INCOMPETENCE BY North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones led to convicted paedophile Gordon Anglesea keeping his police pension.
The Commissioner has acknowledged Anglesea deserved to lose his pension but, in the eight weeks between Anglesea’s conviction and his death, failed to ask the Home Office to revoke it.
Rebecca understands the pension — which is fully-funded from the public purse — is worth up to £25,000 a year.
Jones’ inaction meant that Anglesea was being paid some £500 a week while he was in prison.
Jones has also decided that his widow, Sandra, should receive a widow’s pension of 50 per cent.
She will receive up to £12,500 a year for the rest of her life.
Rebecca has also discovered the Commissioner did not consult the Home Office over this decision.
We have written to policing minister Brandon Lewis asking him to issue a “forfeiture certificate” under the Police Pensions Regulations 2015.
This would automatically revoke Anglesea’s pension — and prevent his widow from enjoying the proceeds of his child abuse.
THE CONVICTION of Gordon Anglesea on October 21 last year immediately placed his police pension in jeopardy.
He was gaoled for 12 years after a jury unanimously convicted him on four counts of indecent assault on young boys in Wrexham in the early 1980s.
He was a uniform inspector in the North Wales force at the time.
Under the Police Pensions Regulations 2015 a former police officer can be stripped of his pension if the offences were
committed in connection with the [officer’s] service as a member of a police force and in respect of which the Secretary of State for the Home Department has issued a forfeiture certificate.
There are compelling reasons to believe Brandon Lewis, the current policing minister, would have issued the certificate.
The first is Gordon Anglesea’s high profile.
When he was first named as a child abuser in the early 1990s, he successfully sued four media organisations, including HTV, and accepted damages of £375,000.
Concerns that his success may have been assisted by North Wales Police and fellow freemasons were important factors in the setting up of Britain’s only child abuse Tribunal in 1996.
The £14 million inquiry, headed by Sir Ronald Waterhouse, expressed “considerable disquiet” about Anglesea’s testimony but decided there wasn’t enough evidence to brand him a child abuser.
The second powerful reason why Anglesea would have been stripped of his pension lies in the nature of his offences.
Three of these took place while he was in charge of the Wrexham Attendance Centre.
This was part of the youth justice system and was a Home Office initiative staffed by serving officers of the North Wales Police.
Anglesea wasn’t just abusing one of the boys at the centre — he was abusing his position as a police officer, abusing the youth justice system and abusing the trust placed in him by the Home Office.
It’s clear Commissioner Jones also felt Anglesea’s offences merited the revocation of his pension.
After Rebecca — and local journalists — asked a series of questions, Arfon Jones issued a statement on January 26:
“I concluded this was a case where the forfeiture of pension was appropriate.”
A great deal of money was at stake.
The pension scheme Anglesea was part of when he resigned from North Wales Police in 1991 was far more generous than it is today.
It was a fully-funded scheme and officers were not allowed to make personal contributions of their own.
For every year of service Anglesea was entitled to one sixtieth of his pensionable salary.
Rebecca understands it could have been worth as much as £25,000 a year.
AS SOON as Anglesea was convicted, there were two reasons why the issue of his pension became a matter of urgency.
The first was public confidence.
Many people in North Wales would find it morally wrong that a paedophile who used the cloak of public office to conceal his offences should be rewarded for his crimes.
(It was, of course, part of Anglesea’s defence that his victims invented their allegations to gain compensation.)
The second was a matter of financial efficiency: if Anglesea didn’t deserve his pension, the sooner he was stripped of it the better.
In the event he enjoyed his full pension — perhaps as much as £4,000 — in the eight weeks he was in prison.
Rebecca investigated further.
We asked the Home Office if Commissioner Jones had applied for the all-important “forfeiture certificate”.
A spokesman told us:
“the Home Office does not comment on individual pension forfeiture cases or requests made by Police and Crime Commissioners.”
We put a similar question to the Commissioner.
A spokesman said the answer was “no”.
In other words, even though he considered Anglesea should lose his pension, Commissioner Jones did not ask for the forfeiture certificate.
His only explanation was:
“Gordon Anglesea passed away before the process was concluded and the agreement of the Home Secretary was secured.”
He then makes it clear that the decision to grant Sandra Anglesea 50 per cent of her husband’s pension was his alone.
Anglesea’s death, he said
“meant his wife was granted a widow’s pension …”
“There is no precedent in law to with-hold that 50 per cent especially as the beneficiary has not been convicted of any offence.”
Rebecca asked if Arfon Jones had consulted the Home Office before making this decision.
Again, the answer was “no”.
The Commissioner says he took legal advice before making his decision.
WE HAVE written to policing minister Brandon Lewis asking him to issue a forfeiture certificate.
Having decided Anglesea’s pension could be revoked, Commissioner Jones was morally bound to refer the matter to the minister.
The issue of whether Sandra Anglesea should receive a widow’s pension should have been irrelevant.
If Arfon Jones had done his job properly Gordon Anglesea would have been stripped of his poension long before he died – and his widow would have automatically lost her entitlemnent.
The Commissioner would not reveal the details of Anglesea’s pension. It was a fully-funded, final salary scheme but officers were allowed to take a substantial amount as an initial lump sum. The current salary level for superintendents is between £63,000 and £75,000.
A FORCE FOR EVIL
HOW DID Gordon Anglesea get away with it for so long?
The answer is he used the cloak of public office to conceal his crimes and counted on protection from North Wales Police. This forthcoming article lays bare the conspiracy hatched at the highest levels of the force in the early 1990s to cover up its failure to investigate child abuse — and to protect Anglesea at all costs. In the process, the force helped Anglesea win a famous libel case and made a mockery of the £14 million North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal ……
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