GMP Top Cop Quits

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One of the UK’s top police officers Sir Peter Fahy is to retire as Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police (GMP).

Sir Peter, originally from London, has been a police officer for more than three decades including serving as the chief constable for both Greater Manchester and Cheshire.

He will leave his £193,000-a-year post in October to take up a role as the chief executive of a charity.

In a statement Sir Peter said: “Following 34 years as a police officer including almost 13 years as a chief constable I have decided that now is the right time to leave policing. It has been a great privilege to serve the people of Greater Manchester and to lead the wonderfully dedicated staff of GMP.

“It has always been my intention to leave during the autumn of this year. I have led the force through four years of budget cuts and staffing reductions but despite this we have achieved significant improvements in service, increased public confidence and reduced crime and anti-social behaviour.

“It is now time for someone else to bring fresh ideas for what will be more challenging years ahead.

“The best part of my job has been to work with so many committed members of staff, members of partner organisations and so many active community members and charities.

“I would like to thank them for all the support they have given me and for the personal support I have received from police and crime commissioner Tony Lloyd.

“I have been offered the post of chief executive of the children’s charity Retrak. Over the past five years I have worked with the charity on a voluntary basis with teams of GMP staff and colleagues from the Fire Service travelling to Uganda and Ethiopia to work with street children there.

“It is a great charity rescuing hundreds of children every year and with the potential to grow further. It fits in well with my interest in child protection and child welfare issues in this country.

“I am very excited by this new challenge.”

Police Do Not Owe A Duty Of Care To Either Victims Or Witnesses

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A former gangster who changed his name has failed in a High Court bid for compensation for “psychiatric damage” after accusing Greater Manchester Police of revealing his new identity to former criminal associates.

The man, referred to as PBD, claimed the police’s actions forced him to enter a witness protection scheme in December 2010 that caused him depression and anxiety because he had to spend a period separated from his partner.

He accused Greater Manchester Police of breaching a duty of care they owed him after he had given evidence “against another member of the Manchester criminal fraternity” in the USA and had been shot and wounded.

Mr Justice Silber, sitting at the High Court in London, said he had no doubt that PBD, the former member of a criminal gang, was “terrified of being attacked” and believed there was a contract out to kill him.

But the courts had already ruled that the police “do not owe a duty of care to witnesses and victims”.

The judge said it was not possible to see why PBD, who was a suspect in a money laundering offence, “should be owed a duty of care when a witness and a victim does not have such a duty owed to him”.

In any event, PBD had not been “forced” into witness protection but was “keen” to join the scheme.

The judge also rejected a claim by PBD’s partner for damages. She claimed the police had breached an agreement to pay her £1,500 per month for six months as compensation for giving up her job and eventually joining him in witness protection.

The judge said he could not accept her evidence as credible.

The cases were heard at a private hearing in October, but the judge publicly announced the outcome.

The judge said PBD had claimed a duty of care because of three factors. First, he had co-operated with police and as a result received a reduced prison sentence in 2004.

Second, he had given evidence against another member of the Manchester criminal fraternity in the US and this had led to the man being jailed for over 20 years, and in return he had received immunity from prosecution.

Finally, an attempt had been made on his life. He had been shot and wounded by a person who was still at large and a contract on his life had been offered by other members of the criminal community.

Corrupt ‘Fit-Up’ Cop Jailed

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A former police officer who accepted a bribe to plant a shotgun in a bid to frame a man has been jailed for four years, police said.

Daniel Withnell, 31, was approached by Claire Smethurst to put the weapon in the man’s car for £19,000 between September 30 and October 30 last year.

He admitted two counts of misconduct in a public office and perverting the course of justice at an earlier hearing and was today jailed at Manchester Crown Court.

Withnell, of Cranark Close in Bolton, also sent a fake tip-off by text to an officer on March 16, in which he claimed a hitman had been offered money to kill him.

He also used his position to access the force’s database to research a money laundering investigation, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said.

Smethurst, 48, of Westhoughton, Bolton, was found guilty of of perverting the course and was given a 15 month suspended sentence for her role in the plot at the same court on October 9, the force added.

Assistant Chief Constable Dawn Copley said: “The conduct of former DC Daniel Withnell fell well short of what is expected of a police officer.

“Police officers, staff and the communities of Greater Manchester would be appalled by his actions, which detract from the hard work that our officers and staff do on a daily basis.

“GMP expects the very highest standards of all its officers and staff. They should be honest and act with integrity and should not compromise or abuse their position.

“As soon as this conduct came to light, the Professional Standards Branch carried out a thorough investigation, supervised by the IPCC and as a result Mr Withnell has been convicted of two counts of misconduct in public office and perverting the course of justice and Ms Smethurst has been convicted of perverting the course of justice.”

Mark Leech, editor of Converse the national newspaper for prisoners in England and Wales said Withnell faced a dangerous time in jail.

“Going to jail as a former cop is dangerous at any time, but going to jail as a former cop jailed for trying to fit up an innocent man and send him to jail marks Withnell out as a man with a price on his head.

“Withnell is the worst kind of corrupt cop, a loathsome individual who was willing to sacrifice the freedom of an innocent man in exchange for cash – a despicable low life whose past criminal arrests and convictions should now be the subject of review lest he has done this before – and got away with it.”

SLAUGHTERED OFFICER MAY HAVE BEEN TRYING TO USE A TASER

A police officer killed in a gun-and-grenade attack may have been trying to defend herself when she died, it has emerged.

An eye-witness has said they saw a Taser stun gun in the hand of Pc Fiona Bone, 32, as her body lay on the ground outside the house they were visiting in Mottram on Tuesday morning.

The unnamed witness said: “She had a Taser in her hand and she was laying by the window of the house.”

She died at the scene and her colleague Pc Nicola Hughes died later in hospital.

Residents reported hearing an explosion from a grenade and up to 13 shots being fired.

A spokeswoman for Greater Manchester Police confirmed a Taser stun gun was found out of its holster on the ground beside the two stricken officers, although they added it was unclear to which officer it belonged. Forensic experts are now examining it.

It came as chief constable Sir Peter Fahy warned that his officers could still be at risk from grenades in the wake of the double murder.

Sir Peter said he was not sure that all the grenades had been recovered from the area after the unarmed officers were fatally attacked.

Speaking at a press conference at GMP’s headquarters in Newton Heath, he confirmed that the crime scene at Abbey Gardens, Mottram, had been preserved to allow fragments of the device, which was used in the killings, to be recovered.

He also revealed that the firearm used in the incident had been recovered and said they were determined to bring to justice anyone who had been engaged in a ‘criminal conspiracy’.

Sir Peter said: “We are not confident that we have recovered all the grenades, we don’t know for certain, so we’ve made it clear to our officers that the threat is still there,” he told reporters.

“I would want that to be the message, and that threat is very much there.

“As we’ve indicated as part of this inquiry we’ve had to issue essentially what we call Osman warnings, threat notices, to a large number of individuals who we felt could be at risk as a result of this particular series of events.”

Sir Peter told the conference that the women had been sent to investigate to what appeared to be a routine burglary call when they were murdered – and there was no intelligence or information to suggest that the address posed any greater threat than any other call.

He added: “I don’t think we have said there are any questions about our procedures.

“There was nothing in our intelligence systems or information systems that had come to light that indicated that the risk at this address was any greater than any other that we have been called to.

“We have had armed officers on patrol in those areas, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We get hundreds of calls to incidents, all sorts of crimes like anti-social behaviour, and clearly we can’t send armed officers to every single one of those. It’s just the nature of policing that unarmed officers every day go to incidents not knowing what might be the risk or the threat or knowing what they are walking into.”

A second man has been arrested in connection with the deaths. Greater Manchester Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy said a 28-year-old man was detained in Hattersley on suspicion of conspiracy to murder.

He also thanked the public for their support – and said his colleagues had been overwhelmed by the outpouring of grief from the community.

“I would like to thank the public for this tremendous show of support. It means a huge amount to us at this difficult time.

“The whole force and indeed the whole police service is devastated by the deaths of these two brave colleagues but to know that at this difficult time that the public supports what we do and supports so strongly what we do and is giving support to the families, that is really important to us.”

Sir Peter paid tribute to the dignity of the families of Pc Bone and Pc Hughes – and said relatives of the women were incredibly proud of them and knew they had died doing a job that they loved.