See also

1a. Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner: Complaint
1b. Same content as (1) but in single column
1c. Alan Billings: Ichtheology, the Billingsgate Challenge
1e. S. Yorks Police: IOPC
1f. S. Yorks Police, PCC, Panels
1g. Alan Billings: 'Hate Crime'    National / International Page
1h. Capability in education and policing
1i. Complaints-pcc-panels
1j. 'Treating people properly'

This page and the pages listed above will be revised to exclude duplicated material and to achieve other benefits

2. Christian religion: criticism
3. Arise! Church Guide
4. Abuse, safeguarding and the Churches
5. Street Pastors Guide

6. Anti-woke supporters of Christian belief
7.Churches, donations, employment


From the section 'Values' on the page


'Impartiality – we treat everyone we interact with fairly and without bias or favour.'

This claim is false. The claim that Alan Billings, the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, is unbiased is false.  On this page I intend to examine not South Yorkshire Police or Alan Billings, the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner but the work of two of the Commissioner's panels, the Police and Crime Panel and the Independent Ethics Panel. If Alan Billings has the role of scrutinizing the work of South Yorkshire Police, is it to be assumed that his effectiveness and claims to be impartial should go unexamined? How effective are the two Panels in scrutinizing the work of Alan Billings?


On this page, I'll provide a critical look at the two Panels and some of the members of the two panels, with particular reference to the complaint against Dr Billings which I've undertaken - but not yet. For the time being, I don't document the progress of the complaint or scrutinize the panels. It will be some time before I begin to do that. I do provide more background material to add to the background material on other pages.


But before that very basic information on the two panels, so concise as to verge upon the perfunctory:



Background material


I begin with two contrasting sections. First, a quotation from 'The Star Newspaper' which has already been made available in my documentation, together with my comments on a further 'issue arising,'  a case to do with discrimination against women. This has not previously been mentioned in any of the documentation I've made available.  Second, after that concrete example, some claims and a few important principles in connection with the claims.

In PCC Blog 78

Alan Billings makes a reference to 'male imperialism.' Why did he decide not just to endorse but to attend an event which gave a prominent place to Gideons International, an organization with, I show, a very poor record as regards discrimination against women?


But this is only one of a number of reasons why it was a bad mistake on his part to attend the event - and, what's more,  to bring with him the then Chief Constable of South Yorkshire, Steven Watson. With all the demands on his time, I think it's unlikely that Steven Watson would attend an event like this if it were not for the fact that Alan Billings was attending. 

Extracts from the article in 'The Star,' 20 May, 2017


A bible reading and evening of celebration was held in Sheffield to mark the re-launch of the Christian Police Association at South Yorkshire Police.


Members of the public joined South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings, Chief Constable Stephen Watson, officers and police support staff at the Rock Christian Centre in Carlisle Street.


Dr Billings and the chief were presented with specially commissioned South Yorkshire Police crested bibles by Thomas of Gideons International. Sergeant Simon Kirkham, a Rotherham police officer, delivered the reading to around 150 colleagues, support staff and members of the public who enjoyed music from the worship band.


Force Chaplain Reverend Alison Earl delivered a prayer to start the event and Dr Billings, who is a Reverend Canon with the Anglican Church, also addressed the audience.


Lee Russell, executive director of the CPA and chief constable Stephen Watson made short speeches to welcome people to the event and endorse the local re-launch of the CPA. Gideons International have printed 2,000 South Yorkshire Police crested new testament bibles, to be presented to police officers and staff at forthcoming CPA meetings and events.

So, Gideons International presented bibles to Dr Billings and Steven Watson. Gideons International have printed 2,000  bibles for South Yorkshire Police.


At the time when Alan Billings and the then Chief Constable were presented with bibles, Gideons International did not accept women as members. Gideons International still does not accept women as members.


Information from the site


In 2018, the UK branch [of Gideons] accepted women after the Charity Commission enquired into whether or not it was complying with the Equality Act 2010 and suggested women should be allowed to join for them to remain compliant.

In a letter to Gideon members in September this year, president Andrew Knight said the UK branch decided it would be better to submit to this decision rather than to challenge the Charity Commission as "to do so could be seriously detrimental to the Christian testimony of the Association. The outcome would almost certainly create negative publicity ...


An extract from the Premier Christian News Site,


 ... in July 2018, the International Cabinet at TGI [The Gideons International] refused to accept financial support from Gideons UK for worldwide ministry and removed its 'National Association' status because it was decided the UK association did not accept the 'Core Values'.

TGI is challenging its right to use the Gideons name.


So, the 'core values' of Gideons International do not allow for the admission of women as full members, it's claimed.


Extracts from a letter of John Codwell, the National Field Coordinator for 'The Gideons International in the United Kingdom.' 13 October, 2021.


For many years a small, but vocal, group within the Gideon Ministry in the UK had been pressing the leadership to change the membership criteria. They believed that a “men only” ministry was outdated and that admitting women as members would make them more attractive to churches and supporters and would reverse the declining membership ... That small militant group took this as a vindication of their opinion and expected immediate change.


When that did not happen, a certain member sought to force the action by writing to the Charity Commission accusing the Gideon Ministry of being in contravention of the Equality Act.


The UK Gideons’ constitution required the permission of the international governing body (TGI) before such a change could be made. Permission was refused on the grounds that The Gideons International is a fellowship of professional and business men for mutual support in their Christian walk and in the placing of Scripture. The 300,000 or so men in over 200 countries adhere to exactly the same foundational values and constitution.


The UK leadership knew that by changing the constitution against the wishes of TGI that they would be expelled from the Gideon Ministry and would not be able to use the Gideon name which is protected as an international trademark. They signed an agreement in 1974.


Surely, Alan Billings knew about this policy of Gideons International at the time of this event at the Rock Christian Centre? If he didn't, he certainly should have done - and it would have been far better if he'd stayed well clear of the event, and not brought along Steven Watson, the Chief Constable. If it was the case that Steven Watson was determined to attend, come what may, a wiser man than Alan Billings could have advised him that no good would come of attending. It would be better to use the time for more constructive ends. It may be  that Steven Watson had no wish to attend but took the view that Alan Billings is someone with real power - including the power to sack a Chief Constable - and it might be prudent to attend, no matter what his own views were.


Whatever the situation, it was risking 'negative publicity' and my intention is to show that 'negative publicity' would be completely justified. An extract from a new page of my site, on what I call The Billingsgate Challenge.


which will contain questions for Dr Billings. There are only a few questions which have been published so far, but this is one of them.




First, some material from a Youtube video published by the Rock Christian Centre, followed by material on the same subject published for a Sunday School, aimed at children. All young children are vulnerable to a greater or lesser extent, and you claim that your policies will help the vulnerable. Shouldn't you be doing something about the indoctrination of young children - or is the fact that these are fellow-Christians a hindrance to you?



Both sets of material are about God's killing of the first born of the Egyptians, the so-called Plague No. 10. The first 9 plagues sent by God had failed to persuade the ruler, Pharaoh, to alllow the Israelites to leave Egypt. Now, God was trying the most drastic methods. Does this not raise questions about 'divine omnipotence?' God tried other ways of persuading Pharaoh but now he is trying another method - which involves families all over Egypt losing their babies and young children. The families have had nothing to do with Pharaoh's refusal but they are made to suffer, and suffer in an extreme way.


The Rock Christian Centre video.


Extract from the Bible quotation given, Exodus Chapter 11: The Bible quotation is spoken by a member of Rock Christian Centre and given in written form also. I'll mention here that the Coordinator of Sheffield Street Pastors, Tricia Watts, has a post at the Rock Christian Centre. Alan Billings has praised street pastors and the prayers they offer. The Conservative Evangelicals who work as street pastors very often think that homosexuality is a sin and almost always take the view that if the vulnerable (and other) people they speak to don't take Jesus as personal Lord and Saviour, they are doomed to spend eternity in hell.

[1] Now the Lord had said to Moses, "I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely ...  [4] So Moses said, "This is what the Lord says: 'About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. [5] Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. [6] There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt---worse than there has ever been or ever will be again.


From the teaching materials on the 'Sunday School' site

Final Plague-Death of the Firstborn Sunday School Lesson (Exodus 11-13)

Tell the Story

Say: God had sent 9 plagues upon Egypt to demonstrate His mighty power so that His name would be made great. But Pharaoh refused to free the Israelites from slavery. His heart was hard towards God! Moses had warned Pharaoh that there was one final plague coming, and it would be worse than the first nine. Let’s read from God’s Word to find out what this plague would be.
Read Exodus 11:4-6: “So Moses said, ‘This is what the LORD says; ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again.”’
Ask: Who can tell me what the final plague is? (Allow time for kids to respond.)
Say: That’s right. The firstborn son in every Egyptian family would die.
Ask: Why do you think God would do this to the Egyptians? (Allow time for kids to respond.)
Say: Our God is a just God. That means that He takes sin very seriously and punishes those who harden their hearts against Him. God had every right to punish the Egyptians for refusing to obey Him. By sending the first nine plagues God had put His power on display for Egypt to see, yet they still remained disobedient. Now God would show His justice.



If Alan Billings is serious about protecting the vulnerable, it would be a gross failure on his part to neglect the exploitation of one group of vulnerable people, children, who are exposed to Church propaganda of this kind, or the many vulnerable people who approach Christians, or who are approached by Christians with harsh views and whose need is for professional help, or personal help over a long period, and who instead of receiving real help are offered only prayer, and membership of an institution which views other people as conversion fodder. People who need treatment for a condition which can be improved by medication, people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, people who need help with alcoholism or drug abuse are so often told by Christians that they need Jesus.


The 2,000 bibles printed for the use of South Yorkshire Police and the bibles presented to Dr Billings and the Chief Constable contain the Biblical text quoted above, and this, quoted in a previous communication


Psalm 137, extract


Babylon, you will be destroyed.
Happy are those who pay you back
for what you have done to us -
who take your babies
and smash them against a rock.


and many, many more deeply disturbing things.

If a person published this on Twitter, 'It would be a good thing if someone took your babies and smashed them against a rock' then this would  deserve a complaint, more than a complaint  - there are surely  many, many instances of what Alan Billings would call 'hate crime' which are less extreme than this.


At the time of the Christian Police Association relaunch, the Rock Christian Centre did not have a safeguarding officer. They appeared to be oblivious of the acute problems to do with abuse in the Churches. Their minds were on other things. Their minds are still on other things, largely: salvation for sinners.


I doubt if Alan Billings gave any thought to the matter when he decided to attend the relaunch. He was blissfully unaware, it seems, that there could be any such thing as negative publicity for him by attending.


The Churches only began to take the issue of abuse seriously after a succession of scandals, ignored again and again by senior clerics and not so senior clerics.  I think that Alan Billings has failed to address the issue adequately. He hasn't remained absolutely silent but all too often, I think, he has preferred to remain silent.


From the Wikipedia article on John Sentamu, former Archbishop of York


In May 2016 Sentamu was one of six bishops accused of procedural misconduct by a survivor of child sex abuse  (the accusation was to do with how the complaint was handled; none of the six were involved in the abuse). Sentamu was named in The Guardian and the Church Times alongside Peter Burrows, Steven Croft, Martyn Snow, Glyn Webster and Roy Williamson   as subject of Clergy Disciplinary Measure complaints owing to their inaction on the survivor's disclosure. The bishops contested the complaints because they were made after the church's required one-year limit. Sentamu had acknowledged receipt of a letter from the survivor with an assurance of "prayers through this testing time". But according to the Guardian report, no action was taken against the alleged abuser nor support offered to the survivor by the church. A spokesperson for the archbishop said that Sentamu had simply acknowledged a copy of a letter addressed to another bishop. "The original recipient of the letter had a duty to respond and not the archbishop", the spokesperson said. All six bishops appeared on a protest brochure which the survivor handed out at Steven Croft's enthronement as Bishop of Oxford. In April 2018 it was reported that Sentamu and four other bishops were under investigation by South Yorkshire Police for failure to respond properly to a report of clerical child abuse. A memo from June 2013, seen by The Times and other media revealed that Sentamu had received the allegation but recommended that 'no action' be taken. The priest against whom the allegation was made died by suicide the day before he was due in court in June 2017.


The Star newspaper cannot be blamed for reporting the event held at the Rock Christian Centre in the terms it did - although the report reads more like copy provided by a Christian publicist or a Church and printed without alteration rather than the report of a newspaper with a degree of independence. I don't stress this point too much. I've bought the Star over a long period of time and found it to maintain high standards of journalism, with some exceptions. This is one of the exceptions.

        • I think that similar comments are called for in connection with an article written by Dr Billings and published in the Yorkshire Post. I don't provide further information here. It's provided on my Website.


        • Steven Watson, the Chief Constable at the time, cannot have been expected to have the necessary background information available to make an informed decision as to whether he should attend the event at the Rock Christian Centre. Dr Billings' however, has no excuse. Police and Crime Commissioners like Alan Billings have made Chief Constables surrender far too much of their independence. I think that Steven Watson was far too obliging. Dr Billings is spared the harsh realities which make up the everyday experience of members of South Yorkshire Police, of all ranks. if, in the Second World War, generals and admirals and others had been subjected to the views of Church of England clerics and told what their priorities should be, if these clerics had been given the power to remove very high ranking military staff, there would have been an outcry and a chorus of condemnation - but obviously, such a grossly misguided idea would never have been implemented, it would have been unthinkable.













Above, representation of Justitia ('Justice') in the arms of Ilshofen,  Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The scales signify that justice requires that the weight of evidence should be considered before issuing a legal ruling. Before issuing a ruling, there is a duty to consider more than one side. The scales represent the weighing of evidence, the strength or weakness of a particular side.


Since the 16th century, Justice has often been depicted wearing a blindfold, as here. Originally, this signified justice as blind to the injustice of a case but it has been reinterpreted. It now represents impartiality: justice should be applied without regard to wealth, power or other status.


Alan Billings and 'Hate Crime:' South Yorkshire Police relentlessly mocked


after urging people to report one another for 'offensive or insulting words.'  


The words, 'South Yorkshire Police relentlessly mocked' aren't my words but the words that appear in the source I've used. The criticism here seems to me justified. 

An  article quotes this tweet from South Yorkshire Police:


'In addition to reporting hate crime, please report non-crime hate incidents, which can include things like offensive or insulting comments, online, in person or in writing. Hate will not be tolerated in South Yorkshire. Report it and put a stop to it.'


'It was relentlessly mocked, with more than 5,000 responses to the Sunday night post. Many people likened the force to George Orwell's "Thought Police” from his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.'


'Scottish political analysis account Wings Over Scotland tweeted: “So just to be clear: you want me to phone the police when there hasn't been a crime but someone's feelings have been hurt?” '


Alan Billings, the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, has defended the force's view of its role - as having the right and the duty to investigate a whole range of incidents which aren't crimes. This, to me, is Alan Billings acting the part of South Yorkshire Thought Police and Hate Crime Commissioner.


Nick Ferrari interviewed Alan Billings on lbc radio. This gives a link to the interview, with other material.




'After South Yorkshire Police asked the public to report incidents in which they were offended, Nick Ferrari had this fiery clash with their Police and Crime Commissioner.

'In a time when the police are stretched due to budget cuts, Nick was furious that they are wasting resources on incidents that aren't even crimes.


'Speaking to Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Nick told him:

"If a motorist cuts another motorist up in Rotherham and one says the other a few choice words, we now have to get the police involved, do we? "You've got enough police men and women, do you, to come and talk to me about it?"


The exchange continued:


'And as Nick pressed Dr Billings on the plan, it fell apart more and more.


'The conversation even ended with Nick having to warn the Police and Crime Commissioner not to make comments about an incident as it was still a live court case.'


Before  I turn to Dr Billings, the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner ... some information about developments, lack of developments, evasion and inaction.


Chief Inspector Ian Proffitt of South Yorkshire Police was given the task of considering and coming to a decision about my complaint. I found that Chief Inspector Proffitt has a policing speciality: 'hate crime.' He explains that South Yorkshire Police has a 'no tolerance approach to hate.' He claims that 'Our main goal is to prevent hate and we will work wherever possible to achieve this.' He seems to be referring not just to the  expression of hate but the thought and emotion. This really is the thought crime of George Orwell's 1984. Is the prevention of hate 'the main goal' of South Yorkshire Police? Does he believe that calling someone a 'blundering buffoon' is an example of hate crime?


On 28 August 2019, I contacted Chief Inspector Proffitt by email. The email contained this:


I ask South Yorkshire Police to revoke the Police Information Notice ('Harassment Warning.')


No reply received. On 10 October 2019 I sent him a further email. An extract:


'About six weeks ago, on 28 August 2019, I sent you an email which contained this:

I ask South Yorkshire Police to revoke the Police Information Notice ('Harassment Warning.')


'I now ask that you communicate your decision to me at the earliest convenient opportunity.

Finally, after this urgent reminder, Chief Inspector Proffitt did find a convenient opportunity to communicate his decision to me. On 26 October, he replied. My request that the Harassment Warning should be revoked was refused.


''Is South Yorkshire Police claiming the right to police emails? Is South Yorkshire Police claiming that an email which uses the words 'blundering buffoon' is a reason for threatening an individual with criminal sanctions for using these words?'


Chief Inspector Proffitt has said,

'To encourage reporting of hate crimes and incidents, officers have been raising awareness of the forces ‘Hate Hurts. Report it’ campaign launched at the end of February. The campaign was launched to highlight the very real and hurtful impact hate has on victims, and South Yorkshire Polices’ [sic] no tolerance approach to hate.'


'Chief Inspector Ian Proffitt continued: “Having the opportunity to gather feedback enables us to build stronger partner agency relationships, provides different community groups with a voice and encourages reporting. Our main goal is to prevent hate and we will work wherever possible to achieve this.'


'To find out more about the ‘Hate Hurts. Report it.’ campaign please visit our website: '




You can also report any hate crimes through either 101, 999 in an emergency, or anonymously through the True Vision website.' I would think there are very few occasions when use of the 999 service to report hate would be a reasonable use of the 999 service. Sometimes, I'm informed, people who have waited and waited for a reply when they phone the 101 number give up and dial 999 to report an incident. Often, this amounts to a reckless misuse of the service. Ian Proffitt is completely irresponsible to mention the 999 service in connection with 'hate crimes,' given that a proportion of alleged 'hate crimes' are nothing of the kind.


The 101 service has become completely overloaded, as I know from personal experience. This year, there have been incidents of vandalism and damage on countless occasions. My own allotments have been attacked often. Gradually, allotment holders have identified the group of youths responsible. I challenged them on one occasion and had a missile thrown at the van. I've phoned the 101 service to report incidents and each time, have given up after an hour or so waiting for an answer. Other allotment holders have had the same experience of the 101 service. To find that Chief Inspector Proffitt is encouraging the public to use the 101 service to report hate, to make an already overloaded service even more overloaded, is very depressing.


This is from the South Yorkshire Police Website:


'When to call 999

  • When there is a threat to life; this includes road traffic accidents where people are injured, the road is blocked or a vehicle involved in the accident has failed to stop

  • Violence to a person or damage to property is imminent

  • A serious offence is actually in progress

  • A suspected offender is still at the scene of a crime

  • When any delay in reporting the incident may prevent the apprehension of an offender

  • When serious disruption to the public is currently taking place or, is likely to take place'


I've challenged his views. Can he defend them? . Can he defend his view of South Yorkshire Police priorities and his view of hate, the thoughts and emotions which he claims are amongst the main priorities of South Yorkshire Police?


Earlier this year, I challenged some youths who matched the appearance of the youths who have caused damage time after time at the allotment site where I have my allotments, including damage at my allotments. One of them threw a missile at my van. Even after photographic evidence was given to the police, not by me, the damage continued. South Yorkshire Police have been powerless to prevent the tide of criminal damage. Like other people, I've phoned 101 to report the damage at various times. Like other people, I've found that this is a hopeless way of reporting crime. I've waited about an hour to get through, without success. The Sheffield 101 service is so bad - I'm confining my attention to the slowness of the service - that I'm now taking action.


After the issue of the Police Information Notice, I phoned the 101 service for advice on complaining. I was treated to a mini-lecture on what I couldn't do, according to the person who took my call. Without any legal training, except the kind which is given to 101 service people,  she presumed to order me around. It was so bad that I simply asked her to make sure that a recording of our conversation was made available as evidence. She assured me that it would be done.

I sent a document to the South Yorkshire Police Complaints Department which was not mainly about this person but about the harassment case itself. Eventually, I received a response, but not a written response. A written response was surely essential.  Someone phoned me and said that there were difficulties in dealing with the complaint against the 101 person because there were difficulties in finding a recording.

The policing of so-called 'Hate Crime' is completely inapplicable to the case of Lu Skeratt-Love and her (false) allegations against me, for the reasons given at length on this page. This being the case, the fact that handling of my complaint was given to a person in the Professional Standards Department of South Yorkshire Police who was employed not long ago to investigate allegations of 'Hate Crime.' The case concerns matters not of hate crime but a wide range of other matters, including ones which concern legitimate free expression.


Some knowledge of policing in totalitarian and semi-totalitarian countries would be very desirable. In Putin's Russia, there have been cases in which dissenters have been treated as hooligans. There are linkages, surely, with my own case, despite the obvious contrasts. I raised objections to a garden church, citing matters to do with allotment law and security, I brought to the attention of the garden church a very large heap of garbage, a case of flytipping, and made concerted efforts to have the garbage removed. I was issued with a 'Community Protection Notice - Written Warning,' treated as a kind of hooligan, in effect.


Dr Billings and South Yorkshire Police have put such emphasis upon hate crime but I would be glad if Dr Billings and a representative of South Yorkshire Police - the Christian Police Association would be well placed to recommend a representative - could comment on this startling instance of hate crime - or, if it does not constitute hate crime in their view, if it does not meet the criteria used by the police in South Yorkshire to decide whether speech or writing is hate crime, could comment on the harmfulness or otherwise of this. It appears in the Gideon Bibles which were presented at the relaunch of the Christian Police Association. The Association, with its publicly declared belief in the infallibility of the Biblical text, must believe that this has no ordinary authority but has divine authority. I think that an extended comment would be desirable.


I refer to an extract given above, provided again now.

From the Rock Christian Centre's video on Leviticus 20:

[9] " 'If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother, and his blood will be on his own head. [10] " 'If a man commits adultery with another man's wife---with the wife of his neighbor---both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death. [11] " 'If a man sleeps with his father's wife, he has dishonored his father. Both the man and the woman must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. [12] " 'If a man sleeps with his daughter-in-law, both of them must be put to death. What they have done is a perversion; their blood will be on their own heads. [13] " 'If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. [14] " 'If a man marries both a woman and her mother, it is wicked. Both he and they must be burned in the fire, so that no wickedness will be among you. [15] ... [27] " 'A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.' "

Was the speaker shown on the video committing hate crime? If it is argued that this is not so, is it not the case that many, many instances of alleged hate crime or instances of hate crime which South Yorkshire Police maintains have been proved, to their own satisfaction, may  be far less harmful than the words quoted above?





My complaint against Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, the best outcome: resignation of Alan Billings.


On this page and other pages of the site: compelling argument and evidence for calling for his resignation.  For a list of the pages, please see the list in the first column of this page.


Documents on the decision of Alan Billings to dismiss David Crompton, the Chief Constable of South Yorkshire and comments on the involvement of the two Panels


My focus is the linkage between Alan Billings' Christian beliefs and his role as South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner. The documents here illustrate a separate matter, the repercussions of Alan Billing's decision to dismiss David Crompton. The case provides important insights into the working of the Police and Crime Panel (PCP) and Independent Ethics Panel (IEP). The minutes of PCP meetings record responses of the Panel to these events. The panel's response was completely inadequate, I believe. The Chair of the PCP  at the time made this comment,


'going back over the Judicial Review and requesting the Commissioner to explain his actions was inappropriate in this forum.'


The Police and Crime Panel is required to scrutinize the actions of the Police and Crime Commissioner and to hold him to account when necessary. Surely, the failure here - as I see it - is very disturbing. I have consulted minutes of the Independent Ethics Panel - and not only for the extended period when these events were developing - and have found no mention whatsoever of these events, any aspect of these events. Yet surely, they raise important ethical issues.  


The extracts from documents (and from a newspaper report) below are provided without any further  comment.




The South Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel met in Rotherham on 16 September 2016 to scrutinise the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner’s proposal under the provisions of Section 38 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 to call upon the Chief Constable, David Crompton to resign or retire and to make a recommendation to the Police and Crime Commissioner as to whether he should call upon the Chief Constable to resign or retire. The law requires the Police and Crime Panel to publish only its recommendation to the Police and Crime Commissioner ...  the Police and Crime Panel found that the Police and Crime Commissioner was justified in his decision to suspend the Chief Constable on 27 April 2016. The recommendation of the Police and Crime Panel is that the Police and Crime Commissioner should call upon the Chief Constable to resign or retire.




By a letter dated 2 September 2016, the police and crime panel (“the PCP”) for South Yorkshire invited me to provide my views on the decision of the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire (“the PCC”) to maintain his call for Chief Constable David Crompton (“CC Crompton”) to resign or retire. On 15 June 2016, I provided my views on the PCC’s proposal in a report to the PCC (“the Report”). In particular, the PCP has asked me to consider whether the responses of the PCC to that Report cause me to alter my views. 2. My Report, which has been provided to the PCP, was in clear and unambiguous terms. I considered that it was unreasonable and disproportionate for the PCC to consider that his trust and confidence in the chief constable had been seriously damaged. The efficiency and effectiveness of the force did not require the removal of the chief constable. Nothing the PCC has subsequently produced causes me to revise or alter that conclusion, or the views set out at length in my Report. 3. In summary: (1) The PCC’s responses to my Report persistently fail to read the Second Statement fairly, objectively and as a whole. It is wholly inappropriate to seek to remove a chief constable on the basis of something he did not say, whether or not some people believe that he did say it. The PCC unreasonably treats the issuing of the Second Statement as unjustifiable, when there is a plainly a rational basis for having done so. (2) I do not accept that my views are too ‘detached’, or that I have failed to appreciate the context in South Yorkshire, in so far as that is relevant. 2 (3) The conduct of the Hillsborough inquest is not a basis of the PCC’s section 38 proposal and it is unnecessary to address it any detail. In any event, the chief constable is better placed to do so. (4) The Peer Review should form no basis of the PCP’s consideration. If it is being relied upon, that reliance is unfair. It is irrelevant to the PCC’s proposal. In any event, it is consistent with and complements HMIC’s own inspection reports. 4. In light of these factors, it remains my view that the PCC's proposal to call upon CC Crompton to resign or retire should be rescinded, and that the PCP should so recommend.

To propose to remove a chief constable for issuing a press release the contents of which cannot fairly be criticised and which was made in direct response to a call by a senior politician for a public explanation of the actions of his police force is, in my view, conspicuously unfair, disproportionate and so unreasonable that I cannot understand how the PCC has reached this view, even in the context described by the PCC. 54. For the reasons given in this document and in my Report, it remains my clear view is that this is not an appropriate case for the use of section 38, that the PCC's proposal to call upon CC Crompton to resign or retire should be rescinded, and that the PCP should so recommend.
12 September 2016


Before: LADY JUSTICE SHARP and MR JUSTICE GARNHAM Between: The Queen on the Application of David Crompton Claimant - and - Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire - and - HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary - and - South Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel Defendant First Interested Party Second Interested Party

The Chief Constable seeks to judicially review the decision making of the Commissioner. The Chief Constable argues that the PCC’s decision on the 27 April 2016 to suspend him, the decision of 4 July to maintain that decision following receipt of the views of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary (“HMCIC”), his decision on the 15 August to continue the process despite receipt of representations submitted on behalf of the Chief Constable, and his decision of the 29 September 2016 to call on the Chief Constable to resign with immediate effect, were all flawed. The Chief Constable argues that each of those decisions was irrational, disproportionate, took account of irrelevant considerations and breached his rights under Art. 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). 7. The Chief Constable is supported in his arguments by HMCIC. 8. The PCC resists each of the challenges, maintaining that he was entitled to take each of the decisions under challenge. The South Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel (the “PCP”) is, in essence, neutral on the issues of substance but argues it is unnecessary for the Court to scrutinise its action given the part it played in the process.

the PCC must not fetter the operational independence of the police force and the Chief Constable who leads it… 22. The Chief Constable is accountable to the law for the exercise of police powers, and to the PCC for the delivery of efficient and effective policing, management of resources and expenditure by the police force. At all times the Chief Constable, their constables and staff, remain operationally independent in the service of the communities that they serve.

The operational independence of the police is a fundamental principle of British policing. It is expected by the Home Secretary that the professional discretion of the police service and oath of office give surety to the public that this shall not be compromised…”

The Chief Constable is not the PCC’s employee. He leads, and is responsible for, his force. He occupies an office of considerable constitutional significance. As Mr Sheldon submitted, the stability or fragility of a police force depends to a significant degree on the way in which a Chief Constable is treated. If Chief Constables can too readily be removed, there is a serious risk of the stability of the force being undermined. It follows that we prefer the argument with which Mr Davies concluded his submissions on this issue; it cannot be reasonable for a PCC to suspend the Chief Constable for taking a decision which was itself reasonable.

The Commissioner says that, faced with the Chief Constable’s decision to make a second statement, it was not for him to advise further on the contents of the statement. To do so, he says, would inhibit his holding the Chief Constable to account. He says in his second witness statement that it “was not part of my role to direct him not to publish the statement…It was my role to hold the Chief Constable to account for that decision”. Ms Buttery puts it in this way in her statement: “We agreed it was not the Commissioner’s role to assist in writing such a statement. This would be inappropriate and would frustrate the Commissioner’s ability to fulfil his duty to hold the Chief Constable to account for his final decisions and actions”. 120. We regard that approach as surprising in the extreme. The Commissioner’s statutory obligation under s.1(6) was to secure the maintenance of South Yorkshire Police and to secure that that force was efficient and effective. On his case, he was faced with a proposal to act in a way which would cause the force real damage. In those circumstances, in our judgment, to fail to do all he could to prevent that harm was a serious error. 121. Furthermore, in our judgment, “goodwill, professionalism, openness and trust” and the requirement to work together, the qualities required by the Protocol, ought to have led the Commissioner to engage with the Chief Constable on the drafting of the second statement on the morning of the 27 April. He should have told the Chief Constable, frankly and plainly, the risks he believed he was running by issuing the statement in that form. He did not do so. It was, in our judgment, inconsistent with the collaborative approach required by the Protocol for the Commissioner to ‘sit on his hands’ as the Chief Constable made what the Commissioner regarded as a fundamental mistake. 122. Rather than standing by and allowing the Chief Constable to make the error, for which the PCC could then hold him to account, the proper applications of the principles in the Protocol should have led the Commissioner to warn the Chief Constable that if he went ahead and issued the statement, he would be at risk of suspension under s.38. As it was, within an hour and a half of the Chief Constable releasing the second statement, but without any such warning, the Commissioner was asking for his resignation. An hour later when that resignation was not forthcoming, the Commissioner exercised his section 38 power to suspend. 123. Furthermore, it seems to us implicit in the PCC’s statement that he regarded “holding the Chief Constable to account” as synonymous with suspending him. We regard that interpretation of the statutory duty as a wholly unreasonable one. 124. In Shoesmith v Ofsted [2011] PTSR 1459 Maurice Kay LJ said (at paragraph 66) “‘Accountability’ is not synonymous with ‘Heads must roll’”. Nor in our judgment, is it synonymous with requiring a Chief Constable’s suspension. There is a continuum of possible means of performing the function of holding to account. It may require no more than requiring an explanation from the Chief Constable. It may involve the provision of advice or the administration of a warning or reprimand. It may be Judgment Approved by the court for handing down. Crompton v PCC South Yorkshire possible to impose a short, or longer, period of suspension. At the further end of the continuum, it may involve requiring early retirement or ultimately resignation. 125. We have seen no evidence that the PCC even considered any measure less severe than suspension on 27 April 2016.

HMCIC’s independence [HMCIC: 'Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary], statutory function and experience makes him especially well equipped to provide a view on the wisdom of a proposal to call on a Chief Constable to retire or resign. In our view, the independence, statutory function and institutional experience of the Inspectorate means that it would be irrational of a PCC to fail to give particular weight to the views of HMCIC. That is especially so where the expression of those views is detailed, thorough and closely reasoned.

The Claimant was a Chief Constable with a 30 year unblemished record. He had previously issued perfectly proper apologies for the conduct of South Yorkshire officers at Hillsborough. The “offence” in issue was the publication of a statement which, to put it at its highest, might be misinterpreted. The PCC had failed to warn Judgment Approved by the court for handing down. Crompton v PCC South Yorkshire him of the likely consequences of issuing the statement. And it should have been obvious how such a suspension would be reported in the press and the likely effect on the Chief Constable of both the fact of the suspension and the manner of its likely reporting. 175. In those circumstances, in our judgment the decisions both to suspend and then pursue the s.38 process were disproportionate. 176. Similarly, in our judgment the final decision to require the Chief Constable’s resignation was wholly disproportionate. The Chief Constable was due to retire in November 2016 in any event. To require his resignation in September 2016 was not a decision designed to pursue any legitimate aim; South Yorkshire Police would be in no better position by requiring resignation in the September than by allowing the planned retirement to come into effect in November. 177. Even if we are wrong about that and there was some benefit to be achieved by bringing about the end of the Chief Constable’s career with South Yorkshire Police in the September, we have seen no evidence that the PCC addressed his mind to the question whether it would have been sufficient, at that point, to require retirement rather than resignation. In our view, the former carries less opprobrium than the latter and would have been the more proportionate response. Conclusions 178. In those circumstances this application for judicial review must succeed. All four decisions will be quashed.

Minutes, Police and Crime Panel, 7 July 2017

A report was presented to draw the Police and Crime Panel’s (PCP) attention to the outcome of the Judicial Review brought by ex-Chief Constable David Crompton against the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).


The Panel noted that on the 9th June 2017 the High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division quashed the four decisions of the PCC leading to David Crompton being required to resign thereby upholding the ex-Chief Constable’s application to have the PCC’s actions judicially reviewed.

The PCP were a statutory consultee in the PCC’s actions under Section 38 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 and were therefore cited as an Interested Party to the Judicial Review.


The Chair [of the Police and Crime Panel} replied that he did not see any merit in going over the details of the judgement or reviewing the decision of the court.  The Panel were welcome to pass comments on the report or ask for any clarifications but going back over the Judicial Review and requesting the Commissioner to explain his actions was inappropriate in this forum and would not help the Panel going forward.

Although in media interviews Billings had suggested he sacked Crompton for the conduct of the inquests, in fact it was for the press statement, arguing it implied the force was still failing to take responsibility.

The legal process since has revealed that Crompton consulted Billings about the statement before he issued it, but Billings refused to look at it, saying he did not want any statement to be made at all.

Garnham described that approach as “surprising in the extreme” and “a serious error”, saying Billings should have worked collaboratively with Crompton on the response.

Crompton, who argued he conducted the police case at the inquests responsibly and responded to the verdicts reasonably, strongly criticised Billings after winning the judicial review.

Dr Billings has spent a huge amount of public money trying to defend actions which he was advised in the strongest terms not to pursue by Her Majesty’s chief inspector of constabulary,” Crompton said. “This money would have been better spent on operational policing … The judgment, which is damning, speaks for itself.”

In a statement, Billings said he was disappointed with the decision and
would seek to appeal it, although he might look for an alternative to using
further South Yorkshire public money to do so.

Additional material on two aspects of Alan Billings, as South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner and as active Christian


Only a little material included here for the time being. Material in this column and the other columns will be revised and extended. In the column to the left, after the images, there will be documentation concerned with details and specific issues, including a record of communications between myself and members of the Police and Crime Panel and the Independent Ethics Panel, concerning developments in my complaint against the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner. The roles of these two panels will be very different, but with significant linkages.


My policy on emails sent to me is made clear on the Home Page of the site: ''Emails sent to me are treated as confidential. Emails sent to me won't be released into the public domain, including publication on this site, unless with the sender's permission.'


On or after February 1 of this year, I intend to contact members of the Police and Crime Panel - the members on that date -  by email, except for the co-opted member, whose email address is not provided in any of the internet materials I've consulted. I intend to contact the Chair of the Independent Ethics Panel by email on or after February 1. No email addresses are given for any members of the Independent Ethics Panel in any of the internet materials known to me - a major shortcoming. I have a usable email address for the Chair of the panel.


I'll make a request to all the members of the panels - the members on February 1 - concerning publication of the email responses I get from members of the panels, that is, the members I'm able to email. A different approach will be called for in the case of the other members.


I'll be making a similar request on or after February 1 to the representative of South Yorkshire Police Professional Standards Department who is investigating my complaint against Simon Kirkham of South Yorkshire Police at this time - this representative is not necessarily the representative who will be investigating the complaint on and after February 1. The name of the representative won't be published on the site.


I originally intended not to publish the names of members of the two panels anywhere on the site, except in cases where I had good reason to believe that publication was justifiable. My view is that in the interests of transparency, publication of the names of all the members of the two panels is justifiable. I'll simply request that each member gives me permission to publish all of his or her emails sent to me, to be published as a  whole or as an extract on this page -  or permission to publish a single email as a whole or in part, as occasion arises. A member may agree to have an email published in one or more cases but refuse permission in other cases, then. Alternatively, a member may decide to withhold permission to publish his or her emails to me in all cases.



I'm at complete liberty, of course, to publish my emails to members of the panels but will never publish any responses from members if permission isn't given to me.



It's likely that the responses of the panels will be collective rather than the responses of individual members. The policy adopted by the two panels should be made clear. Will the two panels agree to have their email responses published, complete or as extracts, in all cases, in some cases, or in none?


A different matter - the general handling of my complaint. If I were to obtain hardly any response, or none at all, then I would regard the situation as serious and take appropriate action. Businesses which value their reputation take care to respond properly to  complaints about substantial issues, expressed without recourse to extreme language.  Businesses which evade their responsibilities to customers and leave complaints unanswered. risk adverse publicity or worse. If there is some attempt at communication but only a minimal attempt, amounting to token gestures, the repercussions may be potentially serious, too. Public service is a very different sphere but should be informed by values which are similar, mutatis mutandis, to the values of responsible businesses. I am not assuming that the Panels' response during the process of complaint will be inadequate, of course.


This page  will contain documentation on broader issues.  Wide ranging issues are raised by the content. I draw attention to linkages - interconnections - between issues which belong to very different fields, including practical issues, ethical issues (such as same-sex relations), legal issues, issues which are the responsibility of local authorities, abuse in the Church and its implications for the work of Dr Billings. I'll  include further information about the setting up of a garden church near to my allotments, on a site managed by Sheffield City Council. . This was the event, or series of events, which led to the involvement of South Yorkshire Police - the issuing to me of the grotesquely unjust 'Community Protection Notice - Written Warning' - and now the involvement of the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner and the two panels. 


The garden church had been publicized by Lu Skerratt-Love, at that time a Trustee of St Marks Church Sheffield. I opposed the setting up of a garden church for many reasons, including the information I had available about a garden church in Blackburn. Jill Duff, the Bishop of Lancaster promoted the garden church there. The garden church promoted the Christian beliefs of Jill Duff.  I provide documentation about the conservative evangelical beliefs of Jill Duff. On other pages of the site, I've documented the fundamentalist conservative evangelical beliefs of the Christian Police Association.  She appeared at various points in the  film, 'The Beautiful Story'  'made by the Church of England Evangelical Council ...  a network of networks that connects the majority of evangelicals in the Church of England.'


Recommended (for the insights it gives into the evangelical mentality) a viewing of the whole film. Some quotes from the film, with timings:


19:17. 'Scripture prohibits in every way, in every form, same sexual relationships.'
19:47. 'There's legitimate room for disagreement whin it comes to, say, the role of women in ministry, but God's good design for sexual relationships is non-negotiable.'
20:49. 'Gay sex is wrong.'
21.08. 'If the Bible teaches that homosexual activity is sin, then a gospel ministry must include, be willing to say, that is sin, and that must be repented of.'

21.36. [This is Bishop Jill Duff speaking] 'A sense of God's judgement, that he does ask us to be obedient, so this [the issue of same sex sexual relations is not a trivial matter.'This is part of the Apostolic teaching ... I also sense that God doesn't take this lightly.' She is claiming that Cod doesn't take same sex sexual relationships lightly.


The newspapers which reported on Jill Duff at the garden church in  'disused' allotments in Blackburn - I mention below the Blackpool Gazette and the Lancashire Telegraph - produced reports which showed no awareness of the issues. Similarly in the case of the newspapers which reported the event at the Rock Christian Centre attended by Alan Billings, Sergeant Simon Kirkham, the South Yorkshire Chief Constable at the time, and a representative of Gideons International.


Instead, we find (I think I can show easily that the evidence is strong) a marked distinction between his more or less pragmatic and realistic approach to many areas of policing, his role in financial matters, and his grotesque use of Scripture in connection with policing. The gap between Dr Billings and fundamentalist Conservative Evangelicals who imagine that quoting a Bible text is the solution to any ethical dilemmas is all too obvious, to me.


Has Dr Billings been careful to keep separate these two spheres, the sphere of practical policing and implementing improvements for policing in South Yorkshire, and the sphere of Biblical authority? In my view, no. He has allowed the second sphere to interfere with the first on far too many occasions.


The dual nature of Jill Duff, the Bishop of Lancaster, is a more extreme version of the dual nature of Alan Billings, the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, although his case is far from being mild and harmless, I have reason to think. She has made absolutely clear her view that the nation must be brought to belief in Jesus as Saviour - and she has the deluded belief that this is possible. She has left no room for doubt as to what her beliefs are.


Alan Billings has failed to give an account of his Christian beliefs. Does he or doesn't he believe that all the people of South Yorkshire - including the staff of South Yorkshire Police - who never acknowledge Jesus as Saviour are destined to spend eternity in Hell? Bishop Jill does believe that.


Does Alan Billings share Bishop Duff's view of evangelism? Does he believe it important - crucial - that the people of South Yorkshire should hear about the 'good news of the Gospel?' Has he attempted in his work as South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner to do what he can to bring this 'good news' of salvation by Jesus to the attention of the people of South Yorkshire? I think he has, and that this is in clear conflict with his role and the oath he took when he assumed office. I wouldn't hesitate to describe the so-called 'good news of the Gospel' as  the 'bad news of the Gospel,' that some will be saved but most will be damned. Jill Duff obviously believes that bringing the Gospel to everyone and converting everyone is a feasible objective. Only in that case will everyone be saved.


Jill Duff has contributed a prayer to a deluded - surely, deranged - site, the 'Prayer Shield.' From the 'declaration' (or 'Mission Statement') of the Prayer Shield - which also includes mention of a Biblical text on the page



The text is Jeremiah 29:12. On the inside cover of 'Keeping Safe: The Police and Crime Plan for South Yorkshire 2017 - 2021,' Alan Billings included a nearby text: Jeremiah 29:7. I quote the text below and give the context, very important context.


This 'Declaration' makes absolutely clear what Christians with these beliefs are trying to do, what they hope to achieve, the scope of their ambitions.


Declaration | Friday, 22nd Jul 2022

We declare that the rod of God is released into the hands of those whom He has prepared and planted in various spheres and sectors within the United Kingdom. We speak into place those who will assist them in their roles. We decree and declare that the Church is strong in her spiritual mandate to introduce people to our Lord Jesus. We release a spirit of unity and co-operation with the Body of Christ, so that hearts will be knit together in Heaven’s agenda. We speak an uncovering and destruction of every scheme of man orchestrated by Satan. Through Christ our battles are already won. We declare that the United Kingdom will rise up in the victory that Christ won at the cross. In the name of Jesus. Amen.


Would the author of the Declaration believe that Alan Billings is one of the people 'prepared and planted in various spheres and sectors within the United Kingdom,' in his case in the sphere / sector of policing?


By quoting an extract from Jeremiah 29:7 completely out of context, he has given a completely misleading interpretation. If it gives an impression of promoting the civic virtues, of the advantages for the individual of seeking the well-being of a place - let's say, South Yorkshire - then the impression is completely misleading. That wasn't Jeremiah's intention at all.


Jeremiah 29:7 in full: 'Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.' If the verse is applied to Sheffield and other places in South Yorkshire, then praying for these places is only for people who believe that there is a God, that God listens to prayer and God answers prayers - people like Jill Duff, Alan Billings, Sergeant Kirkham. For all those citizens of South Yorkshire who have no belief in the 'power' of prayer, then this advice is irrelevant - not just irrelevant but badly mistaken.


To me, praying that God will send fine weather for a scheduled event is an irrelevance and badly mistaken. Praying to God that Ukraine will be victorious on the field of battle and drive Russia out of Ukraine is an irrelevance and badly mistaken. Not an irrelevance - clergy and members of the Orthodox Church in Russia pray for Russian success against Ukraine. How is God to choose between competing claims on his attention and his omnipotence?


People who belong to churches which are members of 'Arise!' a very large number of Churches in Sheffield and some parts of Derbyshire 'prayer-walked' every street in Sheffield. What did they pray about as they were walking. Large numbers of  people from these Churches believe that same-sex sexual relations are sinful. Perhaps some of them were praying that God would punish the sin of people who have these relations. If any of them prayed that God would guide members of South Yorkshire Police in their duties, they were wasting their time.


There are some Christians - not many, only a tiny proportion - who pray for the recovery of their children instead of getting medical treatment for them. In the 'Ages of Faith,' prayer was a substitute for medical advance and held back medical advance.


To return to Dr Billings and his quotation from Jeremiah. The scale of his foolish act will be obvious from pondering later verses.  


this is what the LORD says about the king who sits on David’s throne and all the people who remain in this city, your fellow citizens who did not go with you into exile—


yes, this is what the LORD Almighty says: “I will send the sword, famine and plague against them and I will make them like figs that are so bad they cannot be eaten.

I will pursue them with the sword, famine and plague and will make them abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth, a curse and an object of horror, of scorn and reproach, among all the nations where I drive them.


This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says about Ahab son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah, who are prophesying lies to you in my name: “I will deliver them into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will put them to death before your very eyes.


Because of them, all the exiles from Judah who are in Babylon will use this curse: ‘May the LORD treat you like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon burned in the fire.’


For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says about the houses in this city and the royal palaces of Judah that have been torn down to be used against the siege ramps and the sword



in the fight with the Babylonians: ‘They will be filled with the dead bodies of the people I will slay in my anger and wrath. I will hide my face from this city because of all its wickedness.

Jeremiah 51:60
So Jeremiah wrote in a book all the evil that should come upon Babylon ...

A sound of battle is in the land, and of great destriction ... Come against her from the utmost border, open her storehouses: cast her up as heaps, and destroy her utterly: let nothing of her be left ... thou art my battle axe and weapons of war ... With thee will I break in pieces man and woman: and with thee will I break in pieces old and young: and with thee will I break in pieces the young men and the maid .. I will also break in pieces with thee the shepherd and his flock ...


Factsheet: Abuse and the Church of England


Extract. First, an extract from the extract: 'In a report commissioned by the Church, Sally Cahill QC spoke of a systemic failure in the church’s procedures. In response, the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu (who retired in June 2020), said he was “deeply ashamed that the church was not vigilant enough”.'


I think that Alan Billings hasn't been vigilant enough. He has preferred to concentrate his attention on failures of safeguarding on the part of South Yorkshire Police. Has he done enough - has he done more than the bare minimum - has he done almost anything to ensure that South Yorkshire Police have been in no danger of overlooking the problem of abuse in the Churches? I think that this extract from the 'Factsheet' is very, very instructive, as is the other content.  The Factsheet  deserves to be read with care. The extract is followed by material on abuse in the Roman Catholic Church.


Alan Billings has wanted to give the impression that the Christian Church - in particular the Church of England - is generally sound. He has sometimes been critical of the Church but the criticism has been mild, amounting to Church of England grumbling on the whole. He has completely misunderstood the scale of the problems, which range far beyond the issue of abuse and he has encouraged a climate of opinion which vastly underestimates the scale of the problems, for example by  his use of the media. He has found media outlets far too willing to believe that this cleric tells it as it is.

Have the Police and Crime Panel and the Independent Ethics Panel been far too willing to give him an easy ride? I intend to comment on the panels in some detail on this page. I am putting forward new issues for them to consider. What will be their reaction? Inaction? I hope not. If there is inaction, it won't go unchallenged by me. But I don't intend to prejudge the response here.



February: The IICSA inquiry is reconstituted with Dame Lowell Goddard as chairwoman and powers to compel evidence and access classified material.

July: Jeremy Dowling, a former teacher and communications officer for the Diocese of Truro, is jailed for abusing boys between 1959 and 1971. Several bishops in Truro were told but did nothing. The director of public prosecutions decided not to take action. The case came to light when a victim went to the police in 2014.

October: Peter Ball, a former Bishop of Lewes and of Gloucester, is jailed for 32 months for abusing 18 young men over 15 years. These cases came to light in 1993 when he accepted a police caution.

October: A man known in the media as “Joe” (not his real name) is paid £35,000 compensation by the church after he complained that he had been the victim of sexual abuse by a senior cleric in 1976 and the church had done nothing for 40 years.

November: Dame Lowell announces there will be 12 separate investigations, including an inquiry into child sex abuse in the Church of England and in the Church in Wales.

November: Launch of the Truth Project, under which victims of sexual abuse can make statements to the inquiry, either in person to a member of the inquiry or in writing. By August 2020, the inquiry receives nearly 5,000 submissions.


March and July: IICSA Preliminary hearings into the Diocese of Chichester and specifically the case of Peter Ball. (Further hearings are held in 2018 and 2019, the final session dealing with safeguarding in the church.)

August: Dame Lowell Goddard resigns as chairwoman of IICSA. Professor Alexis Jay is appointed in her place.


February: Channel 4 News publishes a report on John Smyth, an evangelical Anglican barrister, alleging that he had beaten and physically abused young men while leading Christian camps, run by the Iwerne Trust in Dorset.

 Archbishop Justin Welby says Smyth had been “a charming friend” and that he is horrified by the disclosures. The assaults allegedly happened between 1978 and 1982, but were covered up by members of the trust. Smyth had been moved to Zimbabwe, where he went on to abuse at least 90 children, making him the most prolific known abuser in the Church of England. A police investigation into Smyth ensues, but it was never concluded because he died in August 2018.

June: An independent review into the Bishop Peter Ball case, chaired by Dame Moira Gibb, says the church had failed to respond appropriately to his misconduct over many years, and had colluded with Ball’s efforts to protect and promote himself. Among those she criticises are the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, who is asked to resign from his honorary position as an assistant bishop in the Diocese of Oxford.

November: A group called Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors (MACSAS) says its research suggests that adult women were three times more likely than children to be sexually assaulted by male clergy. They claim they have been receiving up to eight inquiries a week relating to the sexual abuse or harassment of women.

December: The House of Bishops publishes Promoting a Safe Church and Church of England Safeguarding Overview, saying the church will appoint a safeguarding officer in each parish. Every cleric or church officer dealing with children or vulnerable adults must have enhanced criminal record checks.


March: IICSA holds public hearings into the Chichester diocese study, including the case of Peter Ball, part of the Anglican Church inquiry. Ball, a former Bishop of Lewes, was jailed for 32 months in October 2015 for abusing 18 young men. He was released on licence after serving 16 months. He was one of 15 clergy from the Chichester diocese convicted of child sexual offences. Allegations had first been made against Ball more than 20 years earlier. In 1993, he accepted a police caution and resigned as bishop but was allowed to continue officiating.

June: The Church of England publishes a review into the review of Past Cases (PCR1) of abuse that was commissioned under Archbishop Rowan Williams and completed between 2007 and 2009. The review was found to have been inadequate, inconsistent and too small in scope. Seven dioceses were asked to conduct a fresh review.

July: IICSA resumes its hearings and is told that members of the Establishment, including the Prince of Wales, Lord Carey and a senior member of the judiciary, had rallied to Ball’s support. William Chapman, representing victims, said: “The story of Peter Ball is the story of the Establishment at work in modern times. It is the story of how the Establishment minimised the nature of Peter Ball’s misdeeds . . . and silenced and harassed those who tried to complain.”


April: The Social Care Institute for Excellence, in a report commissioned by the church, discovers that 59 out of 60 complainants are unsatisfied with the church’s response to their abuse disclosures. The report recommends that the church should no longer allow its 42 diocesan bishops to carry out safeguarding. Instead, services should be centralised and run by a more experienced national team. But the church rejects the suggestion, saying local bishops should remain in charge of the process.

In the light of the inadequacies of PCR1, the church launches a second review of past cases of abuse (PCR2). This will have a wider scope — it includes, for example, cathedrals and theological institutions. It is due to be completed in 2021.

April: Archbishop Welby is interviewed on Channel 4 News about John Smyth. He claimed, among other things, that Smyth had not been an Anglican, and that he had written to the Archbishop of Cape Town in 2013 to warn him that Smyth was in his diocese. Both of these claims were later revealed to have been untrue.

May: IICSA publishes its report into the Peter Ball case, saying that the church had put its own reputation above the needs of Ball’s victims, with a serious failure of leadership by Archbishop George Carey. Prince Charles and other members of the Establishment had been misguided in their expressions of support of Ball. IICSA makes five recommendations to improve safeguarding, some of which were already being implemented by the church. The inquiry had earlier been told that the church’s spending on safeguarding had increased from £1.6 million in 2011 to £5.1 million in 2018.

In his evidence to the inquiry, Archbishop Welby said the church was in the process of training about 30,000 parish safeguarding officers. He also told the inquiry it had been horrifying to read the evidence of the survivors. “I want to put on record — I don’t know how to explain it adequately — how appalled I am and how ashamed I am of the church for what it did to those who are survivors and who are coping with this,” he said.

21 June: Peter Ball dies at his home in Somerset after a fall. He was 87.

28 June: The Rev Jonathan Fletcher, retired vicar of Emmanuel Church, Wimbledon, where he had served for 30 years, and a renowned evangelical preacher, faces allegations of harmful behaviour to young men, The Daily Telegraph reported. Fletcher was a speaker and leader at the Iwerne camps where John Smyth allegedly abused young men. Complaints were made to police but no action was taken. It emerged that Fletcher’s permission to officiate had been withdrawn by the Bishop of Southwark, but that he had been allowed to carry on ministering within his network.

July: The IICSA inquiry begins its third and final session of public hearings investigating safeguarding in the Anglican Church. The session lasts for two weeks. Professor Jay says the aim of the hearings is to examine the views of victims and survivors of the church failures; reparations and insurance claims; safeguarding policies and practices; whether the current structure of safeguarding is fit for its purpose; how the church handled allegations of non-recent abuse and against deceased clergy; and whether the current system for external scrutiny is capable of highlighting deficiencies in policy or practice.

The lead counsel to the Anglican inquiry, Fiona Scolding QC, said: “Behind all these specific areas lies the biggest question of all: whether the current culture of the Church of England and Church in Wales is capable of dealing with these issues.”

Ms Scolding says the inquiry would also examine the C of E’s “inappropriate” responses to allegations of specific cases of recent abuse, among them:

  • Timothy Storey, a former church youth leader, who in 2016 was convicted of three charges of rape and one count of sexual assault, after grooming children and teenagers from his church on Facebook.

  •  The Rev John Roberts, who in 1989 was convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy, but who continued to minister in the Church of England until 2013, eventually becoming a canon of Liverpool Cathedral.
  • Robert Waddington, a former Dean of Manchester. He died in 2007. Six years later it emerged that during his lifetime, allegations had been made that he had sexually abused boys in Australia, where he had once lived, and in Manchester. This had resulted in his right to officiate at services being removed by David Hope, then Archbishop of York. But he was not reported to the police. In a report commissioned by the Church, Sally Cahill QC spoke of a systemic failure in the church’s procedures. In response, the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu (who retired in June 2020), said he was “deeply ashamed that the church was not vigilant enough”. After publication of the report, David Hope, who had become Baron Hope of Thornes, retired from his position as an honorary bishop in the Diocese of West Yorkshire and The Dales.
  • Hubert Victor Whitsey (1916-87), a former Bishop of Chester. In 2016-17, Cheshire police investigated claims that Whitsey had sexually abused children and said that were he still alive, he would have been questioned. John Sentamu, then Archbishop of York, accepted the allegations and apologised to the victims.
  • The Rev Trevor Devamanikkam, who took his own life in June 2017, the day before he was due to appear in court accused of sexual offences.

August: A new director of safeguarding, Melissa Caslake, is appointed to head the National Safeguarding Team.

The Church of England announces a review into the Smyth, Whitsey and Devamanikkam cases. All three reviews are currently incomplete, and past their publication dates.


February: The General Synod votes unanimously to mandate the Archbishop’s Council to create a substantial fund to pay redress to the victims of abuse.

17 March: In evidence to the IICSA inquiry, Richard Scorer, a specialist abuse lawyer representing 21 victims of abuse, calls for an end to religious groups’ self-regulation on safeguarding and says the church’s measures are inadequate. He says there is still no clear obligation on the church to report allegations of abuse to the statutory authorities. He calls on the inquiry to make the church properly accountable externally. He says an independent body should be set up to investigate individual allegations of abuse, and that this body should have the power to override bishops “unwilling to comply with their responsibilities”.

March: The church’s safeguarding rules are weaponised in an attempt to oust Martyn Percy, the Dean of Christ Church Oxford, from his job. He is accused of failing to pass on to the police, or any other safeguarding authority in the university or Church of England, allegations from four former students that they were sexually assaulted during their time at the college. The accusation is investigated by the C of E’s national safeguarding team. Dean Percy is cleared on all counts in September.

May: “Graham” — the original complainant in the John Smyth case — lodges a formal complaint against the Archbishop of Canterbury for failing to respond appropriately to the disclosure of abuse by Smyth.

August: Abuse survivors, lawyers, academics, and members of the clergy and the General Synod write to Baroness Stowell, who chairs the Charity Commission, urging her to intervene to address “the failures of the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England to devise a safe, consistent and fair system of redress” for victims and survivors of abuse.

One of the letter’s signatories, Lord Carlile, says the church has a haphazard way of approaching safeguarding cases. He says it does not fit into any recognisable jurisdictional structure; neither complainants nor people complained against are getting a fair hearing, and numerous conflicts of interest have arisen.

In his response, Bishop of Huddersfield Dr Jonathan Gibbs, the church’s lead bishop on safeguarding, agrees that the system needs “root-and-branch change” to improve its response to abuse survivors, the way in which deals with complaints, and the way in which the culture of the church should change.

September: Before of the IICSA report’s publication, the Church of England announces a number of safeguarding initiatives. The Archbishop’s Council says the church is now committed to independence in safeguarding — though there is no detail about what that means. The council also announces that it has established an interim fund to provide support for survivors until a redress scheme can be established. Again, no detail is given.

In the same week, the church announces that it has commissioned a review into safeguarding associated with Bishopthorpe, the office of the Archbishop of York. It is also announced that Safe Spaces — the service mooted in 2014 — is going live. An advertisement is published for an individual to set up and run a redress scheme for survivors of church abuse.

6 October: The IICSA inquiry publishes its final report on the Church of England, based largely on the third session of public hearings into safeguarding. The most eagerly awaited recommendations will be the inquiry’s view on whether safeguarding in the church should be managed by bishops, or by an outside independent body, and whether the church should be subject to the mandatory reporting of disclosures of abuse, from which it is currently exempt.


In 2020, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse released a report which stated that the Catholic Church of England and Wales "swept under the carpet" allegations of sex abuse and numerous Catholic clergy in England and Wales.According to the report, Vincent Nichols, now a cardinal and the senior Catholic cleric in England and Wales, "There was no acknowledgement of any personal responsibility" The report also accused Nichols of protecting the reputation of the Church rather than protecting victims and lacked compassion towards victims.

Archdiocese of Birmingham.

Father Alexander Bede Walsh was sentenced to 22 years in prison in March 2012 for serious child sex offences against boys. Walsh used religion to control his young victims, telling one boy that drinking alcohol would get him to heaven, and another believed that the abuse was the hand of God touching him, for example. One young victim was driven to a suicide attempt.


In 2013, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the Archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh, resigned following publication of allegations he had engaged in inappropriate and predatory sexual conduct with priests and seminarians under his jurisdiction and abused his power.

In 2020, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse released a report which stated that the Catholic Church of England and Wales "swept under the carpet" allegations of past child sex abuse by numerous Catholic clergy in England and Wales.] According to the report "there was no acknowledgement of any personal responsibility" by Vincent Nichols, since 2014, a cardinal and the senior Catholic cleric in England and Wales.The report said that Nichols cared more about the impact of abuse on the Church's reputation than on the victims, and lacked compassion towards them.

In Ireland, the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse issued a report that covered six decades (from the 1950s). It noted "endemic" sexual abuse in Catholic boys' institutions, saying that church leaders were aware of abuses and that government inspectors failed to "stop beatings, rapes and humiliation."The report noted the "centrality of poverty and social vulnerability in the lives of the victims of abuse."

  The South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner:
  The Police and Crime Panel and the Independent Ethics Panel