Beds Police On The Rocks
The mother of three key Exodus Collective members had her pub licence revoked by police in unusual circumstances. Following a recent High Court case, however, she's now winning it back in style and proving that Bedfordshire police were just bitter lemons all along. Jim Carey reports.
On the face of it, Betty Jenkins wouldn't strike you as the most obvious target of a police chinanagen. Having been in the licensing trade for over ten years, this 60 year old mother of four had successfully run The Globe public house in Dunstable near Luton for four years, getting on well with both her neighbours and a varied clientelle of local lutonites. But then in a rapid and bizarre cascade of events, she became the target of a convoluted operation to put her out of business. The fact that three of her children were key members of the Exodus Collective, and that Bedfordshire Police had a long history of operations against the Collective, began to emerge as the primary reason for what became a malicious campaign. The fact that her fourth child was a member of Bedfordshire police force added further irony.
Following a noise complaint from just one of the pub's neighbours in 1996, Bedfordshire Police went to the unusual step of putting surveillance officers in a flat across the road from the pub. Over subsequent months, Dunstable police officers led by Inspector Nicholas Banfield, made several visits to the pub in a manner described by witnesses in court as "aggressive". During a subsequent police raid in November 1996, a probation officer drinking in the pub at the time, described Inspector Banfield in court as having acted "disgracefully", with the manner of an "agent provocateur". The eleven other neighbours living next to the pub had signed a petition submitted to court saying The Globe was a well run and orderly pub but somehow it made no difference. Betty Jenkins lost her licence as landlady of The Globe public house in Dunstable near Luton, after a private prosecution brought by Bedfordshire Police reached court in May 1997. Despite the raft of contradictory evidence, Dunstable Magistrates Court ruled in favour of the police prosecution and revoked Mrs Jenkins' pub licence in May 1997. Two years earlier , Bedfordshire County Council had voted for a full scale public enquiry into the "activities of Bedfordshire Police and others" against Exodus; progress on the inquiry is now in the hands of the Home Office.
However in a crucial decision, neither the magistrates nor the subsequent Crown Court appeal judge would permit any evidence or testimony suggesting Beds Police had acted maliciously because of the history of their relationship with the Exodus Collective despite Betty Jenkins being the mother of Exodus Collective spokesperson Glenn, Exodus DJ Hazad and founding member Elaine. Her other son, Tony, is himself a junior Bedfordshire police officer and testified on her behalf.
In Lord Justice Dyson's judicial review, he expressed "strong criticism" of the Crown Court appeal judge who had turned down Mrs Jenkins' appeal. "The Crown Court is under a duty to give full reasons for its decision. The reasons given in this judgement [Appeal Judge Davis] were plainly inadequate. They failed to explain adequately, or at all, the reasons given for the licence revocation."
He also described the Appeal judge's verdict as "inadequate" in not giving enough credence to the petition signed by eleven of Mrs Jenkins' twelve neighbours, when the reason for the licence revocation was that The Globe public house was a nuisance to its locality. This latest High Court ruling looks suddenly very bad for Bedfordshire Police. In the face of Lord Justice Dyson's comments, they now have to decide whether to drop the case completely, give Mrs Jenkins her licence back and face prosecution themselves, or fight another court case and have the full facts brought out. Keep checking SQUALL's Underground Update for more news.
To see Squall's full coverage of Exodus click here