Blunkett Called to Probe Police

South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales), February 1, 2002 | Go to article overview

Blunkett Called to Probe Police


Byline: EXCLUSIVE By Greg Lewis

HOME Secretary David Blunkett is to face demands to investigate South Wales Police - and launch a public probe to rival the Stephen Lawrence inquiry.

Plaid Cymru MP Elfyn Llwyd has seen a dossier of 13 "concerning" cases investigated by the force and says an open investigation is the only way forward.

He now intends seeking cross-party support before taking the evidence to Mr Blunkett.

The Home Secretary has the power to initiate a public inquiry - which lawyers said today would be bigger than the 1997 inquiry into the police investigation of the murdered London teenager.

The cases under the microscope are dominated by several high profile murder investigations and stretch back 20 years.

Mr Llwyd, a practising barrister, said: "I'm determined to take this matter forward and feel a public inquiry is the only way this can be thoroughly investigated.

"I will be looking for some cross-party support and then seeking a meeting with the Home Secretary."

The dossier was prepared by London-based solicitor Nogah Ofer, who represents Michael O'Brien of the Cardiff Newsagent Three.

"This is a major step forward and with the support of a small number of Welsh MPs should make a convincing case for David Blunkett, " said Ms Ofer, of Hickman and Rose.

"The dossier tries to show connections between the cases and shows the real seriousness of this matter. A lot of people have wrongly gone to jail.

"A public inquiry would be in the interests of people who have suffered miscarriages of justice and the wider community.

"The tremendous scope of this inquiry would make it as important as the Stephen Lawrence inquiry."

In a statement, Assistant Chief Constable Tony Rogers said: "South Wales Police is committed to independence, transparency and openness in its approach to major crime investigation."

Fifteen National Assembly members have already backed calls for a public inquiry into a number of cases investigated by the force between 1982 and 1997.

Adrian Stone, of Caerphilly, a defendant in the Welsh Conspiracy or Bomb Trial, one of the 13 cases, said: "I have been calling for a public inquiry into South Wales Police and the activities of certain police officers since 1983.

With the wealth of evidence people in authority are finally taking notice. …

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