Sunday, 28 December 2008


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1.1 On the morning of 7 December 1995 police were called to a farmland country track at Rettendon in Essex. Three men in a Range Rover had been found shot dead at point blank range. The Rettendon Triple Murder investigations had begun. Altho’ not everything will become clear it would help readers to initially read through the items in the 10 page documents section of this report especially the 5 news reports to get an initial general sense of the Rettendon events.

1.2 In early February '96 the police mounted an undercover operation code-named OPERATION CENTURY which was principally targeted at two particular 'suspects' - although others close to them, family and friends WERE naturally affected.

1.3 Essex Police claimed to take pride in operating a public policing policy which specifically set down on paper how they would treat those they regarded as 'suspects' in criminal investigations by fully taking into account their basic human rights paper [see - in the documents appendix – documents D2 > D4]. However, for the purposes of OPERATION CENTURY this 'SDS' [Service Delivery Standard] was RUTHLESSLY and totally ignored.

1.4 Essex Police claim that CENTURY was properly 'Authorised' and fully in keeping with it's commitment to the very highest standards of policing (see para’s 6.3/6.4 below). Among the matters at issue are not so much whether CENTURY had been 'Authorised' but that even if it was the actions of the police breached the criminal law by using tactics that went far beyond what should have been properly Authorised. The officer running the operation well knew he was sailing very very close to the wind of legality hence has comments to journalists 2WE’RTE BREAKING NEW GROUND” – see later.

1.5 The police claim their actions were legal. This report strongly insists otherwise. The police are STILL covering up the truth, are not facing up to the FULL FACTS.

1.6 During OPERATION CENTURY police officers role-played as Belfast based IRA terrorists. The tactics used were clearly intended to convey to the 'suspects' referred to above that their lives were directly threatened by them [the IRA] and others in their organisation. Although it seems that [in reality] the police did not intend to kill them they wanted them to believe that the threats were real, that they were quite capable of carrying them out, and that they WOULD be carried out.

1.7 This report "WE'RE BREAKING NEW GROUND" takes its title from Detective Superintendent Ivan Dibley who later publically bragged of being behind CENTURY (see D8) and stated that from day opne he’d never had any intention of questioning the Century suspects in the normal way. It looks at the cover-up that has taken place and, when their assistance has been sought, the role of the Home Office [and others] in making life much more difficult rather than supporting the need to bring Essex Police to proper account for OPERATION CENTURY.

1.8. It is stressed in the strongest possible terms that this report is not about all the different types of undercover police operations - using surveillance systems correctly or otherwise. In 1998 the organisation JUSTICE reported at length on that important matter and showed how wide open to abuse the systems are and called for many much needed urgent reforms. Nor is this report about whether Eseex Police help old ladies across the road or do a myriad other things including [as we now know from recent criminal convictions ] kicking their own German Shepherd Police Dogs to death. This OPERATION CENTURY report is about the extreme tactics Essex deployed. They were beyond any justification although Essex definitely hasn't given up the ghost on defending them. That is only one extremely good reason why CENTURY still needs sorting.


2.1 On 20 January 1998 at the end of an Old Bailey trial that lasted over 4 months two men [Jack Whomes and Michael Steele] were convicted of the Rettendon murders mentioned in the introduction. Both went down protesting that they'd been wrongly convicted. AS THEY STILL DO. And although this report isn't about their TRIAL as such - in so far as it resulted in their convictions - it does have to be paid some attention. One most basic reasons for this is that since February 98 when I first began to take up with the Police and Home Office the human rights abuses connected with CENTURY the H O has avoided responding to the obvious, which is that the CENTURY abuses were abuses WHEN THEY ACTUALLY OCCURED (in February '96) and instead they have wheeled out the excuse that the Rettendon Trial itself had disposed of the matter. It is obvious that they hoped this excuse would be publically reassuring.

2.2 Steele was one of the two CENTURY 'suspects'. The other was Miss Sarah Saunders - the mother of a young child whose father, Patrick Tate, had been one of the murder victims. The fact that the human rights of Saunders, Steele or anyone at all should have been abused as they were during CENTURY regardless of whether there had been any subsequent charges or criminal proceedings - as none were which incriminated Saunders - hasn't been taken on board. Instead the Police and Home Office have hoped to fog the issue by contending that the Rettendon Trial proceedings absolved the police from the accusation that Steele and Saunders' human rights had been criminally abused.

2.3 One fact has NOT been in dispute namely that neither the police or the prosecution relied on evidence gained through CENTURY to support their Rettendon prosecution. The police gained NO incriminating evidence from CENTURY, the operation was short lived and abandoned. It ONLY featured in the Rettendon Trial because Steele raised it as part of his defence, to show how ruthless and unprincipled the police were in their determination to bring a case against him. Steele has told me that there had previously been a police vendetta against him, he had formally complained, but to no effect. The police and Home Office claim that at trial CENTURY was considered openly and thoroughly, was made TRANSPARENT to Judge, Jury and Counsel. This report will indicate that in crucially important respects CENTURY was not made transparent and still hasn't been. I understand from Steele that he hoped the case against him would have been stopped when the court learnt of the terror tactics deployed during CENTURY but that never happened. It would have taken an exceptionally strong minded judge to have ruled in Steele’s favour given the nature of the charges brought against him. In any case, as we shall see, not a single police officer who gave evidence would admit to being able to answer fully for OPERATION CENTURY. Officers who could have helped, including the officer then in charge of the case [Det. Supt. Brian Storey – Dibley had by then retired] were totally transparent in one thing only, their absences from the witness stand.


3.1 During the first year in which I took up CENTURY with the police and H O etc., all I had to go on to make progress were press reports and information from direct contact with one or two journalists. At times this info’ was slight but still telling. One journalist still spoke in shocked tones on recounting the heavy manners of the undercover police in voicing their most vociferous threats against Steele - Steele had captured the most violent threats he received on tape [D1] and had played the tape in court. It wasn't until the Spring of '99 when from sheer exasperation and disbelief at the responses and treatment I was getting from the 'authorities' [including Kate Hoey my local MP] that I established contact with Steele [whom I did not previously know].

the national press

3.2 The start of the Rettendon Trial was bloodbathed into oblivion by coinciding with the death of Diana. And as far as I am aware there were no Rettendon Trial reports afterwards either, not until the jury brought in its verdict and sentences were handed down when of course all the nationals ran it. With the exception of only one newspaper none of this coverage reported CENTURY in intelligble terms - for instance The Times did next best by burying it in about 50 words. People know as much about CENTURY today as they do about something that hasn't happened and is never likely to.

3.3 Reproduced on D2 of this report is a news report about CENTURY. It is from The Sun. It is the only national press report that has ever appeared. It was this report that shocked and alerted me. I've been reading crime, police and associated news with a lot of commitment over many years and could not recal anything quite like CENTURY.

3.4 For reason[s] I won't enter into here I was genuinely reluctant to take up CENTURY but after thinking it over for a few weeks I thought SOMEBODY should. I contacted The Sun reporter - there were teething problems, my letters did not seem to get to whom they were addressed etc., but eventually he responded when I treated him to a sight of a letter from the Chair of Essex Police Authority which cast doubt on his CENTURY report [for being unsourced and possibly a touch ingenuous]. The Sun man was not a happy bunny. He stressed that he did not want to get involved in any campaign [surprise surprise] but did release to me a longer CENTURY 'text' he'd submitted for publication which The Sun report had been produced from. This 'text' is very interesting [as we shall see]. John Burrow, Essex Chief Constable [since retired] wrote off The Sun report as being unreliable but The Sun 'text' shows that The Sun 'report' was in fact kind to the police by greatly toning down the police threats [compare D1 with D2].

3.5 I believed then [and still do] that The Sun reporter had serious genuine misgivings about CENTURY. This seems plain from his having tagged it as a "Bizarre Plot" - he is not saying that the police were clever but a touch unlucky, he is saying their actions were 'bizarre' - more light on all this as we continue.

the local press

3.6 I'd heard by February that there had been much more coverage in the local Essex press and one or two poeple who promised to send me copies never put their money where their mouths were - disappointing though not especially surprising - and in April I managed to get down to Essex and copy up the bulk of the daily Rettendon Trial coverage which had appeared in the Basildon Evening Echo.

3.7 The Echo carried many reports which certainly shed more light on CENTURY and the extent to which it had been fully gone into at trial. It was clear that it had not been. It was also clear that Steele had alleged that death threats had been made against him by undercover officers. It was also clear that Sarah Saunders had been very "terrified" - although I also knew this from details included in the unpublished Sun 'text'. 3.8 The main prosecution witness, Darren Nicholls had also testified to being aware at first hand, from his friendship and close association with Steele, of the undercover threats made against Steele. Steele, according to Nicholls was very "stressed in his brain" because of them ...although Nicholls had aparently also dropped an amazing clanger by suggesting in witness statements that the threats had pre-dated the Rettendon murders, as part of a rationale for and build up to them. Though this latter claim is obviously nonesense there is no doubting that Nicholls did know about the CENTURY threats. [see Echo reports at D5,D6 and D7].

3.9 It was also clear from the Echo that at the end of the Trial a basic contradiction remained - the Echo drew attention to it - on the one hand a senior officer who did not admit to being directly involved in CENTURY [or to having heard the CENTURY tapes] testified that CENTURY officers were not AUTHORISED to make threats to kill - the question was put to him fairly and squarely. When Steele's death threats Tape was played as part of his defence the Echo quoted directly from it [though like The Sun for decency's sake it toned them down] and reminded its readers of the contradictory evidence given earlier by the senior officer mentioned above [Echo 10 November 97]. The Echo's journalist confirmed to me in writing that she stands by her reports - the papers' Chief Reporter, she'd not have dared to mis-report Trial proceedings.


4.1 I start this section by nominating Kate Hoey MP, the Home Office and the Parliamentary Ombudsman as being entirely to blame for its seeming 'scheming' confusions. Hoey and Co. are, to use Frank Norman's expression: 'Bang to Rights'.

4.2 'OBFUSCATION' according to my dictionary darkens, obscurs, stupefies, bewilders or spreads confusion. And according to my experiences 'OMBUDSFUSCATION' is what I was faced with when on 20 January '99 [after 9 months orf waiting for a Home Office letter of reply to one I'd written to them] I submitted a documented complaint against them to Hoey for her to counter-sign and send on to the Ombudsman for investigation.

4.3 That complaint was not received by the Ombudsman until 25 May - a lapse of time which was to prove significant. I'd twice requested Hoey - prior to sending her my complaint - for any advice she could offer about going to the Ombudsman [I was not knowledgeable about what to do]. Those requests she ignored. When I submitted my complaint to her [by Recorded Delivery] she did not acknowledge or respond to me about it for months - despite reminders. In the period I'd even written to the Ombudsman to complain about her in-action and get his advice and had copied my letter to her and still she remained unresponsive. [My letter had explained that I was facing a real problem on this front because Hoey since the autumn of '98 had been appointed junior minister at the Home Office - alongside Paul Boateng - with responsibilities for policing]. The Ombudsman simply replied that I was stuck with having to find a sympathetic MP.

4.4 In this period [since November '98] Hoey was herself supposed to be finding out why the Home Office had behaved as it had and she had fallen stoney silent on that front too. So by late April I'd pretty well given up hope on Hoey's help with my Ombudsman initiative - matters were very confusing and stressful. Then on the Saturday morning of the Spring Bank Holiday weekend [ 30 April] I was amazed to get a letter from Hoey - it was just two sentences long. They said Firstly that she was enclosing a Home Office letter she had had in response to her enquiries on my behalf and Secondly: "I confirm that I did send your Form to the Ombudsman" [my italics].

4.5 Hoey's short letter was choc-a-bloc with surprises. Firstly she had not enclosed the H.O. letter. And secondly, when I checked on the morning after the holiday with the Ombudsman my complaint had NOT been received - all complaints are carefully logged in. From its phrasing that part of Hoey's letter seemed deliberately deceptive. When she did get to send it she did not counter sign it and it was further delayed being returned to her again for signing and re refering - hence the May 25 acknowledgement.

4.6 I got a copy of Hoey's H.O. response [D9] three weeks later on 21 May - it was from [ex civil liberties and civil rights lawyer] Paul Boateng, undated and where a date or something interesting [?] may have been it was blacked out, I asked Hoey for a date for it but didn't get a straight answer - only the date when she'd got it [February 9] with the rider that the date that WAS on Boateng's letter had been faint and so hadn't been readable on my photocopy - she did not say what it was [nor of course what had been blacked out].

4.7 Boateng's reply, contrived to overlap on two levels really, still didn't answer the April '98 matters I'd raised for clarification with the H.O. - matters which had flowed directly from points they'd put to me [via Tony Benn MP] in their very first reply ['98] - which was what all this delay and malarkey was all about.

4.8 On one level Boateng firmly stated that CENTURY was something that the Home Secretary was powerless to intervene in - "an operational policing" matter - I should write to the Chief Constable. [The Chief Constable had closed our correspondence [see D1] on 11 June '98]. On another level [for the H.O.] Boateng still blandly reiterated almost word for word the same pro Century pro Rettendon Trial [pro Essex Police line] it had back in April '98 without further clarifying at all the very points I had raised in response to THEM and Boateng must have reviewed the correspondence.

4.9 In essentials Boateng's letter sought to have it both ways, it reiterates its pro-police pro-judicial due-proccesses stance - the State is informing Joe Public via Hoey another State official how the big world operates [and given Boateng's legal background he cannot claim not to have had far more experience than he was prepared to put to good use - gone are those openly critical times when he Chaired the Greater London Council's 'Police Commitee' - more recently still he arogantly declared that he wasn't prepared to recognise - even for the purposes of informed genuine debate - that there are any civil liberties concerns at all about the permanent establishment by police of DNA databanks on people - regardless of whether they have commited any crime or not!]. On another level his letter was saying: look these matters aren't one's that we can respond on, write to Essex Police. This has been the problem throughout - the system ALWAYS scrapes around and finds the time and space to point up conclusions to disarm critics and support the status quo, while in the same breath it asserts that they dare not take sides or be seen to be engaged in the matters being raised. Typically, Essex Police Authority is also expert at operating this technique.

4.10 Back in late February '98 when Tony Benn MP. first passed on my CENTURY concerns [together with a copy of The Sun 'report'] to the Home Secretary, the H.O. HAD put enquiries in hand - they did not reply saying that CENTURY was an operational policing matter [though this was obvious] which they could not look into, you must write instead to Essex Police. If police ARE going to threaten suspects lives in the manner of CENTURY that must be a 'policy' matter too - are such tactics to be used and are they ever legal or not?
4.11 In April '98 when the H.O. originally responded to me [via Tony Benn] I tried to clarify one point by phone but its official said that although she had signed the letter it had been part-drafted by 'others' and she wasn't able to clarify what meaning I should put on the point at issue - it had to do with [her] claim that CENTURY matters at Trial had gone before the Jury without "adverse comment". I took this to be part of the H.O. pro status quo 'spin' on things for public consumption [the letter came from an internal H.O. policing 'policy' unit] but my query was: 'no adverse comment from whom?' I'm pretty sure NOW that they meant the Judge hadn't been critical - in THEIR hierarchy who else counts? In an immediate follow up letter [April 18] I went further.

4.12 I asked what the H.O. had had in mind when conceptualising their point - what type of adverse comment had they in mind and I queried that there HAD BEEN much adverse CENTURY comment at trial, for instance from Sarah Saunders a civilian non-police prosecution witness, an ex CENTURY 'suspect' who had herself been on the receiving end of the police threats, did she not count? Did her [presumed] lack of legal qualifications invalidate the adverse views she had expressed? In addition as already instanced the main prosecution witness Darren Nicholls had also testified when cross examined by Steele's counsel to the adverse effect of the police threats on Steele.

4.13 The undated Boateng letter which Hoey said she got on 9 February and I never got a sight of until 21 May wasn't the only H.O. letter that took off around then. Having asked Hoey the previous November to find out for me why the H.O. had developed such acute laryngitis it crossed my mind that she or one of her staff might call up the H.O. official in question and get the wheels turning but having not heard anything by 2 February I called her office. Her staff said they'd ring me back that afternoon after having a word with her - no such call came through so the next day I called again when her staff said I would definately get a written response from her by the end of the week. It was then about a fortnght since I'd sent her my unacknowledged Ombudsman complaint so I asked for news of it - her staff said she wanted to read it through - I stressed the documentation was sparse and how long the H.O had already taken.

4.12 Saturday came and so did a letter - it wasn't from Hoey but was it somehow connected with her staff's earlier advice and did it affect my Ombudsman complaint still sitting on Hoey's desk. I remained curious about that because this letter was from a H.O. official and was a response to my 18 April '98 letter and the various ignored reminders including one which I'd personally addresed to Jack Straw [in October].

4.15 Of course completely unknown to me BOATENG was then two months into responding to HOEY with his H.O. letter and now there was this H.O. letter [dated 2 Feb] which was brief - virtually one short paragraph - and it did not answer any of the points I'd raised, it simply said I should write to the Chief Constable of Essex, OPERATION CENTURY was an operational policing matter, H.O. Ministers could not intervene and that the writer's predecessor [para's 4.11/12 above] had outlined some of the CENTURY background previously. This letter was totally unacceptable, it could have been written by return of post back in April '98 and so I again requested a proper response to my 18 April letter, would the H.O. now acknowledge this reply and indicate its intentions. I also suggested, to apply pressure [with hindsight by a curious coincidence] that it'd crossed my mind that junior minister Boateng might have responded [as Hoey in fact would have us believe he THEN was though maybe the ground later got landscaped this way to accomodate OPERATION OMBUDSMAN].

4.16 I reminded the H.O. of Boateng's Old Labour radical ex G.L.C. civil liberties past, of the fact that Essex' s Chief Constable had already closed our correspondence and that as for Ministerial intervention in operational matters, I queried that had there not there been a ministerial meeting with the parents of Stephen Lawrence about the police mishandling of their son's case, an operational matter clearly. [In fact the Lawrence Enquiry was set up at the Home Secretary's behest]. A reply came by return simply saying: "YOUR COMMENTS HAVE BEEN NOTED AND WILL BE CONSIDERED IN DUE COURSE" and so another wall of silence fell. After 6 weeks, on 16 March, I wrote to H.O. junior minister Hoey asking her to chase up this latest put-down. No response. Not a dickey bird from Hoey until April 30 - the Spring Bank Holiday Saturday morning surprise described at 4.4 above. This period wasn't all bad news - I established contact with Michael Steele.

"I hope Mr Cameron will be pleased"

4.17 If certain parties had dropped over the equator I might have been. But no, thus spake the Parliamentary Ombusdfurcation gremlin on July 7 in notifying Hoey of his BIG D ['decision'] re my complaint. The outcome wasn't too surprising, I'd had a strong whiff of the Ombudsfuscation that was to come from the text of his 25 May letter advising Hoey and I how he would proceed: "Only some complaints are suitable for investigation ... each is considered carefully in order to determine whether it can be accepted for investigation ... even if a complaint is in his jurisdiction, the Ombusdfurcation [genius] needs to be satisfied [sexually] that there are reasonable prospects for a worthwhile ejaculation [outcome], and that a formal investigation is the most effective way to proceed, before he decides to pursue that rout".

4.18 He pursued his careful investigations into whether those investigations should result in my complaint being investigated! In part his "Conclusion" read: " The failings in handling Mr Cameron's correspondence by the Home Office would warrant the Ombudsman's criticism, but in the light of their reply of 29 June and apologies, I do not see that there is anything further that could be achieved for him by the Ombudsman's investigation of this matter". So the Ombudsfurker had investigated but at one and the same time would not now be investigating. The Ombudsfurker in reaching his no investigation 'decision' in concert with the H.O. pressed them to respond to one single point in my 18 April letter which either he or they had chosen

[it was about Police Regulatory Codes of Practice re Covert Operations]. He'd dropped a clanger or two on points of detail - one letter he roped in [to bolster his line of argument] was completely misplaced by a year from its actual chronological sequence. Pleased I was not.

4.19 Well in fact Hoey wrote saying she knew I'd be disappointed! And for good measure added: "you will appreciate that I do not have the authority to overturn or interfere with the Ombudsfurker's decision". The Ombudsfurker harkened back to the two February H.O. letters written during the 4 month period when Hoey was sitting on my Ombuds' Complaint [along with one of the two H.O. letters - Boateng's] and implied that they too were evidence that I hadn't been too badly done by. Hoey informed me [with apologies] that her delays etc., were due to an oversight and office inefficiency. Great! Just the stuff that Goverment Ministers are promoted to higher office for!


5.1 A change is as good as a rest and here we serve up a very different Menu. One that doesn't take months on end to scrutinise to find that only Raspberry Mist is on offer. The star of this show is Detective Supt. Ivan Dibley. He retired in April '96 having completed 32 years police service - a month or so after HIS operation, CENTURY, had been abandoned. It was Dibley who reportedly claimed when discussing with The Sun reporter how CENTURY as a tactic might be regarded: "WE'RE BREAKING NEW GROUND. With 32 years coppering behind him he may be taken to know although I wouldn't take this too far because what follows [ @ 5.4/ 5.5] strongly reminds me of 1964 and the corruptly ruthless Thief-Taker Detective Sergeant Harold Challenor.

5.2 Nobody forced Dibley to be CENTURY's 'star'. Nobody called him up thus: "fucking step up or you'll fucking see what we can fucking do FRIEND". No there was none of that “Irish BILLY” or “Irish JOHN” FRIEND stuff. Dibley stepped into the 'SUNlight' quite willingly to defend his baby - CENTURY. He expressed certain 'concerns' about how it might come to be regarded but on balance he firmly remained gung-ho go go go for it.

5.3 Keen to learn just what Dibley's "Bizarre Plot" was all about The Sun reporter discussed Century with Dibley at length ["I researched Operation Century purely from a news point of view and felt the bizarre terror tactics used were worthy of a prominant article" .... "I had long conversations with the officer running the operation who thought they were breaking new ground"]. Stressing his ownership of CENTURY the Basildon Evening Echo, after the Rettendon Trial convictions, also profiled Dibley [see D8].

5.4 In stock stark contrast with Chief Constable John Burrow's 'threats' denials and cagey circumlocutions Dibley told it to The Sun reporter like it was: "the whole purpose of the exercise was to threaten and frighten Steele and Whomes.... to try and flush them out and arrange a meeting with them, and try to get verbal admissions of what they had done .... [they typically].... had made a two fingered gesture to the rule of law. They thought they had got so powerful they were above the rules .... people [like them - typically] .... need to know there is a police force out there who are a match for anyone who wants to take them on" [Sun 'text' page 2].

5.5 That is a ruthlessly clear 'police power message' to the public and to police 'suspects' everywhere. It could so easily have fallen from the lips of Harold Challenor. Dibley opined that there might be an 'outcry' from Defence Lawyers that CENTURY's tactics were 'outrageous' but those that the police sought using tactics Dibley thought were justified "hadn't played by any rules". If they hadn't why should the police? (Challenor again). Dibley expressed concern that a Trial Judge might disapprove of CENTURY but he was obviously hopeful and police would cross that bridge if it ever came to it.

5.6 For sure there was more to it than that. Dibley well knew that CENTURY had sailed close to the wind and possibly beyond it. He brought up another [then] relatively recent covert Operation which had led to a prosecution [in September 94] which the Trial Judge firmly ruled should NOT go ahead because police tactics of the grossest kind had been deployed. Significantly Dibley made the point, that even in that terminated case, the Judge had not ruled the police malpractices illegal and so he was hoping CENTURY would somehow scrape by. .

5.7 The operation Dibley had on his mind was code named EDZELL . This extremely controversial operation was mounted in January '93 against Colin Stagg whom the Metropolitan Police 'suspected' of having murdered Rachel Nickell on Wimbledon Common in July '92. With a psychologist (Paul Britton) in the background advising the police how Stagg might be encouraged to bite and fit Britton’s souped up psychological profile, an undercover police woman code named “Lizzie James” tried to seduce incriminating information [evidence] from Stagg with ultra suggestive lurid stories/tapes about how she was turned on by sadistic sex and had actually taken part in ritual murders - including that of a mother and her child. Lizzie said both were killed by her and that she had slit the mother's throat herself. CENTURY obviously missed the boat by not having Lizzie on board!!

5.8 Perhaps we could put it like this, which isn't pitching it very high [way below top cop Burrow's theoretical horizons] Dibley hoped to scrape by. It is worth bearing in mind that in terms of sheer criminality CENTURY's terror tactics - threatened against live suspects - were of a different order from those at the heart of operation EDZELL which were retrospective sadistic fantasies intended to entrap and appeal to Stagg.

5.9 Of course gung-ho Dibley's anxieties were based on the premis that at Trial the police/prosecution would be relying on CENTURY evidence. That scenario never transpired - which must have greatly eased the position of the Judge who did NOT then have to decide on the inadmissibility of any police evidence gained by duress.

5.10 It is my guess that the canteen culture views expressed by Dibley are still far more widely held than we are led to believe. Service Delivery Standard 1.4 when adhered to does mark a change but CENTURY was a blast from what was supposed to be the past, a regressive blot.

5.11 Dibley opened up to The Sun journalist because he thought he was on safe territory, not likely to find himself in print. The journalist clearly took a very dim view of CENTURY and was moved to report views that he might not have been particularly put out by or surprised to hear in more agreeable circumstances. CENTURY had suddenly made them NEWSWORTHY.

5.12 This said the responsibilities for CENTURY's human rights abuses rest on more shoulders than Dibley's, but Dibley shows very very clearly the thinking that was driving what was going on.


6.1 One of the most interesting and extremely valuable things to come out of Colin Stagg and David Kessler's recent account of OPERATION EDZELL [in 'WHO REALLY KILLED RACHEL'] is that it lays bare just what a ruthless unprincipled ill-regulated fiasco EDZELL became. It was a curious business because unlike CENTURY this operation seems to have been very fully documented/ recorded so in that regulatory sense it wasn't faulted, but was faulted on the grave related ground that information going onto the record had not led officers in authority to abandon it when they should have. From that record it was utterly failing to meet its objective and other pre-planned criteria. Stagg and Kessler report in full [Chapter 14] the Judge's ruling when in no uncertain terms he threw out all the undercover “evidence” [so-called] and in doing so also laid into the nonsensical ingenuous submissions of Crown Counsel who were desperate to keep their ramshackle roadshow on the rails.

6.2 The Judge was scathing and stated that the police tactics were of the grossest kind, nor was he pursuaded by a quaint Crown submission that because an offence was regarded by the public as extremely serious then "more unusual forms of investigation were justified" - and there are definate echoes here of Essex' Chief Constable John Burrow - he claimed to me in writing that as a tactic CENTURY had been "unusual" - as with EDZELL police understatement was the name of the 'official' game. With CENTURY unusual meant that the rules that got on Dibley's nerves went out the window. It was Mr Challenor's exremely unusual goings on [in one case involving two deaf mutes and a defendant named Steel] that finally cooked his goose. Leafing through Mary Grigg's foxed account of the Challenor saga you find much of the same in the responses of the authorities to the CENTURY allegations - and we're 35 years on down the road.

6.3 I had put it to Burrow directly that the extreme tactics deployed during CENTURY were a complete abandonment of the Force policing policy on the 'Treatment of Persons Suspected of Commiting Offences' which enshrined a proper recognition of their basic human rights [see: SDS 1.4 at D2 - 4 of this report]. In concluding his reply [14 May '98] he tortured himself - and the truth - by dancing on a pin head to come up with: "Essex Police is, and will remain, committed to ensuring the highest principles in dealing with persons suspected of committing crimes, but this cannot prevent the legitmate investigation of serious crimes and criminals using using all methods of lawful means available". I got the distinct impression that SDS 1.4 [along with 'suspects'] got dumped overboard somewhere about mid way through that little globule.

6.4 Earlier on, in the same letter, he wrote: "I was prepared to consider the use of every legitimate, investigative option and tactic available so as to achieve a successful result". This last begs the thorny issue of legitimacy, Authorisation and legality etc., and in his next letter [29 May] he offered the following - after I'd again strongly challenged what he had permitted: "in the extreme circumstances .... the approved plan of action quite specifically sought to create a realistic scenario without direct threats being made against any individual" [Burrow's underlining]. Burrow introduces a distinction - there appear to be "threats" and "direct threats" but he never clarified what he meant - when one turns to the actual content of Steele's tape the skies are VERY CLEAR [D1].

6.5 Returning to the EDZELL ruling, to the gross police tactics, the Judge specifically pointed out that he'd accepted a Defence Counsel submission that 'a Tape' sent by the woman undercover officer to Stagg had been "disgraceful conduct" [by virtue of the extremely gross nature of its content] and interestingly we find that with CENTURY the police failed to produce Tape records for their most threatening most gross most incriminating calls - we have seen that Dibley was well up on EDZELL. I have no doubt that Burrow was well up on it too, looking back at the 1994 EDZELL ruling when Essex [and Crown Counsel] decided to play the partial not full disclosure card [re CENTURY] at Trial and when he responded to my letters.

6.6 For EDZELL the Crown tried to claim - as a basic operational principle - that Lizzie James had taken a passive [unencouraging neutral far-minded] role which the Judge in his ruling scoffed at and dismissed as bunkum.

6.7 Interestingly when I'd put to Burrow that CENTURY officers had been energetic in deploying their threatening tactics he responded very specifically to that point. He asserted that the lives of the CENTURY suspects "were not energetically threatened in any way" - of course all this goes to the nature of the police threats and the issue of direct threats.
6.8 Burrow would have known the kind of matters that came in for close scrutiny in the EDZELL ruling and he was anxiously ucovering his back but as we shall see, in due course, against the content of Steele's Tape and other details - some not in dispute - police energies WERE put into threatening Steele and Sarah Saunders - in a real sense both as individuals and as friends - and even if their threatening effects had been limited the police intention was that they should be full blown, should be fully believed.

6.9 It wasn't the case but if - instead of CENTURY - I'd got strong indications of the tactics being deployed during OPERATION EDZELL and had taken them up with the relevant police force and the Home Office - leaving to one side for the sake of the argument any pending or concluded Trial - I'd have got back the same letters fragrant with 'responsible-speak' reassurances. These would have stressed that covert operations are necessary, tackling serious/ organised crime is difficult, great judgement/experience is required and is exercised, covert operations are regulated under National Guidlines, all operations are approved at Chief Officer level, all decisions are considerd at the highest levels before being actioned, strict regulatory controls were imposed as were required in this as in all other operations, all conventional methods had been tried, this was the last available police option and Boateng would follow on to join the chorus [see D9]. The trouble is that CENTURY like EDZELL was a belly-flopper, it seems not to meet the tests and standards following from assurances like those I got re CENTURY - as are outlined above. It is just too easy for officials to trot out reams of responsible speak. Echoes of Mary Grigg.

6.10 The JUSTICE report 'UNDER SURVEILLANCE: Covert policing and Human Rights Standards" [1998] showed how open to systemmatic widespread abuse the systems of investigation, control and regulation ARE in relation to covert policing operations. The Association of Chief Police Officers' regulatory 'National Guidelines' [at the time of CENTURY] were secret, I requested the H.O. [who had so informed me] to provide an indication of the form of words that could Authorise undercover officers to make overt threats against 'suspects lives' and, of course, this has been one of the specific points which the H.O. has since been unwilling to respond to. It's not hard to guess why - because police officers don't have any covert Authority to threaten suspects lives as they did in CENTURY - even in 'extreme circumstances' that much of a 'realistic scenario' isn't on offer to police officers - which on current form is NOT the same as saying that when they do so threaten 'suspects' unlawfully something will be done about it, beyond Burrow playing games with words.

6.11 Burrow wrote that the 'authorised plan of action' permitted undercover officers to convey a 'realistic scenario without threats being made against any individual' and this suggests, if truely indicative, that his fake covert IRA terror operation was always set to sail close to the wind.

6.12 It would have been extremely instructive to have been a fly on the wall when Dibley, Burrow, 'BILLY; and 'JOHN' [the officers who role played as IRA] were plotting CENTURY. This report has claimed that CENTURY was NOT made transparent to the Trial process. Here are some points, based on detailed information provided by Michael Steele which have a bearing on the regulatory and supervisory assurances trotted out by Burrow and the H.O. officials [civil servants and junior ministers alike].

6.13 Firstly, the two undercover officers who made phone calls to Sarah Saunders and Michael Steele from Belfast, began by pre-recording the date, time and the name of the operation, where they were calling from, whom they were calling and their alias. They did NOT record their proper names, their ranks or where they were based and as noted these officers did not attend the Rettendon Trial.

6.14 Transcripts of all calls recorded by these police omit their names and to this day their names are still being with-held. It is hard to fathom any reason which would go to their credit for this and easy to see why the police might want to retain anonymity if that would help to keep them out of trouble. According to The Sun 'report' these officers were probably RUC Special Branch.

6.15 Secondly, the first two phone conversations between Steele and these undercover officers took place on 8 February '96. Steele alleges these officers propositioned him to participate in a criminal conspiracy to do with drugs trafficking which he firmly rejected. At this rejection, on that very first day, threats were made - they vowed to carry out their threats by crossing to the mainland and coming to where he lived. Neither of these calls are in Transcript form. The police claim they weren't recorded. A very curious way to start a well planned operation that was being actioned at the very highest levels throughout. Steele believes these police failures are explained by the fact that recordings would be too incriminating. More calls were made the next day, they were recorded and Transcribed. They make it plain that calls HAD taken place the previous day and that police threats HAD surfaced.

6.16 26 February 96 was an important CENTURY day. The undercover officers had previously been leaving answerphone messages for Sarah Saunders to contact them [she'd been staying elsewhere] and that evening she finally called them back and spoke to 'Billy' - she informed him she was worried for her two year old child. Billy was going to "fucking sort things out one way ot the other for 'his Firm'". THAT CALL WAS RECORDED BY THE POLICE. This officer later phoned Steele, his manner belligerent and pre planned from the outset - "we were talking to that fucking girl today ..[who?].. fucking Sarah". The call being referred to here [the one to Steele] is the death and car bomb threats call at D2. There were 2 calls that night to Steele. Neither [according to the police] were recorded - we are very fortunate that Steel did their work for them. As with the initial 8 February calls Steele believes the 26 February calls are missing because they are too incriminating. Either way this operation was hardly being properly conducted or supervised. The police still have some answering to do.


7.1 The 'cuckoo' folk were out and about [they never sleep] and you're in your Essex pad cleaning out the chickens when two Irish men from another Planet -'wee Billy' and 'John' - who you've never heard of, call you up from Belfast saying they are the I.R.A. somethng like £40,000 of their drugs dosh has been lost and YOU are responsible for it waddya gonna do about it? The 'papers are full of stories [and Editorials] reporting that 'over the water' people said to be involved with drugs are being bumped-off like flies by a clandestine organisation calling itself 'DIRECT ACTION AGAINST DRUGS' and Wee Billy and John invite you over - on your lonesome - to help sort out their probem. What do you say: I'll be right over; hold on I'm shaving or something scathingly more spartan.

7.2 They're not to be put off - sometimes they hedge that maybe YOU aren't personally responsible for their losses but either way they want and are going to get YOUR help, they are not interested to ask the police about it and you ask them again and again and again who gave them YOUR number and they stutter [cos they are the cops] "does it really matter - [yes] - well, we can tell you that when we see you" - they announce they are now prepared to 'cross the water' and meet you at any Railway Station you choose - another Dibley brainwave but you don't know that. Alas Railway Station meetings with the I.R.A. bent on chasing up £40,000 that has nothing to do with you is definately not your forte.
7.3 You naturally become slightly intrigued at all this being laid on YOU so you ask them when and where they gave £40,000 to Tate [one of the Rettendon victims] and they again chorus: "Does it really matter [yes it does] .... well, we'll tell you that when we see you". For the umpteenth time you say you don't know anything about it, its got nothing what-so-ever to do with you, don't come knocking on my door - sometimes you hang up, say fuck off, pull the plug or don't answer their persistant calls. On some calls they're so embarrased that you sense they can't cue their opening lines right as they pretend they and YOU are on welcoming familiar terms:"Hello there, Billy here Mickey, how ya doin' how's things?".

7.4 As the calls drag embarassingly on it's obvious that Wee Billy ['known to everyone at Paddy's Bar in central Belfast'] and John have lost the plot but like Lizzie James they don't want to face it, cut their losses and call it a day - which is VERY SURPRISING because the bulk [if not all - nod nod wink wink] of their calls have been recorded [by them] and sitting in their bunker with Dibley or whoever wherever listening to the play-backs they should have realised what a shambolic situation they'd ALL embroiled themselves in. You can imagine Dibley, like Challenor, taking it all rather personally.

7.5 Something is missing from the above - Wee Billy and John's fall back position when as so often happened matters became very difficult because Mickey Steele clearly wasn't playing ball and his obvious counter questions which they couldn't begin to answer [because all of what they were saying was lies - that is NOT in dispute] were a real pain in THEIR arse. The fall back position was to make threats, make it clear that the organsation would strike back, that Wee Billy and John would also strike back, that there'd be no escaping ['you'll have to emigrate'], sooner or later things would come on top, the more extreme comrades were becoming very impatient, there was a coded refrain that came up again and again and again and what it signified was 'look if you don't start taking us fucking seriously you will be fucking dealt with' - it took the form of "I did tell you Micky" or similar - not in itself on the face of it violent threatening language but signifiying that threats that had ALREADY surfaced were there very near the surface, ALWAYS in the background.

7.6 Bear in mind that Steele wasn't passive, he was often interjecting with his questions, enquiries, rebuttals and total denials and when Billy or John were stumped, they fell back on their 'threats' or 'threats refrain' and often didn't make the all the headway they may have wanted even on that tack because Steele would interject to put to them another point which flumoxed and deflected them yet again.

7.7 The characteristic processes I have described can best be seen at work in the most threatening call [D1] put through to Steele [26 February], the call Steele managed to tape. By this time Steele had clearly had enough of it - previously, for the most part, he had kept his cool and not allowed himself to be provoked but during the call mentioned above he argued back and ridiculed his caller from sheer exasperation and as you can see the undercover threats against him became ever more violent and foul mouthed. The officer who made this call [Billy] had clearly pre-planned to come across as belligerant, foul mouthed and threatening from his very first words, from the very outset. There is the real possibility that he lost control which aside from having behaved criminally begs other matters/questions [see 7. 8 below].
7.8 Of course there was much more detail to the undercover plot/calls than I have included above but for the purposes of this report it is NOT necessary to recount that level of detail. It was essentially a crass operation and never had a cats chance in hell of working and backfiring like an old banger it should have been taken off the road. Given the serious accusations which I'd made in all my letters to Burrow he tried to absolve the police by asserting that his officers could not have been expected to know how Steele or Saunders would be affected by the tactics.

7.9 When you take Burrow's theory and spotlight it back onto the police themselves you wonder if he or any of his supervisory officers were themselves able to predict what the reactions of would be terrorists Wee Billy and John would be as they played out their frustrating hopeless CENTURY roles.

7.10 If Burrow and Co. had the necessary experience, imagination and judgement to handle that problem how did we get to the scenario of car bomb death threats being laid against Steele [D1] when the police claim that this was quite specifically PLANNED OUT of their Authorised operation? It was police sloppiness and lack of judgement that shone out from operation EDZELL and I reckon the same goes for CENTURY.


8.1 Using precisely the same wording the H.O. in April 98 and this year [Boateng - D9] has claimed "ALL CONVENTIONAL METHODS HAD BEEN EXHAUSTED AND A COVERT OPERATION WAS THE LAST OPTION TO INFILTRATE THE CRIMINAL NETWORK". Although Essex Police are now setting CENTURY in a broader less make-or-break context [see D/8/3 - point 5] the H.O. information must have come from somewhere and it surely must have been from the police when the H.O. made its initial enquiries. The H.O. claim needs addressing. Dibley told the 'Echo [D8] "WHEN YOU HAVE NO EVIDENCE YOU HAVE NO CHOICE". In my own judgement CENTURY was never realistically a last option, it was simply down to Dibley whose weight and influence in Essex C.I.D. was permitted to prevail and become the governing influence.

8.2 Remember that CENTURY was targetted at only Sarah Saunders and Steele [Dibley claimed [5.4] that its purpose was also to frighten and threaten Whomes - but that is Dibley after the event getting carried away - like Steele, Whomes wasn't arrested until mid May 96 and nothing in the information I've seen points to Whomes being on the receiving end of CENTURY. Operation EDZELL was supposed to allow Stagg to eliminate himself from police suspicion but it was never allowed to do that and although the police are claiming at times the same for CENTURY'S suspects its likely that that would have not have been a police agenda item had CENTURY continued.

8.3 The idea behind CENTURY was to get a meet with Steele or Saunders - or use Saunders to get to Steele and hopefully they would incriminate themselves in the Rettendon Murders - whether a meet if it had ever happened would have assisted the police in any way is extremely doubtful. Firstly, in relation to Steele and Saunders - especially Saunders given that she was the mother of Tate's young son - what conventional methods had been tried and had failed? The H.O.[police] police strategy implies that she was beyond reach of that for unstated reasons.

8.4 Saunders was in touch with the police, I have seen POLICE witness statements, she was approachable and when she became terrified by all the news she was hearing from Steele and his partner about the IRA threats from Billy and John [and from their 26 February etc., direct contact with her] she went to the police herself [to an officer she'd known over time - the officer who made the above witness statement] to seek police advice and protection - that doesn't suggest she was someone beyond reach.

8.5 According to Steele, before his arrest in mid May 96, ostensibly on a drugs related matter, there was NO attempt made in any shape or form by Dibley's Rettendon investigators to contact him in connction with their enquiries. Maybe conventional police methods means something very obscure - and given that Dibley has claimed that Steele was one of his main 'suspects' from day one - you wonder - CENTURY or no CENTURY- what was really going on.

8.6 If CENTURY really was the police last hope [as per the H.O./police claim] then the Lord in Heaven Bless Us All. Just look at the shambles and utter failure that it was. Steele and Whomes [as mentioned] strongly protest that they're innocent and an investigative journalist on the Daily Mail recently ran five full pages on Rettendon which strongly challenged their convictions and suggested that the police had got the wrong people. The Mail also reported that - in January 96 - before CENTURY was mounted - the police had had a Rettendon confessional witness statement from a 'suspect' which directly fingered others as the Rettendon killers - not Steele OR Whomes.

8.7 The January 96 witness statement which the police got [from a 'suspect' who they'd arrested] is interesting, because you might think that when the H.O. claims CENTURY as the final option nothing helpful would otherwise come to light, the police would shut up shop and go home. On 7 March 96 The Guardian ran a long feature item about Rettendon in its supplement section - this would have been ten days after Billy's D2 'car bomb death threats' CENTURY call. By that date Dibley's last ditch 'option' [CENTURY] had all but been abandoned. Knowing nothing of CENTURY 'The Guardian' feature ends on a revealing note: "Dibley remains strangely bullish". It then quoted Dibley as follows: "we're not frustrated..... I'm happy with how our inquiry is proceeding, and I'm hopeful of arrests before I retire. That's how I would want to end my 32-year career". STRANGELY BULLISH. This again recalls to my reports about Challenor's demeanour.

8.8 It's a nonesense that CENTURY was the only option - and even if it were it's practioners were not entitled to ignore 'suspects' human rights and make criminal threats against them. This is in fact the truely fundamental issue at the very heart of CENTURY - not whether the police may use covert methods etc., though if they are going to role-play as TERRORISTS that must be an extremely dangerous strategy. Consider too the means by which a case WAS finally laid against Steele and Whomes - an associate of Steele's [Nicholls] got in really big police trouble, under arrest he requested to see a senior officer about another matter and confessed to Rettendon to help himself. [After the Rettendon Trial convictions Det. Supt. Brian Storey to the press that he could not comment on Nicholls evidence - a touch unusual, in the silence I thought I heard a bent pin drop].

dibley's drivers

8.9 I call Nicholls 'Dibley's Driver' and am rather curious about the way Dibley said he'd predicted the Rettendon Case would be cracked. [I naively thought his Warrant Card was on Billy and John from 'over-the-water']. Dibley told The People [25 January 98] that there is a class of crime, a category of crime, a type of crime of which Rettendon was one, in which major criminals behave in a predictable way. He opined that with a crime like Rettendon, which was typical of others he had in mind [which I would dearly love to have had details of] the killers would not have driven themselves away from the scene after doing what they had. I'm sceptical but Dibley said proudly that all he'd therefore needed was a body who'd put his hands up to being the Rettendon driver and lo and behold that was exactly what came about. Nicholls had unwittingly been the driver on the night, he hadn't seen the killings occur but SteeIe and Wholmes made numerous incriminating comments afterwards - the police had their case, Nicholls
would do very little porridge and now he's using the alias Bertie Smalls - Dibley. Rettendon didn't need an operation like CENTURY after all. We should all claim a refund - or a chauffeur - from Essex Police.


9.1 Relatively speaking of course nobody very much has been complaining about CENTURY though they damned well ought to be. In drawing this report to an end we can track a little along two trails on this theme.

the corny trail

9.2 The corny trail is of course the official Police Complaints sytem. If there are human rights grievances arising from the tactics used against CENTURY suspects there is the good old official Police Complaints system.

9.3 EPA, Burrow, the H.O. [Uncle Tom Cobley and All] make this formal Police Complaints system point, one or more of them stressing again and again [with a sneaking satisfaction no doubt] that NO complaint has been lodged. As mentioned in passing earlier [2.3] Steele had previously complained officially about an Essex Police vendetta against him. It had proved a total waste of time.

9.4 The Chair of Essex Police Authority ignored a broad hint I dropped to him that there was a move begun by February 98 for Constabularies to establish their own in-house proactive anti police curruption teams - which, after all - if one existed at Essex - could easily have been rooting among the flies buzzing circling around CENTURY.

9.5 Whereas Burrow replied in some detail to 2 of the 3 letters I wrote to him Essex's new Chief Constable, David Stevens, in June of this year refused to allow his head of CID to respond to my more fully detailed CENTURY concerns - these I'd been able to base on information provided by Michael Steele [points like those made in para's 7.8 to 7.10 of this report and details of the violent threats set down on D2 along with Burrow's denials also set out on D2]. Hoey had sent these to him on my behalf stating that they were "serious concerns" [D8/2 at A]. The brief police response [D8/2 at B] claimed they were now matters "strictly between themselves and Michael Steel" [though Steele provided the details having been advised beforehand that I would pursue matters]. Of course Dibley may boast to the media about CENTURY and Steele's locii in his [Dibley's] various schemes - that's quite okay, rock on Dib's you're a swell guy, one of us, drop by any time. Steele has been told he's getting no information either - see D8/3 - at point 1].
9.6 Hoey accepted the police position that it would be inappropriate to further discus CENTURY with me ['a third party']. She also stressed she'd now done all she could [see D8/2 at C]. [Not something I hadn't heard before]. I hope she's as easily put off when she's chasing those [Essex?] Foxes. I believe her gesture in forwarding my 'concerns' to Esssex Police was largely tokenistic - by that time the H.O. had insisted that I should write to Essex Police not them, Hoey was herself a junior minister and had informed me that she supported the H.O. stance and, like the H.O. she also knew that Essex Police [Burrow] had closed the correspondence with me the year before [see D1].

9.7 This was the context in which Hoey offered to refer any concerns I still had to Essex. I took up her offer because I had the harder information I've described and by putting them to the cops in writing via her she couldn't then deny that she too knew what had gone on. So when Hoey sided with the police response and put up the shutters it was disappointing in principle but not very surprising in practice.

9.8 Not much chance of junior minister Hoey suggesting that Essex might be pressed to pursue an in-house proactive police integrity investigation into CENTURY. That is what I am continuing to press for, especially since the publication in June by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary of "POLICE INTEGRITY: securing and maintaining public confience". This report quite specifically recommended that all Constabularies must establish and operate effective proactive in-house integrity teams - to root out wrongdoing - at the present time a request made to Essex for information on its 'proactive' commitments has drawn a total blank.

9.9 Burrow's letters insisting that CENTURY was a squeaky clean operation of the highest policing standards, that individual 'suspects' were not threatened and no one is complaining anyway were a touch sick. Not much of a fat chance that the likes of Burrow would instigate an in-house proactive investigation. On the CENTURY experiences of Sarah Saunders Burrow was only able to manage that she'd become "anxious" but had now [May 98] accepted that the police tactics had been legitimate - I might believe the latter if I got it direct from her but wouldn't remotely agree with it - as for her having been merely "anxious" this marries in neatly with his understatment that CENTURY was merely "unusual".

9. 10 The threats against Saunders were less severe in certain senses than they were against Steele. For a start the calls put through to her were taken on an answerphone - she was staying elsewhere - and if she had taken them directly or had returned Billy and John's repeat messages she may have fared far worse than she did. In any case the threatening tactics used against Steele were intended to put Saunders in fear too because the police calculation had been that she would be learning about what was going on from Steele - as indeed she was because she, he and his partner were good friends. It is clear from information in The Sun 'text' and from Echo trial reports [D5 and D6} that Saunders was put in very great fear by the CENTURY tactics - that was why she contacted the police after the 26 February call to seek their advice and protection - what their terrorist response was is clearly reported in the Echo. Saunders was seriously 'complaining' about the police when she didn't actually know it was them who were terrorising her. Burrow's repeated claims that no one was complaining were largely ingenuous rubbish - Steel and Saunders had been complaining very loud and clear.

9.11 I've hardly touched on the responses I got from Essex Police Authority. Anyone thinking of writing to a P.A. should think very carefully because they are a very fragile breed needing lots of beauty sleep, even a small window left open inadvertently and they'd never survive in the wild - a breeze entering their habitat could even prove fatal.

9.12 When I wrote to E.P.A. I didn't expect much at all, there was even a chance the shock of getting my unexpected and critical letters might have killed a few of them off. Each year the annually published Essex Policing Plan exhorts the police to detect as much serious crime as they can and a polite E.P.A. reply cited that 'Aim' set against the bare fact of the Rettendon convictions, it was all history in their favour now, CENTURY'S excesses were consigned to one side, The Sun's report was deemed ingenuous, if evidence HAD been obtained using the tactics it described it would not have been admissable. H.M.I.C. in its "INTEGRITY" report apprehensively recommends that relations between P.A's and Chief Constables should be a little less defensive but I think that's just so much highly dangerous talk. Hoey, who WAS initially taken by surprise by The Sun report said [because I made a point of pressing her for a view] that she'd taken on board its seriousness but thought the E.P.A. response was the best that could be managed.

the civil liberties trail

9.13 The question that needs posing is: where have all the 70s 80s flowers gone? It is only too obvious where ex GLC police-accountability 'guru' Boateng has gone. I confess to being damaged stock too - after having gorged myself on and, gotten the taste for the good life campaigning around the misuse by the Police and the Courts of identification evidence in criminal cases. I remember at first hand as though it were not that long ago the headline days of the Free George Davis Campaign. With that campaign we totally eclipsed the Criminal Justice System. We beat it fair and square, my meaning being not that we hoodwinked it, we won what we rightfully should have.

9.14 Looking around now the civil-liberties police-accountability monitoring networks have been degraded and decimated. In the old Up Against the Law days there is no way that Essex Police would not have been dead-on in the firing line for trying on an operation like CENTURY. Looking around nowadays not much seems to be going on on the civil liberties front. I contacted 'STATEWATCH' early in 98 about CENTURY hoping very much that they'd muck in and lend a hand but it was strictly a no go show - they insisted that CENTIURY was 'casework' and they, didn't you just know it, don't do casework only 'policy' work. I don't think they have set up office on Eurostar - not yet.

9.15 Dibley should be proved dead right on one thing only - that the tactics deployed in OPERATION CENTURY are regarded as absolutely OUTRAGEOUS and unacceptible. That the police are not going to be given the freedom to run their own little in-house covert terrorist operations against 'suspects'. Believe me there could be other strangely bullish cops latching onto what went down in CENTURY and making a note that Essex got away with it - as Dibley had clocked OPERATION EDZELL. Dibley and all the other officers responsible for CENTURY should be identified and run to ground - by which I mean brought to account like the gentleman below was in the Sixties.

9.16 It would be unchivalrous not to give the final word to everybody's "Uncle" Det. Sgt. Harold Challenor [ex S.A.S.]: "... a detective can't pick and choose his cases..... there was one occasion after I had helped break a very vicous ring that I visited them in the cells after they'd been given hefty sentences. I told them that if they ever returned to the West End ... I would kill them and then assist in the investigation which would establish they were the victims of gang warfare. ..... I have only the vaguest recollection of the night I was escorted into Netherne Mental Hospital, although it had an indelible impact on the staff. I signalled my disapproval by smashing my fist through a large window and breaking the glass cover of a fire alarm which brought out the internal fire brigade". ['TANKY CHALLENOR: My Life as an Electric Light'. 1990. pages 154/159].

Friday, 4 January 2008


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