Enquiry made to Stephens and Son Solicitors (Kent) on whether Kent Police can be sued for compensation for poor services
I submitted an application to Stephens and Son Solicitors of Chatham (Kent) for help in making a claim for compensation against Kent Police for poor services. The application was made on line and confirmed by email on 12 August 2014, and then discussed with their receptionist on the telephone at 3.30 pm the same day.
Mr Charles Hewster(?) of Stephens and Son telephoned me back later that afternoon and said that his Firm of Solicitors did not deal with cases of this kind and referred me to Russell Jones and Walker of London as being the specialists in this field of work. I sent online an email (delivered through Cylex) to Russell Jones & Walker after requesting Stephens and Son, by email, to forward my Case documents of 12 August 2014 to that Firm that is supposedly offering such legal services.
When I heard nothing from either Russell Jones & Walker or Stephens and Son, I telephoned Stephens and Son at 4.22 pm today and asked the receptionist to put me through to speak with Mr Charles Hewster(?) in order to enquire if Stephens and Son had forwarded my Case details to Russell Jones & Walker. Mr Hewster(?) was unavailable to take my telephone call then and the receptionist said to me that she will get Mr Hewster to telephone me back.
No telephone calls or emails came back. Such is the pathetic state of the British legal system.
24 October 2014 Update: Today I received a letter dated 23 October 2014 from Legal Services Department of Kent Police under its reference No CI/72/14 as follows:
Dear Dr Panigrahi
Re: Claim for Compensation
I refer to your email of 13 August 2014 in which you seek compensation for alleged poor service from Kent Police. I note that you have also made a complaint to Kent Police in relation to this matter which following investigation has not been upheld. I am now in a position to respond with regard to your claim for compensation.
Background On 26 April 2014 you reported what you believed amounted to a hate crime to Kent Police. The details were that you had submitted an application to the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) as you wished to stand as an MP for the party. You said that you had posted your application in about July 2013 to the UKIP headquarters address in London. You said that you could be sure this had been received as you had sent the application by recorded delivery and you provided details of receipt of the correspondence signed for by UKIP. You say that you did not hear from UKIP and made further contact with them. You subsequently received confirmation that you had been unsuccessful in your application. You said you had thereafter been ignored by UKIP despite numerous attempts by you to elicit a response. You said that you belived UKIPs failure to engage with you after their initial contact was motivated by your enthnicity and/or religion and you felt this amounted to a hate crime. Following an initial assessment by Kent Police you were advised that the incident would be recorded as a hate incident but there was no evidence that a crime had taken place. You were also advised that UKIP has its own internal policies for selection and as with any private organisation it is entitled to speak to whomever it chooses. It appeared they had excercised this right on this occasion. This initial assessment was subject to a supervisor’s review which drew the same conclusion. Your report was therefore filed as a hate incident under crime report number SI/XY004960/14. The Chief Constable’s position as to liability in relation to your claim is as follows:
Failure to investigate It is denied that Kent Police has failed to investigate your report of crime, the details of which are set out above. This matter has been assessed by experienced police officers and further reviewed by Inspector Venus-Coppard who was satisfied the crime report had been disposed of appropriately. In any event there is no cause of action at common law for failure to investigate and/or disagreeing with the manner in which an officer chooses to investigate.
You have exercised your right to make a complaint to Kent Police which has been investigated with a conclusion that your complaint was not upheld. UKIP may have a complaints process which you may wish to explore.
Conclusion For the reasons set out above liability is denied and no offer of compensation is made.
Documents I enclose the following: Crime Report SI/XY/004960/14.
Independent Legal Advice You may wish to seek legal advice in respect of this matter and if so then you should show your legal advisor this letter.
Service of Proceedings The Head of Legal Services at the above address will accept service of proceedings on behalf of the Chief Constable.
Should you require any clarification or additional information regarding any aspect of your claim then please do contact me.
Debra Kemp Legal Executive
29 October 2014 Update: I replied to this letter as follows:
CI/72/14 Me To firstname.lastname@example.org 25 October 2014 at 10:44 AM To Ms Debra Kemp Legal Services Department Kent Police Headquarters Sutton Road Maidstone Kent ME15 9BZ Tel 01622 652023 By Email: email@example.com
Dear Ms Kemp 1. Thank you for your letter to me dated 23 October 2014 concerning my Claim for Compensation in your Case Number CI/72/14. 2. Firstly, I would like point out that you have investigated the wrong issue. The Claim was brought for the continuous prevarications of police staff at Kent Police in the disposal of a Hate Crime, which led to me having to struggle hard (causing much distress to me) to eventually find out the truth only now that at no point did Kent Police write to Mr Gurpal Singh Tiwana or the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) to determine the criminality of their actions against me on the provision of an opportunity to state my application for becoming a Member of Parliament at the 2015 general election for UKIP. It is my correspondence with Kent Police on this matter that should have been the subject of your investigation and not the technicality of whether UKIP had indeed committed a Hate Crime. 3. I should also point out an error in your report. You state ‘you subsequently received confirmation that you had been unsuccessful in your application’. This is wrong for at no point have I received any categorical statement from UKIP directly or through Mr Gurpal Singh Tiwana that I am not a suitable candidate to be standing for UKIP as a Member of Parliament. 4. In your section on ‘Failure to Investigate’, you fail to comment on whether the police officers concerned had adhered to Home Office guidelines on policing techniques that are relevant to the investigation of a Hate Crime. You say that they were experienced police officers who did not need to do any investigation other then use their imagination to determine that UKIP were not exhibiting racism in dealing with my application. You further state that ‘in any event there is no cause of action at common law for failure to investigate and/or disagreeing with the manner in which an officer chooses to investigate. If this is indeed the law, it needs to be amended through government legislation for it leaves open the distinct possibility that investigating officers were themselves displaying racial prejudice in both the investigation of the Hate Crime and the manner in which they prevaricated in order to dispose off this case. 5. Finally, I have only just received a copy of Inspector Venus-Coppard’s final report from Justin Watts (Inspector for Public Complaints) that you referred to in your letter as not upholding my complaint. It states that ‘police has no right to question a political party about their selection procedures unless there is evidence that a criminal offence has taken place’. My argument is that if a victim has perceived that a criminal offence has taken place (the criminal offence being that UKIP allowed its racist and religionist views to exclude me from the selection process through the manipulation of its own procedures) then the police is obliged to write to the alleged offender to obtain its view so that the facts are out in the open. That is the fundamental basis of the operation of justice. This fact should also be taken into consideration in your review of this Case, otherwise the matter would have to be subjected to a judicial review at the Administrative Court of the Royal Courts of Justice. 6. I look forward to your response as soon as possible. Yours sincerely Dr Shantanu Panigrahi
Legal Services Department of Kent Police sent me the following reply dated 27 October 2014 through the post in response:
Dear Dr Panigrahi Re: Claim for Compensation Thank you for your e-mail of 25 October 2014 It is denied that Kent Police prevaricated continuously or at all in this matter. You reported what you perceived as a hate crime on 26 April 2014 and the matter was subsequently investigated and filed as a ”No Crime” on 22 June 2014. An assessment was made as to whether your report constituted a hate crime and it was deemed that it did not. As such it was not appropriate to contact UKIP or any of its members. Having reviewed the crime report and your correspondence I am satisfied that Kent Police has complied with the Home Office Counting Rules for Recorded Crime in this instance. For your information a hate crime is defined as any hate incident which constitutes a criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person as being motivated by prejudice or hate. In this case you perceived UKIPs failure to contact or otherwise engage with you as a hate incident and this has been recorded as such by Kent Police. This conduct, ie. a failure to contact an individual, does not amount to a crime defined by law and therefore a hate crime has not been recorded or investigated. As previously advised there is no common law cause of action for failure to investigate and/or disagreeing with the manner in which a matter is investigated and as such the Chief Constable’s position as to liability in this case is maintained. I trust this further clarification is of assistance. Yours sincerely Debra Kemp Legal Executive