A North Wales cop who dressed in a Ku Klux Klan-style hood and threatened to beat up a rookie Asian officer will not escape prosecution because of a legal loophole.
Lawyers said weekend speculation that ex-North Wales Police trainee policeman Rob Pulling, who was caught on camera in a BBC documentary, would avoid prosecution because time had run out was “an unlikely situation”.
One expert said: “Dropping any such prosecution on such a high profile and topical case in this manner would create an even bigger outcry and justifiably so.”
The Secret Policeman showed officers and probationers from North Wales, Cheshire and Greater Manchester making racist jokes and remarks. Rob Pulling is being investigated and may face charges of inciting racial hatred.
But Greater Manchester Police’s Chief Constable Michael Todd, who is leading one part of the investigation, has warned some former officers could escape criminal prosecution because of the time which had already elapsed between the filming of the documentary and its screening.
“We are still looking at criminal offences and will decide whether any (officers) should face criminal charges,” he told a GMP Authority meeting.
But North Wales Police insisted last night the charge of inciting racial hatred was a matter which can be heard in either the magistrates or crown court.
A solicitor, who preferred not to be named, told the Daily Post: “A six-month time limit applies to summary offences which can be heard by magistrates only. This does not apply in this case.
“The Crown Prosecution Service, who will ultimately decide whether or not to bring any charges against these officers, may consider that the officers made these remarks privately and therefore do not fall precisely within the offence of inciting racial hatred.
“But if this is the case, there are other charges which can be considered and I would expect these officers to face a court at some stage.”
BBC reporter Mark Daly went under-cover as a trainee to film the officers at Bruche Training School, near Warrington.
The Llandudno-based policeman was caught on camera mimicking the US white supremacist cult as he made inflammatory remarks about an Asian colleague.
He was videoed saying: “He’ll regret the day he was ever born a Paki.”
The BBC refused to hand over a copy of the evidence Daly had gathered before the documentary was screened, which meant police were unable to begin a criminal investigation.
President of the National Black Police Association Ray Powell was angered by the suggestion that Pulling could escape charges. He also said there were other charges which could be brought.