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Appeal to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC)

From: Neil Wilby
Against: Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire and the City of York (NYPCC)
Decision letter dated: 26th April, 2016 (No URN allocated)
Grounds for Appeal
1. I am an experienced investigative journalist and police complaints advocate, well known to the
2. Appeals I make to the IPCC, mostly on behalf of clients who retain my services, succeed much
more often than they fail.
3. It is not my practice to make frivolous complaints, or appeals against non-recording decisions and
investigation outcomes.
4. My advocacy work is underpinned by what I call the RPOS principle: Does a complaint or appeal
have sufficient merit, on the face of the evidence, to indicate a reasonable prospect of success? I
generally set the bar for the RPOS test at 65/35. Much higher than the 51/49 balance of
probability test.
5. My complaint concerning Chief Constable Jones was submitted on 12th April, 2016 to the
Appropriate Authority. In this case NYPCC.
6. The complaint is well particularised, occupying three close typed pages. The essence of the
complaint is that via the civil court, in a harassment claim in which he is prime mover and funder
in his role as chief constable, he made palpably false allegations of criminal conduct against me.
7. The allegations set out in my complaint concern breaches of Standards of Professional Behaviour
and breaches of the College of Policing Code of Ethics. I have been adversely affected by the chief
constables actions and seek appropriate redress under applicable law. The complaint is not
personalised and there is no other motive exhibited in the narrative of my complaint.
8. The decision letter from Mr Simon Dennis acting under powers delegated to him by NYPCC makes
unevidenced and in my submission gratuitous - claim that the complaint is vexatious and
oppressive and an abuse of the police complaints process. He does not particularise under
separate headings his rationale for so doing.
9. Instead, his rationale comprises three disjointed paragraphs which make no sense taken severally,
or jointly. I deal with each in turn:
a. Mr Dennis has either not read the complaint fully, or does not understand it. Or, is motivated
to do neither (see paras 14 and 15 below). His core, and ambiguous, reason for not recording the
complaint appears to be (by reference to his emphasis) that my complaint is not about the
conduct of a person serving with the police. That is plainly wrong. The complaint is about alleged
misconduct by the chief constable acting in that role whilst not only pursuing, but also funding, a
civil harassment claim on the grounds of protecting his own welfare as a police officer, and the
welfare of other police officers. That is one of the principal stated grounds in the Decision Notice
of the PCC justifying police funding of the claim. I exhibit that notice at Appendix A.

b. Mr Dennis comments concerning the source of the complaint are true (Simon Myersons
skeleton argument). But there is no cogent argument advanced by Mr Dennis as to why
misconduct by the chief constable disclosed in this way should persuade him not to record the
complaint and have it proportionately investigated. The Police Reform Act 2002 at S12 defines a
conduct matter as any matter.where there is an indication (whether from the circumstances or
otherwise) that a person serving with the police may have committed a criminal offence or
behave in a manner that would lead to disciplinary proceedings. For completeness I include the
Myerson skeleton argument at Appendix B.
c. Mr Dennis states I was not a party in those proceedings. Insofar as that it might be relevant, it
is not strictly true: I was a party in conjoined civil proceedings that were heard at the same time
and in the same court. I was, in fact, present in that court when Mr Myerson presented his
arguments to HHJ Gosnell at the case management hearing in question, concerning the two
conjoined cases.
d. Mr Dennis claims that I have provided no evidence that the chief constable is responsible for
the false assertion by Mr Myerson that I committed criminal offences and contempt of court. On
the contrary, the evidence is very clear: Leading QC Mr Myerson says, unequivocally, that I have
offended against all the claimants in the civil harassment claim. The chief constable is not only
one of those claimants, he is, on his own admission, the prime mover, directing mind and funder
of the claim.
e. It would be an extraordinary situation and this is what I take Mr Dennis to be inferring if it
were to be found that a well known known QC was deliberately lying to a High Court judge and
that he did so on his own motion and without instructions from the solicitor acting for the chief
10. The lawful burden resting on Mr Dennis when assessing my complaint was:
a. To take it at face value and discuss with me how best to resolve it. He patently failed to do so.
b. Given the nature of the complaint, and its potential consequences, the IPCC should have been
consulted immediately. There is no evidence disclosed that he did so.
c. To open a complaint file, with a URN, and keep an audit trail of his actions. There is no evidence
that he did so.
d. Provide an explanation of the grounds upon which he relies not to record the complaint. He
patently did not do so. He simply mentions (several times) their existence.
e. Provide a clear rationale as to how each of the three grounds, separately, apply to the
complaint. He patently did not do so. Instead he lumped the three grounds together and sought
to provide an explanation that did not meet any of the tests of vexatious, oppressive or abuse of
f. The appropriate test for a complaint to be considered vexatious is that it is without
foundation and intends to vex, worry, annoy and embarrass. I reject such argument and submit
that my complaint has merit, is carefully set out, in entirely neutral terms, well evidenced and
properly reasoned under applicable law and guidance.
g. The appropriate test for a complaint to be considered oppressive is that it is without
foundation and likely to result in burdensome, harsh, or wrongful treatment of the person
complained against. I reject such argument and submit that my complaint is well founded for the

reasons set out above. The issue of burdensome, harsh or wrongful treatment of the chief
constable, as a result of a proportionate investigation into my complaints, simply does not arise.
h. The appropriate test for a complaint to be considered an abuse of the complaints system is
that there has been a manipulation or misuse of the complaints system. In the case of my
complaint, no such argument is sustainable. There is irrefutable evidence of misconduct by a
police officer. The police complaints system is an appropriate channel for a victim to seek redress.
i. I would submit that, conversely, the chief constable should welcome an investigation into well
grounded complaints into his own alleged misconduct in order (i) to maintain confidence in the
police complaints system (ii) to maintain highest professional and ethical standards for his force
11. There are two other points in Mr Dennis decision letter that are noteworthy. They reinforce my
view that he is not an experienced (or competent) police complaints practitioner:
a. He claims the period for filing an appeal against his decision is 28 days. It is, in fact, 29 days.
b. He refers to guidance issued to practitioners concerning the approach to complaints that may
be regarded as vexatious, oppressive or an abuse of process - but did not burden me with a copy.
I submit that Mr Dennis is referring to a publicly available newsletter issued by the IPCC called
Focus. I attach the June 2014 edition that I have retrieved from my files as Appendix C.
12. The decision not to record my complaint was made by Mr Dennis without discussion, in order to
raise any points of doubt he had, or to seek clarification in the detail or motivation behind the
complaint. In not doing so he failed to discharge his obligations under paras 3.3 and 3.5 of IPCC
Statutory Guidance.
13. There appears to have been no viable assessment of the complaint made by Mr Dennis, as he is
required to do under para 4.16 of IPCC Statutory Guidance. It is my submission that Mr Dennis
sole objective was to get rid of this complaint over an issue that both the force and the PCCs
office are finding excruciatingly embarrassing and damaging to their reputation.
14. In assessing this appeal the IPCC should consider the very real possibility that the chief constable,
or the PCC (or both), has instructed Mr Dennis not to record the complaint and then,
subsequently, develop argument to justify that pre-determined decision. It is my submission that
the merits of the complaint have not even been considered. Rather, it is what a proportionate
investigation might find - and the identity (and wider role) of the complainant that has led to Mr
Dennis decision. That is the real abuse of the police complaints system at issue in this appeal.
15. I have written a number of public interest articles concerning the civil claim (and the actions of
the chief constable within it) that is styled by NYP as Operation Hyson, and also about its
predecessor, Operation Rome. This was a spectacularly failed criminal investigation. The force and
the PCCs office has suffered considerable reputational damage as a result of these articles and, as
such, resent any form of scrutiny or complaint from me as a result. I am regularly critical of the
failure of the NYPCC to hold the chief constable to account. It is my submission that these articles
further contribute to the reasons why my complaint against CC Jones has not been recorded. I
exhibit those articles as Appendix D1, D2 and D3.

Neil Wilby - Complainant
19th May 2016