Three police officers accused of deceiving MPs over the so-called Plebgate scandal are to face a new investigation by the police watchdog.
Inspector Ken MacKaill, Detective Sergeant Stuart Hinton and Sergeant Chris Jones will also be called back before an influential committee of MPs, over claims they gave misleading accounts of a meeting with Andrew Mitchell.
The trio were initially told they would face no action for misconduct for press interviews they gave following the meeting in the MP’s Sutton Coldfield constituency.
It came after police officers on the gate at Downing Street falsely accused the former chief whip of calling them “******* plebs” during a row over his bicycle.
The confrontation was caught on CCTV and shown on Channel 4
However, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has now said it will hold an investigation into the behaviour of the trio, saying the evidence they gave to the home affairs select committee revealed “a number of procedural irregularities” in earlier police reports.
Speaking on Sky News’ Murnaghan show, former shadow home secretary David Davis spoke about the “devastating” impact of the officers’ actions on Mr Mitchell and his family.
He called for him to be returned to the cabinet, in which he served between 2010 and 2012, in any future reshuffle.
“Mr Mitchell’s career came to an end and he was subject to widespread vilification,” he said.
“At one point, the entire British public thought he was guilty. They now see him, quite rightly, as a wronged man.
The row had a “devastating” impact on Mr Mitchell, according to Mr Davis
“It’s long past time that Mr Mitchell should be exonerated and returned to office.”
The policemen, all of whom are police federation representatives, have been recalled to the home affairs select committee to apologise for giving “misleading answers” on October 23.
Mr Davis said members of the public expected “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth to be at the core of policing”.
“When are (these three officers) going to realise that telling a lie or a half truth just isn’t good enough?” he said.
“This isn’t just about three policemen – it’s about whether or not this sort of behaviour is seen as acceptable by the entire system.”
Chief Constable Alex Marshall, chief executive of the College of Policing, told the Murnaghan show that the officers’ actions had “damaged the public image of the police”.
“There will now be a full, independent investigation by the IPCC and it’s my view that there should have been from the start,” he said.
“The officers should have apologised and they should have apologised very clearly.”
Referring to a draft code of ethics published last month by the College of Policing, which outlined how all 220,000 police officers and staff in England and Wales are expected to behave, he added: “Officers must uphold high standards when they join the police.
“The code of ethics spells out those standards and for people joining the police service, (it should be) lesson one on day one.”