Three police officers apologise for 'poor judgment in talking to the media' after Andrew Mitchell 'plebgate' peace talks last year

Three police officers caught up in the "plebgate" row have apologised for "poor judgment in talking to the media" after a meeting with former Tory chief whip Andrew Mitchell.
 
Inspector Ken MacKaill, Detective Sergeant Stuart Hinton and Sergeant Chris Jones were spared misconduct proceedings by an internal police investigation after they were accused of trying to discredit the politician.
 
But the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) later disputed the West Mercia Police investigation's findings and said there were issues of "honesty and integrity" among the three Police Federation representatives.
 
In a statement issued by the Police Federation, the three officers fell short of apologising for the comments they made but insisted they never intended to mislead anyone.
 
The statement said: "The reputation of, and public confidence in, the police service is of immense concern to each of us.
 
"We acknowledge the investigation's criticism relating to our poor judgment in talking to the media following the meeting with Andrew Mitchell, for which we take this opportunity to apologise.
 
"We would like to emphasise, as we did to the investigation, that in no way did any of us ever plan or intend to mislead anyone about what occurred during this meeting or otherwise."
 
Mitchell met the Police Federation representatives after he was accused of calling officers guarding Downing Street ''plebs'' in a foul-mouthed rant as he was asked to cycle through a side gate on 19 September last year.
 
Mitchell met Mr MacKaill, Det Sgt Hinton and Sgt Jones on 12 October last year at his Sutton Coldfield constituency office to "clear the air".
 
A transcript shows Mitchell apologised for swearing at the police officers but denied using the word "plebs", while in comments made after the meeting MacKaill claimed the former Tory chief whip refused to provide an account of the incident.
 
Media accounts after the meeting led to intense pressure on Mitchell too resign and he stepped down a week later.
 
The Daily Mail report was headlined: "Resign now, police tell Mitchell as his peace bid backfires". MacKaill told journalists: "I think Mr Mitchell has no option but to resign. He's continuing to refuse to elaborate on what happened. I think his position is untenable."
 
 

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