Number of police officers suspected of conspiring about Andrew Mitchell in "Plebgate" row rises to 10


Number of police officers suspected of conspiring about Andrew Mitchell in 'Plebgate' row rises to 10Inquiry into allegations has widened following fresh informationIPCC operation now encompasses officers from four forces: Metropolitan Police, West Mercia, West Midlands and Warwickshire

Some accused of fabricating
allegations and of leaking details to press

By
Arthur Martin

PUBLISHED:

12:43 GMT, 24 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

01:41 GMT, 25 March 2013

At least ten police officers are now suspected of discrediting former cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell over the Plebgate affair.

The criminal investigation into the alleged attempts to smear the former Tory chief whip has widened after the Independent Police Complaints Commission received fresh information.

Ten officers from four forces are being investigated by the watchdog.

At least 10 police officers are suspected of an involvement in an alleged anti-Tory plot against former cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell, pictured left. He was accused of calling Downing Street guards, pictured right, 'plebs'

At least 10 police officers are suspected of an involvement in an alleged anti-Tory plot against former cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell, pictured left. He was accused of calling Downing Street guards, pictured right, 'plebs'

At least 10 police officers are suspected of discrediting former cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell, left, who was accused of calling Downing Street guards 'plebs', pictured right an officer not implicated in the investigation

Some are accused of fabricating
allegations about what Mr Mitchell said during the incident or making
false statements to the media afterwards.

Others are accused of leaking details of the case to the press.

There were several officers from the
Diplomatic Protection Group on duty in Downing Street when Mr Mitchell
asked them to open the main gate so he could cycle through last
September.

When the officers refused, Mr Mitchell swore at them before pushing his bicycle through the pedestrian exit.

An apparent log of the incident, which
was written by one male and one female officer, claimed Mr Mitchell
called officers ‘f****** plebs’ when they would not let him through.

The log was then leaked to a newspaper and led to his resignation.

Two months later it emerged an email
purporting to be from a member of the public who witnessed the row was
actually written by an off-duty police officer who had not been present.

Doubts have since surfaced about a
police account of what happened during a private meeting between Mr
Mitchell and members of the West Midlands Police Federation to discuss
the allegations.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission's role in the criminal investigation has grown following fresh information

The IPCC's role in the criminal investigation has grown following fresh information about the altercation

The inquiry now comprises officers from four forces: Metropolitan police, West Mercia, West Midlands and Warwickshire.

Four forces – Metropolitan Police, West Mercia, West Midlands and Warwickshire – are now part of inquiry

Mr Mitchell denies using the word
‘pleb’ but admitted swearing at the officers. He claims he said: ‘I
thought you were here to f****** help us.’

According to The Sunday Times,
sources close to the inquiry said that Pat Gallan, a Scotland Yard
deputy assistant commissioner, in charge of the case, will send her
report on the case to the Crown Prosecution Service this week.

Keir Starmer, the director of public prosecutions, is expected to make the final decision on criminal charges.

Three officers in the Midlands are now being investigated by their own forces. They include Ken Mackaill, chairman of West Mercia Police Federation.

The former cabinet minister is understood to have submitted a tape of a secretly-recorded meeting with Mackaill to police.

The IPCC said that three senior police federation officers in West Mercia, West Midlands and Warwickshire are facing disciplinary inquiry over remarks made on TV.