BY TOBY PORTER
The Met is carrying out an investigation into its own handling of a raid on a Home Office adviser who is now demanding more than £3million in compensation.
The police’s Directorate of Professional Standards is carrying out a probe into the handling of a raid on October 4 of the Lewisham home of Gwenton Sloley, who was given a commendation in 2016 by the borough’s commander, Chief Superintendent Kate Halpin.
Lewisham’s then-Mayor Sir Steve Bullock also awarded the multi-faith group he created, Crying Sons, a certificate for its hard work in the borough tackling gang violence, sexual exploitation, radicalisation and drug dealing.
Mr Sloley, 35, who was also praised by the Home Office for saving it millions of pounds with his crime prevention work, says he has been “blacklisted” and unable to help police prevent knife crime, while their own investigation is carried out.
Crying Sons trains government officers, police, NHS workers, faith groups and councils on how to spot and engage with youngsters on the verge of entering gang life. He also helped set up the London Gang Exit programme.
His home was raided by police looking for Myles Prospere, 25, who was found at another address and who later pleaded guilty at Woolwich Crown Court to possession of class-A drugs and an offensive weapon.
Prospere was, on December 5, 2018, sentenced to five years and three months in prison.
Prospere had been the previous occupant of Mr Sloley’s house, five years before. Drugs and a weapon had been found in the raids on another four properties, but not in Mr Sloley’s, and he was not even arrested.
But statements issued by the Met have not been clear that Mr Sloley was not involved.
As a result he’s billing the Met for £3million for defamation of character and £140,000 for loss of earnings after different police forces, NHS trusts and councils were told about the raid on his home, even though he continued to work for the police for three weeks, including on murder investigations and relocating witnesses.
Mr Sloley, 35, said: “I have been offered a payout but I have been virtually unemployed for three months.”
He was angered by the damage to his Lewisham home, saying the officers – some of whom he had trained – went over and above what was necessary.
He was in Manchester training police officers at the time and did not find out for several days. He says he has now been offered compensation for the damage.
Mr Sloley said: “The whole thing is just an embarrassment and very sad. I was never arrested or charged.
Afterwards, police contacted people all around the country – even people I wasn’t doing work with. “It is the same police that were in my house I have worked with for nearly 10 years.
Not in my wildest imagination could I ever have envisaged elements within the Met, the very organisation I have worked tirelessly with over the years, would do this.
The same officers who raided my home are the ones I had been working with every day for six years at Catford police station – and continued to work with afterwards, until I complained to my line manager about what was happening.
“I have never seen so many mistakes – it is too many.”
He says he has now been given an “Osman Warning” – a warning that his life could be in danger after his address was revealed amid the Prospere investigation.
He has also been offered a fireproof letterbox and panic alarm – but has not been back to his home so has had to live elsewhere.
He is also receiving counselling for the distress caused.
He said: “I’ve worked with the police for over a decade and if they could use such tactics against me, are we surprised young people and the community at large are afraid to turn to the police for help?”
Lewisham cabinet member for transport and culture, Brenda Dacres, told him: “I am truly shocked that you have been treated in this appalling manner, especially when you are a leading light in our community.
“During the time I have known you, your expertise, knowledge and experience has been second to none. You always go above and beyond to assist young people and their parents. You have been able to speak to young people in a way that many are unable to, and they hear, listen and take on board what you are saying to them.
“If this can happen to you then this can happen to anyone. Your standing in the community and among those who truly value your expertise and you going the extra mile to help others means that this cannot and should not be swept under the carpet.”
A Met spokesman said: “A complaint in relation to damage of reputation and character was received on Tuesday, October 30 and the Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) is investigating.
As with any investigation, complainants are kept up to date on progress.”