Refusal to implement the recommendations made in the Operation Kalmia Report.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner,

Operation Kalmia was a IPCC managed investigation into Staffordshire Police's investigation into the murder of Kevin Nunes. A number of very senior police officers were investigated as part of the operation including the now retired Chief Constable Jane Sawyer QPM..

Jane Sawyer's had been the Head of Professional Standards when the issues of criminality and corruption were first raised personally with her by the then head of the Sensitive Police Unit, the unit central to the IPCC investigation. Whilst Jane Sawyer's was still under investigation for serious misconduct matters, Mr Ellis the Police and Crime Commissioner took the decision to promote her to the rank of Temporary Chief Constable.

Following the conclusion of the IPCC fInal report into Operation Kalmia recommended that a number of officers including Jane Sawyers should face disciplinary proceedings and the recommendations were passed to Mr Ellis.

In April 2015, Mr Ellis publically announced that he had reviewed the recommendations in the IPCC report, taken advice from two independent experts, and decided that Jane Sawyers had no case to answer. As a result of Mr Ellis's decision, the allegations of misconduct contained within the IPCC report were never tested before a properly convened disciplinary panel.

Operation Kalmia, attracted a huge amount of public interest following the decision of the appeal court to quash the convictions of five men previously convicted of the murder of Kevin Nunes. The case continues to attract a lot of public interest most recently following the decision by Staffordshire Police to settle a civil action brought by two of the men cleared of murder, paying out £200,000 in compensation.

The IPCC has indicated that the Operatin Kalmia final report is likely to be published later this months, which is likely to result in even more public interest in the case. The decision taken by Mr Ellis and other Police and Crime Commissioners not to implement the recommendations contained in the report, is of great interest to the general public.

I would like to request the following information:-

1. The names of the two independent experts on whose advice Mr Ellis based his judgement.

2. Copies of the written advice provided by the experts to Mr Ellis.

3. Copies of the written instructions provided to the independent legal expert (QC) by or on behalf of Mr Ellis.

4. The number and nature of disciplinary charges that the final report recommended Jane Sawyers should face.

5. Confirm whether or not Mr Ellis corresponded with other Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) that were required to consider the Operation Kalmia recommendations.

6. Copies of any correspondence (including records of telephone or personal meeting) sent or received between PCCs as at 5 above.

7. Copies of any correspondence between Mr Ellis or his office and the IPCC over his decision not to implement the recommendation, including any correspondence designed to or likely to put pressure on the IPCC not to attempt to enforce the reports recommendations (I.e. Mention of possible legal action against the IPCC).

All of the information requested will be of interest to the public. Jane Sawyers was a high profile public figure who has made a number of personal comments in the media regarding Operation Kalmia. As a public facing official Jane Sawyers cannot reasonably expect that her identity and part in this caseshould remain hidden, particularly when she airs her views on the case in the media.

The two independent experts were providing advice to a public body, and their services were paid for from public funds. Individuals providing expert advice to public bodies must realise and accept that in doing so they expose themselves to being named publically. To maintain public trust a high degree of transparency is required particularly in cases such as this when the integrity or conduct of top police officers are under consideration.

Yours faithfully,

Mr L. Anderson

Acknowledgment of your Email to the Police and Crime Commissioner

Thank you for taking the time to contact the Office of the Police and
Crime Commissioner, please accept this email as confirmation of receipt.

Where your email requires a response this will be done within 20 working
days, however where possible we will look to respond to you sooner.

 

Cathy Reid,

Dear Mr Anderson

Thank you for the below e-mail your FOI request will be answered within the next 20 working days.

Regards

Cathy

Ms Cathy Reid
Business Support Officer

Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner
Weston Road
Stafford
ST18 0YY

Tel: 01785 232385

Twitter: @StaffsPCC
OPCC Website: www.staffordshire-pcc.gov.uk

**OFFICIAL**

Dear Mr Anderson

I refer to the above freedom of information request and can confirm, as you are aware that the publication of the above report is pending which will hopefully answer some of the questions you have raised.

With reference to the other areas, which would not be covered by this report we are still considering your request and would look to respond to you week commencing the 9 October with our final response, please accept my apologies for the delay.

Kind Regards

Roni

Veronica Powell
Executive Assistant to:

Matthew Ellis – Police & Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire
Sue Arnold – Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire
Glynn Dixon – Chief Executive

Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner
Weston Road
Stafford
ST18 0YY

Tel: 01785 232270

Twitter: @StaffsPCC
OPCC Website: www.staffordshire-pcc.gov.uk

**OFFICIAL**

Dear Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner's handling of my FOI request 'Refusal to implement the recommendations made in the Operation Kalmia.

The PCC has failed to respond to my request for information within the time scales set by the FIO Act and is in breach of Section 10.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/r...

Yours faithfully,

Mr L. Anderson

Acknowledgment of your Email to the Police and Crime Commissioner

Thank you for taking the time to contact the Office of the Police and
Crime Commissioner, please accept this email as confirmation of receipt.

Where your email requires a response this will be done within 20 working
days, however where possible we will look to respond to you sooner.

 

Dear Mr Anderson

Apologies in our delayed response Mr Anderson we are still considering your request and we will have a response to you by no later than the end of this week.

Kind Regards

Roni

Veronica Powell
Executive Assistant to:

Matthew Ellis – Police & Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire
Sue Arnold – Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire
Glynn Dixon – Chief Executive

Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner
Weston Road
Stafford
ST18 0YY

Tel: 01785 232270

Twitter: @StaffsPCC
OPCC Website: www.staffordshire-pcc.gov.uk

**OFFICIAL**

Dear PCC,

The assurance that I would have a reply within one week was given seven weeks ago however No reply has been received. This request has not be dealt with in accordance with Section 10 FOIA, I would be grateful if you would respond without further delay. In addition please carry out an internal review into the time taken to deal with this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Mr L. Anderson

Acknowledgment of your Email to the Police and Crime Commissioner

Thank you for taking the time to contact the Office of the Police and
Crime Commissioner, please accept this email as confirmation of receipt.

Where your email requires a response this will be done within 20 working
days, however where possible we will look to respond to you sooner.

 

show quoted sections

Dear Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner,

On the 23rd January 2018, I received an email from the Mrs Powell the Executive Assistant to Mr Ellis the PCC for Staffordshire. Attached to the email was a letter dated 17 November 2017, however this letter was not previously received either by email or post. I have copied the text of the correspondence below:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: 17 November 2017

Dear Mr Anderson

Freedom of Information Request: Refusal to implement the recommendations made in the
Operation Kalmia report

I write on behalf of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) in responding to your Freedom of Information (FOI) request dated 4th September 2017. I apologise for the delay in replying, which has been due to clarifying advice on the matters you raise.

In responding to your FOI request, I can confirm that the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner holds the information requested and in response to each of your specific information requests: -

1. The names of the two independent experts on whose advice Mr Ellis based his judgement.

Samantha Leek QC and Matthew Holdcroft, 5 EssexCourt
DS John Armstrong, Head of PSD, Cheshire Police

2. Copies of the written advice provided by the experts to Mr Ellis.

The written advice received from the two experts was considered and developed further into the PCC response to the IPCC dated 16/3/2015, which is already in the public domain.

The written advice received by the Police and Crime Commissioner is considered exempt as follows: -
~ Legal advice received from 5 Essex Court under sections 31 (lg & 2b) and 42 of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000.

~ Advice from DS John Armstrong under section 31 (lg & 2b) of the Freedom of Information
Act 2000.

The exemptions are used to protect the fully informed, frank and realistic advice received which then led to the PCC response to the IPCC. As you are aware, the PCC is the sole decision maker in this case and makes his judgment on the basis of all the advice received. In my view considering the balance of public interest, there is little to be gained by disclosing detailed advice that was considered, although I can confirm that the view of both experts used was that Jane Sawyers should not face a gross misconduct hearing as the Kalmia report recommended.

3. Copies of the written instructions provided to the independent legal expert (QC) by or on behalf of Mr Ellis.

The written instructions provided by the PCC is considered exempt under section 42 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 after considering the balance of the public interest.

4. The number and nature of disciplinary charges that the final report recommended Jane Sawyers should face.

This information has been published by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and is now in the public domain.

5. Confirm whether or not Mr Ellis corresponded with other Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) that were required to consider the Operation Kalmia recommendations.

Mr Ellis did not correspond with other PCCs on the matter of the IPCC recommendations.

6. Copies of any correspondence (including records of telephone or personal meeting) sent or received between PCCsas at 5 above.

None.

7. Copies of any correspondence between Mr Ellis or his office and the IPCC over his decision not to implement the recommendation, including any correspondence designed to or likely to put pressure on the IPCC not to attempt to enforce the reports' recommendations (I.e. Mention of possible legal action against the IPCC).

These documents have been published by the PCC for Staffordshire and are now in the public domain.

Yours sincerely,
Glynn Dixon
Chief Executive
Office of the Police and Crime Cornmissioner for Staffordshire
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This FOIA was request was made electronically via this Website and I would ask that all correspondence relating to this matter be sent in the same manner. Websites such as this provide the public with a searchable method of researching FOIA requests and the material provided under the Act, I feel this increases openness by public bodies.

Yours faithfully,

Mr L. Anderson

Acknowledgment of your Email to the Police and Crime Commissioner

Thank you for taking the time to contact the Office of the Police and
Crime Commissioner, please accept this email as confirmation of receipt.

Where your email requires a response this will be done within 20 working
days, however where possible we will look to respond to you sooner.

 

show quoted sections

Dear Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner's handling of my FOI request 'Refusal to implement the recommendations made in the Operation Kalmia Report.'.

Please see the above entry dated 29th January 2018. The entry outlines a written response dated 17th November 2018, but not received until 23rd January 2018.

Having read the written response I have some concerns regarding some the exemptions cited and the accuracy of the some responses. I have detailed my concerns below.

Part 1 - Responses received in full.

Part 2 & Part 3 - Written Instructions to and Written Advice Received from 'Expert'
The PCC cites Sections 31(1g & 2b) and Section 42 Exemptions - These exemptions are subject to a Public Interest test which I do not feel has been fully considered.

The matters for which the PCC was seeking 'Expert' advice related to allegations of misconduct against Mrs Jane Sawyers, a serving Chief Constable that he promoted during an ongoing IPCC investigation. Following his deliberations the PCC decided not to discipline Mrs Sawyers.

Having promoted Mrs Sawyers at a time she was under investigation for serious misconduct, the PCC clearly took a leap of faith regarding the possibility of future Misconduct Charges. In fact in a letter sent to he IPCC prior to the promotion of Mrs Sawyers Mr Ellis wrote "I made clear it was not her finest hour and that significant lessons needed to be learned", despite this he promoted her and continued to fight against the IPCC and investigating officer's recommendation.

Many observers will be surprised by the decision to promote a senior officer facing serious misconduct charges, and they may also as I do feel that having taken that action Mr Ellis placed himself in a difficult position, a potential conflict of interest. It is for that reason that the written instruction to and advice received from 'Independent Experts' should be made available to the general public.

Mr Ellis's choice of 'Independent Experts' is also a consideration. The quality and impartiality of such 'Experts' is important to ensure good decision making . In this case Mr Ellis chose Det. Supt. Armstrong as his 'Independent Expert', however Mr Armstrong had previously been selected by Staffordshire Police to look into other matters which involved Mrs Sawyers, therefore he could not be truly classed as independent.

When legal advice is sought, the questioned posed by the individual or body seeking the advice is important. Solicitors and QCs provide advice and answers to questions and points raised therefore any instructions can have a bearing on the advice given, for example in this case the instructions could have asked - 'Does the evidence presented justify bring Misconduct charges', or ' Can we find grounds to discredit the investigating officers recommendations and avoid bringing Misconduct charges'.

In outlining my concerns I am not making any allegation against the PCC, I am however illustrating the importance that the instructions to and advice from legal experts have. In the PCC response the author states that :-

" I CAN CONFIRM THAT THAT THE VIEW OF BOTH EXPERTS USED WAS THAT JANE SAWYERS SHOULD NOT FACE A GROSS MISCONDUCT HEARING AS THE KALMIA REPORT RECOMMENDED"

In citing exemptions under the FOIA it not satisfactory to choose sections of advice received, or to summarise the advice from experts, just because it seems to support the public body concerned, in this case the PCC. The public should be allowed to see the full advice not just the bits the PCC is happy with.

Part 4 - The number and nature of charges recommended.

The response suggest that this information is now in the public domain, however I do not believe that is correct. Five charges of Misconduct were recommended against Mrs Sawyers and I am unaware of where the details of the charges have been published. If I am incorrect please direct me to the information.

Part 5 and Part 6. The response suggests that Mr Ellis did not correspond with other PCC's regarding this matter. I have seen letters and correspondence with the IPCC which indicate that this response is inaccurate. I understand that in fact Mr Ellis and another PCC wrote jointly to the IPCC in connection with Operation Kalmia, therefore there would appear to have been collaboration between PCC's throughout the investigation.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/r...

Yours faithfully,

Mr L. Anderson

Acknowledgment of your Email to the Police and Crime Commissioner

Thank you for taking the time to contact the Office of the Police and
Crime Commissioner, please accept this email as confirmation of receipt.

Where your email requires a response this will be done within 20 working
days, however where possible we will look to respond to you sooner.

 

show quoted sections

Mr Anderson

Thank you for your request for internal review - please accept this as confirmation of receipt and of your request

Kind Regards

Roni

Veronica Powell
Office Manager/Executive Assistant to:

Matthew Ellis – Police & Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire
Sue Arnold – Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire
Glynn Dixon – Chief Executive

Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner
Weston Road
Stafford
ST18 0YY

Tel: 01785 232270

Twitter: @StaffsPCC
OPCC Website: www.staffordshire-pcc.gov.uk

**OFFICIAL**

show quoted sections

Veronica Powell,

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Anderson

 

Please find attached our response to your internal review.  I will also
send a copy to the your personal email today and hard copy to your home
address when I back in the office on Monday.

 

Best Wishes

 

Roni

 

Veronica Powell

Office Manager/Executive Assistant to:

 

Matthew Ellis – Police & Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire

Sue Arnold – Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire

Glynn Dixon – Chief Executive

 

Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner

Weston Road

Stafford

ST18 0YY

 

Tel: 01785 232270

 

Twitter: @StaffsPCC

OPCC Website: [1]www.staffordshire-pcc.gov.uk

 

**OFFICIAL**

 

[2]SSA Email Signature V2_edited-1

 

 

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References

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1. http://www.staffordshire-pcc.gov.uk/

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