Well this story has been scrutinised more closely than Tiger Woods’s mobile phone bill!
It is probably the story of the year, the action really started in February this year.
The story’s origin goes even further back and is now indisputably linked to the absurd attempted closure of the popular splash pool at Dimensions leisure centre in Burslem.
After making a serious complaint to the council’s executive regarding the action of certain high flying elected representatives and senior officers a low key council investigation was initiated.
The complainant, Roger Ibbs, was allowed to carry out his duties to his usual high standard [all be it in a different portfolio] until February this year. Ibbs was called to a bogus meeting by the council’s legal officer. Upon his arrival, Ibbs was abandoned by the said legal officer and subsequently arrested and taken away for questioning.
Two further high profile arrests followed and a lengthy police investigation followed. Eventually there was an announcement that there was insufficient evidence to secure a prosecution against any individual. Hardly an endorsement of innocence.
Later more details emerged about the fiasco relating to Dimensions which led to a certain amount of clearing the waters. Ibbs started looking more like the victim instead of the accused.
Then a meeting of Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Standards Committee on the 9th December gave the best clue yet that there was more to this fiasco than meets the eye. The Standards Committee all but completely exonerates Ibbs which has left the issue somewhat up in the air.
Who? Why? What? When? – Those questions are still waiting to be answered. However, those answers will come as there are calls [which are councillor led] for an independent enquiry into the circumstances and facts surrounding this whole issue.
Today a new twist emerged, Roger Ibbs has released a copy of the letter that he has written to the Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police, Mike Cunningham. Here it is in all it’s glory:
Dear Chief Constable,
Re: Dimensions Leisure Centre – Stoke-on-Trent
On the 27th February 2009 I was arrested in connection with enquiries being made by your officers re: the above.
At no time was I informed as to why my questioning regards this matter was required to be made under caution.
I would therefore ask you to answer the following 2 questions:-
1. Why was I arrested when there was no evidence against me and subsequent to the conclusion of your enquiries, no evidence against me has been found ?
2. Why when you understood that my arrest would create a public outcry did your officers not act with caution rather than rushing to place me under arrest, when simply asking me to attend an interview would have sufficed ?
Finally I have tried to ascertain why it was felt necessary to place me under arrest. I look forward to your speedy reply.
Roger M. Ibbs
I think we should now take it as a given that Ibbsy is completely innocent of all allegations.
Will those who alluded to the theory that he was up to no good now admit they were totally wrong?
Furthermore we should also consider the impact that this issue has had on the political scene of our City.
Ibbs was the leader of the Conservative and Independent Alliance. The leader that succeeded him went on to be voted in as Council Leader.
Would that have meant that Ibbs should have been the Leader of the Council should this whole sorry episode not have happened?
Would he have been a stronger leader? Would he have taken a firmer line with the officers?
I’ve known the guy for a while now and he is a cock sure arrogant son of a gun.
But the one thing I am assured of is that he loves this City and the vast majority of the officers I have spoken to privately, really think he is a very competent and fair politician.
Apart from the fact that he is a Tory he has a great deal of respect from his fellow councillors. As one commented to me a while ago:
"You either love the guy or loathe him, but what you can not deny is the fact that he is one of the most knowledgeable councillor ever to have served this City"
Well, what has happened can not be changed no matter how we would all like to turn back time. But there should now be an independent enquiry into this whole sorry affair.
Rumours are rife that the legal officers and chief executive knew that Ibbs was completely innocent way back at the start of June. So why has it taken until December for the details to start to emerge?
OK so Ibbsy might be in the clear, but there is something a whole lot more sinister about this issue and we the public need to find out the whole unedited, no spin, unsanitized details that makes up one of the darkest periods in our City’s history.
I call upon those who have the power and to those who represent every normal decent man, woman and child to not let up in the search for the truth.
After all we ALL deserve that…. Don’t we?