Firearms Enquiry Officer visit – PC 0782 Christopher Mashford

This post surrounds my concerns in relation to the conduct of PC 0782 CHRISTOPHER MASHFORD who was participating in a search of my family’s home on 22nd August 2018 after both PC 0373 MATTHEW STEPHENSON and INSP 5728 MELVILLE CHRISTIE had obtained a warrant based on further and false allegations by my neighbour that were made at a time when I was not at home but was at the offices of my legal professionals.

The information set out below is in chronological order and self explanatory.

At the end of this post, I discuss further information obtained during the investigation of a related but separate issue.

For reasons that will become apparent, I was not aware of this information at the time of submitting both my complaint and appeal regarding the conduct of 0782 CHRISTOPHER MASHFORD.

Essentially, it corroborates my complaint and confirms 0782 CHRISTOPHER MASHFORD had further lied within the investigation of my complaint against him.


Complaint

On 16th March 2019, I submitted a letter to Humberside Police and challenged a subject access request I had previously made to them.

My letter states:

“At approximately 10.25am on 22/08/2018, PC 0782 Christopher Mashford was inside of my garage when he was approached by and spoke to a Firearms Enquiry Officer (“FEO”) from Humberside Police. I understand from their conversation that the FEO had wanted to speak with me and said he would return.

However, the responses dated 02/10/2018 and 26/02/2019 from Humberside Police to my subject access request do not reflect any information relating to the FEO’s visit to my home on that particular morning.

Since it is information that should have otherwise been included within the responses to my subject access request, I would be grateful if complete copies of all of the missing information relating to the FEO’s visit is now sent to me within 7 days including PC Mashford’s reasons why, if they are not included within the missing information, he did not inform me of the FEO’s visit and the FEO’s reasons why, if they are not included within the missing information, he attended but did not return to my home.”

I later received a letter dated 16th May 2019 by from Humberside Police which states:

“Enquiries have been made with PC 0782 Mashford who has confirmed that during the search he was approached by a male who had walked up to the property. The unknown male stated that he would return later on as there was a hive of activity going on at the address. This was not documented.”

However, the video footage below which was unlawfully obtained by Humberside Police during the search of my family’s home on 22nd August 2018, indicates the FEO can be heard identifying himself to 0782 Christopher Mashford.

After ending his brief conversation with the FEO, 0782 Christopher Mashford then turns to the officer holding the camera and confirms to him that the visitor was a: “Firearms Officer.”

The officer then replied to him: “Aye. Firearms Officer have a problem?”

Further video footage below, which was recorded on my property’s CCTV system, also indicates the FEO displaying his identification card to 0782 Christopher Mashford as he approached him at the threshold to my garage and just moments before speaking to him.

Both segments of video footage are indisputable facts of this individual identifying himself to 0782 Christopher Mashford as an FEO from Humberside Police.

This FEO is also the same FEO who accompanied another FEO from Humberside Police during a visit to my home on 22nd June 2016 to discuss my shotgun certificate renewal application.

Consequently, 0782 Christopher Mashford had knowingly lied within his response.

0782 Christopher Mashford is fully aware of the importance and requirements of using a pocket notebook held by an officer.

Pocket notebook entries form a comprehensive record of an event to ensure officers can refer to the maximum amount of information when required to do so. The notes should not be limited to those matters that officers are able to give in evidence, but should include all material that may have some bearing on the incident and the investigation.

Unmistakably, the purpose of the FEO’s visit to my home on 22nd August 2018 had some bearing on the investigation following a further and false allegation against me by my neighbour relating to firearms but 0782 Christopher Mashford failed to make any contemporaneous record of it within his notebook despite having ample opportunity to do so.

Moreover, there was absolutely no reason why 0782 Christopher Mashford could not have informed me of the FEO’s attendance at the conclusion of the search.

Within my letter of 16th March 2019 to Humberside Police, I also requested the reasons why he had not informed me of the FEO’s visit but he continues to remain silent on this issue.

As a result, 0782 Christopher Mashford is also withholding this information from me.

Consequently, 0782 Christopher Mashford failed to:

  • act with honesty and integrity at all times;
  • be open and transparent; and
  • treat me fairly and with respect.

I request that my complaint is now recorded and appropriately investigated.


Complaint outcome

I am writing to inform you of the outcome of the complaint you made on 9 July 2019 regarding the conduct of PC Mashford whilst at your premises.

After a number of unsuccessful attempts I spoke with you by phone on 21 August 2019. I am grateful for the detail you provided about the incident in question which has allowed me to make a full assessment of your complaint. You have also provided a DVD of the incident.

The main basis for your complaint is that the officer has lied in a response to a subject access request. The circumstances are that during a search of your house PC Mashford was seen speaking to a male who arrived at the premises. You know this male to be a firearms enquiry officer from Humberside Police. You state that PC Mashford also knew the role of that visitor and his name. In the subsequent letter you received from Humberside Police our Information Compliance Unit the male visitor is referred to as unknown by PC Mashford. You therefore allege that PC Mashford has lied.

PC Mashford has now been spoken to and details of your complaint have been brought to his attention. He recalls the incident you refer to and the search conducted at your premises. He states that there was a visitor who came to the address who said that he would return later. PC Mashford recognised this male and believed he was wearing some form of identification badge on a lanyard. However he was not provided with this male’s name and thus the reason for the male being described as unknown.

Whilst there are some differences between the officer’s explanation and your account, I do not question your genuine belief and perception of the incident. However, I hope this explanation provided by the officer and myself goes in some way towards allaying your sense of grievance.

I have spoken to Pc Mashford and advised him about ensuring communication is clear and unambiguous. A more detailed initial explanation would have been beneficial.

Martin Hopper
Grimsby West Neighbourhood Policing Inspector


Appeal against Local Resolution

For the reasons discussed below, I do not agree with the outcome of the local resolution and neither do I feel the outcome was a proper outcome.

Within the outcome letter, the Investigating Officer (“IO”), Martin Hopper, confirms 0782 Christopher Mashford had recognised the Firearms Enquiry Officer (“FEO”).

Recognition by a person is the act of identifying someone or something because of his/her previous knowledge.

However, the IO does not provide any rationale within the outcome letter explaining how 0782 Christopher Mashford had identified the visitor as a FEO.

Additionally, the outcome letter does not explain whether the IO had considered if 0782 Christopher Mashford had followed any relative Force policy, procedure and/or guidance when he interacted with the FEO.

0782 Christopher Mashford’s admission of recognising the visitor could have only have arose from him having encountered this person before and who was acting in the capacity of a FEO or he simply inspected the FEO’s identification that was offered to him by the FEO as he approached the threshold to my home, as discussed in paragraphs 5 and 6 of my complaint.

0782 Christopher Mashford’s confirmation to the officer holding the camera that the visitor was indeed a: “Firearms Officer.”

The Police National Legal Database (PNLD) confirms the term “unknown male” used by the police is defined as: “An unknown male is a male the police are seeking to identify.”

It is therefore quite clear 0782 Christopher Mashford had significantly narrowed the scope of the visitor’s identity by establishing he was a FEO from Humberside Police and for that reason, not a male he was unable to identify.

Based on his recognition of the visitor as an FEO, I accordingly submitted the subject access request (“SAR”), dated 16th March 2019, since this material information was the very cornerstone to that SAR and the information requested from both PC 0782 Christopher Mashford and the FEO.

In light of this, 0782 Christopher Mashford possessed sufficient knowledge to provide advice and/or assistance to the Information Compliance Officer to enable her to provide a proper response to my SAR surrounding his reason(s) why he did not inform me of the FEO’s visit.

Consequently, his statement to the Information Compliance Officer was a false statement made with deliberate intent to prevent a proper response to that request from being disclosed, despite he was fully conversant with the fact that the visitor was a FEO at the time of providing his response to her.

Plainly, the information requested through my SAR was not concerned with the name of the visitor but was only interested with his status as a FEO.

As a result, I do not accept any aspect of the IO’s response that 0782 Christopher Mashford: “… was not provided with this male’s name and thus the reason for the male being described as unknown”, since it is wholly irrelevant to my complaint.

Within the outcome letter, the IO claims: “You state that PC Mashford also knew the role of that visitor and his name.”

Neither my complaint nor my SAR refers to any statement that 0782 Christopher Mashford knew the name of the FEO.

Resultantly, the IO’s claim in this regard is both factually inaccurate and misleading. He improperly pursued an avenue of the investigation that never comprised any part of my complaint or was agreed upon as part of any action plan, which is an abuse of procedure.

Paragraphs 9, 10 and 11 of my complaint raised concerns in respect of 0782 Christopher Mashford’s failure to make any contemporaneous record of his interaction with the FEO on that particular morning within his pocket notebook (“PNB”).

The IO is fully aware of the importance and requirements of using a PNB.

However, the outcome letter does not refer to any aspect of this relevant point of my complaint including references to any relative Force policy, procedure and/or guidance or any account from 0782 Christopher Mashford regarding it.

Consequently, the IO has failed to give me any meaningful feedback relating to this pertinent point of my complaint, which is an abuse of procedure.

As touched upon in paragraph 10 of this appeal, I had requested the reasons why 0782 Christopher Mashford had not informed me of the FEO’s visit during the search of my family’s home on 22nd August 2018.

This same matter was explicitly raised within paragraphs 12 and 13 of my complaint.

During my telephone conversation with the IO on 21st August 2019, I had reiterated this specific and fundamental element of both my complaint and SAR.

Despite my discussion with the IO on this material point, the outcome letter does not reflect any aspect of it and neither is there any account from 0782 Christopher Mashford on this germane issue.

Consequently, the IO has failed to give me any meaningful feedback relating to this pertinent point of my complaint, which is an abuse of procedure.

In the course of our telephone conversation, I also informed the IO that this matter will continue to have far-reaching consequences for me.

This is readily apparent following the Information Compliance Officer’s response to my SAR on 16th May 2019 and where she states:

“I have liaised with the Firearms Licensing Section and they have informed me that there is no record of a Firearm Enquiry Officer attending your premises on that date.”

The IO has failed to give me any meaningful feedback or appropriately record my concerns after making him aware of them during our conversation, which is an abuse of procedure.

For all of the above reasons, the IO has demonstrated that he did not take my complaint seriously as his investigation had simply resolved nothing.


Appeal outcome

I have considered the complainant’s grounds for appeal which are very detailed.

I note he believes that the officer has lied to the Information Compliance Unit in relation to his knowledge of the visitor. The Investigating Officer has provided information to the Humberside Police Appeals Body that PC Mashford did recognise the male in that he had seen him before and knew his role however he described him as an unknown male as he did not know his name. The Investigating Officer has acknowledged that this could have been better communicated and that PC Mashford has learnt from this.

The Investigating Officer has advised that there was no malicious intent, it was poor communications by the Officer.

On balance, I am satisfied with how this Local Resolution was conducted.

On the basis of this assessment I have decided not to Uphold the appeal.

Sally Laycock
Humberside Police Appeals Body


Further information

Following a further and related complaint to Humberside Police regarding a member of the Firearms Licensing Unit denial that an FEO had attended my family’s home on 22nd August 2018, the Investigating Officer had established the following points within the outcome letter of that investigation:

“From my own enquiries and using the CCTV provided by you, I have identified that one of my current FEO’s, did indeed attend your address on that date.

Mr Abblet recalls arriving at your address and seeing a police officer in your garage whom he identified himself to.”

As a result, the account 0782 CHRISTOPHER MASHFORD gave to 1965 MARTIN HOPPER that he had recognised the “unknown male” as an FEO in that he had “seen him before” and “knew his role” is a lie since FEO 9828 ABBLET has unequivocally confirmed he had carried out the act of identifying himself to 0782 CHRISTOPHER MASHFORD whilst in my family’s home on that morning.

This confirmation from 9828 ABBLET also corroborates these specific aspects of my complaint and subsequent appeal.

Furthermore, it is apparent that 1965 MARTIN HOPPER failed to obtain the identity of 9828 ABBLET for the purposes of requesting his account of his interaction with 0782 CHRISTOPHER MASHFORD before concluding his investigation, and SALLY LAYCOCK, who is a solicitor and employed by Humberside Police with their legal department, in her consideration of the appeal has condoned this failure by 1965 MARTIN HOPPER to properly investigate.

Consequently, the investigation of my complaint and the consideration of the appeal were substantially flawed and compromised.

More importantly, it is also significantly troubling to be aware that 0782 CHRISTOPHER MASHFORD has previously and will continue to attend court and give evidence at trials, and provide accounts for the purposes of investigations.

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