Serious questions have been raised about the abuse of police powers in favour of far right politicians after a whistleblower from nationalist party United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) claimed to have been framed and intimidated by police officers with extreme right sympathies.

Jasna Badzak, who worked as a press officer for senior UKIP Member of European Parliament Gerard Batten before reporting his incitements to racial hatred to the police, has revealed that she believes she was the target of a criminal conspiracy by several officers to set her up. An anonymous journalist involved in reporting Badzak's case has since sent evidence to former Conservative MP Louise Mensch which, if true, “threaten[s] them if they wrote negative stories on Batten”.

Ms. Badzak started working for UKIP in November 2010, having previously left the Conservative Party after becoming disillusioned. She felt that accusations in the mainstream media claiming that UKIP is a racist party were overblown, but after only a few months became convinced of the party's “racist and fascist underbelly”, as she told campaigner Lee Jasper. Batten himself is reported to be friendly with numerous extreme right groups and known anti-semites.

A known Islamophobe even amongst other party members, Batten wrote a confidential paper in 2011 addressed to a Christian group in which he argued for a ban on halal meat, outlawing Islamic banking, and forcing all Muslims to sign a code of conduct. Badzak, who had access to the draft long before it was leaked to the press earlier this year, expressed her disgust at her boss's views to party leader Nigel Farage, who is said to have expressed sympathy but done nothing.

Jasper reports that Badzak was told by Farage that he and Batten shared “mutually destructive information on each other”, echoing an earlier comment by former party MEP Nikki Sinclair that “anyone who has ever questioned or stood up to Farage has basically been destroyed. Gerard Batten challenges Nigel and always survives. My belief is that he’s the one who Nigel puts up [with] and controls.”

Sinclaire added, “I know him and Farage don’t get on. I question how he can survive in UKIP. They're not good friends. My only conclusion is that he controls him.”

After having her complaints within the party repeatedly ignored, Badzak eventually turned to the Metropolitan Police to report the draft, and in May 2011 she submitted further evidence of EU expenses fraud in the party, as well as of a senior UKIP member possessing child pornography. All of her complaints were handled by an officer named Detective Sergeant Shaun Reardon.

Following this reporting, Badzak and her family were repeatedly harassed and violently threatened at their home by groups of random strangers who she suspects were members of the English Defense League (EDL), the far right's current Sturmabteilung of choice, with whose leadership Batten had previously met. Ms. Badzak reported each incident to the Metropolitan Police, all of which were also handled by Detective Sergeant Shaun Reardon. This campaign of targeted intimidation by thugs continued for 13 months without any investigation by the police, despite constant complaints.

In February 2012 Badzak attempted to seek a restraining order in court on Batten, where one Detective James Galvin testified for Batten (having embraced the MEP upon entering the courtroom). Galvin told the court that the police had no active police investigation into Batten, which was much later revealed to be a lie, as the Metropolitan Police has since admitted – but not before this resulted in Ms. Badzak's case being dismissed.

Batten then wrote to the Metropolitan Police on October 5th 2012, reporting fraud allegations against her on UKIP letterhead – an act that Lee Jasper wrote in his blog “must constitute an attempt to politically influence the investigation”. The police responded quickly, arresting Badzak on November 29th.

The two officers arresting her were Reardon and Galvin.

After being charged with fraud on evidence which, according to Jasper “seemed incredibly flimsy” and to Mensch was “totally unsafe”, Ms. Badzak wrote to Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, demanding to know why her complaints had been ignored while Batten's had been handled immediately. The internal Department of Professional Standards replied to inform her that the MPS employed no such named officers, and even after persisting was repeatedly told this.

Ms Badzak then wrote to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, who after some time eventually sent her the same reponse, that there were no police officers named Reardon or Galvin. Finally, she wrote to David Cameron and Boris Johnson, both of whom wrote in turn to the MPS and both of whom were told, in writing, the exact same thing. This means that the Metropolitan Police and the IPCC both misled the Prime Minister, with Jasper speculating “possibly wilfully”.

Reardon and Galvin each testified in court against Badzak, and under cross-examination said that they had “no idea” why written confirmation that they were not serving police officers had been received by Ms. Badzak, the Prime Minister, the Mayor of London and the IPCC. This was summarily ignored by the judge, who passed Ms Badzak a one-year suspended jail sentence of 28 months, around double the average sentence and an especially harsh sentence for someone with no prior convictions.

In April 2014, Badzak and Jasper were told by a police superintendent that five separate UKIP investigations were being reopened, including her complaints predating Batten's fraud allegation. They provided the superintendent with “strong witness evidence” that two other officers, Detective Inspector Fleming and DC Tony Holden, contacted prominent journalists and threatened them with arrest if they published any negative press on UKIP – both now under investigation on suspicion of harassing journalists and potentially perverting the course of justice.

This should have brought Badzak a reprieve, now that officers suspected of abusing their powers for political purposes were being pursued, and yet in June 2014 she was contacted by Detective Sergeant Christopher Page, of the same police station as the one in which she testified against Fleming and Holden (Charing Cross). Page wanted Badzak to come in to interview about “very allegations” related to her “twitter harassment of Gerard Batten” and “talking to Lee Jasper” – who due to his anti-racism activism throughout the years is no friend to the Metropolitan Police.

It turned out that Badzak's 'harassment' of her old boss had been the retweeting of an article in the Sunday Times, a respected national daily, that was critical of UKIP.

This is not the first time UKIP has called the police on someone for legitimately criticising them on Twitter. Michael Abberton, a Green Party member from Cambridgeshire, was visited in May by two country police officers after tweeting a poster against UKIP. The officers in question asked Abberton to take it down, even though they had no legal basis to do so, with Abberton later commentating that it was “not a police matter.”

Such 'light touch' policing may well be polite in its manner, but the lack of a mandate to do so raises questions about why it was considered worthy of police time in the first place, and under whose authority the case was pursued.

After Detective Sergeant Page threatened Ms. Badzak over the phone not to tweet against Batten or talk to Jasper, she stated for the record the following:

“UKIP is criminal fascist organization. I stand 100% behind that and under Article 10 of European Convention of Human Rights incorporated in British law as Human Rights Act 1998 I have a right to freedom of speech and there is nothing you can do about that. You can also not order me to keep quiet or not to tweet. I know you would like to silence me completely, to muzzle me but you can’t despite your telephone threat not to tweet”.

Responding to this, Page attempted to lie, denying that he threatened her in the way that she claimed – but Ms Badzak had taped the phonecall. Page is now under investigation. However, Badzak still faces an appearance in court on November 26th, and Jasper has called for the public to support her against political persecution outside West London Magistrates court that morning, launching the #Justice4Jasna hashtag on Twitter.

In the meantime, Louise Mensch has stated that she will be submitting the evidence that she has received to the Internal Police Complaints Commission, the Home Affairs Select Committee, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner and the Electoral Commission.

Throughout the weekend, Mensch tweeted that Detective Sergeant Shaun Reardon has since deleted much of his online presence, such as his LinkedIn account, and shared screenshots of the Facebook profile of Detective Sergeant James Galvin, showing several posts in support of UKIP and a meme with what appears to be anti-Irish slur. It has also emerged that the names matching that of Galvin and his wife appeared on leaked British National Party membership lists.

Mensch has pointed out in an update to this story that the actions of Galvin and Reardon, who both have clear UKIP sympathies, represent “a colossal conflict of interest” which “goes beyond any kind of politics to the very deepest, darkest abuses of our capital's major police force against a private citizen”.

While the investigations into the abuses of these officers are ongoing, more light must be shed on several aspects of this worrying string of abuses. The rapid gains of the extreme right across Europe have coincided with an increase in the influence of fascist sympathies amongst police forces. The most chilling example is in Greece where senior police figures have raised concerns that the neo-nazi Golden Dawn has infiltrated the police and turns a blind eye to “pockets of fascism”. Given that the police have suffered numerous blows to their credibility of late, such as the fabrication of a quote that led to the dismissal of a government minister and last year's revelation that undercover cops had stolen the birth certificates of dead infants and fathered children with activists they spied on, the onus must be on them to reassure a skeptical British public that the co-opting of state power by political extremists will not be tolerated or ignored any longer.

Finally, it is worth celebrating the bravery of Jasra Badzak in the face of three years of, at the very least, gross neglect and constant harassment by the Metropolitan Police. Had she chosen not to withstand the barrage of constant bullying, the stress of which has given her a serious heart condition, these questions about the safeguarding of freedom of speech would not now be in the public domain.



Lawrence Richards (@richardsl89) November 9, 2014