Tag Archives: Avon & Somerset Police

REES BOARDS THE COLSTON BANDWAGON …

… After years of kicking the can down the road

Colston docks

Since Colston came off his pedestal and went for a swim on June 7th social media, TV and the press have been dominated by politicians, journalists and so-called ‘community spokespeople’ gushing with praise for the statue coming down.

The Mayor’s Office even banged on in a press statement that the Reverend Rees had an audience of 10 million around the world, from Bangladesh to Tokyo after Colston’s ‘burial at sea’. However, while seizing this new opportunity for pontificating, Rees conveniently failed to give a toss about the people who had put him on the world stage. That was the 17 or so demonstrators who had been identified under Home Secretary, Priti Patel’s orders to “get these people” – the statue topplers.

So as Rees was boring the masses in Bangladesh, Avon & Somerset Police were being forced to line up charges of criminal damage that could put the protestors away for up to 10 years. And what did Rees do? Intervene at the Council for the good of the city and agree not to press charges, allowing the cops to give two fingers to Patel?  Like fuck he did … Far better to bathe in the glare of global publicity and forget about those who put him there.

Campaigners who have fought for many years for the Colston statue to be removed and to get a permanent memorial to the victims of slavery in the City have been astounded by the two-faced hypocrisy of these turncoats. Rees told Points West:

“When I first came in, myself and a number of black people in the creative sector said that the best thing to do is to keep that [Colston] debate away from me.”

So Mr Civil Rights’s major contribution to the struggle to get the Merchant Venturers pet slave trader off our streets and schools was not just to do nothing but to actively discourage others from getting involved.

When calls came to change the name of the Colston Hall in 2017 Rees was silent, refusing to make his position clear until he was caught like a rabbit in the headlights at the end of a TV programme. Martin Luther King, who Rees idolises, must be turning in his grave.

In 2019 after the Merchant Venturers had spent months sanitising the wording on a plaque for the statue that was meant to correct the history of Colston, Rees only intervened to avoid becoming a laughing stock. Finally using some of his executive power to block the Venturer’s sanitised plaque before heading to the hills faster than Dominic Cummings in a top of the range Land Rover, leaving the project in limbo for over a year.

Welsh-Back-Association-and-Bristol-Radical-History-Group-have-a-plan-for-an-Abolition-Shed-empty-dock-buildings-on
Bullies? Abolition Shed campaigners

Meanwhile Rees’s second in command Asher Craig’s hardly covered herself in glory in dealing with persistent calls by campaigners for a permanent memorial to remember the victims of the trans-atlantic slave trade. Bristol lags far behind other ports like Liverpool and Nantes in France that were involved in the ‘vile trade’ and have made major efforts to both memorialise the victims and tell the history – warts and all.

One historian from Bristol University stated in a meeting with Asher Craig in March 2019 “that Bristol’s reputation abroad, when referring to the city’s response to its slaving past, was very bad”. He also said that Bristol shouldn’t limit its ambitions regarding a slavery museum, “the city should think big and be better than Liverpool”.  

Bristol City Council have missed opportunities to right this embarrassing wrong many times. In 1996 around the Festival of the Sea, in 1999 when the Respectable Trade exhibition was launched,  in 2007 with the bicentennial of the abolition of the slave trade and again in 2015 when the Colston protests began.

In 2017 campaigners from three groups and local residents proposed the Abolition Shed project, which wanted to convert two council-owned warehouses on Welsh Back into a memorial for the victims of the African slave-trade with a visitor centre to tell the history. When they approached Asher Craig to get support from Bristol City Council she basically told them to clear off and get some private funding.

Despite this slap in the face campaigners continued the fight to halt the council’s proposed development of the warehouses into more restaurants and bars and to finally do something. This persistence and enthusiasm by unpaid Bristolians who gave a fuck about the memorial, the history and the city’s reputation was clearly starting to annoy Rees and Craig.

Pizza Express May18_38-1920x900
That Rees/Craig proposed slave trade memorial

In August 2019 Marvin angrily demanded to know “who the campaigners were” and in response to their proposals cited a record in office of being amazing, without, of course, any concrete commitment to a memorial and museum. Asher was even more furious claiming“the City was now taking this seriously” and accusing the campaigners of being “bullies”. One local historian from the Counter-Colston group commented:

“Despite the fact that it is just not true, for Asher to characterise people as ‘bullies’ who have, without ‘funding’ and political power given lots of time and energy over several years to try to get something done after decades of failure, is disgraceful.”

Needless to say the Abolition Shed project was strangled at birth by Rees, Craig and the Council as they voted to turn the warehouses into pizza restaurants whilst wasting a million quid on moving a barge to appease the developers. Another missed opportunity in Bristol’s tradition of failure.

Asher’s only response to persistent demands for a memorial was to set up a ‘roundtable’, which descended into the usual talking shop while those who wanted to get a concrete commitment from the Council were seen as ‘troublemakers’.

It is also no surprise that Marvin’s response to Colston’s statue coming down was to propose a ‘history commission’. Looking into the “true history of the city”, which sounds like another opportunity for free-loading academics to fail to do anything.

So here we are, kicking the can down the road again….

STREET LIFE

Within days of the cops announcing in November that they had gained more funding to create jobs within STREETWISE, the council and cops’ joint anti-begging initiative for Broadmead, undercover cops had taken to the streets.

One service user told a voluntary support group that two undercover plain clothes officers approached him and asked him to leave Broadmead IMMEDIATELY and said that if by the time they were back out in uniform he was still in the centre he could get ARRESTED. He was also told they want to try to stop voluntary outreach groups supporting the homeless.

Happy New Year!

44 RICHMOND TERRACE: A LETTER TO THE COPS

A copy of email sent to Avon And Somerset Police HQ and the PCC yesterday:

FORMAL NOTICE OF LEGAL STATUS OCCUPATION OF 44 RICHMOND TERRACE. AVONMOUTH. BS11 9EW.

The current occupants of the above premises owned by Bristol City Council have reason to believe that Bristol City Council are attempting to use the police to break up a legitimate Political Protest which is a Civil Court Matter, and as such we demand that Bristol City Council follow such procedures as allowed for by Civil Court Rules & Procedures.

Section 144 LASPO: THIS IS A RESIDENTIAL BUILDING PROTEST OCCUPATION, SECTION 144 LASPO does NOT apply

Although this is a “residential building” within the meaning of section 144, Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 this is a POLITICAL occupation not a RESIDENTIAL occupation which is being applied according the this legal precedence –

(Hampshire Waste Services v Persons Unknown [2003] EWHC 1738 (Ch); [2003] PLSCS 217, University of Sussex v Person Unknown [2013] PLSCS 84)

The provisions of section 144 are therefore NOT APPLICABLE to this building or to our occupation of it.

Part II, Criminal Law Act 1977 (As amended by Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, 1994) DOES APPLY.

We, the occupants, therefore request that the Avon and Somerset Police Constabulary, and its officers, uphold and respect the legal rights of the occupants of 44 Richmond Terrace, Avonmouth, given that this is a Civil Court matter and there is no criminal intent in respect of the occupiers and never has been.

In good faith we offer to meet with the senior police officer for the area of Avonmouth and Shirehampton should any further dialogue be required.

CUT THE POLICE

Things have got so bad even the OLD BILL are having to face cuts to services, just like the rest of us. Senior coppers have been on my radio bemoaning the fact that the days of the “BOBBY ON THE BEAT” are over (I’m feeling a bit safer already).

Don’t fret too much though. There will always be enough of them to kick your head in if you have the audacity to COMPLAIN about the system we are living under.

Just try demonstrating against poverty, the dismantling of our health service or bombing some corner of the world and loads of Old Bill will turn up, armed to the teeth ready to do you some real damage. All on fucking OVERTIME of course.

Not even Thatcher cut the thin blue line. Politicians need someone to defend their right to take the piss. However, the Old Bill have come up with a CUNNING PLAN to try to cover their budget cuts and it involves you.

One young man contacted the Bristolian about a fine. He was caught parking where he was not supposed to. He put his hands up – to save getting tasered – and accepted an on-the-spot fine. The copper assured him it would only be £100, roughly a month’s child benefit.

A few days later he got a bill for £400. This amounted to the original fine, £200 court costs and £100 ‘VICTIM SURCHARGE’. So yellow fucking lines are victims now are they?

Since he had not been anywhere near a COURT and had accepted his guilt, he did the rational thing and contacted the Avon and Somerset Police to explain their mistake. Only to be told they were sending the bailiffs around.

He explained that he lived with his Mum and Dad so then they demanded his car! They couldn’t have that either. It was on finance and therefore still owned by the garage.

Once the Old Bill had finished trying to mug the distraught teenager, they admitted that he had the RIGHT TO APPEAL. This is ongoing.

Avid readers of The Bristolian will remember that in some parts of Bristol – the poor parts basically – VICTIMS have to investigate their own burglaries and criminal damage. Plod will arrive, give you a crime number and blithely tell you to keep your eyes peeled and let them know if you find out anything.

They’re obviously far too busy seizing people’s property to pay for fines for misdemeanours to worry about burglary. Just try pleading not guilty these days, and see how much that will cost you. But that’s another story.

Have you been a victim of this type of state mugging? Drop us a line on one of the contact addresses and we will deal with it in confidence.

TOP COP STITCHED-UP?

garagn

News that Avon & Somerset’s top cop Nick Gargan was found guilty of EIGHT minor charges of misconduct and was furnished with EIGHT final warning letters has got a bizarre coalition of Police Federation wankers, former chief constable wankers (yes, that’s you Colin port) and local politician wankers demanding his head on a plate.

A similar coalition led by fat twat Liberal Democrat, Gary Hopkins – notorious for his over-friendly relations with BROADBURY ROAD POLICE STATION – are  also behind attacks on Avon & Somerset’s Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens. They are blaming her for wasting £0.5m suspending Gargan on full pay for over a year while investigating his conduct.

Gutbucket is now promising a full investigation by his committee of old farts at the POLICE AND CRIME PANEL. He says they’re going to “scrutinise the Police and Crime commissioner” due to “serious concerns” especially around Gargan’s “recruitment and what happened prior to his suspension”.

Which makes you wonder if the useless fat bastard and his gang of dodgy old coppers have bothered to actually read the Misconduct Panel report into Gargan’s misdemeanours?

This report does agree that forwarding confidential work emails to one of your many squeezes – local BBC journalist LAURA JONES – and assisting various other attractive women with their applications for senior posts with Avon & Somerset Police is probably the height of stupidity for a public servant on a six-figure salary employed for their absolute integrity. It also concludes GARGAN’s conduct is worthy of disciplinary action.

However, it seems, the wider story concerning this fiasco is being buried amid huge amounts of bluster from an establishment gang of old white men committed to scoring political points against a female PCC and who want to maintain an old school cop culture of RACIST POLICING and ENDEMIC CORRUPTION  at Avon & Somerset. A culture Gargan had been committed to removing.

Indeed, if you read the Misconduct Panel report into Gargan, they don’t seem much bothered by his minor misdemeanours and they don’t identify anything Mountstevens has done wrong at all.

In May 2014 Mountstevens received allegations regarding Gargan’s conduct around women from TWO WHISTLEBLOWERS. Mountstevens suspended Gargan and then passed the case to the IPCC to investigate, as she’s legally required to do.

The report makes clear that responsibility for most decisions regarding Gargan then passed to Avon & Somerset’s IPCC commissioner, JAN WILLIAMS. An inexperienced and incompetent health service manager who had already fucked up and delayed an IPCC investigation into the death of BIJAN EBRAHIMI.

Ebrahimi was the Iranian asylum seeker BEATEN AND THEN BURNED TO DEATH in a horrific attack in 2013 in Broomhill under the noses of coppers from BROADBURY ROAD POLICE STATION. An episode that resulted in the suspension of TWELVE police staff and the prosecution of THREE under Gargan’s leadership.

The EBRAHIMI INVESTIGATION was crucial to Gargan and his efforts to modernise the Avon & Somerset Constabulary and sweep away what we can politely and lawfully refer to as his force’s “old fashioned practices”. In this context, the report by Gargan’s Misconduct Panel is extremely enlightening as it spends far more time discussing the conduct of the IPCC than Gargan’s minor transgressions.

It was Williams at the IPCC who, having discovered within two months that the allegations regarding sexual harassment against Gargan were baseless, embarked on a FISHING EXPEDITION of his iPhone. It was this investigation that formed the slim basis of the disciplinary action eventually taken against Gargan.

It was Williams at the IPCC who WITHHELD from Mountstevens’ office for months the fact she had obtained no admissible evidence from any female witnesses in support of the original hearsay harassment allegations against Gargan.

It was Williams at the IPCC that MISLED Mountstevens throughout the summer of 2014, in order to keep Gargan suspended, that there was a likelihood of a criminal prosecution being brought against him under the Data Protection Act.

It was Williams at the IPCC who consistently REFUSED to lift Gargan’s suspension and therefore used our council tax to pay him to sit at home.

It was Williams at the IPCC who continually FRUSTRATED disclosure of evidence to Gargan between 2 February and 27 May 2015 and therefore DELAYED Gargan’s Misconduct Panel hearing by months.

It was Williams at the IPCC who FAILED “to comply with its disclosure obligations all the way to the Misconduct Panel’s door”.

It was Williams at the IPCC who under cross-examination COULDN’T EXPLAIN what the term “evidence” means.

It was Williams at the IPCC, according to the Misconduct Panel, whose understanding of the concept of ‘relevance’ was, until 24 April 2015, ‘CONCERNING’.

It was Williams at the IPCC who was described as “ALMOST INCOHERENT” when giving evidence to the independent Misconduct Panel.

It was Williams at the IPCC whose submissions were described by the Misconduct Panel as “A LITTLE UNREAL”.

It was Williams at the IPCC who supplied a spreadsheet redacted “BEYOND COMPREHENSION” to the Misconduct Panel.

It was Williams at the IPCC who continually promised Mountstevens a ‘HARD HITTING’ report into Gargan despite knowing full well that her investigation had unearthed NO ADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE in relation to the original harassment allegations while the data protection breaches she uncovered did not merit criminal proceedings.

By the end of June 2014, when the investigation into the original harassment allegations had unearthed no admissible evidence, Mountstevens’ CEO Jonathan Smith had started action to prepare for Gargan’s return to work.

This was PERSONALLY STOPPED by Williams at the IPCC who had by then embarked on her iPhone fishing expedition against Gargan. The very same man who had complained about her conduct of another IPCC investigation into the death of – who else? – BIJAN EBRAHIMI!

And it was Williams who then had to have the simple concept of “CONFLICT OF INTEREST” explained to her by a lawyer when she gave evidence to the Misconduct panel.

Meanwhile, the Misconduct Panel’s report contains NO CRITICISM of Sue Mountstevens and treats the soppy list of minor allegations against Gargan as lightly as they deserve.

The whole investigation into Gargan has, therefore, more than a passing resemblance to a STITCH-UP by VESTED INTERESTS and OLD SCHOOL COPPERS desperate to get rid of a modernising influence on our police.

The IPCC’s got a lot of questions to answer here and JAN WILLIAMS’ position seems untenable. Does anyone believe this useless, dodgy bureaucrat is capable of independent oversight of our dubious police force after this?

And will Gary Hopkins’ and his political Police and Crime Panel be doing an investigation into the conduct of their IPCC Commissioner rather than pursuing a pointless and very public witch hunt for their own DIRTY POLITICAL REASONS against Mountstevens?

Don’t hold your breath.