Apology calls in 'plebgate' row
The three police officers accused of giving misleading accounts of a meeting with former chief whip Andrew Mitchell as the "plebgate" scandal erupted should apologise for their actions, the head of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) has said.
Sir Hugh Orde called on Police Federation representatives Inspector Ken MacKaill, Detective Sergeant Stuart Hinton and Sergeant Chris Jones to apologise in the same way as the chief constables representing their forces - Warwickshire, West Mercia and the West Midlands.
The federation representatives have apologised only for being hasty in speaking to the media following the October 2012 meeting. The three told journalists that Mr Mitchell had refused to tell them exactly what he said during a foul-mouthed confrontation with officers in Downing Street the previous month.
The Tory MP recorded the 45-minute meeting and the three were later accused of giving a misleading account of what happened.
Sir Hugh called on the officers to apologise in the same way the chief constables of the forces they represent have.
He told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: "I watched every moment of the select committee and it was not a good day for policing.
"The stark fact is the other three officers should have apologised in the same manner and style as the chief constables did.
"But on the positive side was that what we had there was a very public and transparent analysis of what was going on by a select committee of the House of Commons and three chief constables stepping up and being held to account.
"I think that's a very important point."
This week, Detective Sergeant Hinton told MPs on the Home Affairs Select Committee that the officers showed "poor judgement" in speaking to the media immediately but insisted "we certainly didn't lie intentionally".
Sergeant Jones said he did not believe they had done anything wrong, while Mr MacKaill stood by the initial account of what happened in the meeting.
The decision not to press ahead with misconduct charges against the officers following the meeting was challenged by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which said there were issues of ''honesty and integrity'' among the three representatives of the Police Federation.
Mr Mitchell met the three officers in his constituency office on October 12 last year after he was accused of calling officers guarding Downing Street ''plebs'' in a rant as he was asked to cycle through a side gate on September 19.
The Tory MP said he wanted to meet Mr MacKaill, Detective Sergeant Hinton and Sergeant Jones to ''clear the air''.
A secret recording made by Mr Mitchell shows that he apologised for swearing at the police officers but denied using the word ''plebs'', while in comments made after the meeting Mr MacKaill claimed the former minister refused to provide an account of the incident.