Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Lazy British cops refuse to help apprehend a thief

Four police officers who were flagged down by a supermarket manager as a security guard grappled with a thief drove away after saying they were 'not kitted up to help', a misconduct hearing heard.

Constables Jonathan Webb, Mark Higgins, Joanne Parr and Paul Birch were driving through Liverpool in a police car when they were stopped by David Markey, the deputy manger of a nearby Tesco Express.

He asked them for help as his colleague Shaun Rigby desperately grappled with thief Roy Fagan, who had fled the shop, in the road just a few feet away.

However, a police misconduct hearing in Wavertree, Merseyside, was told that Pc Webb, who was sat in the front passenger seat, wound down his window but declined to help saying he was not 'kitted up'.

It is alleged that they then drove off - all failing to provide either direct assistance or assistance by way of causing another patrol to attend.

The officers all deny that they breached standards of professional behaviour during the incident, which happened at around 9.15pm on December 5, last year, with the interaction between the constables and Mr Markey said to have lasted nine seconds.

Mr Markey was forced to call 999 but before further officers were able to arrive, Mr Rigby was assaulted by Fagan 'kicking or kneeing' him in the head.

The hearing was told that the incident came to the attention of Merseyside Police following a complaint by a member of the public.

James Berry, counsel on behalf of Merseyside Police's professional standards, said the force had considered the complaint against the officers to be 'very serious'.

'Mr Markey hailed down a passing police vehicle,' said Mr Berry. 'The officers in that vehicle did not give assistance but drove off.'

He added that because of Fagan and Mr Rigby's position in the road they had been 'vulnerable to traffic'.

Pc Higgins had been driving the car, and Mr Berry told the hearing that Pc Webb was in the front passenger seat.

'He wound down the window to speak with Mr Markey,' Mr Berry continued. 'Mr Markey's evidence is that he'd detained a shoplifter and pointed towards Fagan and Mr Rigby who were a matter of feet away from the car.'

He added that Pc Webb had said words to the effect of 'we are not tooled up' or 'we are not kitted up'.

Mr Markey asked for them to radio for assistance, which Pc Webb is alleged to have said he would do before the car drove off.  But no call was made, and Mr Markey made his own emergency call.

Another police unit arrived almost eight minutes later, and Fagan was arrested. He was later given two eight-week sentences, suspended for 12 months, for assault and for stealing alcohol to the value of £4.62.

Mr Berry said that the officers' propositions were 'extraordinary and incredible' and said that the two Tesco employees had 'no reason to lie, no reason to exaggerate, no reason to embellish'.

He added: 'They were just doing their job in difficult circumstances and rightly and properly expected help of those officers.'

CCTV played to the panel showed Mr Rigby struggling with the offender, who had stolen beer and cider from the shop.

The CCTV showed Mr Rigby waiting outside the store for the shoplifter, before pinning him up against the glass.

The scuffle then spilled out in to the busy city centre road and Mr Rigby detained the thief while the officers' marked police car was flagged down.

Mr Berry said it was the officers' 'duty to assist'.

'All maintain as well as not seeing the struggle in the road they did not hear or pay attention to what was said.

'Mr Markey was quite clearly seeking assistance. Each of the officers were aware that assistance was required and the conversation was taking place a few feet from where they were sitting.'

Mr Markey claimed he pointed towards the altercation and asked for assistance 'in a normal volume, slightly elevated because of the traffic'.

'I was nervous about oncoming traffic and the male was trying to squirm and get away in fits and starts,' he told the hearing.

'After discussing the situation with Shaun, I realised what a dangerous position I was in.'

He then confirmed that PC Webb had heard what he was saying 'because he responded', allegedly saying that the officers were 'not tooled or kitted up'.

The officers claim they did not see the struggle despite it being in close proximity to the car.

The hearing was told that Mr Rigby had been 'disappointed' with the actions of the officers.

'I felt I was left vulnerable situation,' he said. 'In my job, we have to work with the police a lot and we have brought a lot of people to justice in the past.

'For the officers to drive off and not help and leave us in the middle of the road when they had the best tool they could have had, the car, was disappointing.'

It is Pc Webb's case that he maintains that Mr Markey did not tell him that a shoplifter had been detained and did not ask him for radio assistance.

He insists that he had told Mr Markey the officers were 'on their way to a police briefing'.

Counsels for PC Parr and PC Birch, who were in the back seat of the vehicle, made applications before the hearing was opened for the allegations to be dropped.

They cited lack of evidence that the officers 'must have heard the exchange with PC Webb'.

However, the panel, which is tasked with deciding if the constables’ conduct fell below the standards of professional behaviour and whether it amounted to gross misconduct or not, turned down the application and opted to hear the evidence in full.

The hearing, which is expected to last four days and is the first of its kind to be held in public in Merseyside, continues.

Original report here

UPDATE:  The cop who took the complaint has been fired

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