7 APRIL 1990, Page 25

Poetry and fact

Sir: It is with considerable disquiet that I read your 'poem', 'Penalty Kick for Park- ing on Yellow Line' (31 March).

By its publication you have unjustifiably tarnished the Metropolitan Police and, more specifically, its officers working at Hounslow Police Station. It serves only to discredit The Spectator as a periodical of worth.

Basic research would have revealed that its content is fallacious and has been proved so. Why, I wonder, was it necessary to resurrect an alleged incident concerning two of my police officers when the case against them was dismissed more than two months ago?

It is bad enough that these two men had to live for more than two years with the knowledge that they were innocent of the


malacious allegation you so glibly re- printed. It is worse that you apparently thought so little of the law and of the officers and their families that you did not seek the truth.

In court, a judge and jury heard and accepted expert medical evidence that the injuries sustained by this motorist could not possibly have been caused by an assault during his arrest or during the time he spent in police custody after his arrest. Indeed the judge, having heard this and other 'unreliable' prosecution evidence, halted the trial and dismissed the case.

The least you can do now is apologise in full.

D. Flanders

Acting Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Metropolitan Police, No. 5 Area Headquarters, 3 Penrhyn Road, Kingston, Surrey