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Feminism: chat

Police went to court to get anonymity for officer they sacked for misconduct involving women

5 replies

Iknowitisheresomewhere · 05/03/2022 09:03

Couldn’t see a thread on this.

Twitter thread here:

Police officer deliberately targeted women who had eg made a 999 call and pursued them afterwards. Police investigated and he went to a hearing and was sacked. But the hearing, which should have been public, was held in private and the officer given anonymity.

I don’t quite follow all the legalities - it appears the investigative system messed some things up, but it also appears this was at the instigation of the police/police union, who then tried to defend it in court.

And it also appears this is not a one off.

OP posts:
Iknowitisheresomewhere · 05/03/2022 09:07
OP posts:
GodspeedJune · 05/03/2022 09:12

This is atrocious- his conduct and the cover up.

Toomanyradishes · 05/03/2022 09:51

Hes from hampshire police force, who entirely coincidentally have an extremely low rape conviction rate, incorrectly cancelled 53% of sexual offence cases which included rape cases where they cancelled them because they 'misinterpreted true consent'.

They falsely imprisoned a 17 year old rape victim that they decided was lying about being raped, without bothering to check her clothes for forensic evidence, when they did, suprise suprise it turned out she wasnt lying.

But funnily enough despite all their incompetence they are competent at protecting their own Hmm

butnobodytoldme · 05/03/2022 13:31

The difference between the regime of power in UK and Sharia law is merely one of degree.

NumberTheory · 05/03/2022 22:25

I think Katie's thread makes things pretty clear if you can get through the Twitter format!

A Hampshire officer, Terry Cooke, was subject to a disciplinary hearing for abusing his position and targeting vulnerable members of the public he met through his job to pursue romantic relationships with them.

Disciplinary hearings are normally held in public. Terry Cooke's legal team applied the day before the hearing to have it held in private. The person in charge of the disciplinary hearing is the Legally Qualified Chair (LQC), in this case William Hansen QC. When a request for a private hearing is made by a defendant the Police Force is supposed to argue for the hearing to be public. They did not. AND the LQC is supposed to consult with the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) who conducted the investigation. He did not. He agreed to a private hearing.

Following the hearing the disciplinary panel fired Cooke.

A private hearing is NOT the same as an anonymity order. This is where multiple people seem to have made "mistakes", despite the judicial review later finding that Mr Hansen clearly stated the orders he had made when sending them out.

Hampshire Police later made a fairly bland press release stating an officer had been fired following a private hearing and asserting that the disciplinary panel had made an order that prevented the officer being named. This appears to be untrue, the order did not prevent Cooke being named.

After trying to find out more information and being rebuffed by Hampshire Police and Hampshire Police Complaints Commission (PCC), Katie's employer launched a judicial review to gain access to the information on Cooke (at that point anonymous). And to question the whole process that appeared to have granted him anonymity and a secret hearing.

The court found that there was no anonymity order in place and Terry Cooke had acted improperly in asserting that there was. It also found that he could have no reasonable expectation of privacy - implying that the LQC should not have granted the privacy request for the hearing.

So list of failures:

  • Hampshire police failed to argue against the private hearing request
  • Mr Hansen (LQC) failed to consult with IOPC over the hearing
  • Mr Hansen granted private hearing request when there weren't good grounds
  • Hampshire police and their PCC failed to understand what legal orders were in place in regard to Cooke and the disciplinary hearing (that's the charitable reading) and asserted something that wasn't true.
  • Cooke asserted there was an anonymity order when there wasn't one.
  • Penningtons, a legal firm with qualified lawyers, seem to have accepted Cooke's assertion without assessing the order. That or they failed to understand the order when they read it. (Not sure which is worse for a legal firm).

The actions of Hampshire Police and the LQC are troubling and, especially given the high number of private disciplinary hearings, indicate a culture of disregard for accountability for the police and the importance of public confidence.

Penningtons would appear to be at fault for upholding the idea that the private hearing order meant anonymity for Cooke. They were acting for the Police Federation who appear to have agreed to pay for the case on the understanding there was an anonymity order and they wanted to ensure that orders made by disciplinary panels would hold up in court (not an unreasonable thing for an organization like the Police Federation to want to gain clarity on). You would hope that in doing this they would require some sort of assertions about the evidence in the case and the likelihood of success from Penningtons. Not sure if this gives the Police Federation cause for action against Penningtons since the lack of an actual anonymity order would seem to be a fairly basic failure of due diligence. Would be interesting to know if they take any. I suppose it's possible that it was Penningtons that advised Cooke he had a right to anonymity on the basis of the private hearing order, but the Judge did appeared to lay the blame for false assertion squarely on Cooke.

Cooke is a bit of a predator and it's a pity there aren't more serious consequences for him.

Katie French did great work and Newsquest's willingness to put money into taking this to court was a big public service.
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