Alison's musings

Friday, March 17, 2006


For an intelligent man, The Commissioner of the Metropolis, Ian Blair is making a real hash of his job but seems to have survived, yet again. But for how long? He has joined the ever bourgeoning ranks of troublesome officials that the other Tony has been pressed to support- ‘Yet again, we heard:-‘No 10 has complete confidence in ’XXX ‘ !! The previous week it was Tessa Jowell and No 10 support list has become a sick joke that further demeans the office of Prime Minister and the integrity of Government. It’s lost the same credibility as that other famous phrase- ‘I’m a straight sort of guy’! Despite ministerial coolness for their cerebral PC Commissioner as revealed so starkly by the ‘Today’ programme, plus the AG’s fury at being bugged, Ian is off the hook. Well, for the time being! Why? An intriguing question. Not for me. I know how convoluted communications and interception affairs legislation is! I won a bugging case against another chief constable in Strasbourg in 1997 that demanded a change in the law – called RIPA in 1998. So, one chief constable taps my phones and is criticised by the Court of Human Rights. He survived too and now enjoys a huge NHS salary as chair of a Health Trust, having been knighted despite the disgrace of tapping the phones of a member of his staff- me; as the Assistant Chief Constable in Merseyside. The bugging was designed to help him defend himself against my sexual discrimination action I started in 1990 with the help of the EOC and Home Office admitted knowledge and connivance when my lawyers got to work. So, why is it OK for one chief officer to tape, why not another I wonder? Why has Lord Goldsmith’s ‘anger and disappointment’ at becoming a victim of yet another police ‘bugging’ by the UK’s top cop suddenly evaporated and the apology accepted? Perhaps he recalled presiding over a House of Lords debate on 13th November 2003 on concerns on communications issues. Their lordships criticised Home Office for taking over two years to produce legislation that would clarify who can do what in the tapping/bugging field. Concern was raised in the same debate that citizens had minimal protection from over zealous bugging and communications abuse! It seems that the AG was hoist by his own petard and he had no protection from the upstart Ian Blair simply because UK communications legislation is still ‘rubbery’ and weasel worded? Had he recalled the previous Commissioner’s warning to take witnesses whenever dealing with David Blunkett? An amazing assertion by the former Commissioner and valuable insight into relationships and issues of integrity between senior people paid to protect us. Taping the IPPC was sneaky and altogether more sinister and cannot be justified so easily. However this unravels, this debacle shows that the Government and the Commissioner are no longer friends. This will surely prove disastrous for policing arrangements in the Metropolis if not across the wider sphere of law enforcement. This Government has been drinking in the ‘last chance’ saloon over its badly flawed integrity and judgement, it could hardly berate the other Blair for following his master’s lead. One nil to the Top Cop as HM Gov. could only sit on their hands and trundle out, yet again that immortal phrase- ‘No 10 as complete confidence’—But for how long? Ian Blair is doubtless doomed and will go the same way as all those others that have had No 10’s complete confidence? He must take comfort from the fact that the other phone tapping chief is still in high public office and doubtless, some well paid cosy Quango will be found for Ian Blair too! Alison Halford. Ex. AM Labour member for Delyn.


  • Miss Halford, I find it quite abhorrent that you continue to ‘milk‘ for public sympathy over your discrimination case through the various media sources you are contributing to. Even now after 12 years you continue to ridicule and attempt to sway public perception to your fight for justice in relation to the ‘bugging’ incident which was alleged against the then Chief Constable. At the time you were making your case against the Police effectively saying that your Human Rights in relation to Privacy had been breached! Did you ever contemplate that when you authorised the ‘bugging’ of my Police Car, I had human rights to????? Or was it the case I was only a Constable and not an Assistant Chief Constable. I was not aware in 1997 the Human Rights Act distinguished between class or rank. I am now a retired officer and can speak out without fear of breaching any discipline code, about what I believed at the time of my investigation, to be your total and utter contradiction of your own beliefs. What gave you the right to, on one hand, complain your privacy had been invaded by having your phone ‘bugged’ when no doubt at the time you signed your statements for your defence, you then signed the authorisation to ‘bug’ me! ‘Two face’ is not the best word I would use! Or was it a case of one rule for you and another rule for those in the lower ranks. I appreciate laws have been changed as a result of your case and I do not in any way defend what is alleged to have taken place. But how did you sleep at night knowing that you had authorised something which you in your own mind believed was ‘wrong’! Prior to my own internal investigation, I applauded the fact, as a woman, you had entered into the male dominated hierarchy of the Police as there was a need for change. On what I was told regarding my ‘bugging’ initially upset me, which then turned into anger. Anger against you. You let every Police Officer in Merseyside Police down by authorising that ‘bugging’. As it happens, the ‘bugging’ had no effect on my hearing and I was acquitted of the allegations of corruption and returned to work after 15 months suspension, but I still can’t forgive you! Seems you don’t tend to mention your own contradictions in any of your writings or your book!!!! Yours, a proud retired officer of Merseyside Police.

    By Blogger Michael, at 9:34 AM  

  • Ms Halford will live off the Bugging incident, and her case of Sexual discrimination for the rest of her life.
    It does not detract from the fact that she cannot abide, nor has any respect for authority.
    Her power to malign, to trash chatacters and damage people's lives far outweighs any good she does in the public sector.
    Time for her to retire and give us all a well earned break!!!!

    By Blogger Ms.Pardoe, at 3:35 PM  

  • Dear Ms Halford, I just heard your BBC Archive on Four story. I wish we'd known each other back when you had your lawsuit. At the exact same time, I was fighting a very similar case here in the US. I didn't get accused of drinking (hard, when the "boys" always mocked me for NOT drinking") but listening to the story was like listening to my press cuttings. I was a the first and only woman in my large city to hold very high positions,and was always paid tens of thousands of dollars less than men in the same positions. I, too, went through an ugly media fight. I won a HUGE, but got nothing out of it - another story involving my attorney and his friends at City Hall. At the time, women working at the City noted amazing changes in their working conditions which seem to have stayed in place since that day in the early '90s. I have so much respect for you. Sounds like you have small dogs - I ending up getting an Irish Wolfhound as a deterrent to my violent detractors.

    By Blogger DogTrainer, at 5:38 AM  

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