Thursday, 5 April 2012

The Death of David Kelly - A masterpiece of Thames Valley Police evasion about Operation Mason

Yesterday Thames Valley Police posted a Freedom of Information Response to questions about Operation Mason: Investigation into the death of Dr David Kelly.

Thames Valley Police's response is a masterpiece of evasion.

The questioner asks for two simple, unambiguous pieces of information - the precise time Operation Mason was started and the precise time it was completed.

And Thames Valley Police give him/her neither piece of information.

Here is the full text of the Freedom of Information Response. See if you can work out the precise times the questioner wants to know. I can't.


This request, reference RFI2012000222, was received on Sunday 11 March 2012, 8:46am.


Please confirm the precise start and finish times of Operation Mason.


Operation Mason was the name assigned to the search for the missing person Dr David Kelly, and retained for the subsequent investigation into the circumstances surrounding Dr Kelly’s death.

The times of 14:30 17th July 2003 – 09:30 18th July 2003 relate to house to house enquiries.

Thames Valley Police were first alerted on 17th July 2003 by a telephone call from a member of the Kelly family. A search operation was launched and continued overnight until the discovery of Dr Kelly’s body at about 9.20am the following morning.

Following the discovery of the body, Thames Valley Police conducted house to house enquiries in a search for witnesses. The TVP Tactical Support Major Incident Policy Book was used to record the policy for that operation whilst house to house enquiries were carried out over the 18th and 19th July in the Southmoor and Longworth areas (which included the various routes that led from the home address of Dr Kelly to Harrowdown Hill.)

The document was not created until after the body of Dr Kelly was discovered and contains details of those addresses which were to be visited and acted as a rolling briefing document for the house to house co-ordinators. The time parameters that were set by the Senior Investigating Officer were half an hour before the reported time Dr Kelly went on his walk until the discovery of the body. It is normal to allow a period of time either side of a reported disappearance to allow for any discrepancies in reported timings.

Our Investigations were substantially complete by the time ACC Page gave evidence to the Hutton Inquiry on 23rd September 2003.

The questioner asks for the precise starting time of Operation Mason and Thames Valley Police don't give a clear answer.

The questioner asks for the precise time Operation Mason finished and Thames Valley Police don't give a clear answer.


What does Thames Valley Police have to hide about the start time of Operation Mason? Did it, for example, begin before David Kelly was "officially" reported missing around 23.40 on 17th July 2003?

Why is Thames Valley Police so sensitive about disclosing when the Operation Mason investigation finished? Has the investigation ever been closed?

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