“I want offenders to feel terror” – new Home Secretary declares

Priti Patel has said she wants criminals to “feel terror” at the thought of offending, as she distanced herself from her comments in support of the death penalty.

In her first interview as Home Secretary, she pledged to get a grip on violent crime after Boris Johnson committed to recruiting 20,000 more police officers.

“I’ve always felt the Conservative Party is the party of the police and police officers,” she told the Daily Mail.

“Quite frankly, with more police officers out there and greater police presence, I want (criminals) to literally feel terror at the thought of committing offences.”

Ms Patel previously said in 2006 she was in favour of the “ultimate punishment” for the worst of crimes, and supported the death penalty during a Question Time debate on the subject in 2011.

Asked about the death penalty, she told the Mail: “I have never said I’m an active supporter of it and (what I said) is constantly taken out of context.”

Her comments on the BBC show were: “I do actually think when we have a criminal justice system that continuously fails in this country and where we have seen murderers, rapists and people who have committed the most abhorrent crimes in society, go into prison and then are released from prison to go out into the community to then re-offend and do the types of crime they have committed again and again.

“I think that’s appalling. And actually on that basis alone I would actually support the reintroduction of capital punishment to serve as a deterrent.”

Ms Patel was one of the greatest beneficiaries of Mr Johnson’s Cabinet reshuffle after he became Prime Minister.

She was elevated from the backbenches having been sacked as Secretary of State for International Development by Theresa May in 2017 for holding secret meetings with members of the Israeli government.

Mark Leech, Editor of The Prisons Handbook, the definitive 1,600-page annual guide to the prison system of England and Wales, writes:

First of all offenders are the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice, not the Home Secretary; this isn’t her brief.

Secondly the very reason why so many young people carry knives and guns is precisely because they already feel terror – terror at the thought that if they do not have one their life is on the line – and the staggering number of deaths on our streets proves they are right.

Thirdly, she needs to understand that policing is not simply a numerical issue – you can have 200,000 extra police on the streets and still not make a difference – indeed if you deploy them in a way that does not have the consent of the communities they police, then the danger is you will make things worse not better.

Finally, it is clear that Ms Patel has little understanding of the real issues surrounding crime. Offenders are far more terrified of gangs on the streets who can kill them, than they ever are of the police who, at worst, can only arrest them; it is deeply concerning that, as Home Secretary, she obviously just doesn’t get it.

Five questioned after police officer acquitted of rape charge

Five people have been questioned in relation to perverting the course of justice following the collapse of a trial of a police sergeant accused of rape and other offences.

Former Durham officer Mohammed Perwaze, 46, was acquitted of 20 charges in October last year, including 18 relating to the alleged abuse of the same girl.

The collapse of the case was not reported at the time due to a reporting restriction.

Mr Perwaze, of Barnard Castle, Co. Durham, has always protested his innocence and says he is the victim of malicious allegations.

He went on trial last year at Sheffield Crown Court, but prosecutors later offered no evidence against him.

Judge Jeremy Richardson QC instructed him to be cleared of all charges, including ones alleging he was violent towards two young boys.

Immediately after he was acquitted, Mr Perwaze issued a statement thanking his legal team and said: “I was absolutely delighted that at last the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) offered no evidence against me and that I was finally exonerated.”

On Monday, he told the Press Association: “I have always been completely innocent and the allegations made against me were intentionally malicious.

“I did state this to police during my initial police interview. I have lost so much as a result of this, the impact this has had and is continuing to have is devastating for me and my family.

“I will continue to seek justice and will not stop until those responsible are held to account for their crimes against me.”

In a statement, Durham Constabulary said: “An investigation was launched by Durham Constabulary in October into issues which arose during the trial.

“Five people – three women and two men – have been interviewed under caution in relation to offences of attempting to pervert the course of justice and fraud offences. Enquiries are ongoing.”

The force said that the allegations faced by Mr Perwaze were not related to his duties as a police officer.

A spokeswoman said he was dismissed by Durham Constabulary for gross misconduct on unrelated matters.

Former police officer and care worker gets life for attempted murder.

melissaswiftA former police officer and  care worker, who used eye drops and a bleach-based cleaning fluid to poison colleagues at a residential home, has been given a life sentence.

Melissa Swift was handed a minimum term of eight years after a court heard how she also sent an anonymous bloodstained letter to her step-sister, threatening to kill her before cooking and eating her body.

Swift, formerly of Hambletts Road, West Bromwich, pleaded guilty in February last year to three counts of attempted murder. The 25-year-old former police volunteer further admitted two offences of making threats to kill her step-sister and another woman.

opening the facts of the care worker’s offending in July and August 2014, prosecutor Matthew Brook said Swift had placed noxious substances into water jugs and bottles at West Bromwich’s Goldfield Court care home.

Swift’s actions led to at least three of her colleagues being taken ill – one with a suspected stroke – after they consumed what they thought was normal water.

Mr Brook said: “The offences not only represent a severe breach of trust but also the accepted intention to kill three people.”

During the sentencing of Swift, who appeared in court via a videolink to Rampton psychiatric hospital in Nottinghamshire, it emerged that the poisonings were only uncovered after she confessed to a friend and her GP.

Judge Mark Wall QC was told that Swift has since been treated for a depressive disorder at Rampton.

Ordering that the would-be killer should be cared for at Rampton rather than in a prisonwhile she still requires treatment, Judge Wall told Swift: “You took, from your home to your workplace, containers which had noxious liquids in them.

“Your guilty pleas confirm your desire that people should drink those liquids and die as a result.

“The effects of what you did are unmeasurable. What is known is that at the time you were doing this, seven members of staff and 23 residents became unwell. You are surely responsible for much of that illness.”

The judge ruled that there was evidence of planning before the offences, including internet searches related to poisons. Passing a life sentence coupled with a Mental Health Act order, the judge told the defendant: “I am of the view your mental health issues do not extinguish your culpability.”

A previous hearing was told Swift had been a special constable with West Midlands Police until a month prior to her arrest in August 2014.

Commenting on the case, Detective Chief Inspector Michaela Kerr, from the force’s Public Protection Unit, said: “Melissa deceived her colleagues and hatched a plan to cause ill to those she worked with as a result of some malice, for which we have never truly discovered the cause.

“She not only thought out a way of poisoning her work mates but also followed the plan through and administered bleach to their drinks, leaving them in the usual staff fridge where she knew they would go.

“Today’s sentence reflects the severity of her actions. Thankfully no one was seriously injured as a result of what she did, but the story could so easily have been different.”

Shield-Smash Cop says his alleged victim was “unlucky”

Pc Andrew Ott
Pc Andrew Ott

A policeman who allegedly smashed a man’s tooth out with his riot shield during the 2010 student protests said that it was “unlucky” he had been caught in the mouth.

Pc Andrew Ott, 36, was taped on his personal recording device threatening violence towards the crowds that had gathered near the Houses of Parliament.

It is alleged that when Royal Holloway student William Horner tried to break free from a kettled area on Parliament Square, Ott struck out with his shield, knocking out the student’s tooth.

He is also accused of conspiring with two colleagues to come up with a reason to falsely arrest the student after he was injured.

Recordings captured on the day showed that on a number of occasions Ott had talked about “getting” protesters.

Giving evidence at London’s Southwark Crown Court, he said that after a short break at around 8pm he heard another officer shout out, saying “stop”.

“The shout alerted me and I knew straight away from the tone and pitch, I knew something had happened or was about to happen. I was immediately alerted, I turned to my right and I saw someone running,” said Ott.

Jurors heard that he gave chase, eventually catching up with Mr Horner where he was trying to scale a fence.

Ott continued: “I believed he had done something or was about to do something – I wanted to contain him. I had full knowledge of what I could and couldn’t do and I wasn’t about to start attacking him.

“I bring my shield around – I believe it was on my left arm – and momentum, and also the fact that I bring my shield around my body, I collided with him.”

Jurors heard that Ott used the riot equipment to “create distance” between himself and Mr Horner.

“I struck him with the shield, yes. At that moment in time my threat assessment was high. He was a threat to me – I dealt with it as I saw fit.

“Hindsight is fantastic, would I have done something different? Absolutely. I wouldn’t be here. But I did what I did,” Ott told the court.

He continued: “I struck his upper body. If his head got hit, then it got hit – I didn’t aim for his head. To get a chipped tooth from a shield like that – unlucky.”

The incident was captured on the audio recording device that Ott had on his uniform, as were the clashes that took place earlier in the day.

Jurors heard one clip in which Ott was heard saying: “Poked the little c*** right in the eye”.

He admitted that he had also struck out with his shield on this instance, but added that he had “over-exaggerated” in his description of the incident.

When asked if he had poked the protester in the eye, he replied: “Probably, by accident.”

Ott denies one count of occasioning actual bodily harm, and one count of perverting the course of justice.

Pc Calvin Lindsay and Pc Thomas Barnes, both 31, also stand accused of the second offence.

It is said that after the alleged assault they came up with a reason to arrest Mr Horner and justify the attack.

Ott explained that on December 9, officers were under “intense attack” from the crowds that had gathered to protest against the increase in tuition fees, and described one particular protester as a “nightmare”.

The violent protests saw riot police pelted with missiles including rocks and concrete blocks, and statues in Parliament Square being daubed with graffiti.

Although questioned by police, no further action was taken against Mr Horner in connection with the incident.

Ott, of Rochester, Kent, denies one charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and a further charge of perverting the course of justice.

Lindsay, of Leytonstone, east London, and Barnes, of Greenhithe, Kent, both deny perverting the course of justice.

All three men are on restricted duties pending the outcome of proceedings. The trial continues.

Drug Cop Evades Jail

A former Metropolitan police officer who resigned after testing positive for cocaine use has been given a suspended prison sentence after admitting drug and theft offences, Scotland Yard said.
Pc Michael Andrew Johnson , 47, left his post at the Met’s Traffic Garage at Hampton, south west London, after failing a drugs test in May last year, the force said.
An investigation by the Directorate of Professional Standards found the officer was a cocaine user and had stolen a police uniform which he supplied to another defendant, Zayn Corkett.
Johnson was given a six-month suspended prison sentence at Croydon Crown Court yesterday after pleading guilty on December 4 to conspiracy to possess class A drugs, conspiracy to cause misconduct in public office and theft of police property.
Corkett, 41, a fleet manager, from Kingswood, Surrey, was sentenced to a four-month suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess cocaine, conspiracy to cause misconduct in public office and handling stolen police property.
Both men were arrested on May 30 last year by officers from the Directorate of Professional Standards.Johnson was also sentenced to 180 hours of community service, while Corkett was ordered to complete 120 hours of community service, Scotland Yard said.
Chief Superintendent Alaric Bonthron, from the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards, said: “Police officers have to live by the highest standards, no criminal activity will be accepted and where we have evidence officers are behaving in a criminal way we will pursue them, resignation from the service will not stop criminal prosecution.”

Cop Jailed For Under-Age Sex

PC Christopher Semak Jailed
PC Christopher Semak Jailed

A police officer based in south Birmingham has been jailed for six years after being convicted of sexual activity with a child.

West Midlands Police said Christopher Semak carried out the crimes between April 2010 and November 2011 when the girl, who was known to the man, was aged 14 and 15.

The 33-year-old officer was arrested on January 24, 2012 from his Kings Norton home – on the same day the girl, then aged 16, revealed that she had been systematically assaulted over the course of two years, police said.

He was handed the prison sentence following a four-week trial at Stafford Crown Court.

A major police investigation was immediately launched and the officer, who joined the force in 2010, was suspended from the force with his access to police buildings restricted.

A police spokesman said that as part of the lengthy inquiry in which texts and emails were scrutinised, detectives did not find any other victims other than the girl who was known to Semak outside of work.

Detective Superintendent Tim Bacon, from the force’s Public Protection Unit, said: “Christopher Semak has today been found guilty of sexual activity with a child. It is clear that he groomed the victim for his own sexual gratification. His actions were disgraceful for any person let alone a man who, when he became a police officer, swore an oath to protect people.

“Throughout his trial Semak failed to take responsibility for his own actions.

“The verdict of the jury today reflects their belief that this was in fact a tissue of lies designed to undermine the victim and save himself.

“The sexual exploitation of children is child abuse. In this case the offender is a police officer who whilst not on duty at the time betrayed the trust that the victim and others had in him to take advantage of the victim and in doing so has caused her severe emotional trauma.

“I hope that he will reflect on his actions and the emotional scars he inflicted on his victim and those around him.”

Police said Semak was handed a sexual offences prevention order in addition to the jail sentence.

Semak is banned from working with or having unsupervised access to children under the conditions attached to the order.

He was also ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for life.

With criminal proceedings now completed, the case will go before a special police disciplinary panel where senior officers will determine his future with the force in line with national guidelines.

Cop Gets 19 Years For Rapes

Wayne Scott headshot

An ex-policeman has been jailed for 19 years for a string of serious sex crimes.

Wayne Scott, 37, was convicted of rape and the attempted rape of a woman after a five-day trial, having already admitted raping a different woman seven times over a number of years.

He also confessed to two common assaults, one sexual assault and two counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual touching.

Sentencing Scott at Newcastle Crown Court, Judge James Goss QC described him as manipulative, controlling and domineering.

“Your offending has had an enormous impact on the wellbeing, confidence and lives of those against whom you offended, destroying their lives,” he said.

His offences came to light after he was dismissed by Cleveland Police when a member of the public complained about him touching her sexually while he was on duty.

Although he was not prosecuted for that offence, the publicity led other women to come forward and make complaints.

Speaking after the sentence, Detective Superintendent Peter McPhillips of Cleveland Police said: “I’m really pleased with the sentence today. Wayne Scott is a sexual deviant and a predator who manipulated his victims and had a significant detrimental impact on their lives.

“Yet he has never exhibited any remorse and he does not appear to understand the horrific nature of his crimes.

“I would like to pay tribute to all of his victims, in particular those who we managed to trace and who were brave enough to provide us with the details of his crimes.”

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Judge Goss said Scott would serve 15 years in custody and also passed a sexual offences prevention order and placed him on the sex offenders register.

A statement from one of his victims was read out saying she was worried about his release as he had already tried to contact her since being in prison.

On hearing his fate, Scott became unsteady on his feet, first bending over before sinking into his seat.

His appearances in the dock had been characterised by attempts to mouth words, sobbing and hanging his head.

Since his arrest, the 37-year-old, formerly of Stockton, Teesside, has twice tried to kill himself – jumping from a prison balcony and leaping from a moving vehicle while on his way to a medical examination.

Senior officers have said there are allegations from eight more victims that did not make it to court and they have again appealed for any other victims to come forward.

Mr McPhillips said: “I hope this sentence will send a positive message to victims of sexual abuse, that we will listen to them and together with our partners work with them to bring offenders to justice.

“I would again appeal to anyone who believes they were a victim of Wayne Scott to contact officers.”

Corrupt ‘Fit-Up’ Cop Jailed

Daniel-Withnell

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.”