WalesEye, Jacques Protic and North Wales Police

Just over a month ago my attention was drawn to another attack on me by the WalesEye blog, this one bizarre in the extreme as it claimed, to begin with, that something I’d written had resulted in death threats against noted anti-Welsh bigot, Jacques Protic; before quoting from what was claimed to be a North Wales Police document relating to an internal inquiry – even naming the officers involved! Maybe you should read the post before continuing.mark_polin

As I suggested I would in my September 11 reply to WalesEye, I submitted a Freedom of Information request to GogPlod in the hope of finding out if Protic had indeed made a complaint about me, whether there had been an investigation, and – while I was at it – I thought I might as well ask if anyone else had it in for poor old Jac. A name I just plucked out of the air was Nathan Gill, the Ukip MEP, doss house proprietor and tyre exporter.

After a number of phone calls querying its non-arrival, and to cut a long story short, I finally received GogPlod’s response by e-mail this afternoon. Basically, it says ‘Dear Mr Jones – Piss off!‘ It seems that because I’m asking for information about myself I can’t have it! Though it does suggest in the final paragraph that I can use form SA1 to find out what they hold on me, though no ‘third part’ (sic) information can be released. I shall also have to pay a fee of £10. You can read it for yourself in this pdf document. It also helpfully sets out the wording of my request.

To reprise: the situation as I now see it is that Jacques Protic did make a complaint about me to North Wales Police. They either took it seriously, or else pretended to take it seriously in order to use Protic’s complaint against me. Either way, Protic then received a report into how his complaint had been handled that even named the officers involved. This information he (or someone) passed on to fellow Labourite, Phil Parry, of WalesEye, who used it in a blog post.

And so it came to pass – as planned – that an innocent man was publicly vilified, but was then denied sight or knowledge of the accusations against him, or the names of his accusers, making it very difficult for him to defend himself. I know the word is over-used, but this is kafkaesque.

How does Mark Polin, the head of GogPlod, feel about documentation produced by his force, naming his officers, discussing an investigation into police negligence, being used in this way? The fact that the police have raised no objections to WalesEye using a police document to slander me suggests collusion. Which is no surprise when it comes to the police, but it provides further evidence that WalesEye is not just another blog. It is somebody’s tool. (And I speak not of Phil Parry with the mention of ‘tool’.)

I was particularly struck by the pasNWP e-mailsage in the GogPlod e-mail (left, click to enlarge) banging on about “personal data” and how it’s wrong to disclose information about an individual. It even talks of the information being used for “lawful purposes”, which prompts a few questions. How come protecting identities only becomes important when I’m asking for information, but can be ignored when it’s information about me? And is the WalesEye blog a “specified and lawful purpose” for police information about a third party? And has GogPlod released information about me to anyone else, maybe a casual enquirer?

There remain many other questions to which I want answers. This story ain’t over yet. Evenin’ all!

UPDATE 22.10.14: I have this morning reported the matter to the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for North Wales. I have also written to the chief constable of North Wales Police. Next step is to write to the Information Commissioner.

19 thoughts on “WalesEye, Jacques Protic and North Wales Police

    1. He’s right, many, many voters have lost faith in the ‘established’ political parties. One reason for that being that these parties are filled with professional politicians who’ve never done anything else, and because they’re so detached from the world inhabited by 99% of the population they can’t see what’s happening. So Ukip benefits.

      But Ukip isn’t really a lot different. Farage is a child of privilege who worked in the City. Here in Wales, our very own Ukip MEP Nathan Gill, described himself in his election material as “not a professional politician”, yet for 5 years he’d been working as the assistant of the previous Ukip MEP! But then, we know now that Gill is a lying bastard.

      This contempt for ‘established’ political parties has manifested itself in Scotland with the rise of the SNP and Labour losing Glasgow in last month’s referendum. Here in Wales it is presenting Plaid Cymru with a golden opportunity . . . that I guarantee it will screw up. Come the 2016 Assembly elections and Plaid could finish fourth.

  1. dafis

    Branch office in Wales is the spare room at Wales TUC in Cardiff. Bit surprising that hasn’t fallen foul of bedroom tax ! They all asleep in there dreaming up nightmare policies to further cement dependency mindset.

  2. The Earthshaker

    Good luck getting to the bottom of this Jac

    Off topic have you seen this ‘Labour imposed ‘Bedroom Tax Gagging Order’ in Scotland

    If it happened in Scotland, it’s bound to have applied in Wales with Carwyn & Co and all the more galling because Welsh MP’s have been bleating about the Bedroom Tax since before the Tories/Lib Dems introduced it.

  3. dafis

    Now for something entirely different ………………….

    I note that your old pal, Nothing Gill, has turned up again in a Wasting Mole story, this time abusing EU rules on expenses.He’s a crafty boy, allegedly maxing out on claims for travel, while being thoroughly “devoted” to his role. Just the sort of Jack the lad that will do well in the EU cesspit and might even gravitate eventually to the other sewer in W’minster.

    1. Eddie

      Interesting – I think this is part of Cambria from what I can see. I quite like Cambria Magazine, I wonder what on earth has possessed them to jump into bed with Phil Parry with this new venture? Well, at least that paywall gets rid of Wales Eye, which I think is possibly the most annoying blog in Wales.

      I remember first seeing Phil Parry appearing in an article on Welsh Not, a blog which sadly seems to have died a bit of a death. He was releasing Wales Eye and was promising the world. Apparently he was going to singlehandedly rescue Wales from its useless media. Can’t fault that, although it would be a huge mistake to overlook Wales’s excellent and lively blogosphere, which for those in the know more than makes up for the media (if only these blogs could reach more people).

      Back to Wales Eye though, I found it something of an anticlimax to see the reality behind the rhetoric I must say. All he seems to do is trawl through people’s Twitter feeds to concoct titillating allegations, indulge in a weird obsession with Rhun ap Iorwerth (whom I believe is an ex colleague of his), and pump out churnalism that in my view is of an even lower standard than that of the Western Mail.

      Still, I didn’t particularly care until I noticed him sending not so veiled threats to those, like yourself Jac, who dared question him with litigation in the most childish manner imaginable. I swear I even saw him threatening people on Twitter for questioning his blog’s impartiality! Even if it WERE libellous to do that, how on earth would you prove that in court? Hire a lawyer with a PhD in Philosophy?

      From the start, I think Wales Eye has been more about ego, vanity and a prolonged, awkward and thoroughly unsuccessful Ian Hislop impersonation than any real attempt at political analysis (except for the odd okay-ish article by Darran Hill).

      Watch this if you want to experience a cringe of epic proportions:

      1. By a strange coincidence, I spoke with Frances Jones-Davies, editor of Cambria this morning, and it seems the magazine has little everyday connection with the blog of the same name, which is run by a Chris Jones, someone I’ve never met. But anyway, my curiosity aroused, I went to the WalesPolitico site and was amazed to find there a link to my blog, under the menus ‘Politics’ and ‘Nationalist Sources’! So I sent WalesPolitico an e-mail asking why I was being linked to in a set-up containing Phil Parry.

        Here’s the reply. “Annwyl Mr.Jones
        Thanks for your message.
        Sorry for the mis-spelling of the title of your blog. We will rectify it
        shortly. Wales Politico is an aggregator of RSS feeds (as it declares on
        the site) from several disparate blogs (if they provide a public rss
        feed which yours does). If you don’t want this let us know and we
        will, of course, remove you.
        Wales Eye is one of the ‘members’ that provides content directly through
        their own independent account which we provide as a service to those
        that want it. I don’t imagine for a minute you do but you would be very
        welcome if you did.
        All the blogs on the site are independent and it is not our role to
        mediate issues between providers.
        We admire your excellent writing and hope you will still continue with us.
        Diolch yn fawr
        Team WalesPolitico

        So, I’m going to leave the link to my site there, and if this new set-up is what it’s claimed to be – “an aggregator of RSS feeds (as it declares on the site) from several disparate blogs” – then I can’t see any real problem. As for Phil Parry and his slanderous attacks on me, I look forward to discussing it with him over a glass of sherry at the Christmas party.

        Watched the video. Is someone taking the piss with the sub-titling?

  4. Brychan

    The refusal to disclose is under section 17(1) qualified by section 40. However, it appears that the reply has not specified the particular question this exemption relates to. It is not apparent. Making this apparent is provided for under the Act. North Wales Police should specify whether this exemption relates to Gill or Protic, or both, and until they do, they have not complied with the provision of exemption to disclose.

    I don’t know if this is NWP just being sloppy or deliberately obstructive.

    You don’t have to apply to North Wales Police for any data held on the Police National Database. This is available from the Criminal Records Office. This disclosure would include any data uploaded by ANY police force which subscribes. I suggest doing this first to see what Police Forces have made entries (if any) and this is the police force where any further subject disclosure request should be directed. Also any redaction of the PND report must specify one of the following three reasons,

    (a) to prevent or detect a crime (ongoing investigation to which you are a suspect or witness),
    (b) apprehending or convicting of offenders (must be charged),
    (c) on the interest of national security (spooks).

    This will provide an indication of the subject of complaint made against you, although it will not name them. It would, however, indicate if there is an ongoing investigation, and of course, indicate whether any complaint was made against you in North Wales, Cheshire, or Humberside. Hope you (and anyone else sympathetic to this blog) finds these tips useful.

    It should be noted that when police forces use section 17(1) qualified by section 40 exemption it is usually to protect third parties from harm or distress, so unlike Phil Parry, you should apply due diligence on what you choose to publish.

    1. I will consider the Criminal Records Office. After you reminding me, this makes sense because of course Protic or Gill could have made complaints to forces other than Gogplod. That said, the information Phil Parry was given, and published, was definitely from NWP. As for third parties, obviously I would not mention innocent or uninvolved third parties, but I’m looking for two names.

      Today I also sent off a form SA1 (complete with my £10 fee) asking for any information held on me, even though this will not name third parties it might help.

      1. Brychan

        I think the information Phil Parry published was provided to him by Protic.

        It was probably in the form of a response to Protic from an internal police investigation over the conduct of a junior officer responding to a shout over slashed tyres and a menacing phone call. Parry, in an act of gross negligence, ignored the involvement of a juvenile and also named police officers involved. Parry then published it in the public domain, who’s motive is to boost his own ego, have a pop at you, and revive a mortally wounded career in journalism.

        If you are saying the information was ‘leaked’ by North Wales Police directly to Parry, then both the leaking officer and Parry the publisher have committed criminal offences.

        Documentation on the conduct of warranted officers is held by the professional standards unit, and are only provided to the public in the form of a report to the complainant. Anything else smacks of dodgy handshakes, brown envelopes and inspectors up the junction. Surely gogplod would have known Protic is an ant-Welsh fantasist and Parry is a washed up dirty mac who could write himself copy out of a wet echo?

        1. Yes, you’re probably right that Protic passed the police information on to Parry, but I’m still suprised that a) the coppers involved were named in the info provided to Protic and b) that Parry published the names. What was the point of publishing the names, even putting up a photograph of one? And was it fair to name the (presumably) young copper who was reprimanded? What did that do for his reputation, or his confidence, or his career? Totally irresponsible. And why did GogPlod not ask Parry to take it down when they became aware of it after receiving my FoI on September 17th?

          The fact that North Wales Police seem unconcerned by Parry’s use of information provided by them to someone else raises the possibility of approval, if not collusion. And wouldn’t there be restrictions on how the information provided to Protic could be used, or not used. Or maybe they just thought, ‘Phil Parry! nobody pays any attention to what he writes anyway’.

          1. Brychan

            Reference to JacotheNorth blog may have been recorded in Protics statement. The first responder PC would have had a badge number. A post complaint investigation would always be done by an inspector from another division, possibly by his professional development mentor. With this info it’s easy to put names to the badge numbers. What I question is why? Any why publish the names? The chap I feel sorry for is the poor copper who spends all day dragging bodies out of the Menai, delivering deathograms in Llangefni, taking shit off drunk tourists, picking sharps out of public toilets and bagging body parts off the A55 to deliver to Ysbyty Gwynedd. Then at the end of a shift gets grief from a racist bigot with fantasies, called to the red carpet in Llandudno, and then has his photo published on the internet by a washed up grubby mac. At the same time the inspector is fingered, removed from putting together case files on paedophiles dumped on the coast from England, to waste time writing up reports on what’s occurring. I dunno who’s worse, Protic or Parry. It’s not the reply you’ll probably get from the chief constable, but maybe what he’s thinking. Does it get any closer to collaring the tyre slasher? I still think it’s a domestic, parking war, self inflicted attention seeking or a spurned business deal. To blame Welshies descending from the hills with swords is really quite daft.

  5. A Black

    The same thing happened over the transfer of the housing stock, NPT refused to give the address to the no campaign, they were then slated by the Information Commission who found against them on 12 or 14 breaches of the act, so much for freedom in the Labour controled people’s Republic of Neath Port Talbot.
    Back to your problem Jac, have you thought of referring the whole issue to the Police Commissioner for that force? that’s what he’s elected for.

    1. Did that this morning. I am now writing to the chief constable asking him to explain why I was refused information – about me – that somehow ended up in a blog. Next step will be the Information Commissioner.

  6. Received via e-mail from ‘Stan’ of Neath Ferret.

    Good read that one, Royston. You are clearly a thorn in their flesh. Keep it up.

    I made a FoI request earlier this year to Neath Port Talbot Council asking basic info about rates paid on Peter Hain’s constituency office and a residential let above it, both owned and leased out by Neath Constituency Labour Party. In the beginning all seemed to be well, a FoI “Officer” passing my request to the rating department. The promised info never materialised – reminders to the rating department were supposedly sent internally. Then following the timeframe for reply I was informed I could appeal to their Legal Dept because of their failure to reply – but this would result in me having to declare full name and address in a letter to the Council. As my request went in via a basic email address I wasn’t prepared to do this as I value my anonymity. My request fell by the wayside as a result.

    IMO these organisations either make up the rules regarding FoI as they see fit, or like NPT just ignore you and hope you go away.

    If you want to paste any of the foregoing into reply section of your article, feel free.

    And as I’ve said – don’t stop what you are doing!

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