West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: “Last week I made a very difficult decision to suspend the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner.
“I made the decision after a senior officer from the force contacted me setting out how the unexpected actions of a member of my staff may have interfered with and disrupted a highly complex and sensitive criminal investigation. This is the first time I have ever received such a letter. The oath of office for police and crime commissioners says I must never “interfere with the operational independence of police officers”. This is a golden rule for PCCs and our offices. The police have to be able to get on with catching criminals and preventing crime without interference. Following that contact, I decided to act.
It is not in dispute that the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner visited the family of a victim of a murder. The family have my deepest sympathies at this most awful time, and I sincerely hope that all those involved are brought to justice. Such visits are allowed, of course, but there has been an understood practice for some years that, before such a visit, the police should be informed, so as to ensure that the police investigation team are aware and there is no risk of the visit compromising the investigation, nor to those making the visit. All it takes is a phone call.
We refreshed our approach to such visits just a few weeks ago, exactly to ensure that if visits like this take place they do so without causing problems for the investigators.
It is alleged that the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner did not make contact with the police or my office before making this visit. Unauthorised visits can lead to serious consequences that negatively affect investigations. This serious breach of protocol, if proven, could have potentially hindered and jeopardised a complex, sensitive and on-going murder investigation. The potential impact could hardly be greater. I cannot release further details as to do so would potentially cause more damage to the investigation than has already been reported to me by the force.
These are serious allegations, and an internal disciplinary process is underway. This process will get to the bottom of what happened and why it happened.”Back to News Archive