Jacob Williams
Monday 14th April, 2014

Self-publishers

Self-publishers

Readers will remember that my interest in the promotional spending returns submitted by candidates standing in the 2012 Pembrokeshire County Council election was sparked by the Ombudsman’s Partygate investigation and its conclusion.

The authority’s Standards Committee found deputy council leader and cabinet member Cllr. Rob Lewis guilty of all counts levelled at him by the Ombudsman for improperly using council computer equipment for political purposes. The committee then handed down a fortnight’s suspension.

By sheer serendipity, no less, Cllr. Lewis’ two week suspension is just beginning – during most of which the municipal side of county council business will be on its Easter break.

Cllr. Lewis designed election leaflets for candidates standing for his ruling party, the Independent Political Group, using Microsoft Word on his council computer. He then sent those Word documents off to Clive James Design and Print who firstly created professional proofs for the thumbs up, and then, you would have thought, went ahead and printed them. That’s exactly the suggestion that was made to the Ombudsman on more than one occasion, but the evidence trail I’ve been following doesn’t corroborate this version of events. As far as Clive James Design and Print is concerned, the trail is practically non-existent.

A thorough report was presented to the Standards Committee off the back of the Ombudsman’s investigation into Partygate, and at Appendix I in the case file is a contemporaneous note written by the investigating officer following a telephone call he received from Clive James on the morning of 6th February 2013. It reads:

“In response to an email, Mr Clive James, t/a Clive James Design & Print [contact details] called and said that he has printed many items for Cllrs employing a QuarkXpress 7.31 system. Willing to provide a statement.”

Even the sloppy linguists adorning the council’s cabinet would have to concede that “many items” and “Cllrs” (plural) refers to more councillors than just Rob Lewis. Or, in a way renowned maths guru Cllr. Huw George might better understand, it could be represented by: x + y, where x is Rob Lewis and y represents an unknown quantity of additional councillors.

Yet what was funny, during my visit to the council’s elections unit, was that none of the candidates who stood in the 2012 election disclosed any payment to Clive James Design and Print apart from Cllr. Peter Stock. Not even Cllr. Rob Lewis, despite him telling the Ombudsman that he paid Clive James roughly ‘£90-£100’ for printing his election leaflets.

I delved through all candidates’ financial returns to see what they spent on promoting themselves, and where they spent it, with particularly close attention to the candidates whose literature was created using council computers and featured in the Ombudsman’s evidence.

The conspicuous absence of any mention of Clive James Design and Print among these candidates’ declarations (apart from Cllr. Peter Stock’s) didn’t sit very well with Clive James’ own remarks to the Ombudsman that he printed “many items” for “Cllrs,” nor with an answer given by Rob Lewis’ during a formal grilling he had with the Ombudsman.

Cllr. Lewis was asked by the interviewer if he was “part and parcel of the process of employing Clive James [for all of the candidates]…” whereupon he told the Ombudsman “That was up to the individuals what they did, the individuals concerned.”

I’ve already shown you what the Frayling brothers claimed they spent, but as you’re about to see, they weren’t the only inkjet warriors battling away with reams of paper in the run-up to the 2012 election. They were joined by several of their fellow Cleddau Jedis. Old Grumpy’s latest effort shows there’s something smelly to be found in the spending return submitted by the ecclesiastical cabinet member, Cllr. Huw George, who ordered his printer cartridges from ‘StinkyInk.com.’

The infamous number-crunching clergyman didn’t disappoint those wanting to witness more of his mathematical prowess, either, as he managed to make a complete balls-up of the simple arithmetic involved in totting up his figures.

It also turns out that Cllr. George’s father, John, spent just £22 on ‘Self printed leaflets’ – no wonder he failed to defend his seat – and council chairman-elect, Cllr. Tom Richards, clung on with a small majority having spent just £54.97 under the ‘unsolicited material to electors’ category.

Despite the requirement even for unsuccessful candidates to submit a spending return, I could find nothing from ex-councillor Clive Collins, whose council-computer-created roadside posters popped up in and around the Lamphey area like poisonous mushrooms close to polling day.

I found no evidence that the following candidates used the services of Clive James Design and Print, so we’ll have to give them the benefit of the doubt, that they did self-publish.

And it seems to have been a false economy for Cllr. Umelda Havard, whose submission, below, reveals total promotional expenditure of £179.80, all for printing supplies.

Umelda Havard

In addition to the extra hassle involved with self-printing, she also forked out £30 more than Clive James charged Cllr. Peter Stock, and roughly £80-£90 more than he charged Cllr. Rob Lewis!

Meanwhile, down in the south of the county it appears ex-Cllr. Jim Codd is in possession of highly coveted technological equipment that could make him the envy of penny-pinchers the world over:

Jim Codd

You might have expected to find the cutting edge of frugal inkjet design still under development in Silicon Valley. Wrong!

The world’s most nifty thrifty printer has actually been sitting in Begelly for at least the last two years. Just one black and one colour ink cartridge was all that was required to do the business for Codd on two reams of A4 paper! The graphologists among you may also have noticed that the handwriting bears an uncanny resemblance to that which appeared on the spending return submitted by Cllr. Rob Lewis.

Cllr. Elwyn Morse (below) appears to have nearly as efficient an inkjet, though not quite. His cartridge shopping list was the same – one black and one colour, but in order to publish the same two reams of paper an ‘ink refill’ was required.

Elwyn Morse

Finally, to cabinet member Cllr. David Simpson’s spending return.

David Simpson

As a successful businessman, we may have expected more thorough evidence by way of receipts backing up Cllr. Simpson’s election expenditure. Like so many of his colleagues, there was nothing of the sort, though there was a hint that he may have loaned Jim Codd’s printer, as he used the exact same supplies – one black ink cartridge and one colour, for two reams of paper.

They may also have bought their supplies from the same stationer, as both purchased two reams of paper for £9.98 and a colour cartridge for £19.99.

But it was on the purchase of his black ink cartridge where Cllr. Simpson’s canny business acumen shone through. Whilst Codd had to cough up £14.99 for his, Simpson, who obviously drives a harder bargain, wangled a saving of £2.99 – or, roughly, pie and mash at the County Hall canteen.

(For Cllr. Huw George’s benefit, that’s π and mash!)


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46 Comments...

  • Keanjo

    Jacob, I often wondered why more Councillors didn’t comment on your website but I’ve just realised – they probably can’t all do your simple verification sums.

  • Blod

    Am I being naïve in believing that councillors have to provide receipts for all the expenses they claim?

    Not many businesses would allow employees to pluck figures out of thin air when submitting expense claims so why is the council run differently?

    Recent experience in Westminster illustrates the fact that not all of our elected representatives are squeaky clean and some are quite happy to exploit all available loopholes in order to obtain financial advantage whether or not they are proficient at “hard sums”.

  • Hi Blod, just to be clear, these spending returns are not expense claims. Candidates are not reimbursed – they are just required to file a record of their election promotional expenditure.

    If receipts exist then I think they should be provided, but where there are no receipts, for instance where a candidate uses resources they already had rather than buying them especially for the election, I think it is acceptable for this to be included under nominal expenditure, with an approximate value.

  • Michael Williams

    Right! As we are doing so well on the Welsh language and the possibility of electoral fraud, I think it is time to move on to Palestine, then possibly Syria, with North Korea after the easy ones. Perhaps we could volunteer Mr Calver as our peace emissary, and Councillor Hall as a finance advisor?

    Come on Jacob, spread your wings!

  • Jacob,

    In the case of the election return submitted by ex-Cllr Jim Codd, you say: “The graphologists among you may also have noticed that the handwriting bears an uncanny resemblance to that which appeared on the spending return submitted by Cllr. Rob Lewis.”

    Are you suggesting that Cllr Lewis, the deputy council leader and IPPG election supremo, had to seek help from Sonny Jim in filling out his election return?

  • Welshman 23

    Hi Jacob, if the amounts spent on election advertising were authenticated by receipts that candidates got from the companies then I would find the figures more believable, but handwritten receipts are bound to be questionable as they could easily be made up. The whole process stinks.

  • Jon Boy Jovi

    Just clarifying Welshman 23: what whole process stinks? I’d hazard a guess at Pembrokeshire County Council, its IPPG councillors and senior management team.

  • Goldingsboy

    Jacob, when you registered as a contender for the PCC election, I imagine you will have received, in addition to all the necessary forms to be completed, a booklet that provided answers to all your likely questions; the dos and the don’ts; advice regarding campaign expenditure and the recording of it.

    Is it, for example, a legal obligation for candidates to provide standardised receipts for commercially obtained items?

    If I am right in my theory, and assuming that you still have it, are you able to reproduce or quote from it anything that is relevant to your latest pun-blessed scoop?

  • Ianto

    This is all very interesting, but where does it lead?

    A number of councillors are very good at self promotion and the cost of ink is inconsistent. Where is the smoking gun linking to Clive James?

    As regards Cllr Lewis, his suspension is a simple function of time. After the appeal time limit of 21 days runs off, his suspension starts automatically if no appeal is made.

  • Goldingsboy,

    This document from the Electoral Commission’s website may be of assistance:

    http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/146561/Candidate-spending-return.pdf

    It says: “Invoices or receipts are required for all items over £20 except notional spending.”

    The following document also addresses expenditure in some further detail:

    http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/141773/ca-part-3-locals-ew.pdf

  • Welshman 23

    Invoices required for all purchases above £20? In my commercial world you are required to produce a receipt for all expenditure. What is stopping people from purchasing numerous amounts of the same thing (e.g. leaflets) up to this value. Perhaps the Inland Revenue would know.

    I print a lot of documents in my job, could these people who can print multiple reams of paper using a handful of cartridges share with us their printing secrets and what equipment they have? It would save my company a fortune.

  • Goldingsboy

    Therefore, Cllr. Rob Lewis, who “paid Clive James roughly ‘£90-£100’ for printing his election leaflets”, was well over the red line and, unless I have misunderstood the import of his evidence to the Ombudsman, failed to fulfil this part of the regulations.

  • Goldingsboy

    Further thoughts, concerning the official legal advice regarding election expenses etcetera, is that this one-man public/private printing partnership will have a complete record (if only for tax purposes) of all those candidates who made use of his industry. Those that did will have received a demand for his services, a copy of which is, as you say, required for sums of £20 and above.

    Besides, especially as an employee of the Council, Clive James should feel duty-bound to supply copies of all pertinent invoices to the investigation, which the Returning Officer must now instigate as a matter of urgency – if only for the preservation of PCC’s good name.

    Oh, and has the Monitoring Officer given his official blessing to the private printing activities of this print employee?

  • Dave Edwards

    The council’s code of conduct for officers requires them to treat all members equally no matter which group they belong to. If Clive James, who I have never met, has printed leaflets at no charge for IPPG members, it would seem to me to have been a breach, and should be investigated.

    To avoid this he could of course provide a list of IPPG members, and potential members, for whom he printed leaflets together with any charges he made.

    Over to you Mr James!

  • Jon Boy Jovi

    It’s truly not Clive James we should be concerned with. The focus is firmly on IPPG candidates/councillors. Block voting against the NoM has left this an open debate. BPJ has to make the next move as Returning Officer.

    Ultimately full council have to have a view in it. I’d like to think the sheep may consider what is happening and what they are tarnished with. Are there any black sheep out there willing to cast their dye on this woolly matter?

  • Goldingsboy

    Jon Boy Jovi is missing the point.

    Clive James should have, as he is obliged by law and the taxman, a complete record of all candidates who paid him for his services to aid their election campaigns.

    At the moment the record provided by candidates appears incomplete – definitely so in the case of Rob Lewis. Clive James’ business files should help to put the record straight.

    The suggestion of a vendetta against Mr James is quite wrong.

  • Ianto

    Each individual element of the print cost is less than £20 and therefore not subject to the provision of a receipt, how helpful. How many other costs could be broken down in a similar fashion to avoid the need for receipts?

    I do not recall receiving any election material printed on standard office paper, generally paper of a much higher quality was used. Are there any sad people out there with original copies issued by the candidates?

    Given the Ombudsman failed to make the Clive James link in his investigation, should the matter now be referred back for further review? Will a request for review by the Returning Officer be enthusiastically met? If there is any suspicion of election fraud, has any complaint been made to the police?

    The answers lie with Clive James. Which of the above options will enable access to his records to be granted and the full details made known?

  • Dave Edwards

    Thanks Goldingsboy, I have no wish to see Clive James hauled over the coals but if Rob Lewis will not provide details of his dealings with Mr James, he must.

    Unless, of course, Lewis lied to the Ombudsman when he said he had leaflets printed with Mr James.

  • Jon Boy Jovi

    I’m not missing the point at all. It’s once again the principle that matters. Our elected members should front up to this. If a legitimate business has printed something then fine. Would we be chasing after Tesco if they had printed anything? Doubtful. It’s each candidate’s responsibility.

    Maybe Farmer Adams can ask the questions that need to be asked, although BPJ can instigate it if he wishes as Returning Officer. The only way Clive James can be involved is if:

    1, There is a police investigation. (Are we running out of independent police forces to investigate Pembrokeshire?)

    Or 2, He used council resources (computer equipment/ink/paper/was he working on council time?) which there is no suggestion of, but if it was the case then it would be something his line manager gets involved with.

    I’ll say again mind, it’s not Clive James but the rotten councillors who need to answer. To those councillors involved – don’t leave the employee carry the can; the scenario is simple, front up to this issue or f*** off, as Pembrokeshire is better off without you.

  • Dave Edwards

    Jon Boy Jovi, election law requires the printer to declare that he has printed any material used in an election. This is the responsibility of the printer and not the candidate.

    I was taught that if you got no reply at the front door it was sensible to try the back door instead. If Cllr Lewis will not open the front door, maybe Mr James will open the back.

  • Keanjo

    I think Clive James ought to make a clear statement of what he printed and for who, otherwise I fear his integrity could be dragged down with the rest.

  • Goldingsboy

    Circumvention of the requirement for evidencing local election promotional expenditure of the kind suggested by Welshman 23, seems to have been fully anticipated by the Electoral Commission in their “Guidance for candidates and agents” (Part 3 of 6).

    They instruct would-be councillors (page 6) that, “for each activity, you must* include all the associated costs. For example, if you are producing leaflets or advertising, you must include the design and distribution costs”.

    * [The commission advises in its preamble: “We use ‘must’ when we refer to a specific legal or regulatory requirement. We use ‘should’ for items we consider to be minimum good practice, but which are not legal requirements”.]

    Interestingly, they also advise candidates on page 7 that: “You may find that you pay for items or activities at a lower cost than their commercial value. For example: the supplier supports your campaign”.

    If the cost is free, or the discount is greater than 10% or £50, the guidance states: “…you must record the full commercial value of these items or activities as candidate spending […] If the supplier is a commercial provider, you should use the rates they charge other customers. If this information isn’t available, you should find out what similar providers charge for the same goods or services and use this. You should keep a record of how you reached your valuation and keep copies of any quotes you receive.”

    And “If you receive a discount of 10% or less, or the difference in value is £50 or less, you only need to record the amount you paid.”

    It appears to me that these guardians of the democratic process have done a fine job in drawing up the guidelines for local elections. Let us hope they keep up the good work – by enforcing them.

  • Tony Wilcox

    What exactly is a scapegoat, as rumour has it someone is looking for one…

  • Jon Boy Jovi

    To be honest Dave you’ve got to give this Clive James guy a break. When it’s all said and done the concern is with Cllr. Rob ‘Suspended’ Lewis and his IPPG cronies. A bad name for Pembrokeshire if it be printed or not. Just another highlighted area of concern within the current council. When will it improve or more to the point how will it improve?

  • Goldingsboy

    The big question regarding past election expenses, Jacob, is this: does the archive of “returns” show receipts for the various items of expenditure, not just their component parts, as commanded in the regulations?

    Moreover, where the cost of an item appears to have been obtained at a bargain-basement rate, does that individual’s file contain the commercial-cost assessment as directed by those carefully crafted rules?

  • Nev Andrews

    All good stuff I’m sure but hasn’t this particular horse been flogged, drawn, quartered, hung and barbecued by now. Presumably someone has pulled together all the excellent research and evidence from this thread and the others and passed it to Plod? Or is the issue ‘time barred’?

  • Casual Observer

    Re receipts as above, Clive James will have needed to record these for tax and VAT purposes. Anyone have a contact number for the tax man & VAT man? And a list of Cllrs? Many would have more faith in the VAT man than other audits – not to be tangled with.

    If certain Cllrs were given material, do such gifts need to be declared for tax purposes as in effect it is a business expense?

  • Jon Coles

    As I wrote in the Pembrokeshire Herald last week:

    It is not clear, however, whether the time limit for referring information to the Police in respect of a suspected offence runs from the date a criminal act is uncovered or admitted or from the date of the election to which it relates.

    CPS guidance on the issue states that “Whilst every case will of course turn on its own facts, where there is clear evidence that a breach has affected the result or is likely to have done so, the public interest is more likely to require a prosecution – even if the infringement itself is relatively minor.”

    “An application may be made to a magistrates’ court for an extension of the current 12 month time limit for bringing a prosecution by up to a year. The court may grant an extension, if it is satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances’ justifying the grant of the application, and that there has been no undue delay in the investigation of the offence.”

    The Pembrokeshire Herald notes that it is open to any concerned member of the public to refer the matter to the police under Section 176 (2A) of the Representation of the People Act. The Police would be obliged to refer such a complaint to the CPS for advice on what further action – including prosecution or caution – should take place, if any.

    If any of you feel the urge to test out whether the Police will investigate or whether a time limit applies given the above, you have only to contact DPP and find out.

  • Tony Wilcox

    One thing is guaranteed in this whole debacle – if blame can be passed down to some individual or other, it most certainly will be.

  • Nev Andrews

    Have you?

  • Sydney Bracken

    Clearly, Tony Wilcox and others are concerned for the standing of the Council-employed printer who, according to evidence obtained by the Ombudsman, appears to have produced election material for (what turned out to be) the ruling group’s candidates in the last local election.

    This recently-acquired knowledge raises an important issue of principle, if not of policy, for the senior officers of our council. Is it permissible for an employee of PCC to become commercially involved with candidates who are running for political office within it? Was permission sought and, if so, given? If so, by whom was it given?

    Like Caesar’s wife, the staff at County Hall must be expected to behave in a way that raises them above any insinuation of suspicion. No scapegoats being hunted – just answers to reasonable questions.

  • Jon Boy Jovi

    Sydney: is it a legitimate business? Yes. How many MPs have second jobs? Do they seek permission for every transaction? No.

    I’ve said in a previous post, Clive James isn’t the issue. If you go back a while I asked if Cllr. Rob Lewis would do the honourable thing or if he would let Clive James carry the can. Perhaps it’s the latter. There must come a time when PC Plod, either from Gloucester or Dyfed-Powys, gets a grip with the Council members.

    It would be interesting to see what would happen if one of our elected members came before the courts and was found guilty: perhaps this would refocus the minds of all the IPPG sheep before they became lambs to the slaughter.

  • Quill

    Jon Boy Jovi, you criticise everybody on this web site for doing anything and for doing nothing, yet I notice your efforts to remove Clive James from the spotlight have been a lot more prominent than the efforts of other commenters who’ve brought him into the debate. Methinks you’re protesting a bit too much.

    Perhaps you are an associate of his with other reasons than those you’ve stated so far for wishing to quell any discussion of him within the public arena.

    You’ve said in several comments that you hold your views because the real target should be the councillors, but to a casual observer your position just doesn’t appear particularly frank or forthright.

  • Clive Davies

    Jon Coles’ comment is most pertinent – somebody just needs to make a referral. Perhaps to investigate possible breaches of electoral requirements by candidates as well as by printers/publishers.

    I’d like to see Plaid Cymru, Labour, Conservative and our new Pembrokeshire Alliance responding as to why they haven’t done this; they all follow this website, see the evidence and claim to have an interest in equity. So why not do it, they’re less vulnerable to retribution than private individuals.

    Hard sum today, Jacob. At this rate only Huw George will be able to play.

  • Goldingsboy

    Quill, you write well.

    I noticed also, in addition to your observations, that Jon Boy Jovi responded to Sydney’s pertinent questions with one that he had not asked, and which bore no relevance to the issues raised. His analogy with a Westminster politician having a job on the side is equally off beam.

    The central point is not whether it’s ok for a council employee to have a second job, but whether a business relationship with a potential councillor, ultimately, his political master, breaks the bounds of propriety. Furthermore, the question pertaining to the propriety of such an association may also be addressed to the councillors who made use of his private printing business.

    Inevitably, quite legitimate questions will arise from such an arrangement, and quite a few come to my mind. Were, for instance, the private commercial services of this council employee used solely by members of the ruling group, if so, why? Were they known to, and freely available, to other would-be councillors and at the same commercial rates?

    As Sydney requested: answers to simple questions.

  • Jon Coles

    Nev, it would be inappropriate for a newspaper writer to refer to the Police a story upon which they have written; particularly where issues as fundamental as the protection of a source are involved. Feel free to do so yourself, however.

  • Welshman 23

    Why were some people using scraps of paper to log their spend and why is this acceptable for the local council? By the way your verification sum today was easy enough even for Huw George.

  • Quill

    Obviously re-using scraps of paper is in-keeping with the council’s green/recycling/eco credentials.

  • Kate Becton

    I would have no problem making a referral to the Police/DPP = however they are, I assume, going to ask for evidence – which I don’t personally have, (at present I don’t have a printer, this could be rectified of course).

    I feel that we have to ‘put up or shut up’ – it seems unfair to me that that this arrangement could have resulted in some candidates having an advantage, as someone else wrote their election material who then, it appears, had it printed professionally at either a reduced cost or no cost at all – though I cannot imagine why a businessman would do this – am I being naive again?

    So do we have a plan of action? As I said I’m quite prepared to make the complaint, but will need a file of evidence to substantiate it. Ideas please.

  • Clive Davies

    Kate, surely the content of this blog (and Mike’s) constitutes an evidence file?

  • Nev Andrews

    Good evening. Just a quick response to Jon Coles…why is it inappropriate for you to refer this matter to the police? What source are you ‘protecting’ and why is this any different from one of us, without the journalistic licence, mortals being more at ‘liberty’ to do this?

    I’m baffled by this “over to you, no, over to you, thanks awfully but I insist, over to you etc etc…” And no, I wouldn’t be making a referral personally for the reason I set out following…

    A crucial paragraph in the extract from the Herald shown above is “where there is clear evidence that a breach has affected the result or is likely to have done so, the public interest is more likely to require a prosecution – even if the infringement itself is relatively minor.”

    So…in amongst all the other cries of “foul”, does anyone have any evidence which might suggest that these misdemeanours have resulted in an election result which would have NOT otherwise occurred.

    If the answer is “no” then there may be little merit in agonising further. To me, the quoted text is a perfectly reasonable test for impact as opposed to some procedural failing. Whilst the failing may well be symptomatic of the contempt for the public shown by certain elected representatives, did it in the great scheme of things, make any ultimate difference to which clowns are running around the Big Top?

    Perhaps I’ll be proved wrong.

  • John Hudson

    As I see it the “evidence” provided via the Ombudsman’s report consist of material produced for the purposes of electioneering produced by the Independent Group using, in part, the Council’s computer equipment. Of itself, it does not show that this material was in fact used on the doorstep by successful or unsuccessful candidates.

    Separately there are receipts or accounts in respect of election material by candidates, is there evidence that they are related? (I have one leaflet from an unsuccessful candidate). Is it really worth the police time now? We will be into the next election before we know it.

    I think that the time has come to draw a line under this smelly affair. We all know a lot more about the Rotten independent group, elections, and the Council as a result, and hopefully will be much more alive to the intentions of any independent candidate at the next election, or for that matter any candidate that stands for a recognised political party.

    Post election, successful candidates are free to join what group they want and there is b***** all we can do about it.

    As OG often says, why did the Independents originally need to form a group when the then largest elected political group did not have anywhere near a majority of council seats?

    Were they really that bright, or was it a way of running the Council machine efficiently with a controlling political group put up to “lead” or be led?

  • Jon Coles

    Nev,

    Firstly, if I did report the matter to the Police, a criticism could be reasonably levelled that I was not reporting news but creating it: drumming up business, as it were. In that event, I would no doubt attract criticism from Monday morning quarterbacks for so doing.

    Secondly, if I wouldn’t disclose a source elsewhere, I will not disclose it to you.

    Thirdly, the semantic issue you raise from the article extract as a reason for you personally not to refer the matter yourself would be more compelling if you had not missed out the conditional part of the phrase “the public interest is MORE LIKELY to require a prosecution”. It is not presented as an either/or proposition, neither is the guidance from the CPS expressed in mandatory terms.

  • Nev Andrews

    I agree with John Hudson, ‘is it really worth the police time now?’…of course it isn’t, otherwise they would have done something, not waited like some passive patsies for a ‘referral’.

    Mr Coles…really? Reporting an issue to the police is drumming up business or is it a convenient ‘cop out’ to suggest that you might be accused of such shenanigans. What was the original article then if it wasn’t to drum up business? Don’t please suggest it was some sort of ‘public interest’ as that would seem to then be even more selective.

    I am not raising a semantic issue at all in my opinion, neither have I suggested that the guidance is anything more than that. To have a prospect of success (which in this scenario would need to be a prosecution) I am of the view that the guidance is a clear indicator that the outcome must have been affected by the misdemeanour. It can’t be phrased any other way or it would fetter the legal process. BUT it’s there to allow for the exercise of common sense.

    Presumably as a responsible journalist, you would not be advocating the Police being compelled to spend hours and hours of their time on this issue even though it had no discernible impact on the political make up or the shabby behaviour of the Council as is? Now Porter and Westminster was a rather more meaty issue…

  • Miss Marple

    I agree with John Hudson, it’s time to draw a line, anyway there will be a few not standing on the next election, so all those with aspirations to do better can put themselves forward, and then see what political colours they fly!!!

  • Huw Gray

    Pity!

    Hello

    Thank you for your e-mail, this has been reported with reference number DP-2014*******, however can you please provide your name, address and telephone number so we can liaise with you regarding this matter.

    Regards
    Heddlu Dyfed-Powys Police
    Canolfan Gyfathrebu’r Heddlu- Force Communication Centre

    I will keep you all updated.

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