Politics

Former top cop urges Scotland Yard to probe Downing Street Party allegations


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Mike Barton, who was Chief Constable of Durham Constabulary until 2019, said it was the Metropolitan Police’s duty to gather evidence.

Durham Constabulary Chief Constable Mike Barton

A former top cop today piles pressure on Scotland Yard to probe Downing Street Partygate allegations.

Mike Barton, who was Chief Constable of Durham Constabulary until 2019, said it was the Metropolitan Police’s duty to gather evidence.

The force are resisting getting involved in the scandal and will only study claims if a report by senior civil servant Sue Gray finds crimes may have been committed.

A spokesman has said: “The Met has ongoing contact with the Cabinet Office in relation to this inquiry.

“If the inquiry identifies evidence of behaviour that is potentially a criminal offence it will be passed to the Met for further consideration.”







Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick leaves Number 10
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Mr Barton tells today’s BBC Week in Westminster: “Silence by the Metropolitan Police is, in my humble opinion, not helpful because this causes greater indignation amongst the public.

“Fundamentally, the way that we police in the UK is by consent.

“Confidence in the police is not a ‘nice to have’, it is utterly fundamental.”

He urged officers to begin examining weeks of revelations of Downing Street parties – particularly because they are so high profile.

“If there is a cause celebre causing widespread public outrage then the police should act because the primary objective of encouraging people to follow the rules without police intervention would be lost,” he says.

“An investigation doesn’t mean that somebody is going to be prosecuted, it just means, ‘Let’s find out what happened’.

“I often get a bit perplexed when I hear police officers say, ‘There is no evidence so we’re not going to investigate’ because I was always told that it was the police’s job to find the evidence.

“Obviously there needs to be something there to start an investigation, but I think there’s enough here.”|







Sue Gray is leading an investigation into the numerous lockdown parties that took place in Downing Street
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He goes on: “The threshold for starting an investigation should be pretty low. The police should have a heightened sense of curiosity.”

Reports yesterday suggested Mrs Gray’s report is expected to rule there was no evidence of criminality over the Downing Street parties.

However, said is likely to recommend disciplinary action against officials and special advisers involved, and could censure Boris Johnson for his lack of judgement in attending the nitrous May 20, 2000 “bring your own booze” bash in his garden, according to the Times.

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