A parking warden claimed Councillor Anwar Khan threatened to fetch a machete and kill him during a row over a double yellow line infringement.
On the other hand, Anwar says he was the one fearing for his life after the warden had threatened him with that old East End promise of “I know where you live”.
Anwar says the warden is lying. I tend to believe him; he says he doesn’t even own a machete. After all, he’s an accountant, not a butcher.
But although this is all just normal knockabout stuff for Tower Hamlets politics, this incident in Spitalfields last June has a bit more significance to it.
This was the row that played a large part in the de-selection of Bow West councillor Anwar Khan from the Labour slate for May’s elections. It became the subject of a council investigation (as yet unresolved, as far as I understand) which was brought to the attention of Labour’s interviewing panel via Cllr Carlo Gibbs, the Tower Hamlets chief whip and now Anwar’s chief enemy.
The dispute was used a further evidence that Anwar–who, as the group’s previous chief whip, last year dragged Abdal Ullah back into the council chamber during a crucial budget vote–had an attitude problem.
After a series of interviews he was deselected in favour of his sister-in-law Asma Begum, a decision he didn’t really like.
He decided to
take revenge clear his name and has set about accusing the Tower Hamlets Labour party of a form of institutional racism. I reported here that he thinks John Biggs is a control freak who doesn’t like clever and outspoken Bengalis like him, that old John Biggs likes his Bengalis Uncle Tom style–yes sir, no sir, three bags full stir.
Which I think is a bit bollocks really, but that strain of thought is genuinely out there.
Whatever the truth, Anwar is currently a Very Angry Man. And after he was sacked from Labour’s front bench, he issued this press statement last week:
Cllr Khan responded to Labour Leaders claims that the allegations of a stitch up was baseless, Khan said: “What more proof do you need the emails were black and white? I spoke out and was sacked and silenced. John Biggs rules the Labour councillors with an iron fist and the Group leader Sirajul Islam is just a puppet who’s there for the diversity shot.”
Khan has served as councillor for Bow West ward, alongside Joshua Peck and Ann Jackson, since 2010, and spent three years as the party’s Chief Whip as well as 3 years as Shadow Employment Spokesman. His deselection and demotion appear to stem from a bitter feud with Carlo Gibbs, councilor for St Peters and protégé of Labour Mayoral candidate John Biggs.
Gibbs succeeded Khan as Chief Whip and was responsible for preparing reports on each prospective candidate. It is understood that Mr Gibbs is now under official investigation himself after allegations of dishonesty.
Cllr Khan said: “I’m a proud member of the Labour party but in Tower Hamlets the culture of dodgy dossiers and secret trials is destroying the party – not just in Tower Hamlets, but in Harrow, Hackney and anywhere there’s a large ethnic minority population. Just a few weeks ago, Biggs wrote to me to say I was one of the ‘sharpest’
minds in Labour Group. Now I’ve been deselected and demoted for speaking out.” This is hypocrisy.
Cllr Khan also revealed the extent of divisions in the Labour Group: “Biggs has surrounded himself with bullies and double-dealers and sitting councillors are increasingly worried about their seats.”
Cllr Khan also confirmed that John Biggs had taken image and presentation advice from him on a number of occasions after concerns were raised about the Mayoral candidate’s personal manner: “John has some interpersonal and presentational issues and I’ve advised him in the past on how to talk to people from diverse communities without alienating them. Clearly some of those lessons haven’t sunk in.”
I love the bit about John seeking “presentational advice”. From Anwar.
Which brings us back to High Noon in Spitalfields.
What follows is a lengthy transcript of Anwar’s interview with the council’s “independent” investigator, known here as MD. He’s a council officer.
You’ll see from the account that Anwar had partially parked on a double yellow as he dropped off his family in Spitafileds. He had left the engine running and says he had asked the warden for a few seconds while he tended to his child.
The warden apparently said ‘Computer says No’, Anwar said ‘Don’t you know I’m a councillor’, the warden said ‘I don’t care if you’re the Prime Minister’, Anwar said ‘I’m going to call Head of Paid Service Steve Halsey to tell him you need some customer service training and you might lose your job,’ and the warden then got a bit angry, allegedly.
I don’t have the warden’s version, but if Anwar’s is a fair account of what happened, then, although he might have been a bit high handed with his ‘I’m a councillor’ retort, I reckon sympathies might well lie with him.
All this is playing into Lutfur’s hands of course. He thinks he was the victim of a similar injustice by the Labour party. And that he never did anything wrong…
But for the avoidance of doubt, Anwar says there is no way he will defect or help Lutfur. Although he doesn’t deny Lutfur’s people are helping him drive a machete into Labour’s heart right now.
Here’s the transcript for your amusement.
Investigation into a complaint made against Civil Enforcement Officer THxxx by Cllr Anwar Khan.
Process: MD explained that he was appointed by Mirsad Balokavic Head of Parking Services to carry out an investigation in to an alleged incident 20th June 2013. AK questioned whether MD believed that he was under pressure from his Service Head, Mr Jamie Blake. MD claimed this was not the case. AK reassured MD that he has taken steps to ensure the allegations made by Mr. Blake have been actioned and prior to the meeting, the Head of Paid Service confirmed that Mr. Blake will no longer play any part in this investigation due to the perceived interest he has. AK advised MD of the steps he should take if he feels threatened by Mr.Blake and should disregard his email not to seek any further information from AK.
Background: MD explained the context of his role as an independent investigator and gave Cllr Anwar Khan a brief on a number of investigations carried out in the past. AK reassured MD that he should not feel pressurised by the unorthodox intervention by his Service Head and that matter has been dealt with and the person removed. The reason for removal AK explained was due to breach of constitution by the officer.
MD: When you arrived into Casson Streetwas the CEO already there?
AK: I parked up in front of my house I could see CEO through my windscreen. In the meantime, I unbuckled my son and held him in arms, I waited for CEO to approach, when CEO approached I asked him for some time (30sec) to drop son in to house which was approx less the 2 meters from the car. I asked him very politely and believed it was acceptable for such interaction with officers. the CEO’s tone was angry, he seemed annoyed at being asked a question. The CEO said “no you have no time and will have to move immediately or get a ticket”.
AK and his family were petrified at the response, AK states that he was confused that the officer was not following policy, as he states that there is allowance of 5 minute observation time. AK could not understand why the CEO was so angry. AK states had the CEO been honest and forthcoming providing accurate advise the altercation would not have arose. AK states that he believes that is the root cause of the matter, had the CEO followed the training he received training on customer services, then this situation would have been avoided. He questioned the officers ability to communicate clearly and felt that the officer should not performing a front line role if he cannot communicate. AK also commented that the officer presented an immediate risk to health and safety to the public and should be removed from duty. AK continues to worry about his safety, and states that he has not received the risk assessment Taft has been done and any written confirmation of what has been done to ensure his safety.
MD: You state that you were in the process of helping your family out of the Vehicle was the car was empty at the time the CEO arrived?
AK: My son was in the car seat, he was asleep, I was in the process of getting my son out of the car seat, the engine was still running, I requested for 30 seconds to drop son off. The CEO said no you must move your car now. AK asked politely and was shocked at the response. He was mortified that an officer could be so rude. The CEO’s response was “I will do what my job says, I don’t care if you are the Prime Minister, I will still put a ticket now unless you move it”.
AK said that he worked for the council and understood the councils observation policy and said that he will raise the matter with the Head of Paid Service that the CEO was not complying with policy. AK was very disappointed with the service that tax payers were receiving.
MD: Where were you when you first noticed the CEO?
AK: I was on site by my car waiting for CEO to arrive so I could speak to him. I asked the CEO politely if he could allow 30 seconds. The CEO asked me to move or I will get a ticket and started to make notes in his Pocket Book, I told him I need to take my son in to house, I left my son with family members at the door step and came back to move my car and park correctly.
MD: You state that your vehicle was half in the bay with the rear wheels on the double yellow line. Could you perhaps be mistaken of the position of your car?
AK: My car was half in bay and half on DYL, I made a genuine attempt to park correctlyin bay and managed to get 75% of the carin the bay. AK states that it was genuine attempt to park the car, as a responsible driver he assessed the corner and believed it was adequate for emergency vehicles to pass through.
MD: Why was your engine still running if you could get no further into the bay?
AK: Because I was planning to move into another bay after dropping family members off. It was going to be a 30 second process – to literally walk 5 meters to put my son to bed and return to park try car.
AK added when during peak times, there is a shortage of parking, he has an arrangement with a friend who has a driveway off Buxton Street. There was no intention for his car to be left there for longer than 30 seconds, probably less. AK added, in his 12 year driving career he has only had received 2 tickets.
MD: Once you had dropped your son off inside the house and returned to your car did you say anything to the CEO?
AK: Yes I said I will call the council to speak Steve Halsey to clarify the policy. I asked the CEO for his name and Number herefused. I had to catch sight of his number as he was walking away towards Chicksand street.
MD: Did you say “you can’t issue me with a ticket? If you try it I will show you. You don’t know who I am I will make sure you lose your job”.
AK: No, I said I know council very well andas a Labour Cllr I will never say something like that. I know very well the council policy is 5 minutes Observation time. There were no red line or kerb marks which I know is a different policy.
AK added that the CEO made comments, “I don’t care who you are, even if you are prime minister you will get a ticket”, AK was in the process of making a all to Mr. Halsey and at no point made those comments.
MD: What did you say to the CEO when he slammed the door against you? What was your reaction?
AK: I was shocked and astonished; therewere scaffolding on street between him and my car. I did not think CEO will conduct himself so badly. He challenged me to put a report in to the council and that he will fight it all the way. He said he has been doing the job for 20 years andnobody has ever reported him for this kind of stuff.
MD: Was there any injuries sustained and if so did you seek medical attention?
AK had to rest for several days. He did not require to take time off work as he was on annual leave.
MD: At the time that the officer slammed the door against your arm and shoulder, you state that the car directly in front of you moved away. Did the driver of the car in front witness any of this incident?
AK: He must have as he was walking to thecar; there were two members of public
MD: Why did he not assist you?
AK: I did not know the driver of car. There was nothing to assist even though the officer was violent and threatening – however people expect such violence from CEO’s.
MD: When the officer said to you “Come here tomorrow, I will kill you” were there any witnesses to this?
AK: CEO was on opposite side of the street my wife and mum were witness. Somalian woman who I saw next day said that she heard a parking attendant shouting although she could not hear what was said.
AK states that his wife and mother witnessed this. They were all frightened and required additional security measures applied to the property to ensure the officer cannot return.
MD: Did the police take statements from these witnesses?
AK: There was no witness at the time I saw a Somalian lady the next day.
MD: Did the police take a statement from your wife?
AK: No she had gone out. They also did not ask, otherwise she would have been happy to do so.
MD: The officer states that you got into your car and moved it back approximately 12 inches and said “See I told you, you can’t do me”
AK: No, because he could have still given me a ticket if he wanted. I didn’t say anything like that. I had to move my vehicle to let other car out. The officer is desperate to make anything seem like a material point, there is nothing contradictory to the Highway Code for reversing to allow another vehicle pass. This is a nonsense point.
MD: Where were you when the police turned up?
AK: I was across the road trying to get CEO Name & Number while I was waiting for police.
MD: The police told you the Civil Enforcement Officer had made a counter allegation. Do you know what that was?
AK: Something like I was going to get a machete to kill him, this allegation was made after police informed him I made an allegation.
MD: Do you have a CAD or incident number from the police?
AK: Yes in I have it in the Car. Can you tell me what the number is? I no longer have this. Anyway this is not a matter for public perusal.
MD: Have you contacted the police regarding their investigation?
AK: No they sent email to stating not enough evidence to pursue the case. Could I possibly have a copy of the email?
M:D There was no mention of any witnesses in the statement made on the day to THEO THxxx
AK: Other than family
MD: You supplied the names of some witnesses and you mentioned that there was a plain cloths police officer attending to a domestic. Do you know why this officer did not intervene at the time this incident took place?
AK: He did not see the incident he only saw tail end of me requesting name & Number from the CEO. He didn’t give name or number so I followed him to Chicksand Street.
MD: Did you have conversation with Member of Public who had just received a ticket from this officer.
MD: How did you know he was a plain cloths police officer and did you manage to get his name?
AK: he showed his card to the officers who came to restrain the violent officer. Note that the officer was running away from the incident when they arrived, police had to shout after him and run after him.
The above statement is true and made to the best of my knowledge and belief.