05 Mar IPCC Upholds CLEAR Appeal Against Avon and Somerset Police

In January, a cocky, self-publicising cop from Bath published a typically ignorant piece of anti-cannabis scaremongering in his local paper.

PC Adge Secker wrote, amongst other nonsense, that “on average” cannabis plants are worth £1000 each, that

“kids as young as 10 get hooked”

and that it

“…causes psychotic episodes so terrible that people throw themselves off buildings”.

CLEAR submitted a formal complaint to the Professional Standards department of Avon and Somerset Police.   We described the article as

“full of exaggeration, falsehood and distortion”

and said

“it is wholly wrong and unprofessional for any police officer to engage in this political debate and amounts to misconduct”.

Avon and Somerset Police rejected our complaint, described it as

“fanciful”

and refused to record it or investigate it any further. Another article was published in the same local newspaper headlined  “Bath police officer’s views on cannabis backed by Avon and Somerset Police”.  The editor of the Bath Chronicle, Alex Brown, had already taken sides and supported this police misconduct writing that

“any suggestion that he shouldn’t have an opinion and shouldn’t speak out is ridiculous”

But the fact is that police officers are prohibited from engaging in politics for very good reason.

Twerton beat manager Adge SeckerTwerton beat manager Adge Secker (Picture BathChronical)

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has now upheld our appeal. Avon and Somerset Police must now record and investigate the complaint.

The IPCC’s decision states:

“a reasonable person could share your general view that the officer has used his position to publish inaccurate information and enter into a political debate”.

It doesn’t mean we have won but it does mean we have forced this police force to take us seriously. Now PC Secker’s misconduct in telling porkies to support his political opinion will have to be investigated.  The rules of evidence will apply and we have a very strong case.

Most important of all, making complaints like this deters other police officers from engaging in such propaganda exercises.  CLEAR followers will recall that in 2013 we ran a series of similar complaints against Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.  In the end our complaints weren’t upheld but Sir Bernard has never since voiced his jaundiced opinions or pushed his anti-cannabis agenda.  That is the result we wanted.