Lutfur Rahman – Met’s criminal investigation gets a whole lot bigger

Operation Lynemouth, the Met’s criminal investigation into the Lutfur Rahman administration, has unearthed new lines of enquiry involving ‘a broader range of offences’ of a scale and nature that another police force will be required to investigate them.

New large-scale investigation needed

The fourth interim report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) into the progress of Operation Lynemouth, the ongoing Met Police criminal investigation into the Lutfur Rahman administration of 2010 – 2014, reveals that Lynemouth has generated the need for a new large-scale criminal investigation by another police force.

Corruption or collusion?

It is standard procedure for any allegations of large scale police corruption or collusion with criminals in one force to only be investigated by another police force for obvious reasons.

While this latest HMICFRS report does not specifically mention police corruption as previously noted in LW the previous (third) interim report by HMICFRS did specifically mention the need for a written policy to be introduced for dealing with ‘any actual or suspected instances of police corruption uncovered by the operation.’

This new development may explain why the largest police force in the UK needed another policy to deal with allegations of police corruption.

The four strands of Lynemouth

Because of its size and scope Operation Lynemouth has been divided into four strands from the start:

  1. A review of the 27 files from the original election court hearing
  2. A review of evidence in relation to electoral fraud
  3. Reassessment of other criminal allegations relating to Lutfur Rahman or the London Borough of Tower Hamlets
  4. A separate review by City of London Police of the MPS’s original investigation into Tower Hamlets Council’s Communities, Localities and Culture (CLC) Youth Project grant funding.

Of these strands the most significant has always been the third – a criminal inquiry into the Lutfur Rahman administration with the specific remit to look into any new allegations not previously investigated or any other matters.

It now seems that Operation Lynemouth’s detectives have indeed identified other lines of enquiry worth further investigation and that they are of such a scale that while the MPS will investigate some lines of enquiry others will be referred to another police force for independent investigation.

The MPS now has to gather all relevant evidential material ‘including that held by third parties’ – it is not known who these third parties may be.

“Substantially more material”

In the same paragraph of the report there is a note of warning that this ‘might involve substantially more material than was envisaged previously.’

The new independent investigation will take significantly longer than the initial 12 months that was estimated for the whole of the original Operation Lynemouth work.

New evidential opportunities

Reflecting the importance of the extended investigation the Met has added a ‘diamond’ level to the command structure of assistant commissioner rank for Operation Lynemouth. Until now the standard Met structure of Gold, Silver and Bronze commanders used for the vast majority of operations has been deemed to be sufficient.

“Future investigative strategy: the primary aim should be for the diamond and gold commanders to consider the options in respect of new evidential opportunities involving a broader range of offences. Any decision to conduct a further investigation into these matters (whether the MPS or another organisation is to undertake that investigation) should be acted on without delay.

We understand that the gold commander has arranged for new evidential opportunities to be investigated independently of the MPS.

For operational reasons, we do not include further details.

However, the MPS should agree terms of reference for the independent investigation and the transfer of relevant material without delay.” (Page 9)

No new evidence from electoral petition review

The original Strands 1 and 2 – the review of the 27 files from the election court hearing and the review of evidence in relation to electoral fraud – have been investigated together but have discovered nothing new.

The HMICFRS report states that:

“To date, this exercise has not produced anything of additional evidential value, which might have been expected because the MPS, the Crown Prosecution Service and counsel considered transcripts of the hearing on a daily basis, while the hearing was in session.”

A report on this is currently being compiled.

City of London police review completed

Strand 4, the review by City of London Police into original Met Police investigation into the Communities, Localities and Culture (CLC) Youth Project grant funding has concluded that the MPS – and particularly the force’s fraud squad – had conducted a proper investigation and had progressed all reasonable lines of enquiry.

LW Comment

The fourth report by HMICFRS guarantees that Tower Hamlets will continue to be in the headlines for the wrong reasons for some years to come.

Which seems fair.

Contrary to the belief of some the Wapping Mole is not privy to the inner workings of Operation Lynemouth (he should be so lucky).

As is appropriate Moley is kept totally in the dark. Which is where he likes to be, natch.

Two things are now apparent to even the most humble of dedicated dirt diggers however.

First the Met is outdoing itself to ensure that its reputation as the foremost criminal investigation organisation on the planet is preserved (FBI? Who that?).

Before the announcement of Operation Lynemouth there was a real risk that the perception that the Met was just not that interested in Lutfur Rahman could cause it severe reputational damage. Indeed the only reason that there is an Operation Lynemouth is because of huge pressure applied to the Met by the GLA Police and Crime Committee and others.

That new evidence has been uncovered which requires a large investigation to become even larger puts paid to this risk. The Metropolitan Police is moving heaven and earth to to ensure justice is done in Tower Hamlets and, just as importantly, is seen to be done. This has not been the case until recently.

Secondly at least part of the new investigation is of a nature that the Met cannot investigate itself.

This is very good reason to believe that Lynemouth has uncovered some linkage between the corruption of Lutfur Rahman and the Met.

If true this would explain the long held belief of many politicians and residents in the East End of London that the reason Rahman got away with his little tricks for so long was because he made arrangements for this to happen.

Which would be a huge story in itself.

LW has been aware for some years of curiously close associations between those responsible for community safety in the borough and Lutfur. But, without the necessary level of evidence, we have not been able to publish this in LW or elsewhere.

That is still the case.

But like any responsible resident we have reported our suspicions to the relevant authorities.

After all, it would be rude not to.

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5 Comments

  1. Given Lutfur’s long history in Tower hamlets politics, will there be an investigation into his activities when he was still part of the Labour party? It seems extremely improbable that he got elected and then decided to do things wrong, It’s much more likely that he wanted to get elected so that he could continue doing dodgy things that he had already started whilst in the Labour party and indeed that he would have had the collusion of some in the Labour party in doing those things.

    1. Short answer – no. But then maybe a better question is how the numerous activities of Tower Hamlets First were allowed to continue unchecked for four years while the Labour Party councillors looked on?

      1. I’ve often thought that many politicians in Tower Hamlets are corrupt and generally rotten to the core.

        How many months/years were councillors subjected to verbal abuse at public meetings, while officials looked on and did nothing?

        Had I not lived here all my life, I’d have gone by now.

        Tower Hamlets politics is an embarrassment to the UK.

  2. I wonder if the investigation will expand to other councillors in his former party?

    Also, what’s the betting Lutfur absconds? I reckon it’s 50/50…

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