"Plebgate": Building bridges with the police – the Mitchell way… Kiss comes as Yard arrests another man over leaks

Building bridges with the police – the Mitchell way! Kiss comes as Yard arrests another man over 'Plebgate' leaks
Scotland Yard has 30 officers investigating claims of a conspiracyAndrew Mitchell challenging 'completely untrue' allegations that he called Downing Street officers 'f****** plebs'David Cameron 'furious' at reports an off duty officer tried to 'blacken the name of a Cabinet minister'CCTV footage casts doubt on account in leaked police log

|

UPDATED:

23:51 GMT, 20 December 2012

Andrew Mitchell was yesterday eager to prove he had put his problems with the police behind him – by planting a kiss on the cheek of a female officer.

Mr Mitchell made the awkward gesture to Chief Superintendent Lorraine Bottomley after visiting a police station in his constituency.

He said he had been visiting the local police and other emergency services for the past 11 years to thank them for keeping the community safe ‘while many of us are putting our feet up over Christmas’.

Scroll down for video

Tory MP Andrew Mitchell today put his stand-off with police to one side to embrace Chief Superintendent Lorraine Bottomley on the steps of Sutton Coldfield police station

Tory MP Andrew Mitchell today put his stand-off with police to one side to embrace Chief Superintendent Lorraine Bottomley on the steps of Sutton Coldfield police station

‘They’ve done such a very good job,’
he added. ‘They’ve made Sutton Coldfield the second safest town in
Britain and I’m very proud of what the police have achieved.’

Despite the recent furore over the
‘plebgate’ affair, Mr Mitchell insisted he had always had ‘a really
excellent relationship’ with his local police.

He added: ‘We’ve worked closely together for the past 11 years in the interest of the local community.

‘They’re a great team, they do a very good job and we work together extremely well.’

Meanwhile, the leader of the rank and
file police last night said he would apologise to Mr Mitchell if an
investigation found the MP did not call officers ‘plebs’ during the
infamous incident in Downing Street.

Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police
Federation, said he ‘will be one of the first in the queue to apologise’
if the former Chief Whip is exonerated.

It was a very public display of support for the police at a time when senior Tories have claimed Mr Mitchell is the victim of a 'stitch up'

It was a very public display of support for the police at a time when senior Tories have claimed Mr Mitchell is the victim of a 'stitch up'

Mr Mitchell had been holding meetings with members of the police force in his Sutton Coldfield constituency

Mr Mitchell had been holding meetings with members of the police force in his Sutton Coldfield constituency

Mr Mitchell has claimed the plebgate saga has 'shaken' his confidence in the police

Mr Mitchell has claimed the plebgate saga has 'shaken' his confidence in the police

After details of Mr Mitchell’s
foul-mouthed rant were leaked, members of the federation repeatedly
referred to the scandal in their campaign to highlight alleged police
cuts, wearing ‘PC Pleb’ T-shirts to the Tory party conference to try to
garner public sympathy.

Yesterday Mr McKeever admitted he
‘came pretty close’ to demanding the minister’s head in the days after
the row blew up and acknowledged concerns that his organisation had
‘stoked up’ media attention.

VIDEO Mitchell plants a kiss on officer

Play Video

Loading video…

DM.has('rcpv32918','BC',
'renderConfig' :

'css' : “videoplayer-large”,
'autoplay' : false,
'muted' : false,
'adUrl' : “http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/adssz=8×8&iu=%2F7023%2Fdm.video%2Fdm_video_news&ciu_szs=&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=xml_vast2&unviewed_position_start=1&url=[referrer_url]&correlator=[timestamp]”,
'playerId' : “1989148206001”,
'playerKey' : “AQ~~,AAAAAFSL1bg~,CmS1EFtcMWELN_eSE9A7gpcGWF5XAVmI”,
'objId' : “rcpv32918”,
'videoPlayer' : “2046968607001”,
'width' : 636,
'height' : 358,
'linkBaseURL' : “http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2251018/Plebgate-Building-bridges-police–Mitchell-way–Kiss-comes-Yard-arrests-man-leaks.html”

});

Mr McKeever said he was ‘taken aback
and shocked’ by Mr Mitchell’s reported comments, which came immediately
after the murder of two women police officers in Manchester.

‘I think we can all say we could have done things better,’ he told Radio 4’s PM programme.

SCOTLAND YARD'S HUGE PROBE

The Met Police now have 30 officers
working on the investigation into plebgate, which has been widened to
probe claims of a conspiracy against Andrew Mitchell. The Metropolitan
Police Service Directorate of Professional Standards inquiry wants to:

Identify the source of the information to The Sun and The Telegraph newspapers and whether this emanated from the MPS
If the source of information did emanate from the MPS, to establish who leaked it and how it was doneAlternatively, if the source of the leak was via a third party, establish who that was and how it was doneInvestigate the circumstances surrounding the Police Officer's claim to have witnessed the incident in Downing StreetEstablish if there is any evidence of a conspiracy between this officer and any other personEstablish what, if any, criminal or misconduct offences are apparentProgress this investigation to wherever the evidence takes it
Establish if there is any organisational learning as a result of this investigation

‘The federation has to look at how we
can get some measure of control to ensure that there is perhaps a better
way of doing business in the future.

‘If he has been done a calumny in relation to what happened, I will be one of the first in the queue to apologise.

‘I can understand when people say
there is a danger that trust might be eroded in the British police
service as a result of what’s happened.’

His comments came as Scotland
Yard revealed that a second man had been arrested in connection with the
affair.

A 23-year-old man was questioned
yesterday on suspicion of helping a police officer from the elite
Diplomatic Protection Group commit misconduct in a public office.

Speculation was growing last night
that the latest suspect, who is not a police officer, may have attempted
to conceal evidence last Friday.

The alleged offence took place the day
before the 52-year-old police officer from the DPG was arrested in
North London last Saturday on suspicion of misconduct in public office.

The officer is accused of sending a
fabricated email claiming he had witnessed Mr Mitchell call officers
‘f***ing plebs’ at the gates of Downing Street on September 19.

It has since emerged that key sections
of the barely literate email, which he sent to his local MP John
Randall, directly contradict CCTV footage from Downing Street of the
incident.

His alleged accomplice was arrested at a house in North London on Wednesday evening.

Channel 4 News tonight released the email from someone claiming to have been an eyewitness to Mr Mitchell's argument with Downing St Police - where he was alleged to have call police 'plebs'

Controversy: Andrew Mitchell with his wife yesterday

Controversy: Andrew Mitchell with his wife yesterday

Scotland Yard said the man’s home was
searched and he was released on police bail yesterday but would not
confirm if he is related to the officer who was arrested.

Some 30 officers are working on the inquiry, which is being supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

GRAPHIC KEY QUESTIONS.jpg

During Prime Minister's Questions, David Cameron today expressed his dismay at the allegation that a police officer tried to 'blacken the name' of a Cabinet minister'

During Prime Minister's Questions, David Cameron today expressed his dismay at the allegation that a police officer tried to 'blacken the name' of a Cabinet minister'

Detectives are also investigating how
the police log, with details of the police officers’ version of events,
was leaked to the media.

MPs and journalists are expected to be interviewed as part of the leak enquiry.

Met Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey said it is ‘vital’ police solve the affair.

Former home secretary Kenneth Baker told BBC2's Daily Politics that the police 'must be above politics in our country'.

Mr Mitchell used freedom of information laws to obtain a copy of CCTV footage which he says contradicts the official police report of the incident

Mr Mitchell used freedom of information laws to obtain a copy of CCTV footage which he says contradicts the official police report of the incident

Mr Mitchell left his London home this morning amid calls from some Tory MPs for him to be reinstated in the government

Mr Mitchell left his London home this morning amid calls from some Tory MPs for him to be reinstated in the government

VIDEO Mitchell reiterates denial as he talks through CCTV footage

Play Video

Loading video…

DM.has('rcpv32741','BC',
'renderConfig' :

'css' : “videoplayer-large”,
'autoplay' : false,
'muted' : false,
'adUrl' : “http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/adssz=8×8&iu=%2F7023%2Fdm.video%2Fdm_video_homehp&ciu_szs=&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=xml_vast2&unviewed_position_start=1&url=[referrer_url]&correlator=[timestamp]”,
'playerId' : “1989148206001”,
'playerKey' : “AQ~~,AAAAAFSL1bg~,CmS1EFtcMWELN_eSE9A7gpcGWF5XAVmI”,
'objId' : “rcpv32741”,
'videoPlayer' : “2043946189001”,
'width' : 636,
'height' : 358,
'linkBaseURL' : “http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2249845/Plebgate-Fake-plebgate-email-forced-Andrew-Mitchell-revealed-Cameron-condemns-bid-blacken-ministers-name.html”

});