Thursday, 26 May 2011

My complaint to the Metropolitan Police

When the prevention of harrassment letter was served on me on 5th April, the police officer who did so refused to give me her name & number when I asked, saying that her details were on the letter itself. In fact her name and rank were (rather illegibly) given on the letter, but her warrant number, home police station and contact phone number were not included, although the printed information at the bottom of the letter indicated that this ought to have been provided.

I took a rather dim view of this, and accordingly put in a complaint to the Metropolitan Police website. On 19 May, I received a phone call from Detective Inspector Yates from Acton police station, and we had a very civilised conversation about it. He promised that he would have a word with the officer in question. We also had a discussion about Mrs Gumley Mason's complaint. It was all very amicable. After the conversation I wrote to him as we had agreed, enclosing a scan of the letter, so he could see for himself whether the information provided was adequate. This is what I wrote. (I've deleted the name of the officer concerned. I see no need to publish it.)
Dear Inspector Yates

As we discussed on the telephone today, please find attached a scanned copy of the prevention of harrassment letter served on me on 5th April. As you can see, much of the information listed at the bottom as being required is missing. Now that you have told me that that the officer's name is [name deleted], I can make that out, and probably also the rank (DC). but the warrant number, station attached and contact telephone number are not present, although clearly indicated in the printed information as being required.

As I understand it, you suggested that you would issue a verbal reminder to DC [name deleted] of the need to identify herself in response to a request from a member of the public. On the phone, I indicated that I am satisfied with this course of action. On reflection, I wish to qualify that. If this is not the first occasion of a complaint against her of this nature, then I will wish to reconsider whether my complaint should be taken any further.

You indicated that I would be invited to the station to sign a form describing the resolution of the complaint. Assuming this is the first such complaint against DC [name deleted], I see no need for a visit, I am happy for the resolution of the complaint to be on record by means of an exchange of letters or emails between us.

I have also attached for your records a copy of my letter to Mr David Murphy, chairman of trustees of St Augustine's Priory School, concerning Mrs Gumley Mason's complaint against me, requesting that if she or the school are concerned about any further comments on my blog, then they should contact me about it without delay, and that I will be entirely amenable to requests to delete any comment which is genuinely abusive. The letter was sent by recorded delivery to Mr Murphy, but I have received no reply.

I wish to place on record my reasons for writing about St. Augustine's. I am concerned by the regulatory failings in child protection measures there, including (as described in a recent report by the Independent Schools Inspectorate) failure to carry out adequate CRB, List 99 and other checks on staff, failure to promptly report allegations and incidents of abuse to the LADO, failure to notify the ISA within a month of a staff member leaving when their fitness to work with children is in question, and shortcomings in the school's written child protection procedures and the implementation thereof. It is my view that the school's child protection procedures are still significantly short of good safeguarding practice, and arguably still do not meet regulatory requirements for prompt reporting of allegations to the LADO. These matters are all the direct responsibility of Mrs Gumley Mason in her role as headmistress of the school. There is a clear public interest justification for raising these issues, and I intend to continue to do so until substantial improvements are made.

For your information, the prevention of harrassment letter, letter to the chairman of trustees and my notes of the subsequent police visit have all been published on my blog

Yours sincerely

Jonathan West
He replied to me today, with a very nice letter confirming what he has done, as follows.
Dear Mr West

I am glad to report that I have now done everything you asked me to do in connection with the complaint you made about the incident on 5th April.

I have spoken to DC [name deleted] and reminded her of her responsibilities to fully identify herself. Her name was on the letter but I can see from the copy that it may not have been entirely clear. She was on a very busy schedule and was attending your address at my request fitting it in amongst her already existing workload. I can confirm that she has no other complaints of this nature.

We take any complaint against the police very seriously. You have my assurance that we are committed to resolving the points you raised with us and improving the service we offer to the community.

I hope you are satisfied with the steps I have taken. You have the right of appeal to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) if you think I have failed to follow the correct procedures. You have 28 days within which to make your appeal to the IPCC. You are advised to post your appeal in good time to ensure it reaches the IPCC before the end of the 28th day. The 28th day is on 8th May 2011. Appeals received after 28 days may not be allowed unless there are exceptional circumstances.

You might want to consider using guaranteed next-day delivery post service to ensure that your appeal is received within time.  If you do decide to appeal, this is the address to write to:

The Independent Police Complaints Commission
90 High Holborn
London WC1V 6BH

You can have a copy of the Police record of your complaint, showing that your concerns have been formally recorded. If you would like this, you need to put your request in writing and send it to me within 3 months of the date on this letter.

Please let me close by expressing my sincere thanks. This has been a constructive process for all of us here and your cooperation has been invaluable. Thank you again.

Yours sincerely

Tim Yates
Detective Inspector
Ealing Borough
I've replied thanking him and saying that I now consider the matter closed.


  1. Gumley Mason should pay for all the hassle she has created.

  2. I do not think Gumley Mason will be trying that again, not least because of West's letter to Murphy, but one has to say even without this I imagine the police will feel that their time has been wasted with this infantile and hysterical complaint.

    God forbid the child who graffiti’s a surface about Guzza! The default building company, which never has to competitively tender, will be called and asked to construct a gallows!

    What over reaction?

  3. The sad thing is that a "Prevention of Harassment letter" is completely meaningless, and to some extent simply a placebo to help to convince the complainant that "something has been done". In law it has no effect or significance whatsoever, other than perhaps to prove at some future time that the "offender" knew that his/her behaviour might be cited as one instance of a "course of conduct" - see Section 1, Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

    In short, if a prima facie case is made out, it matters not a jot whether such a letter has been served, or not, or by whom.

    And if some time has elapsed between two separate acts, it's probably impossible to prove that it's a "course of conduct" anyway...

  4. To actually go to the trouble of serving a harassment order just goes to prove what we all no she has something to hide, and through intimidation she hopes to silence the people who no the truth.
    What a coward !

  5. Any news on lord Carlile ?

  6. The only reason you got such a reasonable responce from that DI was because you could and have embarressed them via your blog. But for that I suspect they would have told you to go jump. The fact that the DC was tasked with going round and issuing the letter as described speaks volumes.

  7. Understand now why Gumley mason sucked up to parents in the legal profession.

  8. Mr West - has the chair of the trustees replied to your letter in which you advised them of Gumley Mason's actions?
    I would bet that they are still burying their heads in the sand.

  9. 12.34 - I do not think the trustees could locate either their heads or the sand. They are collectively so disinterested and remote from matters that they have no clue how recklessly incompetent they are being.

    As for the charade ‘governors,’ try as I do I cannot see anywhere in the ISI report an explanation of the relationship between this questionable group, and the disinterested trustees. Why not? If the ISI do not get it when they have the opportunity to ask and secure answers, then noe one else is going to get an answer from La Gumley Mason.

    So we have the incompetents, and the disinterested’s. For what or who’s benefit is this opaque arrangement? Certainly not the pupils nor the parents, and not for the effective and efficient operation of the school.

    Any answers?

  10. We have now been shown the true incompetence and lethargy of the people supposedly running the school. They are not fit for the purpose, they have done nothing too correct the concerns of parents or answer any questions raised.
    They have all been selected because of their friendship with you know who, is it true one of her ex boyfriends has become a governor/trustee?
    How very incestuous.

  11. It is the most unprofessionally run establishment, with a headmistress who decides everything there is no democratic process.
    If you dare question decisions made, you know what will happen so people stay silent.
    Finally is anyone ever going to reveal what the husband is employed as, where the job was advertised and were there any other applicants?

  12. I now believe that the trustees and governors have absolutely no understanding of what their duties are, they are all intelligent individuals who between them have done nothing to rectify the gross errors that have been made.
    They either need training or should resign as they are totally incompetent.

  13. 18.03 - A: La Gumley MASON.

  14. I wonder who the newly appointed deputy head will be? Know doubt the most important credential they will need is to be easily manipulated and intimidated by the almighty leader.

  15. Nice to see the employment of young people in the school during the long summer break is the position just open for her son or can any student apply, again is this job just created for one individual and are his wages justified out of our hard earned cash.

  16. 13:45 Female friend or teacher already at the school, easily manipulated and intimidated by Gumley-Mostmighty. Oh the mind just boggles!

  17. It is all mind boggling how can any establishment be allowed to conduct itself in such an unprofessional way.
    Does her son really work there during his holidays, hope the job was advertised at the job centre as there are plenty of unemployed adults who would do anything to get a job and support thier famiiles.
    Seems to me our school fees are going to support the GM'S, what exactly are the Mr GM'S job description.
    Does anyone actually no?

  18. I expect the jobs were created especially for them, I think Mr GM senior is a gardner maybe his son is his assistant!

  19. Tbh all you English workers are bloody useless anyway...if she trusts members of her family/ friends to do the job she has every right to employ them.

  20. The whole family appear to be coining it in from the school. All Gumley Mason cares about is money and power. Do not be fooled for one moment that the school or the girls matter to her.
    All the lies and legal action taken has only been to secure the cash and the power.
    Are the governors and trustees too stupid to see what most parents are seeing?
    They should have taken action against her ages ago when this shameful situation came to light.
    Shame an you governors and trustees for letting the school down.

  21. They don't need any credentials, they have the correct surname so no questions are asked, no one would dare question thier employment.
    I have heard that a select few are given jobs over the summer holidays it is all to do with who mummy and daddy are.

  22. More to do with their sycophantic behaviour.

  23. 19.56
    That is a very racist thing to say who are you to say "all you english workers are bloody useless," I think you will find the Gumleys are British so what does that make them.
    We are not talking about employment of family and friends we are asking if their jobs are truly necessary, as indirectly are fees pay their wages, we have a right to know, and also the jobs should be advertised and the most suitable candidates should be employed. This has certainly not happened.

  24. 19.56 Why does she have a right to employ who she wants? Proper procedures need to be adhered to that is where she went wrong before.