Sunday 27th September 2020,
North Yorks Enquirer

NY Police Essential Journeys #5

North Yorkshire Police Essential Journeys #5

by TIM HICKS 

~~~~~

Introduction

The NYE has tried to support the efforts of the NHS and North Yorkshire Police (NYP) to ensure public safety. It has run an article disseminating advice from NYP on crime prevention during the pandemic. NYE article here. We have also published police notices on the new coronavirus lockdown rules.

The NYE team has run a series of articles on breaches of the coronavirus lockdown rules by the Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police Lisa Winward and the Deputy Chief Constable Phil Cain, which can be accessed below:

  • Article: North Yorkshire Police Essential Journeys #1 DCC Cain here
  • Article: North Yorkshire Police Essential Journeys #2 DCC Cain here
  • Article: North Yorkshire Police Essential Journeys #3 CC Winward here
  • Article: North Yorkshire Police Essential Journeys #4 Complaint here

In summary, it appears that the two most senior police officers of the largest county force in the country have contravened the lockdown rules and the College of Policing Code of Ethics on ethical behaviour, and leadership by Chief Officers by indulging in travel that is not “absolutely necessary”.

This represents a failure of leadership that has potentially endangered lives.

The Chief Constable and Deputy Chief Constable are responsible for leading the police in the event of a major incident such as a terrorist attack or an air crash. They have a duty to ensure they take all necessary steps to avoid endangering their health by contracting COVID-19 so they are available to take charge.

The Prime Minister, for instance, indulged in non-essential travel and meeting people. As a result he contracted COVID-19, nearly died and may have infected other members of the Cabinet.

For both Chief Officers to be routinely travelling to police stations around the county on non-urgent routine management visits, appears to me to be foolhardy. Suppose they both contract COVID-19, then unknowingly infect half the staff at force headquarters and a couple of police stations?

Deputy Chief Constable Phil Cain

To quote Chief Constable Winward (pictured, right, in the lead illustration) on the lockdown rules:
Anyone who thinks this does not apply to them is putting lives at risk”.

Chief Constable Winward has been given the opportunity to respond to my concerns, but has declined to do so.

Formal Complaint issued

We are all equal under the law.

In my view, it is completely unacceptable for Chief Police Officers to publicly place themselves above the law and put lives at risk as a result, whilst authorising the arrest of members of the public that indulge in similar behaviour. I am reminded of the infamous remark by Chief Constable Winward’s disgraced predecessor Chief Constable Grahame Maxwell:

“I am Chief Constable and can do what I want”.

This is clearly an important issue of legitimate public concern.

The conduct of both officers represents a failure of leadership and judgment, which has endangered lives during a national emergency. The issues are described perfectly by Mr Piers Morgan in this interview with Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon following her decision to sack Dr Catherine Calderwood for breaching the lockdown rule – hence his appearance in the lead illustration above.

The Piers Morgan interview in which he lambasted Dr Calderwood for the same offensive behaviour and offences that Chief Constable Winward and Deputy Chief Constable Cain have committed is here.

To try and ensure that these issues are fully exposed and both officers stop endangering lives, I have now made a formal complaint to the Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire Mrs Julia Mulligan. It is reproduced below:

Mrs Julia Mulligan,

Police Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire,

12 Granby Road,

Harrogate,

North Yorkshire,

HG1 4ST 

Dear Mrs Mulligan, 

Open Letter. Discipline: Chief Constable Lisa Winward. Deputy Chief Constable Phil Cain 

As you are probably aware, the North Yorks Enquirer has recently run a series of articles on breaches of the coronavirus lockdown rules by Chief Police Officers from North Yorkshire Police. 

Article North Yorkshire Police Essential Journeys No 1 here

Article North Yorkshire Police Essential Journeys No 2 here

Article North Yorkshire Police Essential Journeys No 3 here 

These articles detail a series of ongoing public breaches of the Coronavirus lockdown rules by Chief Constable Winward and Deputy Chief Constable Cain of North Yorkshire Police. 

In summary, it appears that both officers have between them: 

    • Made journeys that are not absolutely necessary.
    • Not maintained the two metre social distancing rules.
    • Publicly ridiculed members of the public for committing the same offences they themselves have committed.
    • Taken advantage of their rank and position as Chief Police Officers, to ensure they will not be arrested by officers of North Yorkshire Police for contravening the lockdown rules.
    • Failed as Chief Police Officers to set the appropriate example to the public and their subordinates in North Yorkshire
    • Publicly undermined the efforts of every other police officer in North Yorkshire to protect the public by preventing unnecessary travel.
    • Issued public statements on social media approving of this conduct; when they should be following the example set by the NYE by doing everything they can to discourage it. Thereby making fools of themselves, bringing the force into disrepute and opening it up to ridicule.

Chief Constable Winward is to be additionally criticised for approving Deputy Chief Constable Cain’s non-essential travel. 

In this statement of policy, Chief Constable Lisa Winward herself confirms: “Anyone who thinks this does not apply to them is putting lives at risk. North Yorkshire Police will use all powers we have to stop that, to keep us all safe and to ultimately save lives”.

Whilst the lockdown rules are onerous and difficult to obey, I completely agree with Chief Constable Winward on this. However, I believe that the Lockdown rules apply to everyone and must be evenly applied. Chief Constable Nick Adderley of Northamptonshire Police has publicly stated in this interview, that the police will be “honing in” on those like Chief Constable Winward and Deputy Chief Constable that do not follow the lockdown rules. He emphasises that under the new legislation they can be fined or arrested and are also subject to arrest under existing anti-social and public order legislation.  

Following on from the formal cautioning by the police and resignation of the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland Dr Catherine Calderwood over similar infractions, I submit it is completely unacceptable for Chief Police Officers to publicly place themselves above the law and endanger life, whilst arresting members of the public for the same offence.

I would therefore ask that you:

    1. Record a complaint and misconduct in public office against Chief Constable Winward and Deputy Chief Constable Cain and arrange for it to be investigated by another force.
    2. Make arrangements for Chief Constable Winward and Deputy Chief Constable Cain to be arrested for breaching the coronavirus lockdown rules in the normal way.
    3. Discuss my concerns with Chief Constable Winward and Deputy Chief Constable Cain, explain the lockdown rules to them and if they will not agree to comply with them, suspend them from duty pending the outcome of the investigation.

To finish on a positive note. I wish to emphasise that I have been impressed with the response of yourself and North Yorkshire Police to the coronavirus pandemic. In my coverage of this issue, I have tried to support your efforts and those of North Yorkshire Police to protect the public. However, I feel sure you will agree we cannot have one law for Chief Police Officers and one for everyone else. Particularly when this endangers life.

Please can I also ask for a media statement from you. 

I thank you in anticipation of your good offices in this matter. On a personal note, I hope this e mail finds you and all of your staff safely self-isolated and well. 

Yours sincerely, 

Timothy Hicks

Freelance journalist

Based on past experience of Mrs Mulligan, I have no doubt that this complaint will be ignored and NYP Chief Officers will be allowed to do whatever they please, as they always have done. But I will report back to our readers on her response and the outcome in due course.

The Lockdown Rules

The NYE will continue to do everything it can to support the efforts of the vast majority of NYP officers, who are doing their best to police a pandemic at some considerable risk to themselves, by disseminating police advice on the Coronavirus pandemic.

The lockdown rules are explained in this excellent article from the BBC, here.

Latest advice from NYP here.

Excellent source for official advice from the Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire here.

Advice from the Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire to stay away from the Yorkshire Coast and save lives here.

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