10 Apr Recidivist Hogan-Howe Breaches Police Regulations Again

Keep Looking Over Your Shoulder Sir Bernard.  We're After You! Keep Looking Over Your Shoulder Sir Bernard. We’re After You!

It will be no surprise that The Mayor’s Office of Policing and Crime (MOPAC) has rejected my complaint against the Commissioner of the Metropolis, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe.

See the original complaint here: Britain’s Most Senior Police Officer Or A ‘Drug War’ Politician?

There’s no doubt that Sir Bernard was involving himself in politics when he rambled on about skunk back in January and that is forbidden by police regulations. I didn’t expect MOPAC to agree. What does surprise me though is its description of my complaint as ‘fanciful‘. I rather think it’s fanciful of Sir Bernard to think he can get away with it!

I have therefore submitted an appeal to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). You can be certain that we shall pursue it as hard as we possibly can.

But Sir Bernard has been at it again!

This time, in his Operation Hawk, designed to persecute cannabis users and harvest the low-hanging fruit which some coppers prefer rather than dealing with violence and organised crime. He’s now falsifying scientific evidence and making up stories to support his deep-seated prejudice and hatred of cannabis users.

I have submitted a further complaint to MOPAC.

—– Original Message —–
From: Peter Reynolds
To: Jason Collins
Sent: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 2:20 PM
Subject: Further complaint against Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Bernard Hogan Howe

Dear Mr Collins,

Thank you for your email of 13th March 2013.

I reject in the strongest possible terms MOPAC’s description of my complaint as “fanciful“. I consider this to be an abusive and vexatious response to an extremely serious complaint.

I can confirm that an appeal has been filed with the IPCC.

Regrettably, I see that Sir Bernard has repeated his misconduct in further false and misleading statements and politicking in the Evening Standard on 27th March 2013. I therefore set out a further complaint below in similar form.

COMPLAINT

My complaint concerns statements made by the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Bernard Hogan Howe, and published in the Evening Standard of 27th March 2013. His conduct amounts to politicking and misleading the public and is in breach of police regulations. The article is available online: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/police-seize-100-drugs-suspects-but-not-on-bernard-hoganhowes-raid-8551542.html

I make the complaint on my own account but also in my capacity as the leader of Cannabis Law Reform (CLEAR), a UK political party, of 42-46, Bethel Street, Norwich, NR2 1NR. For the purposes of correspondence, please contact me via email.

I am a victim of misconduct by Hogan-Howe which has caused me distress at his misuse of his office to promote myth, prejudice and propaganda about cannabis and hatred of cannabis users as a social group. I am also acting on behalf of more than 20,000 registered supporters of CLEAR who are victims of Hogan-Howe’s misconduct for the same reasons, particularly those who need cannabis as medicine for the treatment of conditions such as MS, Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, spinal injury, epilepsy and chronic pain.

Hogan-Howe is reported as saying:

1. “If kids take it (cannabis) under the age of 16, they are six times more likely to develop psychotic behaviour in later life.”

2. “People are stealing to pay for it.”

3. “This stuff can make people violent, particularly if it is combined with alcohol.”

These are false, inaccurate and misleading statements which attempt to deceive the public that Hogan-Howe is an expert in the subject and that the public can rely on the accuracy and veracity of what he says. They seek to support the failed government policy of prohibition of cannabis and demonstrate quite clearly that Hogan-Howe is engaging in politics from which police officers are prohibited under schedule 1 of the Police Regulations 2003.

In making these statements, Hogan-Howe has acted dishonestly, without integrity, fairness and impartiality. He has abused his authority by making statements which, as the UK’s most senior police officer, he knows that the public are likely to believe without question. He has also acted in a way that discredits the police service and will undermine public confidence.

It is clear from these and many previous statements that Hogan-Howe harbours a deep seated prejudice against cannabis users which goes far beyond any reasonable or proportionate response to the fact that, presently, its possession or cultivation is prohibited. He exhibits an extraordinary determination repeatedly to misinform, mislead, exaggerate, sensationalise and falsify information about cannabis. This cannot be justified by his duty to enforce the present law.

1. There is no evidence to suggest that taking cannabis under the age of 16 produces a six-fold increase in the risk of developing psychotic behaviour in later life. The greatest increase in risk suggested by any study is four-fold so, at best, Hogan-Howe is cherry picking a single study and then exaggerating and falsifying its results. Hogan-Howe is neither a scientist nor a doctor and he is misleading the public about a subject which he has no legitimate place to comment on.

What all the evidence does show is that children are the only group at any significant risk of any harm from cannabis. Therefore, the best way to protect children would be to take control of the £6 billion cannabis market out of the hands of criminals and control and regulate it accordingly. However, as a police officer, Hogan-Howe has a vested interest in the cannabis market remaining in the hands of criminals as this increases crime and provides employment for him and his colleagues. It is therefore completely improper for him to be commenting on the subject.

2. There is no evidence that people are stealing to pay for cannabis. Hogan-Howe might be able to advance a few anecdotes to support this claim but there is no credible evidence to suggest that cannabis is a cause of acquisitive crime any more than any other commodity for which there is a huge public demand. In contrast, there is of course a great deal of evidence to show that people do steal in order to pay for alcohol, heroin, cocaine and other addictive and dangerous drugs.

In its last report on cannabis, the government’s appointed team of experts, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) stated:

“The evidence available to the Council does not suggest that cannabis use is a substantial cause of acquisitive crime (Section 9.3)”

Cannabis: Classification and Public Health, 12.13, ACMD 2008

No further evidence has been published since on this subject which could cause any reasonable person to take a different view. In fact, acquisitive crime has decreased and so has cannabis use. .

This is false, misleading and blatant politicking by Hogan-Howe, intended to promote hatred of cannabis users as a social group.

3. There is no evidence at all that use of cannabis makes people violent. Indeed, exactly the opposite is the case with dozens of studies showing that it produces a sedative or tranquilising effect. There is some evidence to show that people involved in illegal drug markets have a propensity to violence but there is no link to the use of cannabis.

There is of course a large quantity of evidence showing that alcohol induces violent behaviour.

The ACMD states:

“Anti-social behaviour is an unlikely consequence of the known psychological effects of cannabis. In the opinion of experts on the Council, anti-social behaviour is probably largely exacerbated by alcohol”

Cannabis: Classification and Public Health, 12.14, ACMD 2008

I accept that Hogan-Howe has a duty to uphold the law as it presently stands, It is however entirely improper for him to engage in politicking, scaremongering, the promotion of myth, prejudice and propaganda. The public are likely to be alarmed by his words which are clearly intended to cause fear, consternation and hatred of cannabis users as a social group.

He is in breach of schedule 1 of the Police Regulations 2003 which states:

“A member of a police force shall at all times abstain from any activity which is likely to interfere with the impartial discharge of his duties or which is likely to give rise to the impression amongst members of the public that it may so interfere; and in particular a member of a police force shall not take any active part in politics.”

I would be grateful if you would deal with this complaint at your earliest convenience. I shall be happy to provide any further information required or to give oral evidence in support.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Reynolds