Charles Shoebridge v Metropolitan Police, 2005
Charles Shoebridge is a writer, broadcaster, and leading independent authority on issues of security, intelligence, terrorism and crime. A graduate of history and politics, and of the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, he served for almost two decades until 2000 in diverse front-line policing and military roles, specialising in counter-terrorism and intelligence operations. This included twelve years of exemplary and highly successful service in London's Metropolitan Police, performing uniformed and detective duties at Scotland Yard and elsewhere. He also previously worked in counter terrorism as a commissioned officer in the British Army.
Almost alone amongst those who publicly commentate on such issues, Charles Shoebridge has extensive first hand experience of terrorism, and of anti-terrorist and intelligence related operations. His balanced, credible and independent commentary often challenge both conventional wisdom and official representations of events and policy. Since March 2001, having made more than one thousand separate print and broadcasting contributions covering diverse security and intelligence related issues for well over a hundred national and international media organisations, he has established a proven and successful record of consistently accurate analysis and prediction unrivalled in his field.
Charles Shoebridge was, until 22 December 2005, engaged in legal action against the Metropolitan Police. Mr Shoebridge claimed that senior Scotland Yard officials unlawfully used their influence with the media to have him denied work, as retaliation for him having brought successful legal cases against them in the past. Whilst recognising that in most cases such interventions would not have come to his notice, he cited three examples of where they did:
In October 2001, Mr Shoebridge's hitherto successful and extensive work for Sky News suddenly ceased. It transpired this was due to a specific instruction from Mr Simon Cole, Sky's managing editor, following the intervention of a senior official at Scotland Yard.
In December 2001, Scotland Yard's Press Office improperly supplied misleading information to the Independent on Sunday with the intention of having published a story suggesting, falsely, that Mr Shoebridge had no counter terrorism experience, despite him working as a media analyst in this field.
In November 2003 the Chief Press Officer at Scotland Yard, Mr Bob Cox, telephoned Independent Television News (ITN) to suggest that Mr Shoebridge be no longer employed there. Hitherto ITN had used Mr Shoebridge extensively. According to the producer who took the call, Mr Cox offered to ITN at this time, as a possible inducement, privileged prior access to Parliamentary questions.
Scotland Yard and Sky News denied these allegations. A five day Employment Tribunal hearing in March 2005 examined in detail documentary and witness evidence, including from Mr Cox and Mr Cole. The tribunal upheld Mr Shoebridge's claims in their entirety, it being found that all three Scotland Yard interventions had occurred as described. On 22 December 2005 Mr Shoebridge was awarded damages against the Metropolitan Police at a tribunal hearing in London.
Over a four year period before the judgement, the Metropolitan Police failed to conduct any criminal or disciplinary investigation into these serious, and now proven, allegations against its senior officials. Instead, Scotland Yard spent in excess of £200,000 of public money in attempting to defend those officials, and to prevent the case from coming to a public hearing at all. Had a proper investigation been carried out from the outset, Mr Shoebridge would have had no need to have brought this legal action.
Since the tribunal judgement, Mr Shoebridge has continued to be employed by national and international print and broadcast media, including the BBC.
Click here for more detail of the recent legal case.
The recent case is the latest of a number of legal actions between Mr Shoebridge and a small number of senior Metropolitan Police officials and their agents over an almost continuous period of more than eight years. These have included him being charged with a fictitious indecent assault, and, following his acquittal for this, being then charged with oppressive conduct because he twice used the word "fuck" in speaking with fellow police officers. After almost two years of suspension, this allegation was also found to have been without foundation.
In seeking redress for the handling of these events, Mr Shoebridge represented himself to become the first male officer to win a sex discrimination case against the Metropolitan Police. As a result of having brought the proceedings however he lost his highly successful police career, and subsequently received substantial damages for victimisation in 2000. Despite, or perhaps because of, this, senior elements within Scotland Yard have however continued to pursue Mr Shoebridge, as in the recent case, notwithstanding that he had already left the employment of the Metropolitan Police, and that the Metropolitan Police already had against them two previous Tribunal findings of discrimination and victimisation. The 2005 case was an attempt by Mr Shoebridge to prevent such victimisation continuing into the future.
Charles Shoebridge has won all seven of the legal cases he has fought against the Metropolitan Police and its agents. He represented himself throughout the recent case, including having to argue new law at the Employment Appeal Tribunal. The Metropolitan Police has brought no disciplinary action against any of its officials found culpable in these cases, or mounted any criminal or disciplinary investigations. Some of the officials concerned remain today in very senior positions.
Details of the cases Mr Shoebridge has brought, and had brought against him, are contained in his statement in the most recent case. This can be found, together with other primary evidence, on the Key Documents page.
Contact Charles Shoebridge