Avon & Somerset Chief Constable Colin Port 'ruling by decree'
south west |
Wednesday August 13, 2008 17:56 by Tony Gosling
The regional ITV and BBC newsrooms have been buzzing over the last two months with threatening legal letters from lawyers Carter Ruck, all paid for with public money and attempting to gag the press from criticising Somerset County Council, Chief Constable Colin Port and his wife Susan Barnes. Both are party to what must be the dodgyest PPP privatisation contract ever signed in the UK.
Avon & Somerset police's 'corrupt' Chief Constable Colin Port
Under a freedom of information request it has just been disclosed that £90,000 of public money was paid by Chief Constable Colin Port to lawyers Carter Ruck in an attempt to stop Bristol's TV and Radio stations reporting on the IBM/Southwest One contract in which he and his wife had a direct interest. His wife Sue Barnes has been paid £200,000 in salary and fees alone as part of the deal.
Initially Bridgewater's plucky Tory MP Ian Liddell-Grainger used parliamentary privilege to kick up a fuss about the SouthWest One contract in the House of Commons and he appears to now be having a running battle with various grey-faced officials which can be followed on his blog. They are trying to cover up all details of this bent contract.
Meanwhile gagging order emails have been issued over the same period from Colin Port's Portishead HQ to all lower ranking and senior officers in Avon and Somerset constabulary warning officers not to speak to anyone at BBC Broadcasting House, Whiteladies Road. This followed BBC Crime Correspondant Steve Brodie's reporting of allegations of Colin Port's corruption which were made by Ian Liddell-Grainger MP in the House of Commons under parliamentary privilege. Brodie and the BBC being 'punished' by Port simply for doing their job. Port is using public money to save his crashing credibility as for him the public purse is a limitless pot into which he can dip in a vain attempt to gag the press. This has, according to sources at the BBC, 'seriously affected our crime reporting in the region'.
Senior officers of Inspector level and above in Avon and Somerset police are 'exasperated' that they are being sporadically banned from speaking to local press about important matters, under threat of disciplinary action, because of what one officer called a 'personal spat' between Colin Port and local broadcasters.
In the last two weeks Colin Port's attention has switched to ITV West who, on July 24th 2008, transmitted an electrifying West Eye View investigative documentary entitled Public Service, Private Gain. ITV-West's reporting of all crime issues in the region has now been 'severely curtailed', again due to emails issued by Colin Port's office in Porishead.
The Bristol Evening Post appears to have taken the part of the 'corrupt' Chief Constable in this and has been chillingly silent on the region's biggest public interest scandal over the last six months, preferring to let crucial pieces of evidence of Port's corruption slip out unnoticed in the final paragraphs of innocent looking articles with bland headlines which are quickly removed from the Evening Post's website. Editor Mike Norton is spending his valuable time instead, identifying NUJ officials and activists and getting them 'constructively dismissed'.
How long can Avon & Somerset's Chief Constable continue in his six figure public office job when his own malfeasance in office has been exposed? Signing a 'corrupt' contract with a Nazi Holocaust corporation which personally benefits his wife? Also considering the fact that he has neither the confidence of his senior and middle ranking officers nor of the local media and is running the force as if he were the Sherriff of Nottingham, and Avon & Somerset his private fiefdom?
To watch the West Eye View documentary see also
and click on
West Eye View
Public Service, Private Gain.
Ian Liddell-Grainger's blog - Roger Kershaw and Alan Jones have, once again, conspired to prevent me seeing the relevant parts of the SouthWest One contract. But this time Kershaw was stupid enough to send written proof of the cover-up.
Holocaust Engineers now control Avon & Somerset Police Support Services
Wife of Avon & Somerset Police Chief bags privatised force job
Documentary on IBM £400m deal - a summary
Malfeasance in public office
Colin Port's wife Sue Barnes who has already benefited to the tune of £200k