This blog is mainly about the governance and future of policing and crime services. (Police & Crime Commissioners feature quite a lot.) But there are also posts about the wider justice system. And because I am town councillor and political activist, local & national issues are covered a little, as well.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

An extraordinary allegation (UPDATED...)

I have mentioned this below but I have now had a chance to review the webcast recording of the event in Aylesbury where Anthony Stansfeld made an extraordinary allegation. You can watch what he says by going here and scrolling through to 1 hour 42 minutes in. You will hear my colleague Labour Cllr Michael Beall ask a question and then Cllr Stansfeld's response.

Amongst his remarks he says:
"and you've gone through my bank accounts and expense claims in huge detail and I know that.."
I am really not sure how Cllr Stansfeld thinks I have the power to trawl through his bank account in 'huge detail' (which I assume would also be an illegal act were I have to have done it). But I can confirm here that I have neither gone through his bank accounts nor his expenses at all.

Now I would like Cllr Stansfeld to retract that statement and offer me an apology. He has the opportunity to do that below and I will happily print his statement. We can all make mistakes in the heat of the moment, and I would be prepared to forgive this one.

However, if he fails to acknowledge my objection to his public allegation, then I may have to reconsider my first reaction in the post below.

UPDATE (1/11/12): Late yesterday afternoon, I sent the email below to the email address published on his website. I had no reply by this morning, so I have now also written to his West Berkshire Council email address, which he has used in the past in writing to me. I await his response.
Dear Mr Stansfeld
On Monday evening in Aylesbury, in your response to a question from Cllr Michael Beall about your declarations of interests on the TVPA and West Berkshire Council websites, you appeared to me to allege that I had been trawling through your expenses and bank accounts. Specifically, and I quote from the recorded webcast, I believe you said "and you've gone through my bank accounts and expense claims in huge detail and I know that.."
First let me state clearly that I have never sought to examine your expenses – although if I had wished to they are public records. But I have not.
Moreover, I have not gone through your bank accounts. Not only would have I have no idea as to how I would gain access to such information but also it would be an illegal act, I understand. By saying what you said, I believe you have publicly accused me of something illegal. 
I think it is highly likely that you made this statement in the heat of the moment, as it were, and I would like to offer you the opportunity to retract what you said and perhaps even apologise. I will be happy to accept both. 
I look forward to your response. Thank you.
Very best wishes
UPDATE 2: I have just now received this email from Cllr Stansfeld. I am happy to accept his retraction and apology. (11.10, 1/11/12)
Mr Harvey,
I did not mean you had literally gone through my bank accounts and if I gave that impression I apologise. I am aware that you have made contact with the Council through FOI regarding my business interests and have been interested in my Council expenses.
I hope this clarifies the matter.
Yours sincerely,
Although I am still curious about the expenses thing. It is not so critical naturally, but genuinely I have not be inquiring into his expenses. Hmmm....?

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