The Leeds, Harrogate & Belfast Connections
by TIM HICKS
In accordance with its duty as journalists to hold public bodies to account, the NYE team has for some time been investigating the profligate misuse of public funds by North Yorkshire Police (NYP), the former North Yorkshire Police Authority and the Office of the Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire.
I have written a series of articles on the results of my analysis of Chief Police Officers expenses. Such is the scale of abuses I have uncovered, that what was originally intended to be one article or two articles, has now expanded into an ongoing series.
This article concerns NYP’s former Chief Constable Dave Jones.
Background: Chief Constable Dave Jones
The entry for Chief Constable Jones on the NYP website (here) is as follows:
“In June 2013 Dave Jones was appointed as North Yorkshire’s new Chief Constable. Mr Jones was recruited from the Police Service of Northern Ireland having begun his career with Greater Manchester Police (GMP) in 1986.
Mr Jones brought a wealth of knowledge and experience with him having been responsible for the rural region of Northern Ireland and the lead for tackling organised crime and terrorism in Greater Manchester.”
This Harrogate Informer biography of Chief Constable Dave Jones states:
“In 2002, he was promoted to Chief Superintendent, Head of Crime Support and in January 2004 was responsible for merging Crime Support and Crime Investigation branches to create Headquarters CID, becoming Head of CID with responsibility for the investigation of the most complex and serious of offences.
From February 2006 until April 2007 he was Temporary Assistant Chief Constable, with responsibility for tackling serious and organised crime, counter terrorism and scientific services.”
The Force website does not mention that there are all sorts of issues surrounding Chief Constable Jones’s period as Head of CID in Manchester and the GMP investigation into the Rotherham grooming scandal codenamed Operation Augusta. However, they have been covered elsewhere by journalists that are far more skilful and experienced than me, so I will go no further.
Chief Constable Jones retired as Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police in April 2018. He appears in this article because:
- He voted himself police funds to pay for his legal expenses for a civil legal action against journalists in Leeds High Court codenamed Operation Hyson.
- He used Police funds to pay for his attendance at a dinner dance in Harrogate.
- He used Police funds to fiinance trips to Belfast, for which there is no explanation.
Chief Constable Dave Jones
Operation Hyson: The Rome and Leeds Connections
Predictably, the article on the Force website also doesn’t mention that Chief Constable Jones was the Chief Police Officer behind Operation Hyson which in real terms led NYP to a catastrophic defeat in the High Court at the hands of NYE journalists – Nigel Ward and myself.
Chief Constable Jones played no part in Operation Rome, which was abandoned before he became Chief Constable. But some discussion of it is necessary here to allow the reader to comprehend his role in its successor shambles, which was codenamed Operation Hyson. Operation Rome was a criminal investigation into a complaint of harassment made by a City of York Council (CYC) Social Worker and three family members, over a property dispute in which the three family members had tried to sell an old-aged pensioner’s (OAP) home from under her, while she was ill abroad and pocket the proceeds. In my belief, a blatant act of elder abuse, an offence of fraud within the meaning of the Fraud Act 2006 and contrary to NYP and CYC joint safeguarding policy on aged abuse. CYC and NYP refused to intervene to safeguard the OAP. I believe that this was because at the time NYP followed a force policy of not intervening in financial abuse of vulnerable persons involving family members.
Be that as it may, I took up the OAP’s case with the intention of ensuring she could return to the UK and have the peaceful occupation of her own home for the rest of her days. This led to severe criticism of the role played by the CYC and NYP in Parliament and in the NYE’s predecessor, the Real Whitby Internet News Magazine.
There was never any realistic prospect of Operation Rome resulting in a prosecution and after due consideration, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) refused to proceed with the charge.
Following the failure of Operation Rome, Chief Constable Jones initiated a civil prosecution for harassment against the OAPs son and carer, and journalists Nigel Ward and I in the High Court, which was codenamed Operation Hyson. The plaintiffs in this action were the four original complainants from Operation Rome and additionally, Deputy Chief Constable Madgwick, County Councillor Jane Kenyon, Chief Constable Dave Jones, Detective Chief Inspector Heather Pearson (Retired) and the present Chief Constable, Lisa Winward. Their objective was to obtain:
- An injunction preventing any further coverage.
The Case was heard in Leeds High Court and happily, like Operation Rome, Operation Hyson also failed catastrophically.
Not so happily, the North Yorkshire taxpayer was left with a huge legal bill for no material beneficial outcome to the taxpayer. Summary in the Private Eye article below.
Chief Constable Jones’ role in Operation Hyson causes me some concern for the following reasons:
- When the CPS refused to proceed with criminal charges under Operation Rome, Chief Constable Jones authorised hundreds of thousands of pounds of police funds to be provided to the original four civilian complainants. Even though they had no connection to NYP, no entitlement to receive police funding and the CPS had confirmed there was no criminal case to answer. A situation unprecedented in the history of the Police S
- Having authorised funding from Police funds to four people that had nothing to do with his Force and had no entitlement to funding,Chief Constable Jones also approved funding for himself, Deputy Chief Constable Tim Madgwick, Detective Superintendent Heather Pearson (Retired), the present Chief Constable, Lisa Winward, and a prominent Conservative politician – Councillor Jane Kenyon (later, Jane Kenyon-Miller) – so they could join the action which, if successful, would see them all benefit financially. Again, a situation completely unprecedented in the history of Policing in the UK – the implication being that he siphoned off Police funds to assist complainants in a failed harassment complaint, as a pretext to obtain a pecuniary advantage for himself and his cronies.
- Three of the civilian parties in the action with Chief Constable Jones were at the time trying to sell an old-aged pensioner’s home from under her while she was ill abroad. In my opinion,this may have constituted an offence of fraud within the meaning of the Fraud Act 2006 and was certainly a despicable act of aged abuse that was – and remains – contrary to NYP Safeguarding P Yet Chief Constable Jones nevertheless provided them with hundreds of thousands of pounds in Police funding and ignored his duty under Force Safeguarding Policy to protect the OAP and take action against his fellow plaintiffs over their treatment of the OAP.
- Chief Constable Jones diverted Police funds that were obtained from the taxpayer to fund operational policing, to fund a private civil action that he stood to benefit from financially.
- As pointed out in the Private Eye article above, Chief Constable Jones stood to make a substantial personal gain from Operation Hyson. He therefore had a conflict of interest and should have recused himself from the decision to vote himself and others unlimited legal funding. But did not. Instead, he siphoned off hundreds of thousands of pounds in Police funds to himself to fund a civil action from which he stood to make huge pecuniary benefit and which he could have financed himself.
- If Chief Constable Jones, DCC Madgwick, and Chief Constable Winward were working on this civil case while they were on duty, then they will have received pay from the taxpayer for working on operational policing, while they were actually working on a civil case for their own financial benefit.
- According to a Freedom of Information Act response here, ACC Paul Kennedy was ordered to act as Gold Commander for Operation Hyson. This was a clear abuse of Police powers. A serving Police Officer should never be involved as some form of paralegal overseeing a civil action on behalf of other Police O In particular, ACC Kennedy was paid by the taxpayer for operational policing, when he had actually been working on running a civil case for the financial benefit of Chief Constable Jones and other senior Police Officers.
- ACC Kennedy was fully or partially diverted away from operational policing duties to work on a civil action in which Chief Constable Jones stood to make a personal financial gain, leaving ACC Kennedy’s operational duties uncovered. This is particularly concerning because for three months in 2016, two of NYP’s five Chief Officers were seconded to South Yorkshire Police, leaving only three Chief Officers to cover NYP operations. So the pressure on the NYP senior leadership team must have been very severe and accentuated by having to release one of them to cover Operation Hyson. This must have adversely affected operational policing by North Yorkshire Police, for the purpose of obtain financial benefit for some of its Chief Officers.
- One of Chief Constable Jones’s objectives was to obtain an injunction preventing coverage by a local media outlet of his force. In short,a public body used taxpayer’s money to prosecute journalists, to suppress criticism of Police Officers, including misuse of their expenses, and thereby obtain immunity from criticism and any further scrutiny of the very serious acts of misconduct uncovered by the NYE. These included misuse of expenses by Chief Police Officers and NYP participation in the Jimmy Savile and Peter Jaconelli paedophile-
The Harrogate Connection
When I reviewed Chief Constable Jones’s expenses, the first thing that caught my eye was that on the 19th of September 2014, Chief Constable Jones attended a dinner dance sponsored by the Police Federation and charged £45.00 to the North Yorkshire taxpayer.
This clearly was a social event. The Chief Constable is not a member of the Police Federation, which is the staff association for Police Constables, Sergeants, Inspectors and Chief Inspectors). So he had no reason to attend one of its social functions. He may have been invited as a guest, in which case the cost will have been paid for by the Police Federation.
I have reviewed the Chief Officer’s expenses for many years and cannot remember ever seeing any of them reclaiming expenses for attending a dinner dance. In the course of my work as a Chartered Accountant since 1986, I have reviewed thousands of expense claims and I have never seen an expense claim for a dinner dance.
So I cannot understand why Chief Constable Jones – who earned £177,000 in salary benefits and allowances in 2014 – should charge this paltry sum to Police funds.
Cost to the taxpayer £45.00.
The Belfast connection 1
Chief Constable Jones was previously an Assistant Chief Constable in the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) before he was appointed to the top job in North Yorkshire in June 2013.
I was therefore surprised to see the costs of a weekend in Belfast being charged to the North Yorkshire taxpayer in September 2014. A few innocent explanations for this expenditure occurred to me:
- Could it be attendance at a training course? There are no course fees and it took place on a weekend.
- Could it be Chief Constable Jones was giving evidence in a trial, or assisting with a case he had been working on during his time in the PSNI? If this was so, then the expenditure would have been paid for by the PSNI.
Cost to the taxpayer £407.52.
The Belfast connection 2
Chief Constable Jones’s 2017 expenses revealed another conundrum. Interpreting his expenses, it appears that on Tuesday the 9th of May 2017 he flew to Belfast and stayed overnight at a hotel. On Wednesday the 10th of May he flew to London Heathrow, travelled by train to London Kings Cross and stayed overnight in a hotel. Then on the 11th of May he travelled to Thirsk by train.
Again, I am stumped as to why he should go to Belfast.
Cost to the taxpayer £409.82.
I wrote to Chief Constable Winward to ask her for an explanation of this expenditure. She responded promptly and courteously that my request had been treated as a Freedom Of Information request and forwarded to the Civil Disclosure Team. Inevitably, the FOI request came back: “I am not obliged to provide you with a response to your request”. Why she couldn’t respond with a simple explanation is beyond me.
This response illustrates a wider issue with NYP spending.
Open Policing and Accountability the Allott and Winward way
The series of articles run by the NYE on Chief Officer’s expenses (below) are about upholding the principles of openness, financial control, transparency and accountability over taxpayers funding.
It should be emphasised that there could be an innocent explanation for all of the expenditure covered in the expenses articles and I have always given the opportunity for NYP to clarify what it is for. However, it has never responded openly with an explanation. The FOI response above is typical and says it all.
Why can’t the people of North Yorkshire have information on how their money has been spent? If there is a rational explanation, why will NYP not state what it is?
Chief Constable Winward and Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner Allott were provided with a draft copy of this article and asked for a comment. I also asked them to forward a copy to Chief Constable Jones (Retired). To date, I have had no response from them.
The case for repayment
Quoted in this BBC article, Chief Constable Jones was scathing about unjustifiable expenses payments made to his predecesors Chief Constable Maxwell and Deputy Chief Constable Briggs. He emphasised the need for accountability over expenses by Chief Officers and the importance of openness in policing:
“We have decided to take a series of actions, including seeking repayment of almost £100,000, to resolve this issue once and for all. It will be the first time North Yorkshire Police will have published a report of this nature, and is in stark contrast to the old way of doing business and keeping reports like these under lock and key.”
Contrast the way Chief Constable Jones criticised his predecessors, with the way he has responded to concerns over his own expenses.
On the basis that neither Chief Constable Jones, Chief Constable Winward or PFCC Allott has responded to my concerns, I wrote to PFCC Allott enquiring if he will be following the precedent set by his predecessor PFCC Mulligan and Chief Constable Jones, and asking Chief Constable Jones to repay the money.
Needless to say, I received no response.
The Public Interest
Under these circumstances, in the absence of any credible response from Chief Constable Winward, or Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) Philip Allott, Chief Finance Officer Clements or Chief Finance Officer Porter, all I can do is raise my concerns in the NYE and let the public come to their own conclusions.
Following on from all the financial scandals that have plagued NYP for many years (listed here and here), their failure to respond to my concerns simply raises suspicion and mistrust amongst the NYE’s readership. Most of whom are North Yorkshire taxpayers, who have a right to know how their money is spent and to be assured that the expenditure is appropriate, and they are receiving ‘value for money’.
The refusal of PFCC Allott and Chief Constable Winward to comment is contrary to the requirement for open policing and to the public interest. This is why it is so important that in the absence of any comment or action by PFCC Allott, the Police are held to account by a free press.
The NYE will continue to investigate Chief Officers’ expenses and publicise this issue to the people of North Yorkshire.
The other articles in the Chief Officers’ expenses series
- (1) The Helsinki Connection revealed that Chief Constable Winward had attended a taxpayer funded weekend conference in the lovely city of Helsinki.
- (2) Open Letter to PFC Commissioner Julia Mulligan covers a request to PFCC Mulligan to ask for the repayment of expenses by the Chief Constable Winward and Deputy Chief Constable Madgwick, which of course was ignored.
- (3) The Bulgarian Connection revealed that these conferences are an annual event and she has been attending them for some time. Possibly since 2011.
- (4) The Dresden Connection revealed that Chief Constable Winward had attended a taxpayer funded weekend FBI NAA conference in the beautiful and historic city of Dresden.
- (5) The Big Business Connection revealed the FBINAA’s connections to international big business and how it promises an “alliance” with commercial interests and preferential access to FBINAA members, which of course includes Chief Constable Winward.