Police watchdog dismisses complaint against No 10 officers over alleged party


The police watchdog will not investigate a complaint that officers failed to properly look into an alleged party at Downing Street during lockdown in December last year, it has said.

Jenny Jones, a Green party peer, asked the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) to investigate after reports that a gathering took place on 18 December 2020 that involved food, party games and drinking late into the night.

In a letter to the IOPC this month, Jones said officers were on duty at Downing Street to protect the building and that part of their job involved controlling access.

“If there was an unlawful gathering taking place at No 10 Downing Street, then the police must have known, and were highly likely to have played an active part in organising or facilitating the illegal gathering,” she wrote.

Complaints first have to be considered by the relevant force, and the IOPC initially referred it to the Metropolitan police. The Met referred it back, and on Tuesday Jones posted a message on Twitter saying it was now being considered.

On Wednesday the IOPC said that, having assessed the referral, it had returned it to the Metropolitan police.

An IOPC spokesperson told PA Media: “We can confirm that on 17 December we received a referral from the Metropolitan police service [MPS] of a complaint about an alleged party at Downing Street in December 2020.

“Having fully assessed the referral we have decided it is invalid and we have returned it to the MPS to handle as it determines would be appropriate.

“Under the relevant legislation, a valid complaint can only be made where an individual, or someone acting on their behalf, has been adversely affected by the alleged conduct or its effects.

“There was nothing within the referral to indicate the complainant was physically present or nearby when officers stationed at Downing Street allegedly failed to enforce Covid rules. Nor is there a suggestion that they were physically present or sufficiently nearby when the effects of the officers’ actions occurred.”

A separate complaint by Jones, that the Met Commissioner, Cressida Dick, refused to investigate the allegations, has been referred to the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (Mopac), which sets the direction and budget for the force.

Mopac has said it is assessing the complaint to decide if further action is required. The event is also among those being investigated by the senior civil servant Sue Gray.

Source: The Guardian