Friday, 25 November 2016

Tony Lloyd PCC: Is there a conflict of interest?

by Les May
WHEN, following the Greater Manchester Police investigation into allegations of widespread sexual abuse at Knowl View special school, the Crown Prosecution Service decided that there was insufficient evidence to justify bringing a prosecution against anyone, Rochdale’s very own ‘loose cannon’, MP Simon Danczuk, fired off one of his usual ill considered broadsides saying ‘I believe that there has been a catalogue of failings by Greater Manchester Police during the investigation of these crimes.'  He went on to call for the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPPC) to investigate the handling of the inquiry.

This attack on the police service did not go down well with the Greater Manchester Police Federation and led to its chairman Chief Inspector Ian Hanson calling upon Mr Danczuk to ‘put up or shut up’.  Danczuk of course did not have any firm evidence to back up his claims of abuse and unable to ‘put up’ he has had to ‘shut up’.

Given the seriousness both of the initial allegations and Danczuk’s claim that the inability of the CPS to bring a prosecution resulted from GMP failings, one might have expected that the Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Tony Lloyd, would have issued a statement to reassure the public that Operation Jaguar had been conducted properly or, if he agreed with Danczuk, that he was going to refer the matter to the IPCC.

If you were expecting this you would be disappointed.

On 11 November I wrote to Tony Lloyd asking ‘Could we have a single and unambiguous public statement from you either that you repudiate Mr Danczuk's assertions and that you consider that the GMP investigation was thorough and carried out to the highest standards or that you agree with Mr Danczuk's assessment of the investigation and believe that GMP failed in its responsibility to carry out a thorough investigation into these allegations.’

Having received an acknowledgement of my e-mail, but no response, I wrote again on 18 November.  Today, 24 November, I have still had no response from Mr Lloyd.

Quite why Tony Lloyd has chosen to bury his head in the sand in this way and hope that this little local difficulty will go away, I do not know.  The cynical amongst you might think that it is something to do with the fact that Lloyd was once a Labour MP and Danczuk, though suspended from the Labour party, still seems to think there is chance that he will be readmitted.  So it looks like its ‘the old pals act’.  The irony of Danczuk being ‘protected’ in this way will not be lost upon those of us who remember the unsubstantiated claims in his book that Cyril Smith was ‘protected’ by the security services.

By failing to repudiate Danczuk’s claim of police ‘failings’ Lloyd gives credence both to the initial allegations and to the notion that GMP have not done their job properly.  But there is another aspect of this which is important and should not be overlooked.

Police and Crime Commissioner is an elected office.  Those who hold it can be expected to behave in an even handed and impartial manner.  Even giving the appearance of acting in acting in a way that puts party allegiance before public duty, will bring the whole system of elected mayors and PCCs into disrepute.  It’s time for Tony Lloyd to ‘put up’ or ‘stand down’.  I for one have no faith in Tony Lloyd either as PCC or acting mayor.  And I don’t think I’m alone.

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