» Thursday, February 16, 2006

DC Oake

Asked why no medal was being awarded to DC Stephen Oake, who had been murdered during a police raid on a flat in Manchester in 2003, the PMOS said that it would be wrong of him to comment on individual nominations for gallantry awards, just as it would be wrong of him to comment on nominations for the bi-annual conferral of Honours. He reminded journalists of the process for receiving a gallantry award: Chief Constables submitted nominations to the Home Office. These were considered on their merits, with professional advice coming from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC). Recommendations then went to the George Cross Committee in the Cabinet Office, comprising officials, not politicians. That Committee would then put forward its recommendations, which the Prime Minister would formally submit to HM Queen. There was no input into the process from the Prime Minister.

Asked if the Prime Minister had a personal view as to whether DC Oake should receive a gallantry award in the light of the fact that he had attended DC Oake’s funeral and had invited his widow to Downing Street, the PMOS emphasised that there was a procedure to be followed for the bestowal of gallantry awards, just as there was a procedure to be followed for the awarding of Honours. It would therefore be wrong for the Prime Minister to get personally involved.

Asked if there was any way in which the Prime Minister might be allowed to get involved, particularly since Greater Manchester Police Federation had urged him to do so, the PMOS said that he was not aware of any precedent for such a thing. Put to him that that did not mean he couldn’t, the PMOS said that the process was well established. It was based on expert, professional advice provided by HMIC.

Asked if the Prime Minister remained interested in this case, the PMOS reiterated the fact that there was a procedure to be followed. It would therefore be wrong to a give running commentary on any individual recommendations that had been made. It would be an abuse of the system – both in terms of gallantry awards and the awarding of Honours – to state why certain people received awards while others did not.

Questioned as to whether the Prime Minister might "invent" an award to be presented to DC Oake, the PMOS said that the process which was in place had been designed specifically for the purpose of bestowing gallantry awards. He repeated that recommendations for such awards came from Chief Constables and were considered by HMIC and then the George Cross Committee. The system had been set up for good reason.

Asked by the Daily Mail if the Prime Minister "understood public anger" over the issue, particularly when "donors donated vast sums of money to the Labour Party" and "peerages were handed over like confetti", the PMOS said that he would reject in the strongest terms possible the many smears and slurs contained in the question. It was important for all present to understand the requirement for objectivity in all areas of their profession. He pointed out that gallantry awards and Honours were not the same thing. It was entirely wrong and unjust, with regard to those who had to make the difficult decisions, to describe the decision-making process in the terms that had been used. He would have thought the journalist would have the decency to withdraw what she had said.

Briefing took place at 6:00 | Search for related news


  1. Sickening. If he’d given a few thousand to the Scottish Labour Party, he’d have a statue created for him!

    Comment by Della Petch — 16 Feb 2006 on 5:31 pm | Link
  2. The comments by the PMOS about objectivity are crass and stunningly – childishly – petulant.

    Why is it necessary for journalists to be ‘objective’, and would he care to define ‘objectivity’?

    We have laws of libel which the PMOS, the PM, indeed anyone, can invoke to resolve such disputes. If journalists overstep the mark let them be sued! I hope that the lady from the Daily Mail had enough sense to tell the PMOS to get stuffed.

    The reality is that none of these apparatchiks have the nerve or nous to take the matter to law. But then again, maybe the journo’s comment was just a little too close to the truth.

    Comment by Chuck Unsworth — 16 Feb 2006 on 7:38 pm | Link
  3. It’s also entirely wrong for the Downing Street transcript to single out the Daily Mail as having asked a particular question. It doesn’t generally do that so why single out this question just because Tom Kelly happened to object to the tenor of it? Believe me, there are plenty of journalists besides the Daily Mail’s lobby team who think that peerages have been handed out like confetti to New Labour donors!

    Comment by Paul Linford — 20 Feb 2006 on 2:30 pm | Link
  4. And perhaps Kelly should also remember that in his particular job it is not wise to antagonise journalists.

    But then again, we’re witnessing the efforts of a man working at his extreme limits, so his behaviour is possibly understandable – if not excusable.

    Plenty more annoyance to come, what with Berlusconi-Mills-Jowell (and her sister!), dead ducks, Beckett, Hewitt, etc etc…… Blair’s bints eh?

    Comment by Chuck Unsworth — 21 Feb 2006 on 12:07 pm | Link
  5. Hello my name is Zoe Oake from Australia and i am possibly related to DC Oake. Just wondering if anyone knows anything about DC Oake, if so can you please email me. Thanks

    Comment by Zoe Oake — 23 Feb 2006 on 10:04 am | Link
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