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Thursday, 1 October 2015

Simon Danczuk - Wasting Police Time

In their book on Rochdale’s former Liberal MP Cyril Smith, Matt Baker (who is reputed to be the one who wrote it) and Smith’s nominally Labour successor Simon Danczuk claimed that Smith had been apprehended by Northamptonshire Police on the M1 in the vicinity of Watford Gap services with a stash of child pornography in the boot of his car. They also claim that Smith was allowed to go free as he was a “protected man”.
As a result of the allegation, Northants Police spent a non-trivial amount of time and therefore money investigating the claim, only to find that there was no evidence of Smith having been the subject of a traffic stop, or that his car was searched. The Northants Police and Crime Commissioner Adam Simmons was not at all impressed, calling for Danczuk to apologise for suggesting the force had not investigated Smith properly.

But then, being Simon Danczuk means never having to say you’re sorry: he’s demanded apologies from Mil The Younger, Pa Broon, and the entire Liberal Democrat Party, but batted off Simmons’ claim, saying the Northants force “had not disproved” the claim made in the book. Well, they couldn’t “disprove” the claim that aliens landed in a field near the M1 sometime in the mid-70s, but there’s bugger all chance of it being true.

It got worse: the Police told that “To date, no witness has been found who saw Smith in custody or was involved in his arrest and no reports of the alleged incident have been uncovered … Furthermore, no witnesses have been found from Special Branch or any other senior influence, while a primary witness - a canteen worker mentioned in the book - cannot be identified”. And I have much worse news for Danczuk and Baker.

After the case was closed, a Freedom of Information (FoI) request was made to Northants Police. This, together with the force’s response, has been passed to Zelo Street. It makes grim reading for the Rochdale MP. The key question asked was “Did the Police voluntarily request disclosure of all evidence accumulated by Simon Danczuk and Matthew Baker to substantiate this specific claim?” And the answer?

At first, Northants Police simply said “No”. But after being pressed, they expanded on that to tell “I have been advised that the information that you referred to was not asked for as there was no such material to request”. The requestor, not quite believing what was being read, asked “are you saying Danczuk and Baker had no transcripts of evidence, witness names, and/or any evidence to disclose to the Police?

It seems they did not: “the investigators asked but there was no evidential material to take possession of. The issue of witnesses was discussed but there was no information as to the identity of any of the witnesses to the alleged events”. So Simon Danczuk and Matt Baker made their claim, and sent Northants Police on a wild goose chase, but had no evidence of any kind to back it up. That’s not good enough.

Northants Police should invoice Danczuk and Baker for the time they wasted. And then they can both apologise.


Andy McDonald said...

So they basically made it up?

It's an odd thing - and please note I'm not trying to be an apologist for anyone, but we do have a tendency to make our monsters true ogres in the imagination. It seems that once one is convicted (or accused post mortem) of something that goes beyond the pale (such as child abuse), then their entire past and reputation becomes something of an open season.

I understand why - their reputation's shot to pieces, nobody in their right minds will defend them, and enough people will be inclined to believe whatever is said about them. But I do wish that it wasn't the case - Cyril Smith did enough verifiable stuff to condemn himself; we don't need this sort of crap (with its whiff of establishment conspiracy) polluting the case.

Anonymous said...

Smith's activities were evil enough to last a lifetime.

Danksuck and Baker nothing but opportunist political and profiteering spivs. Not my idea of accountable democracy.

But these are the disgusting times we live in. It's how an immoral and corrupt government and "culture" works. Danksuck and Baker are simply at the end of a poisoned food chain.