Pensioner arrested and locked in cell for shouting at yobs who threw stones at ducks
By JAYA NARAIN 18th January 2008
A pensioner who ordered a gang of youths to stop throwing bricks at ducks on a canal was arrested and thrown into a cell by police.
When police officers knocked on his door Bill Marshall, 73, was expecting them to investigate his complaints about the unruly gang. Instead the stunned great-grandfather was hauled off to a police cell accused of attacking the youths on the canal bank.
Yesterday the retired miner - who has a heart condition and diabetes - spoke of his shock and humiliation over the arrest. He said : "I was shocked when a police officer turned up on my doorstep. I had made a number of complaints about anti-social behaviour from these yobs so I expected it was a response to that.
"I was quite happy to invite him in but then he said I was being arrested and taken to the station accused of assault. I thought it was a joke at first but then I realised he was perfectly serious.
"The officer ordered me to take the laces out my shoes as I was being arrested for common assault. I didn't know what to think."
Mr Marshall was driven to the police station and put into a cell before having to wait two hours for a duty solicitor.
He was interviewed by officers over the alleged assault before finally being released pending further inquiries. But weeks after the incident police have now formally dropped any charges against the pensioner and apologised.
Mr Marshall's ordeal began shortly before Christmas when he spotted the group of teenage boys throwing bricks at ducks as he walked along the banks of the Chesterfield Canal. He shouted at them to stop but received a barrage of abuse from the aggressive gang who continued to throw stones.
Mr Marshall of Shireoaks, near Worksop, Notts admitted shouting back at the group in anger but said he was nowhere near them and did not touch them. However one youth reported the incident to police claiming the pensioner had struck him during the altercation.
He said: "One of the yobs said I had hit him and so they took his word against mine. I might have lost my temper and shouted at them but I did not hit anybody.
"I am a 73-year-old pensioner and they were a gang of youths. I wasn't going to try and take them on at my age."
"It took 73 years for an idiot to put me in jail. All I did was try to stop these louts throwing rocks at the ducks on the canal.
"I felt degraded spending time in that cell. I can't believe I ended up in jail at my age. I've never seen the inside of a cell before and I don't want to see it again.
The police seemed to automatically assumed I was guilty instead of talking to me first."
Mr Marshall said the same gang had targetted him and his wife, Margaret, 72, at their home in recent months.
His case was taken up by local councillor, Ivor Jones, who thought Mr Marshall had been unfairly treated by police. Now police have apologised to the pensioner but defended their actions claiming the officer did what he thought was right.
Chief Inspector Glenn Harper of Nottinghamshire Police said: "He was, however, young in service and with full sight of the circumstances, the officer can now appreciate the full consequences of the action taken, and therefore why I felt the need to intervene."
He said: "I apologise to Mr Marshall for the distress this experience has caused him and his family and I will ensure the necessary training needs are addressed."
Mr Harper confirmed that an inspector had since visited Mr Marshall at home to explain the case would not proceed to court. The boy who had accused the pensioner of common assault was also told the charge against Mr Marshall had been dropped.
Member of public comes across known thugs engaging in anti-social/criminal behaviour.
Member of public intervenes to try and stop the behaviour.
Member of public is abused by said yobs.
Yobs make false allegations against member of public to police.
Member of public is arrested.
Member of public has previously made complaints to police about said thugs anti-social behaviour - said thugs not arrested.
The above article is sadly becoming all to common in the society we now live in, and ties in with how in camden certain police officers abuse their positions and collude with well known thugs and criminals.
These well known villains quite regularly engage in anti-social/ criminal behaviour and the police in camden do nothing. Yet when a member of the public stands up to these thugs and challenges their behaviour you are abused by them, and like in the above article, these deviants go running to the police with bulshte allegations about you. Then you are in for more abuse by certain bent coppers who will either arrest you, come to your home and intimidate you, or send out emails that attempt to intimidate you.........
........... on a lighter note and one that says much about how ridiculous the establishment has become: a email was sent to the met police, was screened and sent back to sender - because it had an offending word within the text of the email - the word being 'bollocks'...... I still laugh at that one....
I used to love watching the Sweeeny with the ruffty tuffty coppers Regan and Carter. 'You're nicked! - 'you're going downnnnnnnn' .. coppers chasing villains, catching villains and 'ruffing' them up a bit....
14th Jan 08
Local authorities’ stock transfer publicity to be investigated
Councils' claims about the cost of bringing their properties up to the decent homes standard are to come under greater scrutiny by the local government watchdog. The move is spelled out in a letter sent by the Audit Commission to a tenant campaigner, Michael Barratt. He claimed that Crawley Council had exaggerated the cost of refurbishing its homes when proposing to transfer its stock to a housing association.
The authority was rapped by the Advertising Standards Authority in July for making misleading claims in its stock transfer publicity about the decent homes price tag.
The council later acknowledged it could meet the minimum standards for nearly £58 million, less than the £60.5 million named in its publicity, had government criteria been strictly applied. It claimed that its materials and methods had been no different to those used in hundreds of other ballots.
The commission's managing director for audit, Martin Evans, initially said that its auditors were not responsible for scrutinising financial information provided to tenants as part of a stock transfer ballot process.
But in a U-turn this month, Mr Evans told Mr Barratt in a letter that his auditors needed further guidance on scrutinising the finances of councils considering stock transfers. 'Further to our correspondence and discussions, I have concluded that we do need to give further guidance to our appointed auditors in relation to possible stock transfers,' the letter states. 'Auditors…have a role in satisfying themselves that the council has appropriate (robust, reliable and relevant) information on which to arrive at its decisions in relation to any potential stock transfer and that it has considered all the implications of any such transfer, in particular for its own financial standing.'
Mr Evans added that the commission's auditors should review the ballot publicity sent to tenants, to ensure that the figures provided matched those used by the council.
Mr Barratt said he welcomed the commission's change of heart. 'Perhaps this initiative will, in future, discourage past abuses of the manipulation of financial information merely to encourage a yes vote in the stock options process.'
The Communities and Local Government department told Inside Housing last year that decent homes guidance gave 'flexibility to local authorities to set their own standards for the stock transfer offer to tenants' (7 September ).
Talking of costings: camdens decent homes standards and estate regeneration - I'm quite baffled by the array of figures banded around by housing officers and the housing executive regarding how much this is going to cost over the coming years. Indeed how much it will cost in total, how much it has cost so far? from observation, when officers give these reports councillors, our elected representatives are too afraid to ask for proper breakdowns maybe because they might cause council officers distress and make them cry.
One can almost see the poles they have stuck up their clenched backsides twitching when a councillor dares question these reports. Red alert red alert councillor questioning our authority ...... have ambulance and psycho team on standby in case officer goes into spasms flops on the floor and starts mumbling incoherently.
I believe that the costings given are inflated. Too many crooks spoil the broth as I say. Latest figure (Jan 08) is an incredible £500m!!
Camden council does not make public detailed breakdowns of its finances and in housing for regeneration and improving housing standards there is a huge amount of money - £500m and more floating around ........... contractors, suppliers, housing officers, housing executive, planning officers, tenant reps and others ...... all that money and little in the way of accountability is just too tempting I reckon.
The below excerpts are from a guidance/best practice document titled Managing the Risk of Fraud, which can be found on the ALARM website. ALARM is the national forum for risk management in the public sector.
Camden council has a representative on the board of directors and I find it worrying, but not surprising that ALARM appears to be yet another quango camden council utilises to put on a show of compliance to the law in combating or 'taking measures to combat' fraud. Given that camden council and its work force can't actually manage to follow policies and procedures and show no genuine signs of being able to, I found it quite comical. How long does camden council imagine it can get away with using props to gloss over poor performance and management?
Even more comical is one of the ALARM board of directors, camdens own head of internal audit and investigation tracy barnett, who I went to with evidence of fraud committed by a camden council funded voluntary group. I had obtained the accounts of this group and went over them and thought "hello, naughty council funded voluntary group you have been up to no good, I no i'll contact camdens internal auditor".
After conducting an 'investigation' (speaking with housing officers) Ms Barnett concluded that the accounts I had given her were 'in her view' not actually accounts (not accounts?).
I believe Ms Barnett deliberately ignored the evidence I gave her on advice from senior housing officers who have a vested interest in this association. Defining fraud is often a problem for camden council, but I have one definition (below) taken from Newham council's website.
"To have a clear understand of fraud a clear definition is needed.
The deliberate changing of financial statements or other records by either a member of the public or someone who works for the council, done to hide theft or use of equipment, money or services for personal gain."
(LBNewham Council website)
And there was me thinking camden councils internal auditors were independent and not subject to undue influence.
THE RISK OF FRAUD: THE ALARM STANDARD FOR RISK
THE NATIONAL FORUM FOR RISK MANAGEMENT
IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR
WHY A STANDARD FOR MANAGING THE RISK OF FRAUD?
National Fraud Review and the publication of the Fraud Act
2006 have served to focus attention on the major issues
that have developed over recent years with regard to
occurrence of fraud against the public sector.
There is no doubt that instances of fraud in the public sector show an ever increasing trend, particularly in key financial/operational areas such as procurement, insurance, housing benefits and partnership areas. In addition, information and personal data held within an organisation is an area that is now at increasing risk of abuse, particularly in relation to identity fraud. The fraud review highlights the fact that financial levels of fraud against the public sector have significantly increased and provides examples of key areas where fraud has occurred.
that the accurate measurement of the financial impact of
fraud is a future priority. An overriding responsibility of
public sector organisations is the provision of effective
and efficient services to clients and stakeholders in a
manner that seeks to ensure the best possible
protection of the public purse in its delivery arrangements.
The impact of
fraud on a public sector organisation can have consequences
that are serious and often far reaching. Fraud can directly
affect the ability of the public sector to serve the
vulnerable in society. Financial and reputational loss are the obvious key risk areas but instances of fraud can also bring a range of other serious consequences including breakdown of trust, political fall-out, impact on morale and the risk of potential litigation.
It is essential that public sector organisations place the management of risk of fraud at the very top of their corporate governance arrangements. Compliance with the principles set out in this paper will ensure that organisations are adopting ‘best practice’ in their approach to this matter.
In addition, there are a number of other key guidance documents that have been produced in this field, including the recent publication from the CIPFA Better Governance Forum. A number of documents for reference are listed in Appendix 1.
organisations have responsibility for the provision and
control of a wide range of diverse services and the
methodology of managing the risk of fraud will need to be
to the specifics of an individual service.
these specific services, however, is the need for
organisations to have in place sound corporate governance
arrangements that span and direct all areas of the
business and operational activity.
In order to manage the risk of fraud at an acceptable level, there are five key essentials of corporate governance that should be in place. These are illustrated in Diagram 1, below. These should not be seen as the only key governance requirements and organisations will need to consider local circumstances that affect their overall governance arrangements.
1. Embedded strategic approach to risk management
2. Culture of zero tolerance
3. Sound counter-fraud and corruption Framework
4. Strong systems of internal control
5. Close working arrangements with partners in relation to counter-fraud work.
In camden councils case 'a deeply embedded culture of fraud at a level acceptable to the council' or 'the nuts and bolts of how the council operates' but lets put on a show we are actually taking fraud seriously and hope nobody notices the deceit.
Civil servant who leaked rendition secrets goes free
Thursday January 10 2008
Secrets charges against a Foreign Office civil servant were dramatically dropped at the Old Bailey yesterday after it emerged that senior figures within his own department had privately admitted no harm was done by his leaking a series of Whitehall documents.
The case against Derek Pasquill, who faced jail for passing secret papers to journalists, collapsed as it was becoming increasingly clear that it could have caused the government severe political embarrassment.
The leaked documents related to the US practice of secretly transporting terror suspects to places where they risked being tortured, and UK government policy towards Muslim groups.
Pasquill, 48, an official in the FCO's Engaging with the Islamic World Group, was arrested two years ago, but only charged last September with leaks to the Observer and New Statesman magazine. He faced six counts under the Official Secrets Act, accused of leaking documents about what Britain knew of America's policy of extraordinary rendition and guidance about which Muslim organisations ministers should embrace.
Yesterday, Mark Ellison, counsel for the government, told Judge Peter Beaumont, the Recorder of London: "There is no longer a realistic prospect of a conviction in this case." He indicated that internal FCO papers revealed that senior officials privately admitted that, far from harming British interests, Pasquill's leaking of the documents had actually helped to provoke a constructive debate.
The prosecution would have had to prove that leaking the documents had caused damage.
The internal FCO papers that fatally undermined the case are understood to have been written shortly after Pasquill's arrest two years ago, but the police and prosecution lawyers had not been aware of their existence until last month and the defence was not aware of them until yesterday morning.
Sources familiar with the case said several ministers were aware that they could be called by the defence. They included the former communities secretary Ruth Kelly, her successor, Hazel Blears, and David Miliband, the foreign secretary.
Julian Knowles, defending, yesterday told the court that the documents should have been released earlier, saving Pasquill the stress and worry of a 20-month police special branch investigation. The leaked documents dealt with topics such as "hearts and minds of Muslims", "engaging with Islamists", conversations between the home secretary and the foreign secretary, "detainees", and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, Knowles said.
After he was discharged, Pasquill told the Guardian he had suffered a "very unpleasant ordeal", adding: "I am relieved I have now been completely vindicated in my actions exposing dangerous government policy and changing its priorities."
Of his decision to leak the papers, Pasquill, who remains suspended on full pay, said: "I realised that is a dangerous way to proceed, but this was an issue which was obviously of public interest given the circumstances we are in at the moment in the UK and the world."
Neil O'May, Pasquill's solicitor, said: "The prosecution was a scandal. It was a case where the government was shooting the messenger. It is clear that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office took the view that Derek Pasquill's disclosures were not damaging to international relations. Nevertheless, they let [him] suffer an investigation and arrest, a charge and a full criminal prosecution for two years before they disclosed their views."
Lady Scotland, the attorney general, gave her assent to the prosecution before Pasquill was charged, a spokesman said last night. The Guardian has learned that one of the prosecution's arguments was that the leaking of any official documents damaged the UK's relations with the US.
A Foreign Office spokesman said leaking official documents was "absolutely contrary" to good government. "As Mr Pasquill may be subject to internal disciplinary procedures, any further comment would be inappropriate."
The editor of the New Statesman, John Kampfner, described the prosecution as misguided and malicious, "particularly given that a number of government ministers privately acknowledged from the outset that the information provided to us by Derek Pasquill had been in the public interest and was responsible in large part for changing government policy for the good in terms of extraordinary rendition and policy towards radical Islam".
The Observer described Pasquill as "an honourable civil servant who stood up for the best liberal values of his country".
James Welch, legal director of the civil rights group Liberty, said: "No more innocents should suffer before the government honours its promise to review the Official Secrets Act.
The paper trail
Martin Bright began receiving dozens of leaked Foreign Office documents in late 2005, which he described as a journalistic goldmine. A Foreign Office civil servant, concerned that the government was engaging with radical Islamic groups, passed him "dozens of emails, position papers and policy discussions".
Derek Pasquill sent the documents to Bright - a former Observer journalist, now the New Statesman's political editor - because he was concerned that the government, and notably Jack Straw, the then foreign secretary, were concentrating on contacts with the Muslim Council of Britain at the expense of other organisations, a policy the government has since changed.
He was concerned about the FCO's policy of secretly engaging with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, an opposition movement. Ministers admitted that the leaked documents helped them raise issues of concern. One of the documents Pasquill leaked revealed how little British officials knew of the US "extraordinary rendition" programme. The practice, said one official, "is almost certainly illegal". Another asked: "How do we know whether those our armed forces have helped to capture in Iraq or Afghanistan have subsequently been sent to interrogation centres? We have no mechanism for establishing this ..."
One document revealed warnings by Sir Michael Jay, then the FCO's top official, that the Iraq war was fuelling Muslim extremism in Britain. British foreign policy, he warned, was a "recurring theme" in the Muslim community, "especially in the context of the Middle East peace process and Iraq".
Jay referred to the "potential underlying causes of extremism than can affect the "Muslim community, such as discrimination, disadvantage, and exclusion".
I acknowledge that not all civil/public
servants and politicians are corrupt, many are but not all.
Criticisms I have made or make are directed at the rotten
ones who choose to abuse their positions of trust and
responsibility and to those who choose to cover up and turn
a blind eye to these abuses.
Camden Council employees, ex-employees or 'those in the know' are very welcome to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org (in strict confidence of course) in the name of public interest and debate, if they have concerns over illegal or inappropriate conduct and dealings by other council employees or council funded organisations and would like to anonymously publish their story on this site.
CRITERIA FOR RECOGNISING TENANT'S AND RESIDENT'S ASSOCIATIONS
If a group wants to
make sure that its views are listened to by other
organisations, especially over a sustained period of time,
or wants to apply for funds to help achieve their aims,
they must expect to have to show that they are accountable,
democratic and as far as possible representing the views of
For tenants’ and residents’ groups in areas of housing mainly owned by either their local council or a housing association this usually means becoming a Recognised Tenants’ and Residents’ Association (RTRA).
Councils and housing associations are expected, by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) and the Housing Corporation respectively, to provide opportunities for tenants’ and residents’ groups to participate in a wide range of issues.
They are expected to provide resources and support to enable groups to do so effectively. However, they also need to make sure that these resources really are helping to make participation work. So, a system is needed that can show what the arrangements for support and representation are between tenants’ and residents’ groups and the council or housing association.
The system is called Criteria for Recognising Tenants’ and Residents’ Associations.
A Recognised Tenants’ & Residents’ Association is:
Usually based on a specific residential area, e.g. an estate, but it could be a type of property, for example several blocks of flats owned by the same landlord but not necessarily adjacent to one another
Not excluding anyone who lives in the area
Able to show it has the support of the people it aims to represent
Striving to encourage as many people as possible, of all types and backgrounds to get involved
An organisation with an active Equal Opportunities policy
Organised around a constitution and a committee which is not only acceptable to its members but also to the council or housing association which “Recognises” it
Run by a committee elected each year at an Annual General Meeting
Able to show that it:
keeps its members regularly informed
listens to and acts on what they have to say
continues to do the job it set out to do
Able to show it is responsible in the way it is run, e.g. keeping regular account of any money it has
Actively representing the views of its members whenever and where ever it can.
Any group which can show that it
tries to do all of the above should be able to apply to
become a RTRA.
In return, a Recognised Tenants’ & Residents' Association should get:
A sum of money and possibly other benefits each year to help with its running costs
Regular opportunities to get involved in discussions with their landlord and possibly other organisations
Advice, information and training to help them run the group and to be effective in discussions with their landlord
Opportunities to network with other similar organisations locally and nationally.
the system of Recognition works
Each year a Recognised Tenants’ and Residents’ Association will have to show how it is working. This is usually either:
a) An annual written application to the landlord; or
b) Continuous monitoring by the landlord throughout the year; or
c) Monitoring through the local tenants’ federation
Whatever method is used the purpose is to check that the group is meeting all the criteria needed in order to become a RTRA. The landlord or tenants’ federation should also give advice and assistance to the group throughout the year to ensure that it meets the criteria.
The information will then be checked to make sure the group meets the criteria and should be done within an agreed and specified time limit. For council tenants, this should be set down in the Tenants’ Compact.
Housing associations should also publish a standard for how long it will take to deal with an application for recognition.
When the criteria have been met then the group should be informed in writing and they should also receive a grant to cover the next 12 months.
The group then uses the grant for the purposes specified. Usually this is to help with its running costs over the year including:
- Keeping records of its business
- Communicating with its members
- Communicating with other organisations
- Finding other sources
of advice, information and support
Depending on the arrangements, it might also be used for training and to help with any of the other activities a group might choose to run. It might also mean that the group has access to other funds, for example, for estate improvements.
The landlord should also demonstrate its support for RTRAs by:
- Offering places on relevant estate and area committees
- Working on shared concerns and projects
- Encouraging and supporting groups to develop further
- Offering opportunities for training and other support
- Providing regular opportunities for exchanging information and ideas
- Facilitating opportunities for mutual exchange of information and support between all its RTRAs
After about 10 months both the RTRA and the landlord should prepare to go through the whole process again.
What about new groups?
A new group needs time to get sufficient support from the people it aims to represent.
Then it has to get
itself organised with the right constitution and an elected
committee. So it may be some months before it can apply to
be recognised. In the meantime a new group can expect to
get advice and training from the landlord or tenants’
federation on what it needs to do so that it can make a
successful application. A new group may also be able to get
a small Start Up Grant from their landlord to help it along
until it is ready to apply to become a RTRA.
It is important to note that there are no legally binding standards that tenants and
residents have to meet. However, the “National Framework for Tenant Participation Compacts” by the ODPM has laid out a set of standards for groups who want to have a major role in formal consultation and decision making processes.
The ODPM believes that tenants’ groups involved in decision making should have the following:
A written constitution
Open financial records (with annual accounts if necessary)
Regular meetings, including a minuted, quorate annual general meeting
Membership clearly open to all tenants
A level of membership determined by the council and tenants
An equal opportunities policy that is complied with
Ways to make sure all tenants know about the group and are encouraged to become more active
Regular newsletters or other written communications with members
Means of showing how they have met their objectives and still have the skills to work effectively
For councils and their
tenants, these should be agreed locally through the
arrangements set out in their Tenants’
Membership of the Group: Boundaries
Membership should include anyone resident within a given geographical area and/or living in a type of accommodation and should be defined in the constitution.
Levels and types of membership
RTRAs are recognised by landlords because they represent their tenants and/or leaseholders, so it may also be important to have minimum levels of representation which ensure that their views are always represented by:
- being in the majority on the committee
- excluding non-tenants from representing the group in certain discussions with the landlord e.g. on rent levels
The ODPM guidance recommends that councils and groups agree a certain level of membership. This will mean that the council and the group will have to agree on the total number of households available for membership and groups will have to show that they have one or more of the following specified:
- Number of paid up members
- Number of households signing to say they support the group
- Number of people attending each open meeting and possibly whether they are different people.
Openness and accountability
Any group which always publishes its minutes, sends out regular newsletters and
generally keeps its membership informed about what it is doing and how, is much more likely to have the support of its inactive members. Without this openness a committee may be seen to be unrepresentative by both its general membership as well as the landlord.
Criteria should include:
Treasurer’s reports at every committee meeting. This helps to emphasise the whole group’s responsibility for any money it has and gives early warning of any potential problems
A minimum of two named signatories for cheques and that they must all come from different households
Having annual accounts which are checked or audited externally. How this is to be done should be specified and include advice and information on low cost or free auditing and accounting services Landlords should encourage and support groups in training for Treasurers and might also consider requiring this as part of the Recognition Criteria.
Whatever the system for recognition is, the organisation responsible needs to devise a method for monitoring how it works, with the groups involved. This could take one or more of the following forms:
Annual written applications by the groups with supporting documents as proof
The observations and recommendations of people who have regular contact and dealings with a group
Health checks by support staff from the landlord or federation, working with groups to review their activities, achievements and targets over the previous year
Monitoring attendance by a group’s representatives at meetings and relevant events supported by the landlord or federation e.g. Area Forums,
Recommendation of the tenants' and residents’ federation
RECOGNISED TENANTS ASSOCIATIONS
become recognized a tenants group must be given a notice in
writing by the landlord to the secretary of the association
or by a certificate of a member of the local rent
assessment committee panel. A notice may be withdrawn by
the landlord by notice in writing not less than six months
before the date it is to be withdrawn. (Landlord and Tenant
The criteria for recognition of an association is that all tenants may be required under the terms of his lease to contribute to the same costs by the payment of a service charge. (Landlord and Tenant Act 1985)
Member must be contributing to the payment of a service
charge levied by a landlord and which the landlord can,
under the terms of similar leases/ tenancies, vary from
time to time to meet expenditure incurred or to be incurred
in the maintenance, repair or insurance of a block or
estate of dwellings in the landlord’s ownership.
Tenants paying fixed rents, which incorporate a
non-variable service charge, will not qualify for full
Membership and, although they can become Members, they will
have no voting rights.
Membership will not be open to landlords personally or, in the case of company landlords, their employees or directors. A management company (including its directors, employees, Members or shareholders) which has purchase the freehold on behalf of the tenants (lessees) cannot be a Member(s) of a Tenant’s Association, this is because on enfranchisement, the company effectively becomes the landlord of the building(s).
tenants/residents association is a legal term for an
association that has been recognised by the landlord or by
the rent assessment panel under S.29 of the Landlord and
Tenant Act 1985. In general recognition will be granted if
the association has a membership of 66% or more of lessees,
a proper constitution and elected officials. Recognition in
this way does give access to
greater rights to information.