Home Office stays silent after evidence of a covert smear campaign by officials.
David Gale is voluntary CEO of Kids for Cash UK (K4CUK), an organisation that investigates criminal corruption around child abuse. K4CUK is a social network of investigators and researchers that includes former police officers, social workers, members of the legal profession, and victims. An ex-police officer and child protection specialist, Gale founded K4CUK in 2012 and was quickly involved in uncovering government corruption in cases related to child sex abuse.
In 2013, he investigated the arrest and imprisonment of Victoria Haigh, the mother of a child who had made multiple sexual abuse allegations against the brother of a police officer. Gale quickly found that a number of public agencies had colluded to frame Haigh as a means of silencing her. Gale interviewed a number of witnesses, as well as uncovering sensitive government files that he used to secure Haigh’s emergency release from HMP Peterborough.
As well as running investigations in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire and London, Gale has also investigated the historic Leicestershire child sex abuse cases and made a successful public call for a review of the cases, including those linked to Greville Janner. He has liaised with MPs, newspapers and broadcasters to bring these cases to the public’s attention.
In 2013, Gale was tipped off by friendly police officers that he had a ‘huge target on his back’, urging him to check his personal details with the Criminal Records Office (ACRO). ACRO manages information held on the Police National Computer (PNC). The response to Gale’s checks, which is documented here, included a three page record of serious crime attributed to his identity on PNC. When Gale related the discovery to a friendly police officer, the officer expressed his lack of surprise, “Oh, it’s a regular thing. They think it’s virtually undetectable. It means your target will struggle getting a job or anything else that needs a records check”.
Gale, who is an IT and business transformation professional, confirms that he has had a number of government contracts cancelled at the eleventh hour, leaving him virtually destitute. He claims that there are a number of other cases where individuals campaigning against government agency corruption related to child abuse have been targeted with a fake criminal record. “I had an MP in the West Midlands contact me asking for details of my case as he had other examples”, said Gale.
ACRO refused to disclose who had accessed the record for the previous three years, with the Information Commissioner’s Office telling Gale that they had no criminal jurisdiction over ACRO / PNC data. “We went around the houses for over two years with everybody denying responsibility”, said Gale. “Finally, in December 2015, the Policing Minister, Mike Penning, agreed to schedule a meeting, in January 2016, for me to brief him on the lack of criminal jurisdiction over criminal records data.”
Three days before the scheduled meeting Gale was contacted by one of the MPs with whom he had been liaising. The minister had cancelled the meeting due to negative information being supplied about Gale. “Apparently, you’re a ‘very bad man'”, said the MP, who went on to check with Gale that he had no criminal record and that his only dealings with the police were to hold them to account. “I was pretty sure that I hadn’t been allocated another fake criminal record on PNC”, said Gale, “as I’d done another check in the summer of 2015 which had come back as ‘no trace’.”
Gale wrote to the Policing Minister in February 2016 asking a number of pointed questions about the negative information that had been supplied:
1. What information was provided?
2. Who supplied it?
3. Where is that information held?
4. On what database(s) or information system(s) is that information held?
5. Who is the data manager(s) responsible for that information?
The Home Office responded by refusing to answer any of the questions, instead sending copies of previous correspondence between itself and Gale. Gale then set his K4CUK investigators to work to find out who had been involved in the decision to cancel the meeting and came up with two names, at least one of which was a Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officer on secondment to the Home Office. K4CUK is involved in a number of cases where MPS officers are being investigated for collusion in child sex abuse cases.
Gale has put the matter in the hands of the Home Secretary but he is concerned that if the information had come from PNC, the Home Office wouldn’t have refused to disclose it. “The Home Office’s refusal to disclose suggests that the information may be held on a security services database. The bad news is that there’s virtually nothing that a private citizen can do to get that cleared.”
Gale has good reason to be concerned, In 2013-14, he provided the National Crime Agency (NCA) with evidence of multi-agency collusion in South Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire (police, social services, MoJ). Gale claims that the NCA obfuscated for months before finally writing to him as though he had made a formal complaint against the NCA. Some weeks afterwards, Gale received a large bundle of documents through the post, without cover letter or compliments slip. The only identifier was a postage frank on the front of the envelope showing a London address used by MI5. Gale accepts that it is possible that the same building was being used by the NCA but he says that it is clear from the highlighted and notated documents within that someone had been conducting a very detailed investigation on him. He still doesn’t know if the bundle was sent in error or as a tip-off or warning.
To muddy the waters even further, in 2016, K4CUK seized documentary evidence that suggests the involvement of UK security services in the historic Leicestershire child abuse cases. Gale is liaising with a number of MPs and sharing the information widely. “There are at least eight unexpected deaths and disappearances relating to the Leicestershire cases, including another ex-police officer who had the establishment rattled. If they think I’m going to back off, they might as well make me number nine.”
Gale might be up for a prolonged scrap with government officials but there is a genuine matter of public interest. Whilst it’s ironic that this Home Office smear should be aimed at someone trying to ensure proper governance over police records, the case evidences a continuing lack of scrutiny and accountability in circumstances where ministers and senior police officers know there is a problem.
20th April 2016