West Yorkshire Police Commissioner to meet MPs over supergrass

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Police commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson has agreed to meet MPs to discuss the West Yorkshire Police supergrass scandal - but has stopped short of saying what action he will take.

The commissioner’s move comes after details emerged of a catalogue of shocking misconduct by police officers who were meant to be supervising supergrass Karl Chapman in the mid to late 1990s.

No officers have ever been prosecuted or disciplined for their actions, prompting Leeds MPs Fabian Hamilton and George Mudie to publicly press the commissioner to hold police to account. Mr Hamilton said he was prepared to take the matter to the Home Secretary if necessary.

The wrongdoing led to convictions in two serious criminal cases being quashed in 2009, with both defendants now pursuing damages claims against West Yorkshire Police which could exceed half a million pounds.

The convictions were overturned after a six-year North Yorkshire Police investigation found police had given Chapman, a prolific career criminal, a raft of improper inducements to give evidence against other alleged criminals. They included taking the supergrass to a brothel, allowing him to take drugs, get drunk with officers and begin a relationship with a policewoman. A Supreme Court judgement released in July 2011 delivered severe criticism of the police and prompted a fresh inquiry into why no prosecutions or disciplinary action had taken place. It was carried out by West Yorkshire Police, supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), but both the force and commissioner have so far refused to disclose its findings.

In a statement, the commissioner insisted he “absolutely” acted in the public interest but did not refer to any specific action he was preparing to take.

“The next steps in this very complex case require careful consideration, not least in conjunction with the new Chief Constable Mark Gilmore. I have sought meetings with Fabian Hamilton MP and George Mudie MP and will be sharing relevant information where I can.”


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