It’s time for action on operations Sheridan and Aloft

If any charges are to be laid in Operation Aloft or Operation Sheridan they need to be made as soon as possible because of the problems being caused. Justice delayed is justice denied.

My good friend Cllr John Potter, the Leader of Preston Liberal Democrats, and I have written to the Chief Constables of Lancashire and Merseyside asking them to speed up their investigations into local government problems in Lancashire Council and Liverpool City Council.

We have done so for three reasons:

  1. Both Lancashire and Liverpool Councils are suffering clear reputational damage at present. Liverpool, of course, has suffered the indignity of seeing our Elected Mayor arrested, the Caller Report published and now the imposition of very costly Commissioners.
  • We have a duty of care to our staff and former staff. If they are guilty, they need to be dealt with but if they are not, they have the right to either see potential charges dropped or to be found not guilty in court.
  • This is costing the taxpayers of Lancashire and Merseyside a huge amount of money. We understand that the cost of the Lancashire investigation is more than £6 million for the Police and Crown Prosecution Service. We can only make a guess that given the shorter time this will be about half for the Liverpool Council case.

Cllrs Potter and I have said that we urgently need to know what went on within both these councils and if the problems were confined to a small number of people, whether those actions were caused by criminality and/or incompetence and whether the problems as perceived by the Police and CPS, are structurally contained within the relevant authority. We know that these cases are extremely complicated. They involve potential fraud, malfeasance in public office, witness intimidation and money chains which go far outside our Country, but time is now of the essence.

In some ways the failure to bring forward a response is stifling some aspects of work within Liverpool City  Council. We are aware of who has been arrested but not charged. What we don’t know is who else might be in the frame as the investigations have continued. Is Liverpool now going to appoint someone to a new position when in a few weeks or months we will need to suspend them because of police action?

This is costing taxpayers in Lancashire and Merseyside a large amount of money. We understand that the costs in Lancashire are about £6 million for Police and CPS costs but have no idea of Merseyside Police and CPS costs. We have asked for information about this.

Lastly there is an old saying, ‘justice delayed is justice denied’. It is unfair to all concerned, including the people who are living under a cloud, for these matters to be left for so long.

The full letter to the two Chief Constables is attached.

Cllr Richard Kemp CBE                                          Cllr John Potter

Liberal Democrat Office,                                      26 Aldwych Drive

Liverpool City Council,                                          Preston

Cunard Building,                                                     Lancashire

Water Street,                                                          PR2 1SJ

Liverpool L3 1AH

07885 626913                                                                         07854 221145

Richard.Kemp@Liverpool.gov.uk                                    john4preston@yahoo.co.uk

Chief Constable Chris Rowley, Lancashire

Chief Constable Serena Kennedy, Merseyside

8th February 2022

Dear Chief Constable,

Re:        Operation Sheridan and Operation Aloft

We know that you are both Chief Constables who joined your police commands at approximately the same time last year and took over the above Operations.  We know that they are separate ones being administered by your respective forces but, in so far as some of the people who have been arrested but not yet charged in both cases, there are people who feature heavily in the affairs of Liverpool City Council.

We know that these cases are extremely complicated. They involve potential fraud, malfeasance in public office, witness intimidation and money chains which go far outside our Country. But our simple request to you both is to rapidly bring these Operations to a conclusion. We know that the decision to charge or not and the timing may well be in the hands of the Crown Prosecution Service, but we are sure that you and your force have a key role to play in the timing.

There are three key reasons why we think these things need moving on:

  1. Both Lancashire and Liverpool Councils are suffering clear reputational damage at present. In Liverpool’s case the annual accounts of the authority have not been signed off since 2015 whilst the auditors review potential fallout from the problems within the Council.

We urgently need to know if what went on within these councils was confined to a number of people, whether those actions were caused by criminality and/or incompetence and whether the problems as perceived by the Police and CPS, are structurally contained within the relevant authority.

  • We have a duty of care to our staff and former staff. After 6 years in the case of Operation Sheridan and 3 years in the case of Operation Aloft people are left swinging in the wind without being charged and possibly will never be charged let alone found guilty of any offence. This is simply unfair to them and their families.
  • This is costing the taxpayers of Lancashire and Merseyside a huge amount of money. Our understanding is that the Operation Sheridan costs are more than £5 million for the Police and £1 million for the CPS. We have no feeling for the Merseyside Police costs but there has been a large team in place for at least 3 years. These costs will, of course, rise if the cases come to court.

All this expenditure is a real drain on resources when our Police and Council services are under threat from rising problems and national cuts in grants. It would be helpful to us and to our taxpayers if you would let us know the costs to date to the Police and CPS of these cases.

So, our plea to you is very simple. Bring these matters to a head for the good of our councils, the good of those implicated and above all the good of the people that we represent.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Kemp                     John Potter

Cllr Richard Kemp CBE,                                                        Cllr John Potter,

Leader, Liverpool Liberal Democrats                               Leader, Preston Liberal Democrats

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About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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1 Response to It’s time for action on operations Sheridan and Aloft

  1. Paul says:

    Costs of Commissioners screams Labour i didn’t hear them scream when we paid Joe Anderson’s legal fees the three lord mayors costs One acolyte and sycophant said we have two football teams why not three £££ a Patsy temporary patronage Mayor quickly got a double Rise. Simple Simon said
    At our expense

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