Third ‘crime tsar’ quizzed by police over bid to halt domestic violence probe into attack by relative
Ibrahim Master is a renowned Muslim ‘community leader’
He is also Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Lancashire
Accused of harassing victim when she made statement against his relative
Told officers on the scene matter would be dealt with ‘within the community’
Incident is being investigated by Independent Police Complaints Commission
This is the third case in three weeks of PCCs being probed by forces they were elected to hold to account
Kent PCC Ann Barnes and Deputy PCC for Bedfordshire, Tafheen Sharif, also under investigation for misconduct in office
By MARTIN BECKFORD AND NIGEL BUNYAN
5 October 2014
A crime tsar’s deputy has been questioned by police over claims that he tried to halt a domestic violence investigation against a relative.
Muslim leader Ibrahim Master is also facing allegations that he attempted to put pressure on the victim when she made a witness statement, to protect the family member accused of attacking her.
Astonishingly, it is the third case in as many weeks exposed by The Mail on Sunday in which Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) or their deputies have been probed by the forces they were elected to hold to account.
Bedfordshire’s deputy PCC Tafheen Sharif was forced to quit after she intervened in a murder plot trial to keep a cousin’s love life secret.
And Kent PCC Ann Barnes was allegedly driving without business insurance when she crashed her car on her way to a meeting.
Mr Master, the Deputy PCC for Lancashire, was quizzed at a police station and the Independent Police Complaints Commission is now looking into claims of harassment and perverting the course of justice.
A former chairman of the Lancashire Council of Mosques and a Labour Party activist, Mr Master, 56, is credited with persuading local Muslims to help re-elect Jack Straw as the MP for Blackburn despite their opposition to the Iraq War.
He hit the headlines as a community spokesman when it emerged that failed shoe-bomber Saajid Badat had attended an Islamic college in the former mill town.
It was in his role as an ‘elder’ that he attended the scene of an alleged domestic assault where a 49-year-old relative was arrested.
Mr Master was accused of trying to influence the police investigation by telling officers the matter would be dealt with ‘within the community’.
He is also alleged to have tried to influence the alleged assault victim’s witness statement that was given to police.
Mr Master attended a police station and was questioned on suspicion of harassment along with another man in August, and Lancashire Police then referred the matter to a local scrutiny board called the Police and Crime Panel.
Yet neither Lancashire Constabulary nor the office of the PCC announced the extremely serious allegations against him.
They have recorded the matter as ‘allegations of conduct in conflict with role’ and referred it to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
The watchdog has the power to investigate crime tsars and their deputies and to pass files to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Lancashire Constabulary said last night: ‘We can confirm that the Chief Constable has referred a complaint over the conduct of Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Ibrahim Master in relation to an ongoing police investigation to the Police and Crime Panel, and that the IPCC has been notified.
‘A 49-year-old man from Blackburn was arrested in August following a report of a domestic incident at an address.
‘He has been bailed pending further inquiries.
‘During the course of the investigation, two other men, aged 56 and 58, from Blackburn voluntarily attended a police station and were spoken to about alleged harassment.
‘They have not been arrested and inquiries are continuing into this aspect of the investigation.’
Mr Master has not been suspended and continues to work in the office of the Lancashire PCC Clive Grunshaw, who has himself been investigated by the IPCC over an alleged expenses fraud.
Mr Grunshaw said: ‘I am aware that a complaint relating to the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner has been made. As this matter is ongoing it would be inappropriate for me to comment further.’
Local councillor Peter Gibson, who sits on the Lancashire Police and Crime Panel, said he was ‘very surprised’ by the allegations.
‘I think there is certainly a case for a suspension while the investigation is going on. The PCC keeps going on about transparency but we don’t seem to have had much here.’
An IPCC spokesman said: ‘We have received a referral from Lancashire’s Police and Crime Panel that refers to the conduct of the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire, Ibrahim Master.
‘We are conducting an assessment to determine whether the matter is something that requires an investigation.’
Last night Mr Master vigorously denied the allegations.
Speaking at his imposing £1 million home, he said: ‘I haven’t done anything wrong whatsoever and I strongly deny any misconduct’.