Fighting The Lawmen

Fighting The Lawmen – Front Cover

HACKNEY COMMUNITY DEFENCE ASSOCIATION

On January 1st 1987 a young black man, Trevor Monerville, was arrested and held incommunicado in Stoke Newington police station. On January 8th he had emergency brain surgery to remove a blood clot from the surface of the brain. The Family and Friends of Trevor Monerville was set up to campaign in support of justice for Trevor.

On June 25th 1987, Tunay Hassan died in custody at Dalston police station. His family and friends set up the Justice for Tunay Campaign. On November 5th, Gary Stretch was viciously assaulted by seven off duty City Road police officers. Gary and his family have strenuously campaigned for justice.

In response to the number of allegations made against Hackney and Stoke Newington police officers, Hackney Community Defence Association (HCDA) was set up on July 2nd 1988. The Trevor Monerville and Justice for Tunay campaigns and Hackney Anti Fascist Action formed the organisation with the aim of providing the victims of police crime with a campaigning voice.

HCDA is a self help group for the victims of police crime. It investigates allegations against the police, provides mutual support for victims and campaigns against police injustice.

HCDA is continuing a long tradition of resistance to police injustice in Hackney. Throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s campaigns have called for a public enquiry into the police to no avail. HCDA is now calling on the Home Secretary to set up a Judicial Inquiry into the police at Hackney’s police stations -Hackney, City Road, Stoke Newington and Dalston (now closed).

Hackney Community Defence Association The Colin Roach Centre, 10A Bradbury Street, Dalston, London N16 7JN Telephone 071 249 0193

Published: 8th October 1992

CONTENTS

  1. INTRODUCTION
  2. LIVING IN HACKNEY
  3. HUGH PRINCE
  4. RENNIE KINGSLEY
  5. LYNNE
  6. IDA ODERINDE
  7. WATCHING THE DETECTIVES
  8. CHRONOLOGY
  9. STOKE NEWINGTON DRUGS CASES

1. INTRODUCTION

Eighteen months ago, in April 1991, Scotland Yard set up an anti-corruption enquiry, codenamed Operation Jackpot, into allegations of drug dealing, theft and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by Stoke Newington police officers. Its findings may never be made public.

Since April 1991, one Stoke Newington police officer has been charged with theft and VAT fraud. Three officers, Detective Constables Ronald Palumbo and Barry Lyons, and PC James Bruce Galbraith, have been suspended from duty. One ex-Stoke Newington officer, Sergeant Gerrard Carroll, shot himself dead. On that same day, January 29th 1992, eight officers were transferred from Stoke Newington police station.

In contrast, during the same period many people have been convicted of drug offences after claiming that they had been planted.

The experiences of the people who have suffered have been lost in the media’s clamour for hard facts. In this pamphlet four people – Hugh Prince, Rennie Kingsley, Lynne (Dennis Tulloch’s girlfriend) and Ida Oderinde – tell their stories.

Ida Oderinde was sentenced to four years for intent to supply heroin on the 30th August 1991. All three suspended officers were involved in her case. On the 23rd September 1992 she was given unconditional bail and granted leave to appeal against her conviction by the Court of Appeal.

Dennis Tulloch’s girlfriend Lynne, has supported him throughout his ordeal. He too was sentenced to four years imprisonment for intent to supply crack cocaine on the evidence of Palumbo and Lyons. On 18th September 1992 he too was granted bail by the Court of Appeal.

Rennie Kingsley served a four month jail sentence for possession of cocaine and LSD. One of the officers involved in his case has been charged with theft and VAT fraud and two others, Palumbo and Galbraith, have been suspended. Even before his arrest in August 1990, he was challenging police corruption in Hackney.

Hugh Prince served a two month jail sentence for possession of crack cocaine. Two of the officers involved in his case, Palumbo and Lyons, have been suspended. Carroll was also involved in his case, and had been harassing him prior to his arrest in August 1990.

2. LIVING IN HACKNEY

The London Borough of Hackney is a deprived inner city area in north east London. The run down housing estates of Hoxton slumber uncomfortably beside the plush offices of the City of London. Moving northwards, there are the estates of Haggerston, Dalston shopping centre and Stoke Newington, on the way to Tottenham. To the east there is Hackney itself; the high rise tower blocks of Clapton and Homerton.

Hackney is the poorest borough in England, and has all the economic, political and social problems that go with it. More recently, Hackney has become known as an area where hard drugs are available – heroin, cocaine, and its highly addictive derivative, “crack”.

People

At the time of the 1981 census about 180, 000 people lived in Hackney (in 1992 it is estimated to be about 200, 000). 30% of its population was from non-white ethnic groups compared to a London-wide average of 14%. The largest non-white group was West Indian in origin.

Alongside the Caribbean community there are large numbers of people of African, Turkish, Kurdish and Eastern European (Jewish) origin. Today’s figures put people of Caribbean origin at 15.17% of the total population and 53.72% of all ethnic minorities.

In the early days of black settlement in Hackney, Afro-Caribbean migrants lived in privately rented accommodation in Stoke Newington, Clapton and Dalston. The reason for this was the blatant discrimination against early black migrants. More recently black people have moved into the dilapidated housing estates dotted around the borough.

It is in the large estates of Stoke Newington, Clapton and Dalston where crack cocaine has emerged as a problem. The south of the borough, on the other hand, is recognised to have more of a heroin problem.

Housing

Hackney suffers from homelessness, poor housing stock and inadequate back up services. In 1981, 68% of homes were council owned and 18.7% let by private landlords (compared to a national average of 11%). Despite a decade of council house sales the 1991 figure for local authority housing was 55%.

Out of 46,072 council properties in 1988, 13,450 (29.2%) were considered to be in an unsatisfactory state. Private sector stock is generally older (much is pre-1919) than the post-war council stock and it was estimated that over half (6,000 homes) were
unsatisfactory.

57.5% members of the ethnic minority communities were living in council accommodation in 1981. Caribbean families tend to live in municipal housing more than other groups and are concentrated in the larger, run down estates.

In 1982 a report by the Commission for Racial Equality found that black applicants and tenants received poorer housing than white people. This led to the Commission serving a Non Discrimination Notice on Hackney Council in 1983.

Unemployment

Between 1984 and 1987, 20% of Hackney’s working population were unemployed, twice the national average. More significantly, records based on the 1981 census show that within the 16-19 age group, Caribbean youths had an unemployment rate of 37.3% compared with 21.6% for whites.

The total unemployment figure for April 1992 was 19,698, 22.2%.

Hackney’s poor housing stock provides London’s lowly paid service workers with somewhere to live. On December 1st 1988 the largest employer was Hackney Council, employing 8,619. The Department of Employment’s statistics for 1986 show that out of 75,302 jobs in Hackney, 36,771 (49%) were in local government, transport, construction, distributive trades and clothing manufacture. Only 5,009 (6.6%) jobs existed in finance, banking and insurance, despite its proximity to the City.

There is a higher probability of a drug culture developing where there is long term unemployment, particularly where racism exacerbates the problem. Lack of work leads people to turn to drugs. The money that can be made by dealing drugs far exceeds what can be obtained through benefits, where eligible. The drugs market thrives as an attraction, as a way of escaping poverty. Once caught up in drug use and dealing, it becomes difficult to escape.

The Police

The activities of the police have an important bearing on Hackney life.

Even the police establishment accepts that high unemployment rates and widespread poverty account for much of today’s crime. Alongside crimes against property, the illicit economy (including drug dealing) prospers in an area where the recession and racism deny many people the opportunity to work.

Hackney and Stoke Newington police are renowned for their brutality and racism. They have criminalised the community they are supposed to serve. For black youths on the streets this can mean harassment in the form of stopping and searching as a daily routine.

Following the death of Colin Roach in the foyer of Stoke Newington police station on January 12th 1983, the Roach Family Support Committee commissioned an independent report “Policing in Hackney 1945-1984”. The report concluded:

“we consider that the police have been guilty of serious malpractices and abuses of their powers over a number of years. In particular, we consider that policing in Hackney has been racist, both in terms of the behaviour of individual officers and in terms of the overall policing strategy.”

In November 1991 Hackney Community Defence Association presented “A crime is a crime is a crime”, a report into police crime in Hackney, to the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice. The findings of the report were based on 130 cases of police malpractice taken up by HCDA since January 1989.

Further reading:

A Crime is a Crime is a Crime. 1991. Hackney Community Defence Association.

Death in the City. 1986. Melissa Benn and Ken Warpole. Canary press.

Policing Against Black People. 1987. Institute of race relations.

Enough is Enough. 1988. Poster leaflet produced by Family and Friends of Trevor Monerville Campaign.

Policing in Hackney 1945-1984. 1988. Roach Family Support Committee, Karia Press.

A peoples’ account of the Hackney anti-poll tax demonstration on March 8th 1990. 1990. Hackney Community Defence Association.

Research in Hackney. Produced annually. London Borough of Hackney Council.

3. HUGH PRINCE

I was born in Jamaica on October 7th 1955. In 1967, at the age of 12, I came to Britain with my family. We lived in the Archway area of North London where I went to school.

After I left school I worked as a welder in South London. When I got made redundant, I couldn’t get another job down there, so I moved to Edmonton in the late seventies, and then I moved to Hackney in the early eighties. I don’t think I will ever find work, wherever I go it is the same thing. Nobody has a job to give me. My present trade is making bread, and I’m doing evening classes in catering. I want to set up my own business, a bakery, if I get the opportunity.

It was in 1986, in the dumplings cafe on Sandringham Road, when I first experienced the police planting drugs on people. I was downstairs playing pool when I heard people stumbling down the stairs. There were police officers all over the place. It was a drugs raid. One of the officers brought a bag of weed downstairs with £50 in and said it was mine. They took me to Stoke Newington police station and I had to return after 28 days. When I went back I was told that the officer was no longer there and nothing more came of it.

Sandringham Road – The Line

I used to go down The Line a lot. I used to go to the Roots Pool Community centre. I never had much to do with the police, I never got involved with what was going on. I went there because I knew the people; it was somewhere you could sit and play a game of dominoes or a game of cards.

I knew what was going on out on the street, but I didn’t want to get involved, it was nothing to do with me. I have no time for hard drugs and I just kept out of the way. One day, in the summer of ’89 I was attacked by a man with a knife and he was arrested. I believe in law and order, and agreed to testify against the man in court.

One afternoon, about a month later, I was sitting on a wall in Sandringham Road, talking to a man and a woman. A hire van pulled up and about eight men jumped out. They were wearing drug squad “uniforms”, leather jackets, jeans and trainers. They grabbed me and took me into the van and made me take off all my clothes. One of the police officers was Sergeant Gerry Carroll. He was well known in the area as “Gerry”.

In the police station they made me take my clothes off again. I asked them what they were looking for and they told me somebody had ‘phoned to say I was selling drugs. I told them I didn’t sell drugs. After they had finished searching my clothes Carroll said to me, “You can go now, but I’m going to get you.”

Everybody knew that drug dealing went on in Sandringham Road. It was common knowledge that police officers took money and drugs from dealers. They would pocket the money and supply the drugs to other dealers. The Line is riddled with what we call “informers”, people who work for the police. It was as if the only people who were safe were the dealers, because, one way or the other, they were useful to the police. Anybody who was in the police’s way would be arrested. Innocent people who just happened to be in the area were planted with drugs to make it look as if the police were doing their job.

The officers involved in these atrocities can do this because they are not accountable to anybody. They cover up their crimes by picking on the weak – unemployed and uneducated people who do not have any knowledge of the law. There are no rights for black people, and if you are poor it is worse; as far as the law is concerned you have no place in society. You are a dog; when they kick you, you move.

If this planting of people, abusing people, and beating up people continues, there will be a complete breakdown in law and order. Most of the people in prison who have been planted with cocaine have children on the street who are growing up. Sooner or later the officers who planted their fathers and mothers will come and plant them with cocaine too. Nobody in Hackney trusts the police – young, old, middle aged, they don’t trust them anymore because of what they are doing. There’s a lot of poor white people living in Hackney, and they are also suffering these atrocities, but they can’t do anything about it because they are poor.

One August night in 1990 I went to Chester’s nightclub in Stoke Newington with a friend to celebrate a big win I’d had on the horses. At the time, I hadn’t been going out much because of the knifing incident and I believed there was a conspiracy against me. The case had still not been heard in court over one year later and I was nervous about leaving my yard.

After we’d been in the club for about an hour, there was a drugs raid. One of the police officers decided that my friend was an illegal immigrant and he wanted to check him out. He had been living in this country for 20 years, but they arrested him because of his strong Jamaican accent. Another friend agreed to give me a lift to see his girlfriend so I could tell her what had happened, and I waited for him in a shebeen round the corner.

While I was waiting, I hadn’t even ordered a drink, the police raided there as well. An officer ordered me to go into an empty and unlit room to be searched. I got suspicious of this; everybody else had been searched in the open, why did they want to search me in a dark room?

When I refused, he took his handcuffs out and another officer came over and threatened me with a sledgehammer. They very quickly dragged me out of the building. Out on the street I saw Sergeant Carroll who looked to be in command. The officer who had arrested me shouted out, “Gerry, come here” and he took my cigarette packet out of my shirt pocket and walked over to Carroll.

When he came back he told me to get into a police van. And then, like a big school kid, he pretended I couldn’t see him fiddling behind his back with my cigarette packet, but he knew I could see. Later, in front of the desk sergeant at Stoke Newington police station, he pulled some cling film out of my cigarette packet with a small piece of silver paper inside it. He laughed and said to the sergeant, “They get £25 for one of these”, and the sergeant smiled.

I was charged with possession of crack cocaine with intent to supply and held on remand for one week in Pentonville Prison while my surety was arranged.

While I was on bail I was called to give evidence against the knifeman. Nothing had happened with the case for 14 months, but as soon as I was arrested it was dealt with in a matter of weeks. It was mentioned in court that I was facing a serious drugs charge, and although the man was convicted of grievous bodily harm he was only sentenced to two months in prison.

They reduced the charge against me to possession of crack cocaine and I was found guilty at Snaresbrook Crown Court just before Christmas in 1990. I was sentenced to two months in prison and released from Pentonville on January 18th 1991.

I don’t know for sure why they planted drugs on me. I suspect there was a conspiracy against me because of the incident with the knifeman. But I don’t know why he attacked me; I don’t know if he was involved with drugs; and I don’t know if he was an informer. I don’t really understand how the informer system works.

The police who did this to me were not upholding the law. I can only describe them as Gestapo types and the whole incident compares to the way in which Hitler treated the Jews. For nearly a year after my release from prison I hardly left my home. I was frightened of being planted with drugs again. It wasn’t until I heard that Carroll had shot himself that I felt it was safe to go out.

The drugs problem has to be looked at simply, logically. The unemployment crisis is a major cause of the problem. Many people who have been unable to find work have turned to hustling in one form or another to make a living, including supplying drugs. People use drugs in order to escape from their problems, especially unemployment and poverty, and because of the addictiveness of hard drugs there is a demand. There is a market for drugs because there is a demand for them and corrupt police officers are controlling the supply, not by policing the market, as they should be, but by exploiting it.

4. RENNIE KINGSLEY

I was born in Jamaica on January 28th, 1947. Like most people from the West Indies, I was brain washed into believing that England was a marvellous place. The photographs we saw were nice and fancy, we didn’t see the bird shit on the Houses of Parliament or anything like that. In Jamaica we were taught to respect strangers, we were taught to look after them because they didn’t know their way around. When we came to England it was the opposite. I was 15 when I came here, in 1962, during the Teddy Boy days.

I went to day school, and to night classes five evenings a week. After my mother found out that I had taken a couple of nights off she sent me to stay with my father. My father wasn’t an educated person and he didn’t particularly care for me to receive an education. He thought I should go to work and earn my living the same way as he had to. So I ended up working on the assembly line at Fords for nearly five years.

During the 1976 Notting Hill riots a lot of innocent people who I knew were not involved in drugs were arrested. The police even conspired to tell lies against my cousin, who I shared a flat with. The man didn’t smoke and he only drank indoors, but they arrested him. He was lucky, he got off because he was working and his employers went to court as character witnesses.

I was aware of police corruption, but I thought they only fitted up people who were involved, not the totally innocent. It is like catching spratts in a net for them. It is enough that you are there to be caught, and not many of us have good character witnesses, like my cousin.

In 1982 I went back to Jamaica. I had reached a certain age, 35, and was coming to terms with my past and preparing for my future. After 21 years in England I was going back to look at boyhood dreams. I was going back to the land my father sold to come to this country. The land, which, as I’m the only son, would have been mine. I realised Jamaica was a land of paradise, but it needed money. Equally, I realised that Jamaican money had no value outside of Jamaica. It would be silly for me to go back to Jamaica, to live in paradise without money. Before I went to Jamaica, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, on my return I felt I didn’t have the ability to do anything about it because I wasn’t educated.

I was caught in many ways. I couldn’t buy my father’s land, I couldn’t replace it, and, in England, black people are treated like shit. Never mind if you have a trade or you are educated, it doesn’t make a whole heap of difference.

I came back from Jamaica inspired with great ideas to change my life and do something positive. My mind turned to housing, that basic necessity which everybody needs.

When I first came to England, black people couldn’t get council houses, and then we ended up in all the shitty houses and the tower blocks, all the homes white people were not prepared to live in. In the early eighties, Hackney Council were giving black people hard to rent properties. I worked to set up a community project which provided housing for homeless black people, particularly ex-offenders. My reasoning was that there are all sorts of rehabilitation schemes for white people, but none for black people. Quite often we didn’t even have a home to go to when released from prison.

I was ambitious. I intended to gain experience in managing properties and to eventually register the project as a Housing Association. I dreamt that if I ever went back to Jamaica I could set up something similar there and organise exchange visits. I was determined to teach myself the skills to better myself and to work for the betterment of the black community.

In late 1989 one of the project’s tenants offered me a partnership in an illegal drinking club. I learned that he was an informer who was paying police officers not to raid the club. On principle I didn’t want anything to do with the proposal, and I distanced myself from the man.

He took my decision personally and started to make my position difficult at home and at work. I was concerned that police officers were behind all this and in early 1990 I reported the matter to Scotland Yard. I thought if I made a complaint the situation could be resolved.

I was surprised that Scotland Yard referred me to the Chief Superintendent at Stoke Newington, and my next contact with the police was when they raided my home and planted me with cocaine and LSD.

When they knocked down my door I thought the worst; gunmen are breaking in; somebody is going to be killed; something very wrong is going on; this can’t be happening because this is my place; I’ve no grievances with anybody; I haven’t done anything wrong. This can’t be happening.

I saw people coming up the stairs in suits and I thought: Mafia. It was like television, like something that happens in the United States. But this is not a dream, it is real and I am being handcuffed; people are going through my pockets; a piece of paper is produced and I am fitted up. Then a warrant card is produced and they take me to the police station. I complain to who is supposed to be in charge and he tells me that he will write it in the book.

In some ways I am glad that they fitted up so many people that the whole thing got out of hand. Otherwise nobody would bother to listen to me, nobody would believe me, I would be just another black criminal.

It hurts that they should have bothered to do this to me, a person who was not doing anything. The fear of what happened makes it worse. Every time I hear a noise, every time a car stops or something unusual happens, I think what are they going to do to me this time?

It hurts that this happened to me, a black person living in a racist country. Over 50% of the people living in Hackney are “ethnic minorities” but the seven officers who raided my home were white, my prosecutors were white and even my so-called defence were all white, and, of course, the judge was white.

Justice. We are being misled, there will not be any justice. They will put something together which will hide the level of corruption, it will show that it does not go beyond street level. These people are not trying to find out the truth. They are more concerned about how many people know it is going on, than about how many officers are involved and how far up it goes.

These drugs do not come from Africa or the West Indies, they come from Europe and the United States, and organised crime is responsible. Black people are not bringing these drugs into the country, we do not have the contacts to do that. Whether it is the police who are organising it, or not, black people are at the bottom. Black people are the users and the street level dealer.

Even the night clubs where black people go, are not owned by black people. We are only licensed to manage, not to own, not to supply the drink. We can only get licenses if the same police agree for us to have them.

It is a conspiracy, and black people are forever being used. We cannot get jobs unless somebody employs us, and racism prevents us from setting up our own businesses. We will always be in the situation where we pay the same electricity bills, the same gas bills, and everything else, but we do not get the same wages. Black people are almost forced to do things to compensate. Those of us who do not, live in poverty. We cannot afford to maintain our kids and we are looked down on by other people because we are not smart enough, because we are not “making the effort.” I think of my kids, will I ever be able to do anything for them? Can I ensure that they don’t go through the same shit I’ve lived through?

When I came here I came on a British passport, and over 25 years later I had to buy the “freedom” to become a British citizen all over again. It didn’t happen to the prisoners that this country sent to Australia; it didn’t happen to other foreigners who are here; it happened to black and Asian people.

Justice. That is a dream. It seemed that things were going to change at one time. There was Martin Luther King on the one hand, who was a christian, and there was Malcolm X, who was a rebel. One was saying, “if they kick you, don’t fight back, they can’t kick you forever, allow them to, they will have to have mercy at some stage.” And the other man was saying, “if they kick you, kick his arse back.” They killed both of them, they shot them dead.

5. LYNNE

Dennis Tulloch is a 44 year old Jamaican man. He was planted with crack cocaine by Stoke Newington police officers on September 11th 1990. He was sentenced to four years prison on September 5th 1991. His girlfriend, Lynne, is supporting him in his struggle for justice.

My mum was on holiday and Dennis decorated her bathroom and toilet over the weekend. On the Monday morning I gave him 2100 for materials to do the hallway and I dropped him off on Amhurst Road just after 11 o’clock on my way to work. He was going to walk up to Stoke Newington to get the wallpaper and paint.

I was working as a bar maid in a pub in Stoke Newington. I left the pub at about ten past, quarter past three, and I went along the High Street to see if I could see him. There was no sign of him and I drove back down Amhurst Road to go home.

When I got home there was a message from Dennis on the answering machine saying that he had been arrested and he was in Stoke Newington police station. On the way back to work, I went to Sandringham Road to find out what had happened. When I got there it was dead, there was nobody to be seen. I was told sometime later that four people had been planted with drugs down there that day.

I went to the police station where they told me he had been arrested for possession and intent to supply crack. They wouldn’t allow me to see him but they did let me leave some food for him.

Later on in the evening a couple of police officers who were regulars came into the pub. “Oh, we’ve arrested your bloke,” one of them said to me, “We know he’s your bloke Lynne because we see you round the police station.”

I knew one of the officers as Gerry, Sergeant Gerrard Carroll, who shot himself earlier this year. He was forever leading raids on the Lord Stanley in Sandringham Road when I used to work there in 1989. The landlord eventually gave up and moved to South London in the summer of 1990.

During the course of the evening it seemed to me that everybody was whispering and people were looking at me. I couldn’t wait until the session finished and I could get out of the pub. I’ve never been back, even up to now they owe me money.

Dennis didn’t get bail when he was up in front of the Highbury Corner magistrates on the Tuesday. We got him out on the Thursday after a surety had been arranged. Going home in the car he was very aggressive, he wasn’t himself at all. He kept saying “it wasn’t anything to do with me,” “it weren’t me,” “they planted me.”

When we got home we sat down and talked about it. He told me that he had been standing in Sandringham Road outside Ladbrokes betting shop talking to a few of the blokes. He had put a bet on, and the bet was about to run. No sooner had he walked back inside, when it seemed like the whole shop just caved in. They dived in, pulled him out and threw him against a car. One of the coppers then came out holding a small bag and said, “This is yours.”

They just put him in the car and drove off with him. They told him to keep his hands on the seat in front of him where they could see them. As they were going along he felt one of them rubbing against him. Dennis turned round to see what they were doing and one of them said, “face the front and keep your hands there.” There wasn’t anything he could do about it. When they reached the station, and searched him again in front of the sergeant, they found another one, whatever it is they use, in his jacket top.

It took a year for it to come to trial. If he went to the pub in the evening I’d think he’d be in at about quarter past eleven. Two or three hours would pass and I’d get to thinking he’d been nicked again. I was forever in and out of the house going to places where he used to hang about. There used to be a club along Stoke Newington High Street where he always used to be with a few of his friends. He used to come out and say to me, “I’m alright, I’m alright.” And I used to go back home. Once I knew where he was and that he was okay I would go back home.

From day one he was sure he was going to go away. The solicitor said that he would probably get eighteen months to two years if they found him guilty. It was all a new experience to me. I was hoping that he would get off. I was hoping that there must be a lack of evidence because it was taking so long.

The trial lasted four days. I was thrown out of court on the morning of the second day. I was muttering to myself throughout, huffing and puffing out loud and calling the police liars.

When the judge gave him four years, I was totally gutted. I blamed everybody, the police, judge, jury, even his barrister and his solicitor. I wasn’t even allowed to see him.

When I saw him next he thought I was going to finish with him, he said, “you don’t have to hang around until I come out.” But I couldn’t do that.

It has totally disrupted my life. The hardest thing was telling my fifteen year old son that he’d gone down and that he wasn’t guilty. I worry about my son, I sit and pray that it will never happen to him. All the time he’s out I think to myself, where is he, is the ‘phone going to ring? I’m very edgy, more so now than I was before with him, especially being the age he is. They go into snooker halls and places like that, arcades, and he hangs around Stoke Newington. He hasn’t talked much about it himself. Going back four or five years he always said he wanted to join the police. He has a completely different attitude now though. When I’ve asked him why, he’s said, “Well if they go around doing things like that, I don’t want to go into the police force.”

At the beginning I used to feel that I was being watched all the time, but I think I was just paranoid. I was trying to find out what information I could by ringing the solicitors about an appeal. And they kept telling me that nothing had happened. Dennis was very agitated and expected me to do a lot more than I was doing. He was pressurising me all the time to get hold of them. But I was trying my utmost. There was one woman in the office who was very helpful and I kept going to see her, but she was never available.

The day I went to see Dennis in Brixton Prison they shipped him out. I had a V. O. (visiting order) and everything arranged, I’d even phoned the prison the day before to find out where it was and to make sure that I could see him. But they moved him to Camp Hill on the Isle of Wight that morning.

To visit him there I’d have to leave my home at half past seven in the morning, catch two buses to Waterloo station to catch the 10.20 train to Portsmouth, straight onto the ferry to Ryde and then the bus to the prison. If I was lucky I would see him for 30 minutes. Then there was the journey back, and I would get home some time between 10 and 11.00pm that night. It was a very long day, all for half an hour.

He was there for about six months, and I used to go and visit him once a month. He was transferred to the Mount, which is an open prison near Hemel Hempstead, in February of this year. It’s a lot better now because its just up the road. I can go and see him every week and he ‘phones once or twice a week.

I feel very confused about what has happened. I feel let down in a lot of ways. But they say the law is always right, and you can’t fight the law. The fact is when you hear of people who have been dealing who have been acquitted you ask yourself, “how come he got let out and yet they planted my Dennis and he got four years?” Everyday you hear about somebody getting raided and them finding x amount of drugs in there. Two days later you see them out, walking the streets. Apparently this is where informers come into it. People say, “Oh, he is an informer”, I just wonder what is going on, what does it mean to be an informer?

They should let Dennis out and lock up the police officers who did this to him. They should sack them and let their families know what unemployment and prison visits are all about.

6. IDA ODERINDE

One day I was at my friend’s house on The Line. She was a drugs dealer. I was sitting in the kitchen talking to her when the door bell rang. She went to the door and I could hear them talking in the hall. I heard a radio. I thought I was hearing things so I opened the kitchen door a little bit. I was shocked to see two detectives from Stoke Newington. One of them put his hand in his pocket and produced a plastic bag and handed it to my friend. Inside the bag was crack cocaine in half gramme rocks wrapped up in foil. I got frightened at this point. I opened the back door and ran out. And the officers saw me.

It must have been just after six in the evening when I left my house leaving the children with the baby sitter. A short time later I drove past my house and saw quite a lot of men there. I got out of the car and walked towards them. I recognised them as police officers and one of them told me to go in the house.

My God! If you could have seen the place. They had messed up and searched the house. And found nothing. I asked them for the warrant that gave them the right to mash up my things. It was to search for stolen cheque books and cards.

They told me to go into the sitting room where my two boys and daughter, who was only five weeks old at the time, and my baby sitter were, with several police officers. Two of the officers left the room and said they were going to finish the search. I knew something was very wrong. I got up to see what they were up to but they were going to cuff me, so I just sat there, helpless.

One of them walked back in with an ordinary carrier bag in his hand, behind him was the other one. We all knew the carrier bag did not belong in my house. My mind went at that moment; I was in a daze. I came back to reality when I heard my baby sitter ask where did he get it from, and he said in the old freezer where we kept our house keys. She called him a liar.

He opened the carrier bag and produced three self-sealing bags, three of which were empty and one was full to bursting. They asked me what it was and I told them I did not know, it was not mine, it was their own and they had planted it, wherever they had got it from.

Stoke Newington Police Station

At Stoke Newington police station, in the charge room, the sergeant was sitting in his chair, behind his desk, typewriter in front of him and loads of papers on one side of him. On the other side of the desk were scales, cling film and a roll of foil which they had taken from my kitchen. There was also their bag with their drugs in it.

The sergeant took the self sealing bag out of the carrier bag and placed it on my own scales in front of me. It weighed 28 grammes. But, by the time we got to court they said it was 12 grammes.

I was interviewed that same evening and charged with possession of heroin with intent to supply.

I was taken to Highbury Corner Magistrates Court the following morning. My solicitor and I were shocked that I was given unconditional bail.

When I got the police’s statements I sat down and read them with my solicitor. When we had finished reading them I told him they were all lies and gave him details of the case. Before I had finished he said, “But that is not what they said happened.” I told him I knew that, and I didn’t exactly expect them to be truthful.

“With what they are saying, you are going to get convicted.” Well, that put me off him. I decided not to tell him any more, I needed a new solicitor, or he’d be helping the police bury me alive, so I left his office.

I got myself a new solicitor. At first I thought he was alright. But as I went on talking, I got the feeling he didn’t believe me. I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I needed a solicitor.

On the day of my trial I got to court to find my barrister had been changed. The man that was standing in front of me, who was going to represent me, I had never seen before in my life. When we talked about my case in the canteen he said that my story was very heavy to put to the court.

At that point I screamed at him. I told him I’m not going to tell lies. I was very mad with him and he left me to calm down. Meanwhile, my solicitor told me he had changed my barrister because this one was better than the one I met before.

By the time the jury had been sworn in on the first day in court, I fell asleep. I was just too tired. I was suffering from depression and my daughter was keeping me awake at night because of her teething. The judge adjourned the case until the next day so I could get some sleep. But I could not sleep at home, I spent the whole night rocking my daughter and crying.

The next morning in court the officers were giving their evidence. I fell asleep again, but this time they let me get on with it. I woke up to find that they had finished for the day.

The following morning I took in a flask full of black coffee. But it didn’t work for long. I finished the whole flask and started feeling sleepy. The police basically kept to their story. But under cross examination they contradicted one another. One even asked to be cautioned by the Judge so that he couldn’t say anything that would implicate himself!

After the police gave their evidence my eldest son and baby sitter went into the witness box. My drug dealer friend, who was on remand in Holloway at the time, had made a statement and wanted to give evidence on my behalf. She turned up at court on three days, but for some reason she was not called.

I gave evidence last. I told everything as it happened. Guess what? They didn’t believe me, my baby sitter or my son. I was found guilty.

When the judge sentenced me to four years in prison he said he didn’t believe a word I had said and he hoped my guilty conscience would kill me. Well, I was gobsmacked. I opened my mouth to abuse him, but nothing came out. I was in shock.

That was the court case. Now comes the battle in prison.

At the beginning I was still in shock. I wasn’t myself, I was full of anger, hate, pain and frustration. I cried a lot. I couldn’t eat or drink. I was very depressed and had head aches 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Things kept going round in my head. I knew I needed help but I didn’t know I where to start.

I was frightened of blue and white uniforms. I hated them all and was very angry with every one of them.

After about three weeks in Holloway a prison officer spoke to me. She said she remembered the day I was sentenced and she believed I was innocent. She told me that I should fight them, that there is corruption everywhere and I should not waste any time. I couldn’t believe it coming from her. But it helped me a great deal, at last somebody believed me. There and then I decided I was going to fight the lawmen who had me locked up.

I booked some letters and spoke to my probation officer. He gave me even more confidence, he believed every word I said. I wrote a few letters that night – to my probation officer, to John Major, to my M.P., and to Justice. I also wrote one to Scotland Yard.

I have seen many people planted by the police on Sandringham Road. I have seen many people battered, and I know many people are in prison for something they have not done. I just thought, poor man, poor woman, what they are going through must be horrible. Horrible is not the word. I am in that situation now, and my God it is so painful. I have feelings I cannot explain anger, hate, frustration, pain, all mixed together, and at the same time I am terrified.

I cannot explain it, but I know it is so bad it is driving me mad. In fact, it very nearly did drive me mad for real. I was frightened that the police would come to plant me with drugs again. I became convinced that the prison officers were the police. When I heard their keys I would hide under my bed. They’d come into my cell and I’d refuse to come out, crying and screaming, “It’s not mine. You put it there.” They would ask me, “Put what where?” I’d tell them, “Drugs.” The first time I did this the idiots put me in a straight jacket and turned my room upside down looking for drugs. That made me worse. I was frightened of them so I hid under my bed all the time.

I almost lost my sanity with the medication they gave me to calm me down. For months I was like a zombie. A friend of mine in prison brought me back to my senses by showing me pictures of my children. She told me I couldn’t go mental, I had to think of my children.

It was early one morning in November 1991 when Scotland Yard came to visit me at Cookham Wood prison. They took a full statement from me. They started with my personal details and went on to talk about what I knew about the police in Hackney and Stoke Newington. I told them about what I had seen at my friend’s house on the Line.

I even told them about the time, one December, when Stoke Newington police raided her. Some of the drug squad officers told her about the raid and told her to get out of the country for a while. She had only been gone a couple of hours when they raided. Everybody on The Line was laughing at the police and calling them names. They got so angry they started beating people up. And, of course, somebody had to pay for it, so some guys got stitched up.

Everybody knew she was selling drugs. She did it in broad daylight, in front of Stoke Newington police officers.

I was with them for the whole day, we finished the statement just before 4.00pm. They believed what I told them, mainly because most of the things I told them they already knew. The Scotland Yard men told me they knew what was going on in Stoke Newington and they had been trying for years to prosecute some officers. But the officers had slipped through their hands due to lack of evidence and witnesses. I was asked if I would give evidence against the officers. “You bet your life I will,” I replied.

The following day my probation officer ‘phoned me. He told me that Scotland Yard had contacted him to say that they believed me. The same officers had been involved for years, and Scotland Yard was conducting an investigation called Operation Jackpot.

In December 1991 the Court of Appeal told me that I had been refused leave to appeal. I was back to square one, let down again by British justice. I know that the police officers are under investigation and they have been transferred to other stations. But that is not much good to me, unless they are suspended I haven’t got grounds for an appeal. I have been in prison for nine months now, and still waiting.

The whole thing has affected my children desperately. They find it hard to accept what has happened. Although I don’t need convincing, my children keep telling me that they cleaned out the freezer when I was out that evening, looking for keys, and there was nothing there. They can’t understand why the jury didn’t believe us.

7. WATCHING THE DETECTIVES

On November 28th 1991, Hackney Community Defence Association met two members of the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice. They were presented with a short report on police crime in Hackney, “A crime is a crime is a crime”. Evidence was presented to the Royal Commission on the basis of 130 cases of police malpractice taken up by HCDA in less than three years.

November 1991 was also a significant month for Stoke Newington police officers. Operation Jackpot, which had been investigating allegations against Officer X (who cannot be identified by order of a judge), was broadened to include other officers following a number of complaints to Scotland Yard. Pearl Cameron, who claimed she had been supplied with drugs by Officer X, pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to supply crack cocaine. Officer X was arrested and charged with theft and V.A.T. fraud. The head of Operation Jackpot, Det. Supt. Russell, interviewed Ida Oderinde in prison.

Opening Shots

The Guardian crime correspondent, Duncan Campbell, approached HCDA in early January 1992 to discuss Stoke Newington drug squad. He had met Ida Oderinde and had been making his own enquiries.

On January 29th a Scotland Yard spokesman announced, “eight officers from the CID at Stoke Newington are to be transferred today to other stations until an inquiry has been completed.” This was the first public acknowledgement of Operation Jackpot’s existence.

Two days later the Guardian went to press with Campbell’s front page story, “Police suspected of drug dealing”. The article, which did not name police officers or their victims, briefly detailed the allegations of Pearl Cameron, Ida Oderinde, Glenford Lewis and others.

On February 3rd, Brian Sedgemore, MP for Hackney South, tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons condemning “those nasty, vile and corrupt police officers at Stoke Newington police station who have been engaged in drug trafficking and perverting the course of justice.”

On February 7th an HCDA press conference named 30 police officers accused of police malpractice since January 1989 and called for a judicial inquiry into the police.

Community Investigation

Following the press conference, adverts were placed in the Hackney Gazette and Voice newspapers asking for the victims of police crime to contact HCDA. Leaflets were handed out at local markets asking people to come forward. Out of the many people who replied, there were 12 drugs related cases to investigate.

On February 24th HCDA set up its own investigation into Stoke Newington drug squad. Its principle aim was to take up the cases of people unjustly convicted of drug offences and, on the basis of the information collected, discover a pattern to the allegations of police crime.

HCDA started by taking statements and visiting people in prison. A picture was slowly built up of police activities. We were interested in finding out the names of the police officers involved in each case, what they were accused of and looking at the victims’ recent histories in an attempt to discover why they had been targetted.

Court hearings are an important source of information. It is in court where allegations of police malpractice are made by defendants as they try to prove their innocence. On the other hand, police officers giving evidence have to disclose information about their activities. Members of HCDA attended Snaresbrook Crown Court in East London on many days to pick up valuable information.

The information gathered by HCDA is extremely useful for defendants awaiting trial and those seeking leave to appeal against convictions. HCDA has made information available to solicitors with cases involving Stoke Newington police officers. To encourage the sharing of information, HCDA set up a Lawyers Group at a meeting in Stoke Newington on March 16th. That group now meets independently as the Lawyers Liason Group, Stoke Newington and has written to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Barbara Mills QC, and the Home Secretary, Kenneth Clarke, to express their professional concern.

The police are loathe to inform the public of operations or complaints investigations. Small pieces of information are given out in court, in press statements, in interviews with complainants, in reply to questions raised in Parliament and by the Crown Prosecution Service when informing defence solicitors of the evidence against their clients. HCDA has analysed every scrap of information to try and understand what has been going on behind closed doors.

Throughout, March, April and May, HCDA worked on its investigation. By the end of May an overall picture of organised police crime had been sufficiently developed for a delegation to brief Hackney’s MPs.

Police Organised Crime

When HCDA met Brian Sedgemore at the House of Commons on June 3rd, it knew of 31 drugs cases involving Stoke Newington police officers.

These police officers have been involved in organised crime including drug dealing, receiving bribes, running a protection from prosecution racket, using the informer system as cover for their criminal relationships, planting people with drugs, concocting evidence and perverting the course of justice.

HCDA does not know when Stoke Newington police officers started running organised crime. The first case HCDA took up was in May 1989. It is most probable that organised police crime in the area predates this period.

HCDA believes that organised crime is so firmly established at Stoke Newington police station that it has survived the transfers of drug squad officers in the past and is doing the same at present. In the Autumn of 1990, Sergeant Gerrard Carroll was transferred from Stoke Newington as a result of a complaints investigation. Shortly after Carroll’s transfer, on November 27th, Operation Cancer, a video surveillance operation against the home of a well known drug dealer, Pearl Cameron, commenced.

In Autumn 1991 police officers were transferred and the decision was made to close Pearl Cameron down. Her supplier, and the man who had warned her of police raids in the past, Officer X, could not, or would not, help her. She was arrested on January 23rd 1991.

HCDA believes that Scotland Yard suspected the old ringleaders. But records of allegations of police wrongdoing show that new officers began to figure prominently and that these men had taken over operations.

HCDA believes that the same thing is happening today. New officers have replaced the eight officers transferred on January 29th, 1992. Some of the original eight have been seen in the Hackney and Stoke Newington area since their transfer, some have even contacted defendants and witnesses in drugs trials. These officers might be fighting to retain control of their crime ring, hoping they will be able to return once Operation Jackpot is over, or organising a smooth handover of power in realisation that their criminal careers are over.

HCDA knows of four elements of police organised crime:

  1. the seizing of drugs and money from drug dealers stopped on the streets and released without charge,
  2. the supplying of drugs to street level dealers,
  3. running a protection from prosecution racket and
  4. the planting of drugs and fabrication of evidence against suspected competitors in the drugs market or against people who get in their way.

Police Acquirement Of Drugs

Police officers have acquired drugs by confiscating them from street level dealers. HCDA has received information that a dealer had cocaine worth £8,000 seized on one occasion. Plain clothed drugs officers have directly seized drugs and the dealers’ profits, on the streets, without arresting the dealers. When uniformed officers have arrested suspected drug dealers and taken them to the station, custody sergeants have taken possession of the drugs. Drug squad officers then take charge of the case and arrange for the dealer to be released on police bail. The dealer returns to the station to be told there are no charges.

Police Drug Supplying

HCDA knows of four street level drug dealers who have been supplied by police officers. At least two of these were established, dealing from secure premises. HCDA believes that more dealers may have been working with the police, with different officers having established their own contacts. Officers used the police informant system to cover their criminal relationships with drug dealers. In order to protect their identities when working with drug dealers, officers have been known to wear wigs and change their appearances.

Protection From Prosecution

HCDA believes that Stoke Newington police officers are running an extensive protection from prosecution racket. Officer X is implicated in a protection from prosecution racket in connection with VAT fraud. It is known that officers have accepted bribes so that unlicenced drinking and gambling clubs can continue in business. Drug dealers have had to pay officers in order to escape arrest. When police operations have been ordered at a senior level officers have tipped off their contacts.

Fabrication Of Evidence

The most common means of fabricating evidence has been the planting of people with drugs, and some cases have involved false allegations of violence. There are two basic reasons why officers have resorted to these illegal methods. Firstly, unable to secure legal convictions of suspected drug dealers, officers have planted drugs on them. In many of these cases HCDA assumes that drug dealers have been charged and convicted, not in the interests of law enforcement but to remove an obstacle to the police’s monopoly of the drugs market. Secondly, officers have planted drugs on people for getting in the way of their operation or for refusing to become informants for the police. Fearful that somebody might know too much, drugs are planted so that the person is discredited with a drugs conviction.

Campaigning For Justice

HCDA set up its investigation into Stoke Newington drug squad officers in order to collect information in support of people planted with drugs. Some people have been acquitted and are presently suing the police. Some people are seeking leave to appeal against their convictions. Allegations have been made against more than 50 Stoke Newington police officers up to the rank of inspector. A core of 12 to 15 officers have been involved at different times in the past three years. Some of these officers were transferred before January 29th, when the eight officers were transferred, and some are still based at Stoke Newington police station.

From the outset HCDA believed that Operation Jackpot would amount to a cover up. Irrespective of how thorough and well intentioned Russell’s enquiry might be, the attitudes of Stoke Newington officers, the police establishment, the Director of Public Prosecutions office, the Crown Prosecution Service and the judiciary are likely to ensure that police officers are not convicted of criminal offences.

In situations such as these it is usual for the victims of police crime to be isolated and powerless, leaving the police free to cover up at their leisure. HCDA has provided these people with a voice, and brought pressure to bear on the police by publicising what has been going on in the media.

With regard to the cases of people who have been planted with drugs HCDA is demanding that their cases are referred to the Court of Appeal, and those serving prison sentences to be released on bail pending the outcome.

With regard to the police officers alleged to have committed criminal offences, HCDA is demanding that they are charged and brought to trial in exactly the same manner as any member of the public would be dealt with. With regard to police crime in Hackney, HCDA demands that the Home Secretary sets up an independent judicial inquiry.

8. CHRONOLOGY

1989
19 May
Glenford Lewis, a Jamaican man, is planted with cocaine by Stoke Newington police officers. He is arrested and charged with possession of cocaine with intent to supply. Sergeant Gerrard Carroll is involved in the arrest. At his Snaresbrook Crown Court trial on January 22nd 1990, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) offered no evidence and he was acquitted.

1990
26 April
Pearl Cameron is cautioned by Officer X for possession of cocaine after having been arrested by him in August 1989.

10 August
Hugh Prince is planted with crack cocaine by Stoke Newington police officers. He is convicted of possession of crack and sentenced to two months imprisonment on December 21st 1990.

11 August
Rennie Kingsley is planted with cocaine and LSD by Stoke Newington police officers. He is convicted of possession of the drugs and sentenced to four months imprisonment on July 17th 1991.

11 September
Dennis Tulloch is planted with crack cocaine by Stoke Newington police officers. He is convicted of possession with intent to supply crack and sentenced to four years imprisonment on September 5th 1991.

27 September
Ida Oderinde is planted with heroin by Stoke Newington police officers. She is convicted of possession with intent to supply heroin and sentenced to four years imprisonment on August 30th 1991.

27 November
Operation Cancer, a Stoke Newington drug squad surveillance operation, commences against the home of Pearl Cameron.

1991
23 January
Operation Cancer concludes with a raid against the Cameron household. Pearl Cameron and her 18 year old son, Marlon, are arrested and charged with conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and other charges. Her allegation that she was supplied with drugs by a serving Stoke Newington police officer leads to a Scotland Yard Complaints Investigation Branch (CIB2) investigation, codenamed Operation Jackpot, commencing in April.

31 August
Ida Oderinde writes to Scotland Yard the day after she is sentenced to four years in prison for intent to supply heroin.

18 November
Officer X is arrested during a police and Customs and Excise raid on premises in North London.

20 November
Officer X appears at Horseferry Road Magistrates Court charged with theft and a specimen count of V.A.T. fraud in connection with a £5 million gaming machines racket.

11 December
Trial of Paul Noel stopped at Snaresbrook Crown Court by Judge Pitman. Charged with two counts of possession of cannabis with intent to supply, the judge rules Noel has no case to answer following the prosecution’s evidence.

1992
9 January
HCDA meets Duncan Campbell to discuss Stoke Newington drug squad.

24 January
Michael and John Watkins awarded £26,800 damages against the Metropolitan Police for false imprisonment, assault and malicious prosecution. Michael Watkins had been charged with possession of cannabis on evidence fabricated by Stoke Newington officers in February 1987.

29 January
Sergeant Gerrard Carroll shoots himself with a police gun at 6.00am in Barkingside police station’s custody bay at Redbridge Magistrates Court. Eight Stoke Newington officers are transferred to other duties in Area Two of the Metropolitan Police.

31 January
Guardian runs front, page story “Police suspected of drug dealing” by Duncan Campbell. It details allegations of drug dealing, corrup-tion and fabricated evidence against Stoke Newington drug squad.

3 February
Brian Sedgemore MP tables an early day motion in the House of Commons condemning “nasty, vile and corrupt police officers at Stoke Newington police station who have been engaged in drug trafficking & perverting the course of justice.”

6 February
The Jerk Chicken cafe, on Sandringham Road, is raided by Stoke Newington police. Nine people are arrested and police claim to seize over 150 rocks of crack and cannabis.

7 February
HCDA holds a press conference on police crime in Hackney. 30 officers are named as having been involved in police malpractice and a Judicial Inquiry into policing in Hackney since January 1989 is called for.

The Jerk Chicken cafe is raided again and Stoke Newington police make four arrests and claim to seize 200 rocks of crack. Four people are eventually charged with drugs offences arising from the two raids.

17 February
Rodney Pilgrim and Valerie Marche accept £20,000 out of court damages from the Metropolitan Police for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. They had been arrested by Stoke Newington officers in December 1988, who fabricated evidence that Mr Pilgrim was in possession of cannabis.

24 February
HCDA sets up a sub group to investigate Stoke Newington Drug Squad.

26 February
Time Out runs a feature article on Hackney and Stoke Newington police. Sergeant Gerrard Carroll and Detec-tive Constable Ronald Palumbo, both ex-Stoke Newington officers and tran-sferred to other stations as a result of allegations of drugs planting, are named.

5 March
Chief Superintendent Roy Clark talks to the Hackney Police Community Consultative Group about the eight transferred officers. He says that there is “insufficient evidence” to merit the suspension of the officers and that the allegations have been made by self-confessed drug dealers.

16 March
HCDA sets up lawyers group so that solicitors and barristers can co-ordinate information for defendants in cases involving Stoke Newington drug squad officers and for people seeking leave to appeal out of time.

27 April
Trial of Marlon Cameron commences at Snaresbrook Crown Court. Charged with four counts of conspiracy to supply crack cocaine between 26th November 1990 and 24th January 1991, two counts of possession of crack cocaine with intent to supply on 23rd January 1991 and possession of cannabis on 23rd January.

1 May
Snaresbrook Crown Court jury convicts Marlon Cameron of conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and possession of crack cocaine. Pearl Cameron pleads guilty to conspiracy to supply crack cocaine. Sentencing is delayed while the Drug Trafficking Act investigation is completed and for social reports.

3 June
HCDA delegation briefs Brian Sedgemore at the House of Commons on the Stoke Newington situation.

Time Out’s Denis Campbell writes a two page feature article detailing the extent of corruption at Stoke Newington police station. The article prompts the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Sir John Smith, to write condemning the article as inaccurate and “unlikley to assist in the administration of justice.”

9 June
The Lawyers Liason Group Stoke Newington writes to the Home Secretary, Kenneth Clark, asking for information concerning Operation Jackpot.

10 June
The Lawyers Liason Group Stoke Newington writes to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Barbara Mills QC, expressing concern that the CPS is not disclosing information to defence solicitors about Operation Jackpot. 16 solicitors firms and 36 barristers put their names to the letter.

17 June
DC Ronald Palumbo and PC Bruce Galbraith are suspended from duty. Scotland Yard states that they were suspended “following allegations that they attempted to pervert the course of justice” in the Paul Noel case.

19 June
CPS offers no evidence against Dennis Bramble, charged with possession of heroin at Snaresbrook Crown Court. Reason given for collapse of case being questions about “the credibility of some of the prosecution witnesses.” One of the officers involved in the case is DC Ronald Palumbo.

22 June
Brian Sedgemore, Diane Abbott, Terry Lewis, Dennis Skinner and Bob Cryer sign three early day motions in Parliament on the activities of Stoke Newington drug squad officers.

10 July
Pearl Cameron sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court to 5 years in prison for conspiracy to supply crack cocaine; Marlon Cameron sentenced to 2 years in a young offenders institution for same offence. Mrs Cameron’s counsel tells court about Mrs Cameron’s drug dealings with a serving Stoke Newington police officer, Officer X.

21 August
CPS offers no evidence against Anthony Woods, charged with possession of cannabis with intent to supply. The CPS acknowledge that Ronald Palumbo, the officer in charge of the case, could not be relied upon as a “witness of truth”.

11 September
DC Barry Lyons suspended from duty.

18 September
Dennis Tulloch is granted bail by the Court of Appeal

22 September
Ida Oderinde transferred back to HMP Bullwood Hall

23 September
Ida Oderinde granted leave to appeal against conviction and granted unconditional bail by the Court of Appeal.

HCDA knows of 40 cases where victims have made allegations of wrongdoing against Stoke Newington police officers in connection with drug offences since May 1989 to the present.

The allegations include:

  • planting drugs
  • threatening to plant drugs
  • illegal confiscation of drugs
  • supplying drugs
  • attempted bribery
  • accepting bribes
  • theft of personal property

Of the 32 people charged with criminal offences, one case was dropped, no evidence was offered by the prosecution in four cases and eight have been acquitted. Nine people have either taken out civil actions against . the police or are considering such action. 14 people have been convicted of drugs offences with the majority serving prison sentences of more than two years. Five people are still awaiting trial.

36 of these cases involve black people, of which 20 are Jamaican and four are women.

Fighting The Lawmen – Back Cover

5 thoughts on “Fighting The Lawmen

  1. i grew up in springfield hackney and was regually aboused by palumbo and galbraith carroll and the like on more tjan one ocation. they are scum. i witnesed palumbo recieve his 10 year sentance at canterbury crown court. after attending every day with a member of hcda. i believe he was umdercover.

  2. is hcda still existing??? if so i would like contact to find out if that bloke mark who took me to palumbos trial was undercover old bill.

  3. Hi Lee – I’ve dropped you an email. I think it’s probably Mark Metcalf you are looking for, who can be contacted via http://www.markwrite.co.uk/

    And apologies for not getting back to you, Michael. HCDA merged with the Colin Roach Centre in the late 90s and seems to have fizzled out in the noughties at some point.

  4. Reading this article is like re-living a nightmare. I lived in Montague rd, off Sandringham rd frontline. In 1986 the, Regional Crime Squad (pre drug squad) knew i was a heroin addict, came to my home and took me to Stoki nick and told me that i was to inform on dealers and when they nicked them they would only charge them with half the ammount, the other half they would give to me to sell. My incentive was that I was allowed to keep half the drugs/money and the other half I was to pay to them, so if they were to give me an ounce of gear, they wanted £500 in cash.
    To get out of the police station, I went along with them, but had no intention of doing any such thing. What they were asking of me could have got me badly hurt or worse.
    When they caught up with me, they beat me up and was shouting at me because I never did as they wanted, also they smashed my home up too.
    I could write a book about the police at Stoke Newington nick, especially the Regional Crime Squad, who at that time did all the local drug busts.

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