The Sunday People has today run a story shining a light on misbehaviour by the officers of the Metropolitan Police. “Probe into police raid which saw images of ex-madam pictured with George Osborne snatched from her home” tells the headline on Alan Selby’s article, going on to explain “Officers from the Metropolitan Police searched the flat of ex-escort agency owner Natalie Rowe, 53, last January - and now she's made an official complaint”.
The detail merely hints at what the raid was most likely about: “In an official complaint she alleges they took mobile phones, sunglasses and two pictures of the former Chancellor [my emphasis] … It was the second time her flat in South West London had been turned upside down in two-and-a-half years … In the first, in October, 2013, the Drug Squad arrived at 6.30am”. Yes folks, it was one of THOSE raids.
There is more: “It was shortly before Miss Rowe planned to publish a tell-all book titled Chief Whip... Memoirs Of A Dominatrix. It revealed her relationship with Tory Mr Osborne, currently facing flak over a part-time role with asset management group BlackRock … A 1994 photograph had revealed the pair side by side at a party – while Miss Rowe said he was a regular guest at wild soirees in the early 1990s”.
So would all you Zelo Street regulars like the rest of the story? Dead right you would.
Ms Rowe’s story was originally going to be published on this blog, and on Byline Media - until the Sunday People suddenly decided they found it useful.
Why? They admitted that former chancellor George Osborne is “currently facing flak over a part-time role with asset management group BlackRock”. Osborne’s new job got him a front page carpeting from the Daily Mail last week. Only after that, it seems, did the Sunday People decide they would run the story of the Police raid.
One of the investigating officers is alleged to have lied about the raid, particularly over the number of officers involved. As Ms Rowe has pointed out to the Sunday People, it was a “van full of Police”. The Met have tried to push the line that no more than three or four of its officers was involved.
The Met claimed to Ms Rowe that no female officer was involved in the raid. However, and here we encounter a horribly embarrassing however, it was a female officer that searched Ms Rowe’s bedroom. How do we know this? Ah well.
George Osborne DOES NOT WANT YOU TO SEE THIS PHOTO ((c) Natalie Rowe)
Part of the conversation between the investigating officer and Ms Rowe was recorded. And you wondered why the IPCC ordered the Met to reopen their inquiry?
Not only that, the raid was captured on video. Exactly what is captured by that video is one of those places we won’t be going for now, except to say that this, too, is proving less than convenient for the Met’s finest. And there is one more item.
When the Sunday People says “she received an out-of-court settlement over another incident in which she says her son was unlawfully arrested”, they did not give their readers the full story. So here it is.
Two officers were charged with misconduct over the earlier raid - for allegedly improperly targeting Ms Rowe’s son. The whole thing was settled with her out of court.
And on top of that, the cops, it seemed, knew what they were looking for - not drugs, but the two photos of the former chancellor. There is no good reason for their not to be returned to Ms Rowe - other than that they could cause Osborne potentially serious embarrassment.
One of the photos has not been published before. Ms Rowe had been intending to post it imminently when her flat was raided.
The Police normally carry out raids early doors. This raid happened at around 2000 hours - in the evening.
Perhaps the Sunday People had to cut back on the details, or they were somehow edited out. But as you can see, there is plenty of interest that they did not publish - and that gives a fuller picture, a better idea of why the IPCC should demand that the Met reopen their inquiry. Hopefully they will explain themselves to Ms Rowe more honestly this time.
And perhaps the photos will be returned. But don’t expect any explanation of why they were taken in the first place.