Monday, 31 March 2008

‘Kernow should have its own police force!’

As some of you will be aware, Cornwall is one of six Celtic nations and it is also the name of a city in eastern Ontario, Canada. The former has a population of just over half a million people, while the latter has a population of almost 46 000.

However, whereas Cornwall the nation (Kernow) has to share its police force with England in the shape of the Devon and Cornwall Police Constabulary, Cornwall city has its own police force called Cornwall Police. It seems ironic, but understandable that a city with a population not much bigger than the Camborne, Pool, Redruth urban regeneration area has its own police force, while Kernow suffers under a colonial force.

It is ironic in that Kernow is more than ten times bigger than Cornwall the city and understandable in that Kernow is a subjugated nation. I know we have said this before on this site, but I need to say it again: ‘Kernow should have its own police force!’

Sunday, 30 March 2008

A timely and convenient outcome

Complaints of homophobia among Devon and Cornwall Constabulary police officers have been dismissed by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

The complaints came from Cornish gay right activist, Malcolm Lidbury, but Ian Boyne, the IPCC Commissioner, states in relation to the allegations that:

“The IPCC investigated Mr Lidbury’s complaints and did not substantiate any of them after an exhaustive enquiry.”

The ‘executive summary’ of the investigations the IPCC carried out can be found here.

In response Mr Lidbury said that the investigation was a “whitewash” and that a number of mistakes and omissions were made by the IPCC in its investigation, including failing to state the fact that the allegations made were not separate cases, but interconnected. Some of the points Mr Lidbury has raised in response to the publication of the IPCC report are listed below:

# That the IPCC failed to investigate various complaints entirely regarding the conduct of DC Magnus Scott, which have NEVER been investigated. These include allegations of perjury, misinformation to a Court of law, colluding in the withholding statutory services from a vulnerable gay youth.

# That the IPCC failed to investigate the conduct of PC Alexander & an un-named colleague who abused & violated a gay youth and were rude/abusive to a pensioner witness.

# That the IPCC failed to investigate the conduct of three police officers who attended to a violent assault upon x2 gay/bi men and the homophobic manor in which these police officers dealt with the situation.

# That ALL of the above cases were interconnected with the original complaints made to the IPCC and the intimidation of witnesses by police.

# That the IPCC do admit to having ‘failed’ to interview fourteen witnesses whose names were provided to them.

# Since the complaints, Cornwall police officers have simply continued in their attitudes & practises against gay persons

There can be little doubt that Devon and Cornwall Chief Constable, Stephen Otter, is breathing a sigh of relief after the publication of the report, ahead of his appointment as Spokesperson for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) on matters relating to ‘sexual orientation’. It would not have been good for the ACPO’s image to have a large number of police officers from the constabulary of its spokesperson on ‘sexual orientation’, to be under investigation for homophobia!

The outcome of the IPCC investigations is not only timely for Mr Otter, but massively convenient.

Friday, 28 March 2008



Source: Celtic League
Author: Bernard Moffatt

The Celtic League Secretary General, Rhisiart Tal-e-bot, has again registered concern with Devon and Cornwall Police over the treatment of Cornish nationalist and League member Tony Leamon.

Mr Leamon has had a further extension to bail conditions at a hearing today the second since his arrest in September of last year. The General Secretary has told Devon and Cornwall Police that the protracted nature of the proceedings against Mr Leamon is placing him under additional psychological stress at a time when he already suffers health problems (see below):

"Chief Inspector J Meakin
District Police Headquarters
Liskeard PL14 3DX

26th March

Reference PSD/QU/48/07

Dear Chief Inspector J Meakin

Tony Leamon

I am writing further to my previous letter addressed to Ian Boyne of the IPCC, who has informed me that you are now in charge of the issues raised by myself on behalf of the Celtic League in my letter to Chief Constable Stephen Otter, dated 18th January 2008.

Tony Leamon, who a member of the Kernow/Cornwall Branch of the Celtic League, answered his bail at Camborne police station today, as requested by the police at his last bail hearing at the same station on 16th January 2008. Today was therefore his second bail hearing since his arrest on 6th September 2007.

He was informed today, after another interview with police, that he would be required to answer bail yet again on 13th May 2008. Mr Leamon has now been subject to over 20 hours of police questioning, but has not been charged or been released from his bail. As I mentioned in my previous letter to Mr Otter, Mr Leamon severely suffers with his health. I have been in regular contact with Mr Leamon since his arrest in September and have seen at first hand how these prolonged periods
of bail have affected his state of mind. Even though he remains in relatively good spirits, the psychological stress that he has been under as a result of these bail hearings has been intense.

I am therefore writing for the record that the Celtic League disapprove of such treatment of a member of our organisation and are concerned for the future wellbeing of Mr Leamon under these circumstances. We would therefore appreciate it if you could tell us for how long you expect bail to continue in this way and whether you believe Mr Leamon's treatment is absolutely necessary?

I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely

Rhisiart Tal-e-bot
General Secretary"

Relevant links to earlier items on Celtic News at:

(Please note - our apologies that the links section was omitted in error from the posting on this topic (CL News No. 2537) on Sunday March 23 2008)

Celtic League
J B Moffatt
Director of Information
Celtic League


Wednesday, 26 March 2008

How many bails can one man receive?

Today Tony Leamon answered police bail at Camborne police station, as reported in earlier postings on the CPW site.

Below are a series of emails that were forwarded on to the CPW team today, who have been feverishly keeping track of the latest developments for our readers.

As you will read, Mr Leamon has been bailed yet again by the police until 13th May 2008. Just how long can a man be bailed for?

“Below is an e-mail from one of the Kernow CL 'team' looking after our dear friend and comrade, Tony.

I believe Tony is a victim of the worst kind of police victimisation here. Seven months on and still police bail is renewed.

I trust his solicitor will pursue this matter as a formal complaint. he is now under a requirement to again go back to Camborne Police Station on 13th May, 2008 - in excess of 8 months after the initial arrest.

I do recall Penryn Glasney Day. We were all stood at the monument and then went on to take part in the procession, calling out solidarity with the firemen there and then on to a cream tea in the Temperance Hall which Tony actually filmed. I was dressed in my kilt at the time and eating splits and cream. I then drove a wide variety of people home including a member of the Stannary Parliament to St. Day.

I really think the police are taking this issue too far and why was this latest issue not put to Tony over the past seven months during the pressured interrogations he was subject of ?

Tony must continue to receive our fullest possible support and prayers/thoughts at this late stage.”


“I just spoke to Tony; apparently, the police are now "clutching at straws", as his solicitor put it; he must still answer bail again on 13th May, which apparently is procedurally fine...
They basically said that he took photos of St. George's flags at some campsite on north coast (?) and that very morning, apparently, there were 3 threatening phone calls made to the campsite. Tony told them that he was at the Glasney monument at the time that two of the calls were made, and with you driving in the car when the third one was made, and that you could vouch for that. He has no idea about these calls other than what they have said to him. Must admit, tis the first I've heard of this too. Also, none of the calls made came from any of Tony's numbers - as quizzed by solicitor - so they are basically assuming that, as he has pictures of flags at the camp, he must be guilty of also making those calls...!! Extraordinary...
He's fine and, in fact, very pleased as the worst is over and he's finally getting the message across that they are barking up the wrong tree.
I think the police are finally getting the message that Tony and the Celtic League are, vociferous perhaps, but peaceful in their ways.”


“I have this afternoon spoken to TL on the phone. He is in good spirits and I am happy to say, now with a firm of very well regarded lawyers. Tony was more than happy to answer again the police questions, he has now been subject of over 20 hours questioning and the lawyer representing him is surprised at the police interviews and conduct.

By way of a surprise, Tony has also received an offer of £3,000 to help him in any court case. This has come from a person who wishes not be named at this stage (IT IS NOT ME! although naturally, I will help financially) and was straight out of the blue.

The police seemed surprised at the ill ease felt by many Cornish people regarding the flag of England in Kernow and as you will know, I was in the process of lierally giving away our black and white flag of St Piran to all and asunder as well as writing to people asking them to fly our Celtic flag. It would seem that Tony was seen photographing an English flag in Kernow on Penryn Glasney Day and that an alleged threatening phone call was made to the people flying the flag whilst we were at Penryn. Needless to say, and this comes as no surprise, no such call is recorded against Tony's mobile or any other phone seized by the police and the call remains untraced by them. I do recall numerous internet postings regarding the English flags in question and the upset felt by many of those posting the messages so understand the reasons behind the photograph and had events not overtaken us all, would have arranged for a set of Celtic St Piran's flags to be sent to the person concerned.

Tony is happy for this information and that posted by me previously and by Iwan to be released generally. He has also been interviewed at length by the local press and this may be released after this horrible affair is over. As I have said, Tony was with me, and indeed many others, when these alleged calles were made and we were all in very public places at the time celebrating Glasney Day and thereafter, in Falmouth at a performance by Jack Bolitho's Celtic Band in the Prince of Wales Pub.”


Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Our Future is History?

As stated in the Blog blurb, this site was set up following the arrest of a number of Cornish nationalists in Cornwall by the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, including, but not only members of the Celtic League.

It has been the intention of this Blog to provide comment on the activities of Devon and Cornwall Constabulary in Cornwall and to provide the public with information related to them. The reason for this is to give a better understanding and knowledge of the police service that operates in Cornwall.

It is the opinion of the CPW team that Devon and Cornwall Constabulary are a colonial police force in Cornwall and that this will be the case until Cornwall gains its own independent force, unmolested by the English Home Office. The colonial nature of the force, where Cornwall and its islands are policed by an English Constabulary that is allied to an English monarchy, is at odds with Cornwall’s own laws and customs. Of the Celtic nations, only Cornwall and Brittany have a police force that is ‘shared’ with another territory that is not its own.

The arrest of the Cornish three – Hugh Rowe, Graham Heart, Tony Leamon and several others whose names have not been revealed in the press – and earlier Jack Bolitho in 2007, with their confiscation of Cornish literature and memorabilia, shows that Devon and Cornwall Constabulary have little understanding and respect for the Cornish nation. This is not a recent phenomenon either, as can be seen with the arrest of the three Stannary Parliament members – Hugh Rowe, Dr Nigel Hicks and Rodney Nute– in 2000, along with a host of other less well publicised cases before and during these periods. Without its own independent police force Cornish people will no doubt be arrested again in the future, for believing in a different Cornwall that is autonomous and free to uphold its own laws, political customs and culture.

Tony Leamon is now the only one of the Cornish three arrested in September 2007 that is still on bail. He is due to answer bail at Camborne police station tomorrow. If Leamon is charged with anything, then CPW will report that another injustice has been committed in Cornwall by the Devon and Cornwall Police Constabulary. If he is released without charge, we hope that Mr Leamon can put these oppressive times behind him and that his experience will make him stronger and more determined to work for the history of Cornwall in the future.

Sunday, 23 March 2008



The Kernow Branch of the League continues to receive messages of support and cooperation from around the world for one of its members who is due to answer police bail on Wednesday (26th March 2008), over six and a half months from when he was first arrested.

Tony Leamon, who is the Branch Treasurer, was arrested last September following blanket arrests by the police as they searched for persons behind the Cornish National Liberation Army (CNLA), which later became known as the Cornish Republican Army (CRA). Mr Leamon is now the last person, of those arrested, to remain on bail and many of his possessions are still confiscated by the police authorities.

The General Secretary of the League has written to the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary and other bodies to complain about the treatment of Mr Leamon and is awaiting their reply. Mr Leamon, who is registered disabled and has leukaemia, last appeared at Camborne police station to answer bail in January. He was interrogated without rest for approximately 10 hours and was only released too late for him to make the long journey home independently.

Last week, Mr Leamon was visited by the police at his home after he had written to his Member of Parliament to complain about his treatment, who in turn had written to the Chief Constable, Stephen Otter. The police told him that his bail was only to be expected while they carried out their investigations, but noted that on the day of the arrest Leamon's father, who he cares for, was left unsuitably cared for.

As a consequence of his unjust treatment, news of Mr Leamon's plight has travelled around the globe. Early in March a leaflet explaining his ordeal was distributed at an art show in New Mexico, USA exhibiting work that had been produced by Irish republican prisoners. The art show was attended by a number of US politicians. Another organisation in the US that fund raises on behalf of prisoners from the Celtic countries has sent donations to help pay for any legal costs that may be incurred, should Mr Leamon's case go to trial. Someone else has also set up an internet Blog in response to the arrest of Mr Leamon and other Cornish nationalists who were arrested in 2007, called Cornwall Police Watch and features daily comment on police related activities.

Mike Chappell, Kernow Branch Secretary and Assistant General Secretary, who has been campaigning hard on Mr Leamon's behalf said:

"He [Tony Leamon] now has a world wide following of people interested in his welfare at the hands of the police in Kernow and although the situation is barely known in Kernow, those outside from as far a field as Australia, India and the USA will be watching the actions of the Colonial Police in their dealing with him. Tony has also received substantial support from Kernow's Gay Community although he is straight. Many Gay people in Kernow feel that they have been ill treated by the police in the Duchy and there is much empathy between the two movements."

In protest last week, the Kernow Branch sent Mr Otter a copy of the book 'Our Future is History' by John Angarrack. The Cornish history book has been just one of the many Cornish related items (along with flags and Cornish language tapes) the police in Cornwall have confiscated from the people who have been arrested in Cornwall. The book was also on show at the art exhibition in New Mexico.

Messages of support for Leamon continue to be received from individuals and organisations in Australia, Brittany, Cornwall, India, Wales and London.

Whatever happened to 'The Laughing Policeman'?

When I was a child, there used to be a policeman in the community in which I grew up, whom everyone new as PC Friend.

I remember he was really tall, much taller than my dad, - who was six foot - and about twice as wide. He had silvery hair, was always smiling and was good friends with my grandmother and in fact lived in her street. My grandmother indeed had known him when she was a young girl.

He once came to ‘have a talk’ with my cousin and me after we were caught playing with matches in the yard. I must have only been about 6 years old at the time and I distinctly remember feeling ashamed, not afraid, that PC Friend knew that I had done wrong.

My grandmother had an old record called The Laughing Policeman, which I used to play regularly. As I listened to it I always pictured PC Friend laughing and that it was him the man on the record was singing about.

Everyone from the village of course knew PC Friend and he was the only policeman I ever saw. When my Grandmother died he came to the funeral in his uniform.

This was not 50 years ago or more, as some of you may be thinking, but in the early 1980’s and was my first experience of a policeman. After his death and as I grew up, my perception of the police has changed considerably, probably in line with how the police have changed too. Who would believe that this experience of a policeman was less than thirty years ago?

This morning the song of ‘The Laughing Policeman’ came back to me for no apparent reason and consequently decided to look the song up on the internet. I was surprised to find that the song was written by a man called Charles Penrose Dunbar Cawse and although he was born in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, with a name like that he must surely have had Cornish ancestry.

Perhaps the author of The Laughing Policeman was inspired to write the song in much the same way as CPW have been inspired to keep a watch on police in Cornwall, albeit for different motives. My, how times have changed!


Charles Penrose

I know a fat old policeman
He's always on our street.
A fat and jolly red-faced man
He really is a treat.

He's too kind for a policeman
He's never known to frown.
And everybody says
He is the happiest man in town!.

He laughs upon point duty
He laughs upon his beat.
He laughs at everybody
When he's walking in the street.

He never can stop laughing
He says he's never tried.
But once he did arrest a man
And laughed until he cried!

Oh ho ho ho ho ho ho. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Ho ho ho ho ho ho ho. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

His jolly face is wrinkled
And then he shut his eyes.
He opened his great big mouth
It was a wonderous size!

He said "I must arrest you!"
He didn't know what for.
And then he started laughing
Until he cracked his fat old jaw.

Oh ho ho ho ho ho ho ho. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Ho ho ho ho ho ho ho. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

So if you chance to meet him
While walking 'round the town.
Shake him by his fat old hand
And give him half a crown.

His eyes will beam and sparkle
He'll gurgle with delight.
And then you'll start him laughing
With all his blessed might!

Oh ho ho ho ho ho ho. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Ho ho ho ho ho ho ho. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Oh ho ho ho ho ho ho. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Ho ho ho ho ho ho ho. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Justify the increases, Devon and Cornwall police told!

Devon and Cornwall police are once again facing accusations that their annual above inflation increases in their share of the council tax are not justified, following the release of new crime figures showing that crime in Devon and Cornwall have risen substantially over the last ten years.

The Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for St Ives, Andrew George, said:

“The police need to explain this information and what they are doing to address it. If they are taking an above-inflation increase on council tax then certainly they need to demonstrate that the local community is seeing some positive results.”

The figures show that there has been an increase in the crime rate of 12.6 per cent in a number of areas between 1998-9 and 2006-7. This compares with an increase of 6.2% in England.

Devon and Cornwall police have not been available to comment on the figures, but Liberal Democrat Cornwall County Councillor, Jeremy Rowe, said:

“I can't criticise the police - they are doing a very good job under difficult circumstances. The money from Government is never enough, but you have to deal with what you get. That's why the police council tax precept has risen by 7.9 per cent this year.”

Being a Devon and Cornwall Police Authority member he would say that wouldn’t he!

The full story, including link, can be found below:

Author: Louise Vennells
Date : 22 March 2008


Crime in Devon and Cornwall has risen by double the national average while Labour has been in power, figures out today reveal. Westcountry MPs have called on police to explain the figures and said it was "time to see consistent results" after year-on-year rises in council tax, which helps to pay for police services. Only last month an increase of 7.9 per cent was announced.

The Conservatives, who have released the ten-year crime figures, say the information they obtained through Parliamentary questions shows rural areas particularly have lost out, with higher increases in every criminal activity, except drugs offences, throughout the country.

The party compared figures for 1998-99 with those for 2006-07 in a number of categories. Overall, the total crime figure for Devon and Cornwall had risen by 12.6 per cent - compared with just 6.2 per cent nationally.

Conservative MP Hugo Swire, who represents East Devon, said: "The fact is that every year the police put up their council tax precept with the promise of however many more front-line officers. But these figures show that the statistics have gone the wrong way.

"We need to see some concerted results from Devon and Cornwall Police, rather than promises of things to come every time they raise the tax."

But Mr Swire said he believed Stephen Otter, who took over as Chief Constable towards the end of 2006, was "first class", and had made effective changes.

"They are saying the right things, but people in the most rural areas still aren't seeing enough evidence of police being out and about in their communities."

Andrew George, Lib-Dem MP for St Ives, said yesterday: "The police need to explain this information and what they are doing to address it. If they are taking an above-inflation increase on council tax then certainly they need to demonstrate that the local community is seeing some positive results."

Over the decade, the biggest rise was in acts of criminal damage, which soared by 86.1 per cent - way over the national figure of 34.7 per cent. Incidents of violent crime rose by 112.9 per cent, compared to 108.1 per cent nationally.

The force fared better when it came to tackling robbery. There was still a significant increase of 40.5 per cent, but it was lower than the 51.7 per cent nationally. However, in rural areas across the country the figure was very close to the national rate.

Over the same period, Devon and Cornwall saw a reduction in burglaries of 30 per cent - but it fell short of the national decrease of 34.7 per cent.

The only area in which the two counties have won a significant victory is in tackling drugs - a crime which tends to be the scourge of urban areas. Incidents fell by 0.2 per cent compared with a national increase of 42.9 per cent.

Nobody from Devon and Cornwall Police was available for comment yesterday, but in January Mr Otter praised staff for their hard work in starting to turn the crime figures around.

"I think problems in the two years before my arrival had caused them to be distracted, morale had dropped and people's heads were down. People were focused on internal issues rather than providing an excellent service to the public," he said.

"What I was able to do was get them focusing outwards. We explained what we wanted to prioritise and focus on. We were clear about the service we wanted to provide to the public."

Mr Otter has recognised the need for more police out tackling crime. As part of the latest budget, he has released 200 officers on to front-line duties.

The very latest figures, from last year, show that his approach is already having an impact - crime over the force area fell by eight per cent and detection rates were on the rise.

Brian Greenslade, leader of Devon County Council and a member of the Police Authority, yesterday warned people to be wary of the figures released by the Conservatives. The Lib-Dem councillor said the Westcountry was one of the safest places to live and to visit.

"We have recently been able to unveil some very promising downward trends on crime," he said. "Over the past six or seven years, we have been able to invest very strongly in additional police officers. In Devon and Cornwall, the number of officers and Police Community Support Officers has risen by about 1,000 since the turn of the century.

Fellow Police Authority member Jeremy Rowe, who sits on Cornwall County Council, said: "I can't criticise the police - they are doing a very good job under difficult circumstances.The money from Government is never enough, but you have to deal with what you get. That's why the police council tax precept has risen by 7.9 per cent this year."

Thursday, 20 March 2008

I say tomato, you say tomahto!

According to the Home Office website the area’s population covered by the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary is approximately 1.6 million.

However, the population of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, according to the 2001 census, is 501267 and the population of Devon is 704493. By my calculation this is 1 205 760. Now I know that the populations in Cornwall and Devon are increasing rapidly and that the Census results are now some years old, but a discrepancy of over 300 000 people seems a little odd.

This raises several pertinent questions:

• Who is right, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) or the Home Office?
• Wouldn’t the HO have obtained their statistics from the ONS?
• Is Devon and Cornwall Constabulary increasing their population area artificially so that they can receive increased funding?
• Is the Home Office contracting Devon and Cornwall police officers out to other forces?

Perhaps the answer lies in demographics, but the Cornish people are entitled to some clear answers!

Police homophobia continues to plague Cornwall’s gay community

Allegations and complaints of homophobia among officers in the Devon and Cornwall Police Constabulary continue to emerge thanks to the hard work and research of Cornish gay rights activist and campaigner Malcolm Lidbury.

Mr Lidbury has now brought the publics attention on his Blog, to two more incidents where officers from the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary have been accused of discrimination against members of Cornwall’s gay community.

The first incident involved officers from Launceston Police Station stopping a car being driven by a gay couple from Plymouth. A case of mistaken identity allegedly ensued where the officers believed that they found a registered sex offender. When later realising their mistake, the officers said that the gay couple had been ‘lucky’ and that they would not be prosecuted.

The couple made a complaint to Devon and Cornwall Constabulary HQ in Devon, who were informed that the officers concerned would be spoken to.

The other incident took place in Falmouth and was reported on a gay website, but further details are not made available by Mr Lidbury. On his Blog Mr Lidbury calls on members of Cornwall’s gay community to speak out against prejudice and discrimination experienced against them by officers from Devon and Cornwall Constabulary in Cornwall.

CPW supports Mr Lidbury’s call, especially in view of the fact that next month Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall, Stephen Otter, will be made the Spokesperson for the Association of Chief police Officers on Race and Diversity to include matters of ‘sexual orientation’.

Despite the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans People’s charity, Intercom Trust, apparent assurances that Devon and Cornwall Constabulary have made “massive advances since 1997”, there are still some obvious short comings among rank and file officers working in Cornwall when it comes to issues involving sexual equality.

CPW think that a Cornish equivalent of ‘Intercom Trust’ should be started in order to really assess some of the difficulties that people from Cornwall’s gay community have to face here.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

“Embed the Constabulary within the community” says police chief

This week, Devon and Cornwall Police Authority announced the appointment of 3 new Assistant Chief Constables (ACC) for the force.

Two of the ACC’s are women and two of them have been ‘imported’ from police constabularies elsewhere. Their appointments come in the wake of recent comments made about the importance of recruiting police officers locally by the Deputy Chief Constable of the Isle of Man Constabulary, Gary Roberts, in a letter to the Celtic League.

Mr Roberts argues in his letter:

“In the past considerable numbers of officers have been imported from the United Kingdom. This approach, whilst understandable, does not help to embed the Constabulary within the community. Furthermore, a staff development strategy should help ensure that all ranks within the Constabulary are occupied by locally developed officers within a reasonably short period of time.”

CPW agrees whole heartedly with Mr Roberts who also says that all recruitment to the Constabulary will be from the island over the next five years. If the Isle of Man Constabulary can do this, there is no reason why Devon and Cornwall Constabulary cannot either. As can be seen from the comments related to the below news item, members of the public seem to agree with us too.


Author: Unknown

Devon and Cornwall Police Authority has appointed three new assistant chief constables.

The new permanent team has been created to help the force make improvements to its service over the next five years.

The new assistant chief constables are Sharon Taylor, who has been an acting ACC in Devon and Cornwall for the past year, Debbie Simpson, currently serving with the Bedfordshire Police, and Paul Netherton, who is currently serving with the Hampshire Constabulary.

All three will join the force over the next few months.

Chief Constable Stephen Otter said: "I welcome these new members to the Chief Officer Group.

"This new permanent senior team gives the force a stable leadership team to take the force forward, and to help us to deliver the improvements we need to make over the next five years in order to achieve our goal of becoming a top performing force.

"The three appointments, coupled with the temporary return of ACC Richard Stowe will give us the extra senior capacity we need whilst we enter a period of significant change and development."

COMMENTS (as of 19/03/08)

Devon and Cornwall is renowned for importing Senior ranks from other forces, but only since the retirement of Sir John Evans. Indeed, Maria Wallis is quoted as saying on one occasion " Locally grown (ie Devon and Cornwall) does make the grade for me..."MORRIS, PLYMOUTH

I agree with Mike Chappell. Why is it whenever you watch the endless TV traffic cop programmes they all speak with accents local to the area and they seem to know their `patch' well. In contrast,does anyone know a Cornish Policeman on the beat in the county? Do the head honcho's at Middlemoor care about this subject -probably not! The last time a Policeman spoke to me it was obvious he had no idea of the culture and way of life here in Cornwall. As well as having a black police officers association for Devon & Cornwall-what about a Cornish Officers association? After all, they would surely be an `ethnic'minority in D&C police wouldn't they?ANONYMOUS, BODMIN

I am sure that the money spent on these 'imports' will bring a more efficient and 'in touch' police service to Kernow. After all, why waste money on bobbies on thje beat when you can invest it in 3 or is it 4 Assistant Chief Constables. 'Chiefs and Indians' comes to mind !Michael Chappell, Kernow - Goonhavern

Hooray! Devon & Cornwall will have two women Assistant Chief Constables to help put things back on track. DEBBIE & SHARON - "beautiful British names" (to quote Al Murray) Let's have a TRACEY in there too. That ex-comprehensive school trio would be formidable.Rick, Trowbridge

Monday, 17 March 2008

Dragnet Policing

The Terrorism Act 2000 and 2006 especially are two pieces of draconian legislation that have resulted in upset, wrongful convictions and death for a large number of innocent people. Both national e.g. Irish and Cornish and ethnic minorities e.g. Muslims have been indiscriminately targeted, as well as others from minority groups, including civil rights campaigners.

Here is yet another story of where an innocent man has been hounded by the police on suspicion of being a terrorist, reinforcing the view that the UK police must have the best record in Europe for dragnet policing when it comes to counter terrorism.

Identify children as potential offenders says police chief

The new spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), Gary Pugh, has said that he wants primary school pupils to be registered on the police DNA database, so that their details can be kept in case they offend later on in their lives.

Mr Pugh, who is also director of forensic sciences at Scotland Yard, said that he wants a debate to begin about identifying children as potential offenders in an attempt to tackle crime before it took place, to find out who are “possibly going to be the biggest threat to society.” Mr Pugh’s science fiction reality has been condemned by the civil rights group Liberty and also the National Primary Headteachers' Association.

With a staggering 4.5 million genetic samples on their current UK database, and with their splendid record of misplacing confidential information/files, the police are by far the single biggest threat to society we have. The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), in a recent report, has also argued that children between the ages of 5 and 12 years should be identified as potential criminals and should be supported with therapy and specially adapted programmes, like Sure Start Plus.

The police DNA database, which is already the biggest in Europe, currently contains DNA information from 10 to 18 year olds, because police are able to take samples from anyone arrested who is over the age of ten. The DNA information is retained by the police regardless of whether the child is later charged, convicted or found innocent. By this time next year it is estimated that the number of children between 10 and 18 years on the database will be 1.5 million.

When Devon and Cornwall Constabulary were asked recently how many children, between the ages of 10 and 18 years of age, have had their DNA samples entered onto the database they did not seem to understand the question and requested further clarity from the inquirer.

Are the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary deliberately trying to avoid the question or are they just playing dumb in the hope that the questioner goes away?

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Children allowed guns in Cornwall

Readers may be shocked to find out, from the Celtic League article below that the Devon and Cornwall Police have legally issued 8 firearms licences to children in Cornwall.

This comes at a time when injuries caused by firearms have increased, which is not surprising really when it is considered that under current legislation, children under 15 years of age can hold a shotgun licence!

Cornwall Police Watch appreciate that some of these licences may go to children who work on farms, but the law doesn’t specify anything about being entitled to a licence ‘only if it can be shown it is needed for work related purposes’.

I wonder how many children have been injured by firearms in Cornwall?

CPW believe, along with the Celtic League, for children to be allowed to run around Cornwall with guns, which they have been given licences for by the Devon and Cornwall Police, shows the time is ripe for a change in the Firearms Act 1968.



The Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has called for a summit to review firearms laws, but the initiative has been rejected by the English Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.

Currently England has control of regulations on the use of firearms, but following an increase in firearm casualties in Scotland there have been calls to change the law. Mr MacAskill wants to gather police, gun control campaigners and shooting interest groups for a summit on firearms misuse, but Smith believes the time isn't right.

Current legislation allows children under 15 years to hold a shotgun licence. A Freedom of Information Act request revealed in Cornwall that in the last five years Devon and Cornwall have issues 8 firearms licenses to children under the ages of 16 years of age. It would seem that when guns can still be legally issued to under 16 year olds, firearm laws need updating.

However, in Scotland a two year old boy was killed three years ago by an air rifle, sending shock ways throughout the country and the latest figures from Scotland reveal that in the last year casualties of firearms increased by 25% with one in three of them being children.

The 1968 Firearms Act is now a little out to date and should be reviewed after the overhaul of The Manual of Guidance on the Police Use of Firearms, which took place at the beginning of the millennium. After all, why shouldn't public laws on firearms be updated in keeping with police regulations?

The Celtic League have written to Jacqui Smith asking her to consider updating the law.

"Dear Minister Jacqui Smith

Firearms Act 1968

We were concerned to read recently that you rejected calls for the Firearms Act 1968 to be reviewed and for an invite to attend a joint summit with Scotland, where the issues could be debated, was declined.

As you will be aware controls on the use of firearms are under Westminster's control with the other Celtic countries needing to wait for the English legal system to update its legislation regarding these laws. However, it does not seem fair that when one of the devolved administrations of these islands – in this case Scotland – calls for a debate on firearm controls in the form of a joint summit, your department unhesitatingly reject the offer.

In our opinion the Firearms Act 1968 is outdated and it is time for the legislation to be reviewed. In particular the current legislation allows children under the age of 16 years to hold a firearm licence, which beggars belief. In Scotland alone last year, casualties of firearms increased by 25%, with one in three of them being children.

If Westminster is not ready to devolve powers relating to firearms controls to the Celtic countries, then at least be willing to engage in a debate on the issues so that a mutual understanding and a furthering
of democracy can ensue.

We look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely"

(Article compiled for Celtic News by Rhisiart Tal-e-bot)

Celtic League
J B Moffatt
Director of Information
Celtic League


Friday, 14 March 2008

Watch those expense accounts Mr Otter!

The 2007 expense accounts for the Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, Stephen Otter, can be found here.

The highest cost, it will be seen, is rail travel between Devon and London.

Judging from his expenses, Mr Otter travelled and stayed in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly’s on two, possibly three, occasions. On one of his trips to Cornwall and the Isle of Scilly, Mr Otter paid a whopping £145.00 for accommodation for one night. Where on earth did he stay?

Another point to highlight also involves Mr Otter’s trip to Cornwall, which involved a short haul flight. With Devon and Cornwall police stating in their ‘Interim Capital Strategy’ for 2008 – 2020 that they are committed “to reducing [their carbon footprint”, short haul flights should be avoided at all costs.

With the exception of these items though, there is nothing particulary contraversial in the Chief Constables expense account, although this is open to debate. With a substantial increase in the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary’s share of Council Tax and with environmental campaigners, like Rising Tide UK, protesting against the increase of short haul flights from Cornwall airports, Mr Otter should take into more serious consideration how he spends public money.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

‘Why I Pray for a Cornishman’

This weekend in New Mexico, US a prisoner of war art show will be featuring works by Irish prisoners held in jails in Republic of Ireland and the UK. CPW have been informed that the following ‘Why I Pray for a Cornishman’ will be handed out in the form of a leaflet to all those present on the opening day.

Although not interred in a prison Mr Leamon has been subject to a different kind of incarceration by the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, consisting of a staggering seven months bail without knowing if at the end of the period he will be charged. Charged with what, is anybody’s guess it seems. Mr Leamon is now the only person who was arrested in September 2007 who is still on bail and has many of his possessions retained by the police.

CPW wish Mr Leamon every success later this month.

Why I Pray for a Cornishman

On Wednesday 26th March, 2008, Tony Leamon, a 44 year old Cornishman from Falmouth will go to Camborne Police Station in Cornwall to answer his bail. Like so many others before him and certainly after him, he will walk through the secure doors of the Custody Centre, be searched and documented in. Thereafter, who knows ?

Nothing unusual in any of that except the fact that Tony Leamon is an innocent man.
His story goes back an agonising seven months or so to September 6th. 2007, when heavily armed police officers called at his door during the early hours of the morning. Tony was arrested on suspicion of being a Cornish 'terrorist' and his house searched and his John Angarrack and other books, computer, Cornish Language material, telephone and Saint Piran's flag seized. No firearms or explosives were found but that did not stop the police task force arresting him and taking him into custody.

Tony Leamon was and still is a Cornish cultural and political activist. He is an unwell man who battles with chronic fatigue syndrome, otherwise known as 'M.E.' and who has a form of cancer of the blood. He cares for his very elderly father, a decorated war veteran and his mother, who herself has had a double mastectomy due to cancer.

After many, many hours of pressured interrogation, Tony was released on police bail with an instruction to return to Camborne Police Station during early December. He sought the assistance of a solicitor who was appointed to help him via the legal aid system but the help he actually received was nominal and not at all defensive of his rights. This is common enough in a cash strapped legal aid system.

Tony walked from Camborne Police Station a very upset man. This Celtic, Cornish giant of a figure knew in his heart of hearts that he had done nothing wrong nor could he. He is a committed pacifist and has no previous criminal convictions. As with many others before and since, his only crime was to be Cornish.

Eventually, the news about Tony spread and messages of support started to trickle in, not only from Cornwall but from further afield, indeed from as far away as the United States and Australia. Not only from Celtic Cornish activists but from members of the gay community in Cornwall who recognised from their own experiences that the police were often politically motivated and driven to achieve results. Tony himself is straight but he saw great similarities between what he was suffering and what members of various pressure groups, individuals and organisations across Cornwall had been subjected to. One person even started their own internet site in protest at what is widely perceived as police victimisation. ( ) The police in Cornwall are controlled from Exeter, across our age old border and into England, and there is a growing rift between them and the community in our Duchy they police, so much so that they are commonly referred to now as the 'Colonial Police.'

Tony answered his bail in December and this time a small group of supporters gathered outside Camborne Police Station to offer their support. Their constant enquiries about Tony were turned away and they were photographed and car numbers noted down by the police and, one would suspect, the special branch. Again, this is common enough in modern Cornwall where many Cornish campaigners have had telephones tapped, e-mails intercepted and knocks on the doors. After ten hours of pressured interrogation, Tony was again released on bail, exhausted and drained. He was instructed to again return to Camborne Police Station on the 26th. March, 2008.

Since December, quantities of his possessions have been returned to him but not all. The pressure of this quite extraordinary period of bail has had on this man's life have been telling, to say the very least. Following an attempt to take his own life, and pressure from friends, he eventually sought out the help of his doctor and was prescribed counselling and medication. His Member of Westminster Parliament, Julia Goldsworthy, has written to the Chief Constable up in Devon asking certain questions.

Others arrested for being so-called Cornish 'terrorists' down the past few years have all been released without any charge being brought thus no Court appearance. People arrested at the same time as Tony Leamon have been discharged from their bail.

I know Tony well enough to say that this big and dignified, fun filled man has no bad bone in his body. He is guilty of nothing and I shall campaign with all my heart and soul even if he is charged and appears before a court of law. I shall campaign even if he is convicted because, as with so many others, I know that he has done nothing wrong. I have wept for this generous and kind man, and being a Christian, I have prayed for him every day.

An article which appeared in the Western Daily Press on the 28th. November, 2007 asked when will 'someone put the Cornish in their place'? Mockingly referring to the Cornish as 'pasty eaters' and insulting the unique language and culture of the Cornish people, it openly criticised those, who like Tony Leamon, stand up for what they believe in. Messages of complaint sent to the editor of this newspaper have gone unanswered to nobody's surprise. I enclose a copy of the article under and I am glad to reply to its rhetorical question by saying that, for as long as there are brave heroes like Tony Leamon, an ordinary Cornish Patriot from Falmouth, who are prepared to stand up against an overwhelming anglocentric system which condemns the Cornish people, no one will come near to 'putting us in our place'.

I invite you to pray for Tony Leamon when he attends Camborne Police Station on the 26th March, 2008 and if you do not believe in a Higher Being, to have Tony in your thoughts. I don't doubt the system will nail him to a cross in order to make an example of him for, having been part of that system myself for a good many years, I know that publically spun results in the media are often interpreted as the sign of a successful public service. I also know that people are frequently wrongfully arrested and even convicted by an increasingly authoritarian society.

I also invite you to E-mail your messages of support to Tony or to me. They count for a lot. It is my belief that the pen, and nowadays, the keyboard, are mightier than the sword so please spread what has been written by me here, written in all sincerity, to as many people as possible.

Tony Leamon would love to hear your message of support at: or if you prefer, email me at: and I should be privileged to pass your message on.

Tony Leamon can be seen in happier times in the attached picture.


Michael Chappell

Guilty? But I am a police officer.

If you have ever wanted to know where all the speed cameras are on the roads in Cornwall, you can find out by clicking here.

Many people are under the misconception that speed cameras are ‘police cameras’, but the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary are just one of a number of partner groups who are behind the speed camera initiative in Cornwall.

Further, as you will be able to see from this document, simply knowing where the speed cameras are doesn’t make it possible to avoid speeding charges being brought against you. Devon and Cornwall police officers also get caught and charged with speeding offences, but two offences in 6 years don’t seem to be that high.

What is a little shocking however is the number of serious offences that police officers have been convicted of and these offences are only the ones that Devon and Cornwall Constabulary have chosen to disclose!

There are also two other points in this document that are also important to note.

The first is that if we take the figures from 2001 to 2006 only, because the majority of offences for 2007 are ‘pending’, of 20 recorded offences only 11 of them resulted in a verdict of guilty.

The second point is that offences committed by Devon and Cornwall police officers seem to be increasing.

Is this a consequence of police officers realising that even if they are arrested for an offence there is a 50/50 chance that they will get let off?

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

"Where did I put that file?"

As the Police and Government make plans for increasing the amount of personal information about members of the public held on file, a disclosure of a Freedom of Information Act request from the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary shows how negligent staff members can be in keeping personal information secure.

If plans are implemented to collect the personal details of all passengers’ taking the train, bus, ferry or plane, whether for domestic or international travel, the size of this information database will increase considerably. Moreover if the Westminster Government gives way to the Association of Police Chief Officers calls to expand the already extensive DNA database to cover all members of the public, then it won’t be long before the police and Government will be able to build up “a complete picture of our lives” and activities.

Regardless of what the moral and civil implications of this all evasive ‘Big Brotherness’ are, questions must be asked about the competency of the police - and Devon and Cornwall police in particular - to store such information.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Neighbourhood Policing – is it effective?

If you have ever wondered who your local police officers are in Cornwall, you can click here to find out: Neighbourhood Policing.

This page lists the names, email contact details and police station addresses of Devon and Cornwall officers working in Cornwall.

It may be of interest to readers to note that from December 1st 2006 to November 30th 2007 there were 54,512 recorded crimes in Cornwall and of these recorded crimes 12,200 or 22% were screened out and not investigated.

This is a substantial number and it may make you wonder why so many recorded crimes have not been further investigated. Is this the result of a lack of resources or a shortage of police staff or is it just the result of an ineffective neighbourhood policing policy?

Saturday, 8 March 2008

You are under video surveillance!

After the perceived success of the use of head mounted cameras by Devon and Cornwall police officers, it is only a matter of time before police in Cornwall will be using them too.

The head cameras were fist piloted in Plymouth, Devon last year by police officers from the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary. The Force reported that where the cameras were used there was an increased proportion of crimes brought to justice compared to when they were not in use by officers. This led to the Home Office in London promising to make more head cameras available for police officers in the future.

According to the English Minister of State for Police, Crime, Security and Counter-Terrorism, Tony McNulty:

"The use of body worn cameras has the potential to improve significantly the quality of evidence provided by police officers in the drive to reduce crime, the fear of crime and increase the proportion of offenders brought to justice."

"I am delighted to be able to announce £3million for the police service which will enable forces to make this valuable technology available to frontline police officers in England and Wales."

With the addition of police head cameras, Britain’s network of video surveillance will be broadened yet again. Britain already has the most extensive network of surveillance cameras in the world, with 4 million closed-circuit television cameras. It has been estimated by civil rights groups that the average UK citizen is recorded as many as 300 times a day - almost 13 times an hour.

Cornwall is no exception to the CCTV network. In 2000 Cornwall County Council announced that in Truro and Falmouth alone there would soon be 74 CCTV cameras. At the time, Superintendent Andy Clarke, Commander of the Carrick Area, and Chairman of the Carrick Community Safety Partnership reported on the construction of a:

“…new purpose built Control Centre in Truro which will provide 24 hour monitoring throughout the CCTV area which also covers the Cathedral, the Hall for Cornwall complex and clubs and pubs”.

Since this time the use of CCTV cameras in Cornwall has grown considerably and the CCTV Control Centre in Truro has developed to the extent that a police contact of mine once said to me two years ago that there is very few place in the centre of Truro that are not covered. Sadly though, this intrusion of our civil liberties goes largely unnoticed by citizens in their every day lives.

A policy document from Devon and Cornwall Constabulary on ‘Installation and Monitoring of Force Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)’ was updated in February 2008 and ‘Guidance for the police use of body-worn video devices’ can be found by clicking here.

Friday, 7 March 2008

PCSOs - "There There Policing"

“Police community support officers are playing a vital role in local neighbourhoods in Cornwall, as part of the wider police family.” (Devon and Cornwall Constabulary)

Brian Paddick was the highest ranking openly gay policeman, as Deputy Assistant Commissioner, when he resigned from London’s Metropolitan police force in 2007, after serving 30 years. He has now written a book about his experiences and gives an interesting insight into life as a policeman.

In a Sunday Mail newspaper article on 2nd March 2008, Paddick writes about several police related topics, including the role of Police Community Support Officers - a topic previously written about on Cornwall police Watch (PCSOs – Traffic Warden’s?). From Paddick’s article a keener insight can be gleamed into the real role of PCSOs and their usefulness to community policing.

In the article Paddick says:

“Senior officers felt they needed to persuade the public the streets were safe, so they invented Reassurance Policing - swiftly nicknamed There There Policing - and its task force, the new Police Community Support Officers.

Ian Blair had created the idea of PCSOs during his time as chief constable of Surrey. PCSOs were employed to be "the eyes and ears of the police" and "reassure the public".

They wore a uniform and patrolled the streets but they had few powers and much less training and equipment than real police officers.

The Police Federation was understandably concerned that PCSOs represented policing on the cheap. Although PCSOs were given the power to detain someone for up to 30 minutes, thus allowing regular police officers to arrive, they often found themselves powerless to stop people running off.

Their limitations quickly became apparent. Some PCSOs had to be rescued from Stratford shopping centre in East London when some local youths deliberately targeted them because they had no powers.

In a recent and more serious case, two PCSOs looked on as two members of the public tried to rescue a young girl and boy from a pond.

By the time a real police officer arrived and jumped into the pond, it was too late to save the boy.

I now believe the whole concept of the PCSO to be flawed.

If we have to pay people to be the "eyes and ears of the police", rather than relying on the public, then something has gone terribly wrong with British policing.
We currently have fully trained, fully equipped police officers spending up to half their time performing administrative tasks in police stations while PCSOs patrol the streets.

Surely this is the wrong way round. If we could use the money currently spent on PCSOs on keyboard operators doing the admin tasks for regular officers, we could significantly increase the amount of time each police officer spends on the street.
The police service in which I was a rookie cop was flawed. But in its favour it allowed officers to spend time in their communities, preventing and solving crime and comforting its victims.

Today I see them hidebound by paperwork, targets and political correctness. It's no longer Life On Mars, but I do sometimes look at the Home Office and the executive of New Scotland Yard and wonder just what planet they're on.”

This said, one of the main benefits of PSCOs is that many of them do come from the areas they patrol, which is more than can be generally said about Cornwall’s police officers today.

• Line Of Fire, by Brian Paddick, is published by Simon&Schuster on March 25 priced £17.99.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Devon and Cornwall Police Federation (DCPF): Who are they and what do they do?

The DCPF acts like a branch of a trade union for Devon and Cornwall police officers to protect their pay and conditions. The main organisation is what they call The Police Federation of England and Wales, which was established by an Act of Parliament and formed in 1919.

At the Police Federation Conference, held every three years, members are elected to the three national rank committees: the Constables' Central Committee, the Sergeants' Central Committee and the Inspectors' Central Committee. The last elections took place in 2007. This is replicated at a Branch level. The different committees for the Devon and Cornwall Police Federation are represented by the following:

DCPF Constables Committee

Dave James

DCPF Sergeants Committee

Andy Hookway
Police Federation Office
2 River Court
Pynes Hill
Exeter EX2 5JL
01392 354770

Nigel Rabbitts
Police Federation Office
2 River Court
Pynes Hill
Exeter EX2 5JL
01392 354770

The Police Federation were criticised recently for not doing enough to persuade the Government to fully implement the pay deal decided by the Independent Police Arbitration Tribunal and this was part of the reason why police officers protested in London in January 2008. The DCPF organised demonstrations for their members.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Devon and Cornwall Police Authority – white, male and English!

If you have ever heard of the Devon and Cornwall Police Authority (DCPA) and wondered what it was all about, you may be interested in the following…


In brief, the DCPA works like a Governing body of a school, but none of the teachers are allowed to attend meetings as members. This is supposed to give them some sense of independence. On their website, the DCPA say that:

The Devon and Cornwall Police Authority has a duty to “secure the maintenance of an efficient and effective police service” for Devon and Cornwall.

Some of their responsibilities are listed below:

• Consults With the Public
• Sets Policing Priorities and Targets
• Holds the Chief Constable to account and scrutinises performance throughout the year
• Secures Continuous Improvement
• Monitors the Force Complaints Procedure & Complaints Against Senior Officers
• Appoints Senior Police Officers
• Sets the Budget for the Police Force and the Police element of the Council Tax
• Operates the Independent Custody Visitor Scheme
• Community engagement and consultation


The Devon and Cornwall Police Authority has 19 Members - 10 Councillors, 3 Lay Justices, 6 Independents. All Members are appointed to the Police Authority for a fixed term and the membership can change during the year.

Of the 19 Members, there are 5 who live and work in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. There is Independent Member, Joanna Norton, who has an address in Cornwall and an address in Exeter and it is not clear where her interests lie, although she is a School Governor in Wadebridge. Nevertheless of the 10 Councillors, 4 are from Cornwall.

The Cornwall members on the Devon and Cornwall Police Authority are:

Graeme Hicks
Cornwall County Councillor, Independent
Mike Hicks
Isles of Scilly Councillor, Independent
Bryan Preston
Cornwall County Councillor, Liberal Democrat
Jeremy Rowe
Cornwall County Councillor, Liberal Democrat
Carl Wallin JP
Cornwall Lay Justice

Joanna Norton
Independent Member

These statistics reveal that out of 19 members of the DCPA only 5 are living and working permamently in Cornwall, with one Independent Member who has an address in Cornwall and one in Devon.

It does not appear to me that Cornwall is unfairly represented on the DCPA.

In addition, there are only 5 women members of the DCPA and all members are white. The majority of members are of course from Devon, England which is where their HQ are based.

If you would like to complain about this, please write to:

Devon and Cornwall Police Authority,
PO Box 229
Exeter, EX2 5YT
(01392) 268333
(01392) 268330

As has been said time and again on this Blog, Devon and Cornwall Police are a colonial force and the DCPA are one of the reasons why.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Rights? What rights?

As England pulls subtly towards creating a police society for itself, it seems intent on pulling Cornwall along with it. For the time being there is little indication that things will be different, but as more people begin to feel the burden of a big brother society affecting personal aspects of their lives and restricting their civil liberties, they will inevitably become more willing to take action.

Luckily for the nine to fivers among us, civil society is still able to function in a more or less healthy way, but its influence is nevertheless becoming increasingly eroded. This can be seen by the complete lack of impact the Iraq War demonstrators had in London in recent years or the Government’s complete rejection of the Cornish Assembly petition.

The Celtic League have now written to Stephen Otter, Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, to find out what his views are on two matters relating to the civil rights, under English law, of Cornish citizens. Both issues, DNA databasing and gay rights, have implications for the Cornish public, but also to the Welsh who are also subject to English law in Wales. Both matters will be dealt with by Cornwall Police Watch in future blog posts.

Interestingly, as Michael Chappell highlights, Mr Otter is soon to take on the role of Head of the Race and Diversity Business area and included in his portfolio are matters concerning ‘sexual orientation’. As some of you may be aware from this blog, the Devon and Cornwall police do not currently have a particularly good reputation for their attitude towards the gay community in Cornwall, according to some activists. We will await his response with eagerness. Well done the Celtic League for taking up these issues!



The Assistant General Secretary (AGS) of the League has written to the Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police, Stephen Otter, in his role as Kernow Branch Secretary to seek his views on issues relating to Cornwall and elsewhere.

Mike Chappell is keen to hear the Chief Constables views about plans to extend the powers of the police to take genetic samples of anyone arrested or suspected of any crime and also his views on plans to hold a Gay Pride march in Truro, Cornwall in August 2008.

The first issue relates to a call made by the Association of Chief Police Officers for a new debate on the issue of extending the current DNA database to include all people arrested, whether they are later charged with an offence or not. This would substantially increase the current database of genetic records held of more than 4.5million people – including 560,000 people who have never been convicted of any offence.

In Scotland last month Ministers rejected calls by Association of Chief Police Officers of Scotland (ACPOS) to fall in line with police forces in England and Wales by collecting forensic samples of anyone arrested. However, Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill has ruled this out, claiming it would be an infringement of the public's human rights. Currently in Scotland if anyone has their DNA taken by the police, it is destroyed if they are not convicted.

The second issue raised by the AGS in his letter raises the question of how Mr Otter would respond to the proposed Gay Parade to take place in Cornwall in view of the additional role he will take up in April
2008, as Spokesperson for the Association of Chief Police Officers, on matters to include, among others, 'sexual orientation'.

In the past Devon and Cornwall Constabulary has been accused of institutionalised homophobia by leading members of Cornwall's gay community. Accusations of police homophobia in Cornwall have been so persistent and far reaching that now a European television company, who are making an international documentary on homophobia, have approached Cornish activists to know more. It has been reported to the League that the recommendation for a 'British' feature on homophobia should be run in Cornwall by acclaimed Human Rights Campaigner, Peter Tatchell.

The full text of the AGS's letter can be found below:

"Mr. Stephen Otter

Chief Constable

Devon and Cornwall Constabulary
Middlemoor HQ

4th March, 2008

Dear Chief Constable

DNA Database and Gay Pride Rally

I am writing to you as Assistant General Secretary and Kernow Branch Secretary of the Celtic League in order to ascertain your views on two unrelated topics that are of interest to members of our Branch and indeed to members in the other Branches of our organisation.

The first regards plans to extend the powers of the police to take genetic samples of anyone arrested or suspected of any crime. We are aware that Chief Constable Tony Lake, who speaks for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) on DNA is in favour of such plans and has even spoken in favour of compiling a DNA database of everyone charged with an offence or not.

Being a member of the ACPO, we would therefore like to know what your
views are on this subject.

The second enquiry is in regard to the announcement made last week that a Gay Pride march will be taking place in Truro, Cornwall in August 2008. It has been reported to the Branch that organisers of this march, Cornwall Gay Pride, are concerned about the reaction of Devon and Cornwall police towards the organisers of the event and the marchers themselves.

We are aware that in 2007 the previous Cornwall Gay Pride Steering Group decided to disband as a result of personal experience of homophobic behaviour towards them on the part of Devon and Cornwall police officers. We are also aware that from April 2008, you will take up the position of Head of the Race and Diversity Business area and that your new portfolio will cover 'sexual orientation'.

We would therefore be interested to know what your views are on the existence of Cornwall Gay Pride and what you intend to do as Head of the Race and Diversity Business area and the Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police to improve relations between the Constabulary and Cornwall's gay community. Also we would like to know your own views on the planned Gay pride march itself.

Many thanks in advance.

Yours faithfully

Michael J. Chappell"

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Where did you say?

Devon and Cornwall Police are keen to get their hands on all the latest gadgets. Last year it was the taser gun and this year it’s an upgraded police protection system.

The police protection system provided by Northgate Information Solutions is a necessary piece of equipment for officers, because it can accurately pinpoint where officers and their patrol vehicles are. The system can also help to speed up officers response time to incidents, because control room staff have access to their whereabouts.

This is absolutely essential when police officers, unfamiliar with unknown territory, are called to investigate an incident by the Devon based police control centre at a place called something like ‘Roon’or ‘Rooin’ or ‘Ruan’ or maybe ‘Ruin’ or ‘Run’ or perhaps even ‘Ruan’. The potential difficulties that such a call out can have for police officers based in Plymouth are all too obvious.

Plymouth based Superintendent Peter Strawbridge at Devon and Cornwall Police was particularly thrilled by the usefulness of the new technology:

“Our new partnership with Northgate allows officers and vehicles to be located quickly and accurately, significantly enhancing officer safety… particularly in rural and off-road situations.”

In such far flung unchartered territory as the Lizard Penisula or West Penwith officers and vehicles need to to be in and out as quickly as humanly possible.

Who cares if the new technology puts one or two more percent on the Devon and Cornwall Police share of the Council Tax – at least they may now be able to find where they are going.

Why not a Cornish Stannary Police Force?

In the Basque Country there are four different police forces – the Guardia Civil, National Police, Municipal Police and the Ertzaintza. In Navarre (a province of the Basque Country), the Foruzaingoa are the Ertzaintza equivalent.

The Basque County also has its own distinct legal system in the shape of the Foral Laws. The various Basque Provinces have regarded these laws as tantamount to a Constitution and today the laws are still zealously guarded and the majority upheld.

With its own Stannary Laws, Parliament and Courts there is no reason why a distinct Cornish Police force should not exist to uphold the law in Cornwall.

Cornish Stannary parliament