Lancashire police refused to investigate malicious communications by former police officer Paul Brooks

In 2016, former Lancashire police officer Paul Brooks wrote an article on a prominent charity website stating that Paul Ponting had been convicted for assaulting a minor. The allegation was false and malicious, Mr Ponting has no criminal convictions.

Paul Brooks who was also a Lancashire Magistrate posted the malicious article and left it intentionally visible for over 40 days. Brooks has since resigned from the Judiciary ahead of an investigation that would have likely seen him dismissed.

The article was reported to Lancashire police as Malicious Communications, contrary to S1 of the Malicious Communications Act 1998, where it says;

1 Offence of sending letters etc. with intent to cause distress or anxiety.

(1) Any person who sends to another person —

(a) a letter, electronic communication or article of any description] which conveys —

(i) a message which is indecent or grossly offensive;

(ii) a threat; or

(iii) information which is false and known or believed to be false by the sender; or

(b) any which is, in whole or part, of an indecent or grossly offensive nature, is guilty of an offence if his purpose, or one of his purposes, in sending it is that it should, so far as falling within paragraph (a) or (b) above, cause distress or anxiety to the recipient or to any other person to whom he intends that it or its contents or nature should be communicated.

Brooks, also a Freemason knew the article was false and was done with the intent to cause distress and anxiety. The Information Commissioners Officer (ICO) concluded that the article was an abuse of Mr Ponting’s personal data.

In a recent Subject Access Request, it was discovered that Paul Brooks had said (referring to Mr Ponting)

I wanted a last dig at the bastard

Lancashire police did not investigate the offence, which was prima facie evident as there was no reasonable defence and the offence was made out.

Lancashire police knew without question Mr Ponting has no criminal convictions and therefore the allegation was (and still) is 100% false and therefore a criminal offence contrary to the Malicious Communications Act 1998.

After a drawn-out legal battle with the North West Blood Bike Charity that Paul Brooks was the Chairman, Mr Ponting was awarded a substantial sum of money in compensation, after which Paul Brooks admitted his actions were malicious.

Mr Ponting made a complaint to Lancashire police, the complaint was that they failed to investigate the criminal offence.

On 2nd November 2021, Lancashire PSD responded to the complaint and, unsurprisingly, they found they did nothing wrong.

In their response, they said,

“We are satisfied a proportionate investigation was carried out”

They also referred to allegations of Paul Brooks ‘conspiring’ with a known criminal (Darren Hogan) who was convicted for crimes against Mr Ponting. Lancashire PSD stated that as Mr Brooks was not a serving police officer at the time, they see no ‘conflict of interest’ even though Paul Brooks pursued a course of conduct very similar to what Darren Hogan was convicted for.

The complaint is being appealed to the IOPC and Mr Ponting is confident they will agree that the investigation was not at all proportionate especially as Paul Brooks had sent an email to all volunteers of the Blood Bikes stating that Lancashire police had told him to ‘ignore Mr Ponting’ which hardly seems like a proportionate investigation.

This appears to be another example of police protecting their own.

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