Tuesday 4 February 2014

Brent Council's fraud evidence demands a proper police investigation and potential prosecution

The case of the fraudulent emails in support of Andrew Gillick's planning application for Kensal Rise Library, owned by All Soul's College and closed down by Brent Council,appear to be coming to a head.

Below you will find a redacted version of the evidence sent by Brent Council to police through the National Fraud Reporting Centre:

Council’s Supporting Information Statement to Police

The attempted fraud concerns false representation to get planning application approved by submitting false supporting comments to the council. The application has been made by a developer, Andrew Gillick, of Platinum Land Ltd, for conversion of the existing vacant building to provide 3 one-bed flats, 3 two-bed flat & one two-bed house and community space on ground floor and basement. The planning application was made by Kensal Rise Properties Ltd, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. On all applications the council has consultation with residents and others and received a significant number of objections to the proposal. Unusually, the council also received a high number, 176, supporting comments through its on-line consultation system. Almost all of these are false. They emanate from 5 separate IP addresses, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. The names and addresses given on the supporting comments do not match with official records held by the council, i.e. false names have been associated with real addresses and the email addresses provided do not exist. Although the planning application was refused, the supporting comments may have affected the process. The attempted financial gain associated with the fraud is not known but would represent the profit on sale after conversion. Much of the investigation work into the IP addresses has already been done.
It is clear from this that the Council know the IP addresses and as the last sentence states much of the investigation work had already been done. They also make clear that there would be financial gain from the fraud ' the profit on sale after conversion. Clearly a considerable sum/

However in its statement to the Council the Police Service stated:

The Police Service has finite resources and it is only right that these resources are directed towards crimes that are solvable with a proportionate level of investigation.

As a Police Service we also need to channel our efforts towards preventing and detecting certain crime types that the people of London and Central Government have identified as being policing priorities.

I have examined your allegation and considered a wide range of factors when deciding if this matter should be further investigated by police. Included in my consideration is the likelihood of detecting and bring an offender to justice.
 It appears that the Police Service think a form of identify theft, possibly carried out for financial gain, in a planning application process, is of no concern to the people of London or Central Government.

Surely our three MPs, Glenda Jackson, Barry Gardiner and Sarah Teather, should get behind the Council's request to the police to think again about taking the investigation further, and to a conclusion.  It is certainly a demand that I am right behind.

Meanwhile the upcoming second Andrew Gillick planning application process must be halted until the case is concluded one way or another.


Anonymous said...

This seems even more suspicious with only 5 email addresses linked to 176 supporting statement. This seems to prove any planning application can easily be staked in favour of a developer.

How many other planning applications has this happened ?

A full investigation is needed.

Anonymous said...

‘crime types that the people of London and Central Government have identified as being policing priorities’.
I don’t know how ‘the people of London’s’ views were divined but does the 'Central Government' bit mean the police concede that the crime-fighting agenda can be set according to the prejudices of the Telegraph, Mail and Express as embodied in Cameron/Clegg? And do they accept that, as an election beckons and the government runs scared from ‘the swivel-eyed loons and closet racists’ (Cameron TM), that this agenda should adjust to reflect the priorities and prejudices of UKIP? If so, muslims and gays are in for a rough time from the plods in the next few months (though if some UKIP members’ hotline to heaven is reliable, robust action against a few minorities will see Somerset as dry as a bone within weeks).

Anonymous said...

That's one pretty popular internet cafe.

Unless the emails threatened someone I cannot see the crime....

Maybe not fair but not a crime and the Cops have better things to do.

Anonymous said...

Its very hard to track an actual address from an IP address and they might even be in China....

Anonymous said...

Do the police not consider the knock-on effect of their failure to act? Planning applications and consultations are made every day all over the capital and the country. Faking email comments is extremely easy to do. It’s also very easy to detect. But ease of detection doesn’t matter if the police have already said, publicly and before the fact, that they won’t do anything about it anyway. And the possible financial gains for the cheats are astronomical by ordinary people’s standards; doesn’t this carry some weight when considering ‘proportionality’? Property ‘developers’ all over London will notice the police’s self-confessed dereliction of duty in this case and will talk about it gleefully in the pubs, clubhouses and lodges when they meet. And the reputation of ‘consultations’ will sink even lower than it is already. What channels exist to point out these simple facts to the people behind that staggeringly complacent police statement

Anonymous said...

Fraud is certainly not fair. That's probably why it's a crime (plus, it affects property relations). But a crime it certainly is. Don't the police pursue that kind of stuff?

Anonymous said...

Your total disregard in respect to thinking the Police have better things to do is beyond belief.

It is this type of activity that is leading to a total distrust of the rule of law from marginalised groups in society who see people those in a position of influence and power taking as they please without any consequences apart from an odd slap on the wrist or the odd scapegoat.

How many politicians were charged in the expense scandal, a handful, how many bankers have been charged, next to none. How many people and organizations have been able to secure lucrative government or local authority contracts or development schemes because they can influence the system ? (Probably more than we can ever imagine, as it is always kept quiet)

Enough is enough, if the developer is so interested in redeveloping and making a profit surely wanting to clear this mess up would be a quicker way than trying to pretend, even if the public uncover the truth.

Doing nothing does not send a message to those who attempt to exploit the system for their own financial gain.

claremounties said...

Yeah... there must be literally thousands of Chinese folk with nothing better to do, than hack into Brent's planning and support AG's application!!! Maybe someone was holding a Platinum Revolver to their heads!!!

Meg Howarth said...

A crucial question now is whether All Souls College (ASC) will proceed to complete its 'binding agreement to sell' the historic Kensal Rise Library (KRL) site to Andrew Gillick's Kensal Properties Ltd (Platinum Revolver in another guise?). Completion of sale was conditional on vacant possession, so once ASC was told the police investigation was off, it wasted no time in sending in its heavies to demolish the pop-up - thus securing the necessary vacant possession and enabling the sale contract with Mr Gillick to be completed.

The embarrassment to ASC that will be caused by any re-opening of the fraudulent email inquiry is incalculable, particularly if completion has taken place over the last two days. Already on to the defensive because of the adverse publicity surrounding events last Friday, ASC tried to blame the council for its barbarity, citing a seven-months-old enforcement letter 27 June 2013 to justify its action


And here's the text of an even-earlier letter, this time from ASC's bursar to a horrified newspaper reader who'd contacted the college the day following Brent's own now-notorious dawn raid on the KRL site:

'Yes, the College became aware of what happened yesterday and we find it distressing. We had told the Council that we would have been happy for them to have kept the Library open, possibly through cooperation with the Friends of Kensal Rise Library, who had developed an interesting business plan.

This was not to be however.

The law by which we originally donated the land dictates that the site now reverts to the College’s freehold. This is not something we ever wanted to see happen, but because it is the law, is something we cannot change either'.

Does this once-prestigious institution, noted for its famous Codrington library, really want to go down in history as the wealthiest of Oxford's colleges that couldn't wait to gain vacant possession in a civilised fashion before sealing a deal with its chosen developer who's not yet been cleared of involvement in the fraudulent email affair?

'Fools rush in where angels fear to tread' inevitably springs to mind.

claremounties said...

Who drew up the brief, designed the system and signed it off as fit-for-purpose in the first instance? Robust testing was obviously not carried out to ensure secure, water-tight procedures. Is it a case of inexperienced officers given authority to oversee these implementations; who are then instructing contractors who have no cognisance of secure requirements? The blind leading the blind! No offence intended to those who are visually impaired. This is the tip of the iceberg of the problems with Brent's Digital Innovations; I speak from both personal experience and anecdotes from many others. And to top it all 'The Leader' is short listed for the Local Government Information Unit Digital Innovator of the Year Award! You couldn't make it up!

Anonymous said...

Can we add, to the list of explanations for various types of failure in public service delivery, the new police one: 'It's the wrong type of crime'.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it is a crime. If it is can someone point out the legislation.

Is it a crime to say i dont want a tesco next door and I dont like their food and put my name down as Joe Soap.

Anyway this avenue is not getting us any closer to reinstating the library.... further away i would say...

Anonymous said...

You could not make it up could you. Brent leader shortlisted for Digital Innovation.

What a farce!

Surely he should decline the shortlist and give a better deserving Borough then people might have more respect for those who should be leading us