A few things have come together in my mind today that I think I should share with you:-
We are all learning to deal with a new world where concerns about Police and Crime Commissioners go through Police and Crime Panels, and in some cases to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. Everyone is finding their way, but the reference that has taken place this week will be the first to test the system. It is clear that, if the IPCC decide to investigate the case, then either they will do so themselves, or involve police officers in an investigation. As such, and as the IPCC investigators have police powers, this effectively would be a police investigation, and I would not normally comment in any detail on a live police investigation.
I was careful to ensure the Sunday Times had the same information I had from my Freedom of Information requests to Lancashire County Council and Lancashire Police Authority, and I understand the Sunday Times were careful to check matters with the relevant authorities and Mr Grunshaw himself, leading to quotes from him in their article. The Sunday Times gave a reasonable amount of space to the issue, but some other reports have sought to summarise the issues, and that has not always ensured total accuracy.
I have been copied into some of the correspondence that has gone to Mr Grunshaw this week, and I worry that it does what I spent years in the police and investigating miscarriages of justice trying not to do, namely coming to a judgement before all the facts are in. That is what the IPCC investigation is about, and that is why I have been careful to say that I am not alleging any wrongdoing by Mr Grunshaw. There appear to be discrepancies between two sets of data and patterns in those sets of data that require a proper investigation, but we should not prejudge that investigation. People may think I’m being coy, or simply saying what people have to say in these circumstances. I am not. I have some of the evidence, but I don’t know what really happened with these claims, and it is now someone else’s job to find out. In the meantime, I don’t consider it right that Mr Grunshaw should be distracted from his very important job by prejudging these issues, and I hope that people recognise that.
Consequently, I have decided that I should suspend the posts on this site that relate to the evidence in this case at least until the investigation is complete. I understand any IPCC investigation results in a published report, and one would hope that such a report would be definitive.
Update 21 December 2012
The IPCC have said they will independently investigate this matter. Nicholas Long is the Commissioner with oversight of the case.