acknowledge that it cannot be completed until investigations have identified all the allegations. At the time of our second inspection it contained 180 allegations, but this number will increase as the operation progresses. We are satisfied with progress in this area.”
Investigative parameters – p 10
“The SIO has set investigative parameters, which […] can be summarised as follows:
- Any alleged criminal or electoral wrongdoing committed between 25 October 2010 and 23 April 2015, provided: the alleged wrongdoing was connected with the administration of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets; and the said wrongdoing was committed, counselled or procured by a senior figure (or senior figures) within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets; or
- Any other matter which the SIO considers so important that it warrants further investigation, irrespective of whether it meets the above conditions.”
Seeking early advice from CPS – p 12
“It would appear that the original MPS investigation failed to secure pivotal evidence which could have led to further enquiries. Operation Lynemouth has done so and is seeking early advice from the CPS as to whether the evidence provides realistic opportunities for investigation and prosecution.”
Investigations until end 2018 at least – p 12
“The work thus far indicates that the operation will run until at least the end of 2018. However, the MPS is aiming to complete strand 2 (electoral fraud) before the May 2018 mayoral election in Tower Hamlets.”
Youth Project grant funding – p 14
Strand 4 (Youth Project grant funding) – work underway
This strand, a review of a fraud investigation, has been undertaken by the City of London Police, in recognition of that force’s expertise in investigating fraud. The review has been completed and the City of London Police has drafted a report detailing its findings.
The MPS will need to consider carefully any evidential opportunities which the report highlights for Operation Lynemouth and review its systems and processes if appropriate.”
Potential evidential opportunities – p 14
“The MPS’s fraud squad considered ten matters during the original investigation, including allegations of fraud, bribery, perjury and tax evasion, but did not make any arrests. Operation Lynemouth has already identified potential evidential opportunities, although there is still much work to be done.”
Policy for police corruption – p 17
Potential corruption: a written policy should be introduced for dealing with any actual or suspected instances of police corruption uncovered by the operation.
“More effective and robust” – Golds
Cllr. Peter Golds, leader of the Conservative Group on Tower Hamlets Council, has been relentless in his pursuit of the truth and gave LW his comments after reading the HMIC report.
“The Investigating Officers in 2014–2015 were given extensive evidence into fraud and malpractice. They were present at the court hearings and letters were sent in afterwards.
Why after the evidence, the verdict and the aftermath did they not seek evidence, which was and is, available to ensure that there was justice in Tower Hamlets?,” said Cllr. Golds.
Cllr. Golds is now of the opinion that ‘It would appear that HMICFRS are taking a more effective and robust attitude to the situation.’
Related Internet Links
- Operation Lynemouth: second interim report (PDF) – HMICFRS
Slowly but surely the Met is doing what it does best – painstaking investigation of an extremely complex web of alleged criminal activities all centred around Lutfur Rahman and his Tower Hamlets First party.
Various councillors, already found to have been corruptly elected by the election court but who are standing for office again in the May 2018 local elections, might want to pack a suitcase and keep it by the front door. Just in case.
The Wapping Mole’s knowledge of what went on during the Rahman years is more extensive than Moley is allowed to publish but the one part of the interim report that caught his eye the most is this little snippet on page 17: ‘a written policy should be introduced for dealing with any actual or suspected instances of police corruption uncovered by the operation.’
That’s kind of odd. One organisation that has lots and lots and lots of written policies for dealing with police corruption is the Met, just like any other police force. So why is another needed for Op. Lynemouth?
Numerous people, at least one of whom lives in a nice crater on Mars and only occasionally visits Planet Earth, have alleged police corruption linked to Rahman. This is both lazy and almost certainly untrue.
Moley has never believed that police corruption was significant under Rahman if it existed at all. But then maybe Moley is wrong?
Either way every member of the Love Wapping editorial and investigative teams – not forgetting our Wildlife Rangers – wish the officers working on Operation Lynemouth well.
And to those who are as guilty as sin who continue to infest our borough? Do yourself a favour, confess then spill the beans on your mates.
Who knows – this might be happening already. But it is your mates talking about you.
Lenient sentences are only reserved for good boys who talk first.