Indie’s investigation blows Hogan-Howe out of the water as Slog’s organised-crime allegations vindicated….three years on.
Theresa May or may not know WTF’s going on
As rumours circulated around Whitehall and Westminster last night about the past and future of Met Police Chief Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, London’s Independent newspaper has run two stories in 72 hours: one about fiddling crime figures (and believe me, it’s not just the Met…try Devon & Cornwall next stop) and a second about high-level access to the Met’s resources by organised crime.
Hogan-Howe is coming clean (albeit at five to midnight) and there is endless speculation about what may break next. But leaving the personalities aside, there are two things missing from the Indie stories: where the pressure on crime statistics came from….and the nationality of some of the organised crime.
First though, the crime figures.
By far the hottest issue in the 2012 Mayoral election was crime. As truth-seeking website Factcheck shows, Mayor Johnson claimed in his election manifesto, “Crime in London has been cut by 10.8%”. In 11th April, his campaign team issued a statement claiming that “Under Boris, crime has fallen 10.6%, robberies are down 16.7% and murders have decreased by 24.4%”. I have been told by one police source, “the last two figures were a fantasy”. Other candidates consistently questioned the figures.
On 29th May 2012, the BBC reported that crime on both the London Tube and buses had fallen by about 10%. Mayor of London Boris Johnson was fast to the scene of the crime: “With more officers on the network, my teams have worked tirelessly to crack down on crime on our transport system, and to keep it down while passenger numbers soar.”
Extremely odd, however, were three exceptions in areas of Labour-controlled councils: Haringey saw a rise of 86%, Sutton 61% and Hounslow 52%. Higher crime areas will of course produce higher crime figures: but local police dealing with local politicians have been known on many occasions to be wary of Labour councillors…who are usually red-hot on looking closely at figures before they go into the
reductionometer melting pot.
Bear in mind that, as the Olympic Games closed, BoJo told the media, “Over the Olympic period people will be interested to know that early indications are that crime in London went down by about five per cent, on what is already a very low base.” What wasn’t included in the numbers (I can now reveal) was crime relating to corrupt circulation of tickets for the juiciest events.
A Mirror investigation at the time showed how tickets to watch the women’s 10,000m final, the men’s shot put final, the first round of the women’s 100m, the finals of the men’s 100m relay, 5,000m and the javelin, as well as the finals of the women’s 400m relay, 800m and high jump, were on sale in London hotels from travel organisations who had clearly had no trouble obtaining them. Priced from £380-£750, the tickets were marked up way beyond what IOC rules allow.
Each ticket bought in that way from (somebody?), wholesold in bulk to agents and then sold on to the wealthier Games visitors is a crime in its own right. I’m told upwards of 2,000 tickets – all prestige events – were involved.
There is no mention of organised, wholesale touting anywhere in the Met’s figures.
Of course, had it been left to the Mayor, the heinous crime of phone-hacking would never have become a crime either….as he told the Met not to waste time following it up. As a result of that waste of time, Coulson and Brooks are now on trial at the Old Bailey.
There are strong suggestions that, on a more national scale, the Conservative Party in general (and its internet scam liar Chairman Grant Shapps) have “expressed concern” about crime statistics. The story surrounding that concern is at the rumour and innuendo stage at the moment. But stay tuned – you never know.
Mayor Boris Johnson has the motive and the track record to be a suspect in some of the crime figure revelations. It is now down to him to issue a statement insisting on his total innocence….accompanied by the evidence to support it. If he did, we would all be greatly relieved.
More sensational, however, is the organised crime allegation.
This isn’t a new subject for The Slog. In April 2011, I posted about a Russian gang operating from a large House in Chelsea with equipment designed to covertly observe City stock purchases and benefit massively from it. I was told that they were doing so “with the full knowledge of certain Met officers” but that part remained hearsay, and so at the time I didn’t run with the bent copper element.
But by June of that year, the evidence seemed to me irrefutable. I ran a more detailed post, in which one excellent anti-cyber operative told me:
“There are two reasons why the police are just about the last thing these people need to worry about. First of all, they’re spying on people who are almost certainly breaking the law themselves. So the police don’t get involved. And secondly, the police can be bribed”.
Once a police contact has been made – often in what seem like harmless circumstances – the cyber warriors may well actually shop some people they’ve been hacking. Favour begets favour. Next time, the cop (having made a career-enhancing arrest) tells the hacker something – or supplies intelligence from a police database.
“From there, it can balloon very quickly into full-scale cooperation between the blaggers and the police,” another source assured me. “You see, the police are all over the place in this area. They need snouts. And a regular supply of good information about corporate wrongdoing can in turn be rewarded by looking the other way on something big. Or, of course, paying the officer life-changing money”.
At least two members of the gang I stumbled upon are former KGB officers, and there are clear echoes of Russian agent-recruitment psychology in the above account.
Although the story I ran sank without trace, and was described by one former Fleet Street editor as “absolutely crackpot”, in April 2012 vindication came in the shape of publication by the Guardian’s website of a story about London police leaks to the Russian security services.
The ‘organised crime’ angle of the Indie’s story is I’m sure well-based, but the stuff I wrote about last year is part organised crime collusion, part treason. We are talking about the security of the United Kingdom here…in a much more important sense than a few thousand snoopers at GCHQ reading everything we write on websites and in emails, or say over mobile phones.
Theresa May, eh? Where is she re this one?
I suspect this might at least partly explain the rumour-mill grinding away at Commissioner Hogan-Howes expense today. Either way, it’s a big story. Stay tuned.
FOOTNOTE: Only yesterday, the Mark Duggan piece I wrote made the key point that bent coppers and spin-doctor community leaders have muddied the waters on that case. I thought it a balanced piece with a key message: we do not know who we can trust any more, and this is an issue that should unite people across the political spectrum.
But it doesn’t. The racist Right and the tribal Left are still as braindead in their stockade mentality as ever. My email box rapidly filled up with accusations of being “a nigger lover”, and came to a peak last night when somebody shouted at me, “Your attitude to the Duggan case shows just how middle class you are”. I give up at times. But at other times, I see more and more signs that it’s time to move on to a broader audience.