A Note on Police “Whistleblowers” and the IICSA

A recent Notice of Determination on the website of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA):

An application was made on behalf of retired Detective Constable Margaret Oliver, retired Detective Constable John Wedger and retired Detective Superintendent Peter Jackson for core participant status in the Accountability and Reparations investigation on 14 May 2018.

In their application for core participant status it is stated that Ms Oliver, Mr Wedger and Mr Jackson together have decades of experience as police officers specialising in the detection and investigation of child sexual abuse and are able to give direct and highly relevant evidence regarding the culture, practice and policy of policing across England and Wales in relation to child sexual abuse. It is further submitted that Ms Oliver, Mr Wedger and Mr Jackson are able to give such evidence with an independence that a serving officer could not.

…The general issues that will form the primary focus of the case studies are referred to in the Final Notice of Determination dated 8 June 2018. While this list of issues is not exclusive and some flexibility is required, the Inquiry will not examine the operation of the criminal justice system, including the disputed actions or omissions of the police.

Oliver played a significant role in bringing the Rochdale “grooming gang” to justice, since when she has become a celebrity: she was portrayed by Lesley Sharp in last year’s Three Girls BBC dramatisation, and earlier this year she was a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother. She resigned from the force in 2012, and last year she told the Daily Express that this had been because of bullying by Greater Manchester Police (GMP).

Jackson is also a former GMP officer; indeed, he was the head of the force’s Major Incident Team. He retired in February 2017 “in disgust”, according to the Daily Mail, which described how he had been investigated for “inappropriate involvement” in an inquiry into a serious street assault against his own son that happened in 2014. Jackson was allegedly told by the investigating officers that “there was no cctv and no lines of inquiry outstanding”, which turned out to be completely untrue. A local business had a camera that was clearly visible at the location of the assault, and Jackson was able to recover footage that led to a conviction.

Jackson has also made other allegations against the GMP, which were reported by the Manchester Evening News in June 2017 after the Independent Police Complaints Commission ruled that they did not amount to misconduct. One allegation related to a decision to dispose of body parts GMP “had retained of killer GP Harold Shipman’s victims without telling their families”, while others related to two covert operations, “one of which involved officers watching as a suspected paedophile walked into a property with two youngsters”. According to the MEN, the IPCC

concluded the decision not to intervene was ‘in line with investigative strategy’, although the planning and implementation of the operation could amount to misconduct.

GMP subsequently held misconduct meetings for two detectives, but they were cleared of wrong-doing.

In the third strand of its probe, the IPCC found a DCI had ‘demonstrated naivety’ in mounting a covert operation on a gang of robbers who were seen going into a Stockport pub.

Jackson afterwards wrote up his complaint in an unpublished report called “Rotten to the Core”, which he sent to Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Manchester. This then formed the basis for an article that appeared in The Times this summer, which included the detail that

In an embarrassing blunder… staff at the Greater Manchester combined authority who received the dossier forwarded it to the GMP without Jackson’s permission.

Last week, a follow-up in the The Times reported that GMB Chief Constable Ian Hopkins had been accused by Jackson of “misleading the public” over the “suspected paedophile” investigation.

Wedger, in contrast to Oliver and Jackson, was (or perhaps nominally still is) with the Metropolitan Police. He claims to have been victimised for uncovering paedophile rings, although details remain vague. He is also part of the “alternative media” conspiracy milieu, and he currently spends his time making videos that promote claims about “VIP sex abuse cover-ups” and even Satanic Ritual Abuse. In July, Oliver and Wedger appeared together at a “police whistleblowers’ meeting in Manchester, and Oliver expressed her warm regards for Wedger in a brief video made by a conspiracy theorist named Anna Brees.

Jackson’s Twitter feed suggests that he also supports Wedger, but this implies some tensions. For example, one Tweet RTed by Jackson, by Neil Wilby, asks “How can chief constables who tell lies, such as Ian Hopkins and Mike Veale (to name just two), even remain in police service. Let alone high office?” Wedger, in contrast, believes that Veale was targeted over his mobile phone story for having exposed Edward Heath’s involvement in Satanic Ritual Abuse.

One wonders where these police whistleblowers stand on the police fiasco of Operation Midland, and the effect it had on DCI Paul Settle – one persecuted whistleblower who seems to have disappeared from view.