Friday 15th December 2017,
North Yorks Enquirer

“The Protection Racket” – Three Decades Of Crime

“The Protection Racket” – Three Decades Of Crime

  • an ‘In My View’ article by Nigel Ward – his most detailed and incisive to date providing an insight into the extraordinary circumstances in which two elected members of Councils in North Yorkshire have remained actively in office throughout over a year of on-going (but perfunctory) Police investigations by two Forces into allegations against elected members for fraud and forgery, spanning three decades.

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IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST

Following a host of anecdotal reports from witnesses who, being afraid of reprisals, declined to be named in public but wished to share with me important information in the public interest, I published an article in June 2012 that has since been read by over eleven thousand readers of the Real Whitby Magazine, and uncounted thousands more on other blogs and news sites around the country, as well as being covered by Private Eye. The reader may wish to bear in mind the fact that I have at no time been asked to withdraw my article, or to amend in any way the opinions expressed in it. No threat of legal action has been forthcoming and no-one has denied or attempted to refute any of the information or opinion offered in the article. Libel cases are time-barred after one year.

Nevertheless, the publication of that article has provoked some profound consequences. It reports on victims’ allegations of thirty years of criminal activity on the part of a highly prominent Conservative member of the North Yorkshire political establishment, in joint enterprise with her life-partner, also a long-standing Conservative elected representative.

Before reporting on the most recent developments, I offer the reader a summary of the past fourteen months’ events. Those uninterested in this background material may skip the next section, moving directly to the section which follows – CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS: Lost in Limbo.

THE PAST FOURTEEN MONTHS

  • July 2012

I was approached, via the Real Whitby Magazine, on 26th July 2012 by a lady who wanted my help in her years-long search for justice.

I first met with that lady (hereinafter referred to as “Complainant #01” – C#01, for short) on Saturday 28th July 2012, in the company of a lifelong friend of the lady. Investigative-journalist Tim HICKS FCA was also present.

C#01 told us that she and her husband (C#02) were victims of an intricate series of frauds through which they had been deprived of their business (a timber wholesale and supply firm), their house and car, and been left in considerable debt.

  • August 2012

Throughout August 2012, I assisted C#01 and C#02 in collating a large amount of documentary evidence – Companies House documents, invoices, FOIA responses, email and letter correspondence, bank statements and so on – and on 31st August 2012, C#01 and C#02 wrote to the Major Fraud Investigation Team (NYP/MFIT) of the North Yorkshire Police (NYP) to report crimes against them of forgery, fraud and company theft.

  • September 2012

On Wednesday 19th September 2012, acting as duly authorised Complaint Friend to C#01 and C#02, I accompanied them to the NYP/MFIT offices at Malton Police Station. I voluntarily offered my assurance to the NYP/MFIT Officers that I would not publish details of that or subsequent meetings, in order to preclude any possibility of me inadvertently compromising the integrity of their necessarily covert investigation in any way – specifically, to avoid alerting the suspects to the fact that an investigation was now actively in progress.

On 24th September 2012, I was approached by another lady (C#03) who also requested me to act as her Complaint Friend in a matter she wished to report to the NYP/MFIT at Malton – a matter of having also been the victim of fraud and forgery, allegedly at the hands of one of the same suspects.

On 26th September 2012, the NYP/MFIT confirmed that prima facie evidence of a crime had been accepted and logged under the official NYP Crime Number 12120160287.

The First Hiccup

On 29th September 2012, C#01 was informed by Scarborough Police that a Harassment Complaint had been raised against her – by one of the suspects. This was the first of several indications that somebody was taking steps to deter the Complainants from going ahead.

  • October 2012

On Wednesday 24th October 2012, I accompanied both C#01 and C#03 to Malton Police Station for another meeting with the NYP/MFIT. Official Witness Statements from C#01 and C#02 were formally accepted, but a third statement (from C#03) was copied but not formally received – the reason given being that, due to the ‘political sensitivity’ of the suspects (one, in particular, having a very high profile in the world of North Yorkshire Local Authorities), the case was likely to be investigated covertly by an external Police Force and it would be for that external Force to log statements and receive further documentary evidence.

  • November 2012

Digression into Savile/Jaconelli territory

A brief digression is necessary here because, as readers will remember, this was the period during which an astonishing number of allegations were emerging concerning the late Jimmy SAVILE. In the immediate media furore, I was approached independently by two newspaper reporters and a member of the public who all made reference to al fresco ritualistic sexual activity involving ‘prominent local dignitaries’ and ‘national celebrities’, at a rural location on the edge of the moors, close to Scarborough, in the 1980s. These activities had allegedly been photographed and filmed, following a tip-off from a clergyman in Pickering. I mentioned this, without disclosing the full details, in an article published on 11th November 2012. This had the effect of stirring the recollections of C#01 and C#02, who remembered a DVD closely matching that description having been in the possession of one of the suspects in their own case.

They contacted me on 17th November 2012, asking my advice on where to report their information. They were concerned that a separate investigation into the DVD might entail alerting certain  ‘prominent local dignitaries’ to burgeoning Police interest, and this might risk jeopardising the covert nature of the on-going fraud/forgery investigation into their own allegations.

Being mindful of Code B of the Police & Criminal Evidence Act 1984 relating to the search of premises and seizure of material relevant to a crime, and also the proscription against any kind of discrimination by the Police (positive or negative, in relation to the suspects), on 18th November 2012, I emailed the NYP/MFIT informing them of this potential complication and seeking their guidance. On Monday 19th November 2012, I was advised by the NYP/MFIT that, notwithstanding the existing fraud/forgery investigation, the new information should nevertheless be passed to Operation Yewtree. On 20th November 2012, I provided the C#01 and C#02’s information to Operation Yewtree, via the NSPCC hot-line, and this was acknowledged and allocated the NSPCC Reference Number 566315.

I was subsequently contacted directly by Operation Yewtree on 17th January 2013, and eventually interviewed by Operation Yewtree Officers on 17th April 2013 – five months after the report was first logged. C#01 and C#02 have never been contacted by Operation Yewtree, who informed me on 23rd April 2013 that their report was being passed to the North Yorkshire Police for further investigation: “They may well be in contact with you in due course to clarify some of the information”.

In  fact, the NYP – despite having been aware of the allegations regarding the DVD since 18th November 2012, have never made contact regarding the film/DVD of the al fresco ritualistic sexual activity involving ‘prominent local dignitaries’ and ‘national celebrities’.

The Second Hiccup

  • December 2012

On 18th December 2012 (by now, we were nearly four months into the original Complaint, with nothing to show for it but a Crime Number and a Harassment Complaint), Durham Constabulary – whose motto is “Victim reduction through problem solving & quality victim focussed investigation” – contacted C#01 directly – leaving me, the authorised Complaint Friend, out of the loop.

I wrote, that same day, to the Durham Constabulary Fraud & Money Laundering unit (DC/F&ML) in my capacity as lay legal advisor and Complaint Friend to the three Complainants, protesting my exclusion and laying out a general overview of the case ahead.

On 19th December 2012, Tim HICKS FCA wrote to the Durham Constabulary to inform them of a number of other very serious allegations against one of the suspects.

The Third Hiccup

The following day (20th December 2012) I was contacted by the DC/F&ML unit denying my status as Complaint Friend, informing me that any future communication from them would be via their Media Office and suggesting that I was welcome to travel to Durham to provide any further evidence. No reference was made to the DVD and no reference was made to the Complaint from C#03. Thus was I (and C#03) cut out of the investigation.

Also on 20th December 2012, C#01 emailed the DC/F&ML insisting on my inclusion as Complaint Friend and providing details of other potential witnesses. No response.

I wrote to the DC/F&ML on the Complainants’ behalf on 24th December 2012, pointing out the immediate requirement for the suspects to be suspended from their respective positions as elected Councillors, pending the outcome of the investigation. I have never received a response to that email. On 3rd January 2013, the DC/F&ML unit, in disregard of the fact that I had voluntarily provided (and upheld) my assurances of confidentiality and non-publication, determined that I was to be excluded from the investigation on the grounds of my status as a ‘journalist’. Again, any announcement would be through the Durham Constabulary Media Office.

The Fourth Hiccup

  • February/March 2013

In mid-February 2013, during a chance encounter with Scarborough & Whitby MP Robert GOODWILL (Con), a member of the public (now an elected Borough Councillor) asked him if he would be willing to intercede in the so-called ‘Case of the Clergyman’s Widow’. This the MP agreed to do, asking for the necessary contact details – which, on 19th February, I duly provided to the member of the public – and these details were duly forwarded to Robert GOODWILL on 1st March 2013.

On 14th March 2013, Robert GOODWILL MP wrote (hard-copy) to the lady in question. He neglected to mention his own acquaintance (both in person and in exchanges of correspondence) with her late husband. He referred only to allegations of “some serious fraud” at a church totally unconnected with her late husband’s church, and although he did offer to “help in some way address this situation”, it was clear to her that no sincere attempt to review her case was on the cards. More probably, Robert GOODWILL MP was on a fishing trip – which, as a card-carrying Conservative Party colleague of the suspects, he quite probably would consider to be his bounden duty.

The Fifth Hiccup

  • April 2013

Following a protracted period of inaction, I wrote to (then ‘Temporary’, now ‘Deputy’) Chief Constable Tim MADGWICK of the North Yorkshire Police on 4th April 2013, asking for an update on the progress of the investigation, which appeared to have ground to a halt at the Durham Constabulary.

The following day, 5th April 2013, I received a response from T/CC Chief Constable Tim MADGWICK, informing me, in the context of an on-going investigation by another Force:

  • “As you will appreciate it would not be appropriate for me in my position as T/Chief Constable, to comment about an ongoing investigation”.

Dead end, as far as NYP was concerned.

The Sixth Hiccup

On 20th April 2013, C#01 and C#02 received a letter dated 19th April 2013 from a solicitor acting on behalf of one of the suspects, threatening legal action in the event that C#01 and C#02 refused to sign an agreement not to provide information to the “Real Whitby Action Group” – within a deadline of 21 days.

C#01 and C#02 waited until 25th May 2013 (fifteen days after the deadline) before telling the solicitor “No dice”. Nothing was heard again from the solicitor. But on 4th June 2013, C#01 forwarded the a copy of the solicitor’s to the DC/F&ML unit by post as evidence of further intimidation, and also emailed announcing its impending arrival. She also posed a number of significant questions and requested an update report on the progress of the investigation so far. The DC/F&ML unit has never acknowledged receipt of the copy-letter, or the email, or responded to the questions contained therein – or, indeed, provided an update report of any kind.

The Seventh Hiccup

An interview between DC/F&ML Officers and C#01, in company with a solicitor (who had little previous knowledge of the monumental complexity of the case and was present only because I was excluded) finally took place on 24th April 2013. C#01 was informed that it was possible that her only recourse may lie in the direction of civil proceedings.

No mention was made of the allegations made by C#03.

The Eighth hiccup

That same day, 24th April 2013, I emailed the DC/F&ML unit, again offering further evidence and requesting that the DC/F&ML inform C#03 of the present status of the investigation into her allegations.

On 25th April 2013, C#01 had written to the bank involved in the bank fraud aspect of the case, apprising them of current events. There has been no response from the bank, who thus appear unwilling to attempt recovery of a loan of £145,000 obtained by one of the suspects under an apparently forged signature bearing no resemblance to the real signature of C#03.

  • May 2013

On 9th May 2013, I received an email from the DC/F&ML unit informing me that C#03 had been informed of the status of her allegations and offering no further information, nor any request regarding the additional evidence. Curiously, this followed a telephone call made earlier that day by the DC/F&ML unit directly to C#03, informing her that her case was to remain under the auspices of the NYP/MFIT. No report on the present status of the investigation was offered to me, or to C#03.

In fact, the investigation of her allegations had been in no way progressed since we were informed by the NYP/MFIT back on 5th December 2012 – six months previously – that the investigation was to be conducted by the Durham Constabulary, who would take over the formal recording of C#03’s witness statement and receipt of evidence. So for the previous six months, no action had been taken by either Force on the C#03 investigation and, as far as we have been informed, no further action has been taken since or is scheduled for the future.

Taken in isolation, any one of these eight major ‘hiccups’ could reasonably be attributed to human error – even in local government organistions bound by statute to the highest standards of tranparency and moral probity.

Taken together, they form a a defensive barrier through which only the most determined and most articluate of victims has any prospect of penetrating – as C#01 and C#02 will witness, after four years of trying everything before they came to me.

CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS: Lost in Limbo

There followed a period of three months silence.

Neither C#01 and C#02, nor C#03 (nor yours truly) heard anything more from either Police Force –   that is, until Tim HICKS FCA emailed the Durham Constabulary Media Office on 25th July and 4th August 2013, successfully eliciting the following comment for publication on 5th August 2013:

  • “We can confirm Durham Constabulary was asked by North Yorkshire Police to conduct an investigation into an allegation of fraud relating to Dales Timber Limited. Our enquiries are continuing.”

This unequivocal information (“Our enquiries are continuing”) confirmed that two elected Councillors, acting in joint enterprise, had been the subject of a continuing fraud/forgery investigation in connection with allegations were first formally communicated on 31st August 2012 – almost one year ago – and yet were still acting in their respective Council positions, still making decisions impacting on the disbursement of public funds. That seems to me to be totally unacceptable.

Also on Monday 5th August 2013, Tim HICKS FCA – having previously submitted a draft to the interested parties – published an article on the Real Whitby Magazine web-site, making firm allegations of corruption against a Det. Insp. Heather PEARSON of the NYP, and Councillor Jane KENYON, in respect of actions on their part amounting to perversion of the course of justice in an attempt to divert the on-going Dales Timber Ltd investigation.

Tim HICKS’s article also addresses the SBC legal threats to the Real Whitby Magazine and its main contributors, brought before the SBC Cabinet by none other than the Portfolio Holder for Finance, Procurement & Legal – Councillor Jane KENYON – and the Director of Democratic & Legal Services Lisa DIXON. A ‘pattern of behaviour’ in abusing privilege of position to intimidate witnesses with threats of legal action, through the auspices of the Council’s and the NYP’s official mechanisms, appeared to be emerging.

There are many precedents for Councillors who are the subjects of Police investigations stepping down or being suspended from their duties; recent cases include ex-Councillor David PARSONS, former Conservative Leader of Leicestershire County Council, and Councillor Matt FRY of Stoke-on-Trent City Council. Councillors of other Councils have expressed astonishment that Scarborough Borough Council (SBC) has not acted to suspend the suspects. Remember that, in the present circumstances, two elected members have remained (and continue) in office during a criminal investigation of their actions since 24th October 2012.

On Tuesday 6th August 2013, Tim HICKS FCA received a letter from Councillor Jane KENYON’s solicitor (the same solicitor who, acting on behalf of Councillor Bill MILLER, had issued a 21-day ultimatum to C#01 and C#02, forbidding the provision of information to the “Real Whitby Action Group”, under threat of legal action), alleging defamation of Councillor Jane KENYON, threatening legal action againstTim HICKS FCA, and insisting, with reference to his article that: “It must NOT be published”.

Of course, Tim HICKS’ article had been on-line since the previous day and had already been widely read and circulated.

As in the case of the SBC legal threats, Councillor Jane KENYON’s solicitor has since been unable to particularise any detail of Tim HICKS’s article such that could challenge its veracity in a court of law, thus violating the Court Procedure Rules. So that attempt at intimidation has petered out, too.

On 8th August 2013, I received an unsolicited letter (hard-copy) dated 7th August 2013 from (now) Deputy Chief Constable Tim MADGWICK, who had, back on 5th April 2013, contended that “As you will appreciate it would not be appropriate for me in my position as T/Chief Constable, to comment about an ongoing investigation”.

DCC Tim MADGWICK’s latest missive acknowledged my legitimate interest in the investigation and informed me that

  • “Upon conclusion of their enquiries Durham Constabulary Fraud and Money Laundering Unit have concluded that there is no evidence to suggest that Ms Kenyon is involved in any way with criminal matters; that the available evidence is insufficient to pursue any of the allegations as criminal offences against any parties; that there may be a civil avenue for concerned parties to take, should they choose to do so.”

With Councillor KENYON’s tenure as Portfolio Holder for Finance, Procurement & Legal now in jeopardy, DCC Tim MADGWICK apparently felt that it was appropriate for him to comment after all.

But no mention was made of C#03’s allegations, which had been disregarded since the DC/F&ML unit informed C#03 by telephone, back on 9th May 2013, that the investigation of her allegations was to be pursued by NYP.

I immediately responded to DCC Tim MADGWICK, informing him that the DC/F&ML unit’s investigation of C#01 & C#02 case had yet to obtain and analyze all of the evidence, and that the C#03 investigation had yet even to begin; clearly, the investigation was far from concluded.

Also on 8th August 2013, Tim HICKS FCA emailed CC Mike BARTON of the Durham Constabulary outlining a whole raft of allegations pending against one of the suspects in the DC/F&ML unit’s investigation, including allegations of corrupt actions by a ranking NYP Officer, such as must inevitably compromise the Durham Constabulary investigation.

That same day, 8th August 2013, I also wrote to Chief Constable Mike BARTON (Durham Constabulary), citing the discrepancy between his Media Office’s statement for publication of 5th August 2013 and DCC Tim MADGWICK’s 7th August 2013 letter asserting that the case was closed, and asking for clarification of the true position.

I have yet to receive a response from Durham CC Mike BARTON.

And I also wrote to SBC Chief Executive Officer Jim DILLON and Leader Councillor Tom FOX on 8th August 2013, informing them of the continuing investigation and the need to act:

  • “I believe it is the duty of the Leader and the Chief Executive Officer to place Councillor KENYON in suspension from all Council duties until such time as the Police investigation(s) is/are concluded.”

On 9th August 2013, SBC Borough Solicitor David KITSON emailed all fifty Borough Councillors assuring them that they should not believe statements by anyone connected to Real Whitby because DCC Tim MADWICK had stated that the investigation was concluded.

On 15th August 2013, I received an email from the DC/F&ML unit stating that “any information that you believe may be material and beneficial to the investigation I am happy to take possession of it and oversee its analysis”. This was unequivocal evidence that the C#01 & C#02 investigation was still in progress. However, the status of the C#03 investigation was not mentioned.

On 19th August 2013, I received an email from SBC Director of Democratic & Legal Services Lisa DIXON, stating (without providing the source of her information):

  • “Further to your E-mail, the Council has received confirmation that Durham Constabulary have concluded that there is no evidence to suggest that Cllr Kenyon is involved in any way with criminal matters in the issue to which you refer.”

This information was clearly based on DCC Tim MADGWICK’s erroneous statement, as provided to me of 7th August 2013. I immediately responded to Lisa DIXON, pointing out that between my email (8th August 2013) and her response (19th August 2013), I had been directly informed by the DC/F&ML unit that Officers were preparing to receive additional evidence for analysis – an unequivocal indication that, contrary to Lisa DIXON’s and Tim MADGWICK’s assertion, the investigation was clearly still in progress; the Chief Exec and the Leader needed to reconsider the Council’s position. I have heard nothing further from SBC on this topic.

Further correspondence with the DC/F&ML unit on 20th and 21st August 2013 set up an interview with me, to be conducted at Scarborough Police Station, to take custody of the large quantity of evidence – evidence that had hitherto been ignored. There could now be no doubt that the investigation was still active and very much in progress.

On 21st August 2013, I received another letter (hard-copy) from DCC Tim MADGWICK, in which he suggested that I had created “the potentially misleading impression” that his earlier letter of 7th August 2013 (which I received on 8th August 2013) “conveyed inaccurate information”.  In fact, the impression I had ‘created’ was not misleading at all; it was a wholly accurate reflection of my current information from the DC/F&ML unit.

I immediately responded to DCC Tim MADGWICK, pointing out that, by his own words (“As you will appreciate it would not be appropriate for me in my position as T/Chief Constable, to comment about an ongoing investigation”), it was utterly inappropriate for him to intercede in the investigatory affairs of another Force; that correspondence with the DC/F&ML unit made clear that the investigation was indeed on-going, that a decision was anticipated shortly on the matter of the pursuit of the C#03 investigation, and that, quite obviously, the suspects needed to be suspended from their Council positions until the final conclusion of a duly diligent investigation.

And has Borough Solicitor David KITSON since emailed all fifty Councillors to tell them his first email to them was nonsense? What do you think?

However, on Tuesday 27th August 2013, I received a further email from the DC/F&ML unit stating that they were now “cancelling our meeting and would advise that any additional evidential material you hold should be passed directly to North Yorkshire Police”. Clearly, the Durham Constabulary felt unable to play any further rôle in the on-going investigation, I suspect as a consequence of DCC Tim MADGWICK’s inappropriate intervention, which may even have been intended to scupper the investigation. And this was the first indication from the Durham Constabulary that they would not, after all, be proceeding further with their investigations.

And yet, on 11th September 2013, DCC Tim MADGWICK of NYP emailed me – specifically in my capacity as authorised Complaint Friend to C#01 and C#02 – claiming that he had sent hard-copy letters to them informing them of the conclusion of the investigation of another Force, but suggesting that he may have made ane error with their address. This does not explain how it is that C#01 and C#02 have received hard-copy correspondence from NYP in the past at their correct present address. His email concludes by stating that the position with regard to the allegations made by C#03 “is being clarified by North Yorkshire Police” – who, readers will recall, have already asserted that this investigation cannot be conducted by them on account of the blatant conflict of interests.

Given that NYP passed the investigation to the Durham Constabulary in the first place precisely because of the obvious conflict of interest and ‘political sensitivity’ in them investigating a former colleague (for ten years the Chair of the NYPA), it is clear that NYP cannot capriciously reverse that stance now.

So where are we now?

That takes us back to where we were in October 2012. Copious additional documentary evidence has yet to be analyzed, or even accepted, by either NYP or DC, even though both Forces have been aware since then of the existence of this evidence, amounting to hundreds of documents – much of which was offered in person to NYP/MFIT on 24th October, but declined. Still no formal statement has been logged by either Force in respect of the crimes against C#03. No progress report of the C#01/C#02 investigation has ever been provided to me or to any of the victims by either of the Forces.

And all of the foregoing says nothing about a wide range of allegations reported to me, covering a period in excess of three decades in which the suspects stand accused of many more serious financial crimes: The NYP/MFIT is aware of some of these allegations, though they have yet to make any effort to pusrue them. Some sources suggest that the mysterious DVD containing compromising images of al fresco ritualistic sexual activity involving ‘prominent local dignitaries’ and ‘national celebrities’ may have been used to assure the silence and/or co-operation of those who took part, some of whom may be influential with regard to present-day Police investigations and/or Cabinet Members.

1980,s Allegations

  • Bank fraud, money-laundering and currency-smuggling in relation to Belvedere Computers Inc. – the bankrupt, yet still extant, California company – and two associated companies in the UK, and innumerable false Declarations of Interest associated with those matters. Secretary of State for Democracy & Communities Eric PICKLES has stated that, under the Localism Act 2011, “Failure to register or declare an interest, or deliberately seeking to mislead the public about an interest, will become a criminal offence”.

1990′s Allegations

  • Grant fraud, embezzlement and forgery in the so-called ‘Case of the Clergyman’s Widow’(29th July 2012), including theft of evidence, perversion of the course of justice and malfeasance in public office. Also, benefit fraud on a grand scale.

2000′s Allegations

  • Company theft, bank fraud and forgery in relation to the affairs of Dales Timber Ltd; as well as further false Declarations of Interests and further allegations of perversion of the course of justice and malfeasance in public office.

Conclusion

There would appear to be a protective net of cronyism, or even coercion (perhaps even blackmail), thwarting every attempt made by the victims of these crimes to obtain justice.

Both NYP and the Durham Constabulary regularly appeal to the public, via their respective websites, Facebook and Twitter accounts, television and local newspapers for information that may be helpful in securing an arrest and conviction. No such appeals have been made in these cases.

Notwithstanding the victims’ understandable fear of intimidation and/or reprisals, they have never been offered, by either Force, the services of a Police Liaison Officer – or even appropriate victims’ guidance documentation.

North Yorkshire Police & Crime Commissioner Julia MULLIGAN (Con), to whom Chief Constable David JONES is accountable, told the York Press, shortly after her election to office on 22nd November 2012, that she intended to put “victims at the heart” of her work, and that she was determined to be a “voice for the people”. But Julia MULLIGAN has ignored nine emails from me over the past nine months.

DCC Tim MADGWICK, who recently failed in his application for the post of Chief Constable of the North Yorkshire Police (vacated by the disgraced Grahame MAXWELL) and is widely reputed presently to be seeking the top position with another Force, would now appear to be in a hopelessly untenable position. Moreover, he would appear to have compromised the Durham Constabulary investigation in the process. This will be a matter for the Home Office.

  • Where now will the victims of these crimes turn for justice, long delayed and at grave risk of being denied?
  • How will the public at large be assured of transparency and accountability in our local authorities when high-ranking individuals seem ever-willing to close ranks to protect their own?
  • Who will step up to the plate and investigate, without fear or favour, now that the integrity of the North Yorkshire Police (publicly described by Lord Maginnis of DRUMGLASS as “that particularly dubious Constabulary that merits careful investigation”) has been so fundamentally sullied?

Perhaps now is the time for every serving Police Officer in England to reflect again on the true meaning and importance of the oath which each of them has sworn:

  • I, … of … do solemnly and sincerely declare and affirm that I will well and truly serve the Queen in the office of constable, with fairness, integrity, diligence and impartiality, upholding fundamental human rights and according equal respect to all people; and that I will, to the best of my power, cause the peace to be kept and preserved and prevent all offences against people and property; and that while I continue to hold the said office I will to the best of my skill and knowledge discharge all the duties thereof faithfully according to law.

I am sure that the victims will accept “fairness, integrity, diligence and impartiality”.

They deserve nothing less.

Alas, in North Yorkshire (at least), these are rare qualities indeed.

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Afterword

On Friday 30th August 2013, over a week prior to publication of this article, I emailed both Chief Constables requesting an explanation. No response has been forthcoming.

I also emailed Lisa DIXON (SBC), asking her to circulate a draft of this article to her fellow Executive Officers and all fifty Borough Councillors, so that they might have an opportunity to take issue with me over its factual accuracy. No response has been forthcoming. Councillors report that the draft has been withheld from them. So on 3rd September, I emailed Lisa DIXON again asking for an explanation for David KITSON’s failure to update Councillors on the renewed confirmation that an investigation into the Dales Timber Ltd affair is still in progress. Answer came there none.

Meanwhile, discussions with leading SBC Councillors indicate that there is (at last) mounting disquiet amongst members who believe, as I do, that it is utterly inappropriate for Councillor Jane KENYON to continue in any form of office – and most especially as Portfolio Holder for Finance, Procurement & Legal – while under investigation for serious financial crimes. In this context, the position of Councillor Bill MILLER, as a mere Parish Councillor, is relatively insignificant in its ramifications. As one Borough and County Councillor put it, “Councillor who?”.

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