Riddled with Errors How the ipcc bungled the Grunshaw expenses investigation - Part 2

The Independent Police Complaints Commission had bungled their investigation into historic expenses claims by Clive Grunshaw, Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire. His 37 claims that the Crown Prosecution Service believed they could prove were incorrect had been balanced against 28 instances where the IPCC said he had not made a claim when he had been entitled to claim.

But 24 of the 28 "no claims" had been invented by the IPCC, creating the impression that Mr Grunshaw had made lots of mistakes, some that lost him money as well as some from which he gained.

That was a very embarrassing set of mistakes for the IPCC, that their second report was designed to put right. How did they do that?

They said they set out to make sure their original analysis was "robust and balanced". How balanced? Well, they felt free to look for further "no claims" to fill some of the gaps left by those they had previously invented, but they said nothing about well over 20 other dates where it was not clear that Mr Grunshaw's claims were justified. That's a funny kind of "balance".

Their second report to the CPS relies on a total of 15 "no claims", including the few remaining from their first attempt as well as new instances they identified.

OK, so there's a typo, but surely that's as far as the new mistakes go? They really made sure they got all those right - didn't they? Surely the second report would not make the same mistakes again? Let's see.

Did they get 15 right? Well, here are the first two...

...and here is the Wyre Borough Council claim form. Perhaps you can see the claims for 29 January 2009 and 10 February 2009 that the IPCC says do not exist.

Did they perhaps get 13 right? No. The IPCC claim that Mr Grunshaw attended a meeting of Wyre Borough Council on 25 April 2012 and didn't claim. They are right to say he didn't claim, but wrong in that Wyre Borough Council have confirmed to me there was no Council meeting on 25 April 2012. They "checked all Council documents (including the archives) and there were NO meetings (either Full Council or Sub Committees/task groups etc) held at Wyre Borough Council on the 25 April 2012." The meeting was the following day, as they said in their first report, except Mr Grunshaw actually claimed for it.

12? Surely they got 12 right? Well...

Except, when I checked, Wyre Borough Council told me there were "no meetings at the Council on the 20 November 2009." It seems likely that this is just further sloppiness rather than pure invention by the IPCC, because that Committee did meet on 30 November 2009, Mr Grunshaw did attend, and no claim was made.

So if they meant 30 November 2009, then we might understand why they, in their copy-and-paste style, make the following comment about that date and 11 June 2009, 20 May 2011, 26 January 2012, 1 March 2012, and 10 May 2012.

Well, he would have been entitled to claim if he had travelled in his own car. But look at the minutes for these meetings below - they are all meetings that he attended along with a certain Councillor Julie Grunshaw, who is his wife.

Wyre Borough Council have confirmed to me that if they travelled together in his wife's car then he would not have any entitlement to claim on those dates.

I don't know if Mr Grunshaw travelled in his wife's car or not, but that isn't the point. The IPCC don't know this either, yet they are ready to say 6 times over that he had an entitlement when they do not know that is the case.

Which leaves 6 of their "no claims" in place, except...

...claims for 26 July 2012, 6 September 2012 and 26 September 2012 would only have been made after Mr Grunshaw knew his expenses were being investigated, so can't help us establish his state of mind before he knew about the investigation.

So only 3 of the 15 are undisputed "no claims".

According to the CPS Mr Grunshaw made 452 claims in the 3-year period. It looks like he forgot less than 1% of them. His system for making claims seems to be very efficient in this respect - hardly ever missing any. So it's a bit of a mystery why he would make 10 times as many claims that were incorrect yet made him money.

This means that the IPCC have twice shifted the balance in favour of Mr Grunshaw with a total of 32 unsatisfactory "no claims" - which is nearly as many incorrect claims as they attribute to Mr Grunshaw himself, and they have misled the Crown Prosecution Service on two occasions.

And that is just the beginning...

To be continued...

Created with images by James Cridland - "The scales of justice"

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