Plebgate: Police chief believes three officers should face misconduct hearing

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Andrew Mitchell riding on a bike at Downing Street.
Andrew Mitchell met the three officers after he was accused of calling officers guarding Downing Street 'plebs'. Photo: PA Wire

There is a new twist in the long-running saga known as plebgate.

The chief constable of West Mercia Police has overturned an earlier finding that three Police Federation officers who met Andrew Mitchell had no case to answer for misconduct.

In the weeks following Mr Mitchell's notorious exchange with Downing Street police, in which he was accused of calling them "plebs", the former Chief Whip met with the three officers - who represent the federation (effectively the police union) in Mr Mitchell's Sutton Coldfield constituency.

Straight after the meeting they told the media that Andrew Mitchell had refused to gave them a full account of the events in Downing Street.

Officers stood at the gates of Downing Street
The actions of three Police Federation officers have been the subject of a police inquiry. Credit: Michael Stephens/PA Wire

A recording of the meeting, however, later showed that he'd done exactly that - and given a very full report of what had happened.

Their actions have been the subject of a police inquiry - and subsequently an acrimonious row with the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

The senior investigating officer concluded there had been a breach of the rules which should trigger disciplinary proceedings, but the final report submitted to the IPCC had a different conclusion - no case for misconduct.

Now West Mercia's chief constable has rescinded the earlier conclusion after reviewing all the evidence again over the last week.

The change was acknowledge in a letter submitted to MPs on the Home Affairs Select Committee who are today investigating the meeting and the case for misconduct.

The chair and deputy chair of the IPCC will give evidence, along with the three Police Federation officers, the three chief constables who employ them and the officer who wrote the original report into the behaviour.

On Monday, the Police Federation officers apologised. But only for speaking to the cameras - not for misleading the public.

Andrew Mitchell, who lost his job over the row, maintains the Police Federation had a political agenda and was picking a fight with the Government over cuts to police budgets.