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Norfolk Police speak

Climate Change Dispatch has extracted a statement on the progress of Norfolk Constabulary's investigation into the Climategate:

Following the publication of e-mails and other data prior to the COP15 Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009, the Norfolk Constabulary investigation into the data breach at the University of East Anglia continues.

With the many different lines of enquiry that officers identified, the workload has varied with specialist investigators/law enforcement partners used when needed.

Commenting on the investigation, Senior Investigating Officer (SIO), Detective Superintendent Julian Gregory said:

“This has been a complex investigation, undertaken in a global context and requiring detailed and time consuming lines of enquiry. Due to the sensitivity of the investigation it has not been possible to share details of enquiries with the media and the public and it would be inappropriate for us to comment any further at this time.”

Note to Editors:
It is acknowledged that interest in this case continues, given that the enquiry has now been running for approximately a year and that there is a desire for us to publish further detail. However, the circumstances of the case do not lend themselves to public comment at this time due to the sensitivities of the investigation and this is unlikely to change in the near future.”

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Reader Comments (137)

I smell a "cop out" approaching at beat-walking speed...
'afternoon, all....

Dec 24, 2010 at 12:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterNatsman

Norfolk Police speak... With fork tongue... out of two faces

Dec 24, 2010 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrosty

We have had investigations in the US of what seemed to be isolated "incidents" which continued for years before indictments came down. What took the time was ascertaining who "all" of the miscreants were and contriving the evidence needed to prosecute.

So it could be that.

Dec 24, 2010 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

Still preparing the evidence...

Dec 24, 2010 at 12:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

I presume the pro AGW community is also interested in the progress of this investigation though I have seen no evidence that they ever ask.

Dec 24, 2010 at 12:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed

In The Guardian in November, Prof Mike Hulme of UEA said this...

"One year ago tomorrow more than a thousand emails between scientists in the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia and their international colleagues were uploaded, unauthorised, on to a Russian FTP server. The story immediately went viral online, with lurid accusations of deception and illegality, and was soon picked up by the mainstream media".

Note the words used "uploaded" "unauthorised" etc. My initial reaction was that this was no hack. Someone on the inside did this and Inspector Knacker's prevarication is a smoke screen. They are probably working hand in hand with UEA to let this die a slow death.

Just a would be interesting to see if any employees had left the CRU in the months after climategate ? That might provide some answers.

Dec 24, 2010 at 12:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterMactheknife

It could also be (And I'd put £100 on it) that they've discovered no/nil/zero evidence of external interference.

The inference being that it was an inside job, meaning a thorough audit of who had access , interviews, collation of statements, re-interviews, increased media interest, increased discussion of the actual contents of the stuff that found it's way to the outside world and ... and...

I can tell you from direct personal experience where I had a team of detectives with their "tails up" who intended arresting senior managers in a several large mobile phone network providers for handling stolen goods (and trousered in excess of £12million a year out of it) .

The project was submitted for operational approval but was binned at superintendent level as it was deemed "too political". A months's work for 2 DCs and a DS down the toilet.

Kick it under the carpet, c'mon people, move along - nothing too see here.

Dec 24, 2010 at 1:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom

Mr Plod must be costing someone a fortune.

Dec 24, 2010 at 1:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

I'd suggest that it hasn't been worked on for months. The money's ahem.. been spent and the documents are on their computers....

FoI and timesheets vs job numbers anyone?

Given that most forces are whining that they're spending a fortune documenting what they do....

Go on, tug at the thread - soo many things to do with UEA have a habit of let's say, unravelling.

Dec 24, 2010 at 1:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom

All this is PlodSpeak for

'F..k knows..we haven't a bloody clue. But that nice Professor Acton told us that it wasn't an inside job, so it must be outside somewhere. We didn't find any footprints in the flowerbeds so me, Tom Barnaby and Hercule P are all a wee bit baffled. Once we find out how to switch on the computermabob we might start getting somewhere. Evening All'';

Dec 24, 2010 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder


That would have been a 'mulled wine over keyboard' moment if I'd been holding it...

Reminds me that Paul Jennings (one-time Observer columnist) invented the idea of place-names as words in the dictionary long before John Lloyd and Douglas Adams. 'Dunstable' was a stupid policeman... :-)

Dec 24, 2010 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

In other words, "we don't know who it was".

Dec 24, 2010 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobinson

Just in case you haven't already read it, Jo Nova has recently posted an illuminating piece on this issue.

A fascinating and very readable insight into the world of computer hackers.

Dec 24, 2010 at 1:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaulH from Scotland

Latimer Alder at 1:23 PM

granted, but if that were the case it would have petered out sooner.

In my case I had to go top down via a Chief Constable to Jack Straw (of all people!) to get even a partial result.

Even if what you suggest is the essence of what happened - I doubt I'm alone in wanting to have more detail, a lot more detail.

"the circumstances of the case do not lend themselves to public comment at this time due to the sensitivities of the investigation"

And what pray, Norfolk Constabulary does that mean apart from "we've been told to bin it and shut up"


Dec 24, 2010 at 1:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom

ooh - err here's a thought... how secure are Norfolk Constabularie's 'pooters?

Dec 24, 2010 at 1:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom

And don't forget, just at present, they've got Julian to keep an eye on:
'Norfolk Police would not discuss whether police would be posted around Ellingham Hall for Mr Assange's protection and to check on his whereabouts, but it did confirm that an officer would be available on 26, 27 and 28 December and 1 and 3 January, when Beccles' police station would be shut.'
From The Independent

Dec 24, 2010 at 1:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterQuercus

There are a number of possible scenarios.

1) It could have been someone within the organization, in that scenario we would consider the person a whistleblower or leaker, and the emails as leaked.

2) Another scenario is that their email and other information lay on a server that was attached to the internet and that supported anonymous FTP access. If that was the case, then the data is truly public domain and someone could have stumbled on it accidently, copied it, and placed it on another public server without any crime being committed.

3) It is possible that these guys passed around a lot of emails that had passwords in them and someone got a hold of one of these emails legally and used the password to access non-public domain data and post that data in the public domain. I don’t know if this is a crime.

4) Finally, someone could have guessed or cracked a password, or hacked their way into the system, and copied non-public domain information and then placed it in the public domain. This would be considered hacked or stolen emails and, quite frankly, I find the least likely of the scenarios.

Dec 24, 2010 at 1:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterRedbone

the circumstances of the case do not lend themselves to public comment


The 'circumstances', therefore, must be embarrassing.

The person/s responsible for the leak was able to hack/log into Realclimate - if we believe Gavin.

Dec 24, 2010 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

He may be "Detective Superintendent Julian Gregory" to you, he may be "Super" to the men he leads (who worship him), but to me he'll always be my little Julian, the little boy who loved playing with his little toy lorries and dollies.

Dec 24, 2010 at 1:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterJulian's Mum

We should remember that the police investigation was used as an excuse for the Russell enquiry not see or investigate the unpublished emails on the CRU computers. If there is something to hide, then we may assume that the police investigation will continue ad infinitum to preclude further scrutiny.

An annual enquiry on progress seems to be in order.

Dec 24, 2010 at 2:32 PM | Unregistered Commenteroldtimer

What's this 'sensitivity of the investigation' shit? Sensitive to who? If they're trying to find who blew the whistle on what should be public information in the first place then there is nothing sensitive. More plod-speak for not telling you the truth. "not lend themselves to public comment' is another cover-all mean-nothing political non statement made by an arse covering lier on the payroll.

But I so hate bureaucrats...

Dec 24, 2010 at 2:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterLeo

"We should remember that the police investigation was used as an excuse for the Russell enquiry not see or investigate the unpublished emails on the CRU computers. If there is something to hide, then we may assume that the police investigation will continue ad infinitum to preclude further scrutiny."

Perhaps the Police will never release the server(s) , but they are presumably still in possession of the totality of the CRU email archive. Should''t there be FoI requests in place to await the return of this gold mine to UAE. After all we know that Acton has promised to ensure that FoI requests will be treated correctly in future.

Dec 24, 2010 at 3:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterAJC

Where is Julian Assange when we need him?

Dec 24, 2010 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

I wonder when the Met/Cru are going to "leak" their November anomaly, not normally slow at coming forward, but I can't find an announcement.

There is a number 0.431C on the web site:-

"Halfway down the page there is a link on “monthly data”"

The monthly data used to make this diagram are available in this format.

However it does not seem to correlate with their annual data, similar link on “annual data”. The monthly data does not add up to the annual? Maybe I am getting something wrong.

"The annual data used to make this diagram are available in this format".

Hey ho, time will tell.

Merry Xmas to all!

Dec 24, 2010 at 3:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreen Sand

In Nature's David Adam wrote (in November):

"Although the police and the university say only that the investigation is continuing, Nature understands that evidence has emerged effectively ruling out a leak from inside the CRU, as some have claimed." (here).

David Adam also said (here at the Bishop's, also in November):
"On the 'nature understands' thing about the CRU hack -- I understand that is annoying, but I was told something that has been discovered and clearly indicates an outside hack from a very reliable source, but to say what it was would almost certainly give them away. Is there still a public interest in reporting it? I think so " (here)

Given the police lack of comment above, could it be that someone at the CRU was David Adam's 'reliable source'?

PS. The Norfolk Police's motto is: Neither drink Norfolk. (sorry the temptation was too strong).

PPS. Here's the real sequence of events that Phil went through - from Eric at WUWT:
1) Pesky requests for emails
2) Desire to delete emails, but
3) Fear of losing something important, so
4) Gather emails into archive then delete local copies and
5) Claim the emails have been deleted, which is half true, but
6) Shocking to some decent staff member, who
7) Leaks the email archive

Dec 24, 2010 at 3:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

The release of the Climategate material was obviously as a result of a leak for reasons I've stated at my site.

The very last thing they want is to catch the leaker. Can you imagine the effect of putting them on trial? Day after day of juicy revelations and maybe a star witness against them should they ever be required to explain their expenditure of public money.


Dec 24, 2010 at 3:56 PM | Unregistered Commenterpointman

pointman's article ( easy link ) is worth a read.

One of the points he makes well is that there is no personal stuff at all in the emails - no invitations to the pub, no lawn mowers for sale, no bawdy comments. Nothing. Someone has cleaned them and only selected the ones that show wrongdoing.

Dec 24, 2010 at 4:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

Now, my reading of the Norfolk Plod press release is:

a) We're doing nothing because we know better than to look where we'd need to look to make progress.

b) We're going to keep the case open and claim it's active to keep anyone from nosing around in it too much, and so we can charge off the occasional travel item against it.

c) You can ask again every month if you like, for the rest of your natural life, now that we've got this press release drafted we'll just update the date and send you another copy.

Dec 24, 2010 at 4:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterJEM

"...prior to the COP15 Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen"

Hmm, seems odd to put this bit in the statement. Adding COP to the statement would lead many in the press to infer motive. I could imagine people writing stories that now say -- "... the timing of which has now been linked by authorities to the COP15 Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen". But I don't think Norfolk has any evidence that this was related to COP. So why did they put this in?

Dec 24, 2010 at 4:20 PM | Unregistered Commentermpaul

I just love " we have evidence that shows ..... but we can't reveal it."

Right, and perhaps you have Tower Bridge for sale as well?

Such tripe.

You should NEVER use anything but black on default off-white backgrounds when doing text you want people to read. Your &@#$& medium grey text on white gave me a headache. I am an old codger with thick glasses and a short fuse. Age I guess.

Having suffered through your thesis with eye strain, I tend to agree, but it was a programmer for sure who did it. Perhaps not Harry, but I would bet a fiver on it anyhow. As you point out, the file was collected and edited for impact. Not a random drive-by hack and by someone who knew where to look.

Dec 24, 2010 at 4:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Hi Don,

They can't spot the irony in this statement either. The whole problem with climatology is the refusal to share data or methods. Then this ridiculous statement that they have some hidden evidence about this "crime" - but they can't share it.

Merry Christmas to everyone.

Dec 24, 2010 at 5:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

apologies for being O/T and if this has been highlighted already - out of curiousity I recently signed up to the Campaign against Climate Change's 'Sceptic blog alert' intended presumably to ensure you get a flood of dedicated alarmists. Out of the several emails I have received from them, they appear to single you out above all others for their special attentions for some reason.

Dec 24, 2010 at 5:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterKatabasis

Pointman reckons there are two whistleblowers. I presume one climate scientist who knows the "science" is no such thing, and one IT whiz permissioned to grab the goodies and competent to hide the trail.

I further speculate they are both still there. The CAGW establishment has been keen to dismiss the contents of the emails as not meaning what they obviously do mean. if it emerged that this opinion was not shared by someone who received them at the time, it undermines CRU again.

Dec 24, 2010 at 5:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

I guess the next step is to approch the IPCC.........thats the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Dec 24, 2010 at 5:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

I believe the most likely culprit is ... Phil Jones. He had full access to hs own files. It would certainly explain the following which happened soon after his emails were leaked. Any intelligent human being would see a major sceptic in the following interview, whatever he says now.


The BBC's environment analyst Roger Harrabin put questions to Professor Jones, including several gathered from climate sceptics. The questions were put to Professor Jones with the co-operation of UEA's press office.

Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming

Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

C - Do you agree that from January 2002 to the present there has been statistically significant global cooling?

No. This period is even shorter than 1995-2009. The trend this time is negative (-0.12C per decade), but this trend is not statistically significant.

Do you agree that according to the global temperature record used by the IPCC, the rates of global warming from 1860-1880, 1910-1940 and 1975-1998 were identical?

An initial point to make is that in the responses to these questions I've assumed that when you talk about the global temperature record, you mean the record that combines the estimates from land regions with those from the marine regions of the world. CRU produces the land component, with the Met Office Hadley Centre producing the marine component.

Temperature data for the period 1860-1880 are more uncertain, because of sparser coverage, than for later periods in the 20th Century. The 1860-1880 period is also only 21 years in length. As for the two periods 1910-40 and 1975-1998 the warming rates are not statistically significantly different (see numbers below).

I have also included the trend over the period 1975 to 2009, which has a very similar trend to the period 1975-1998.

So, in answer to the question, the warming rates for all 4 periods are similar and not statistically significantly different from each other.

Dec 24, 2010 at 5:17 PM | Unregistered Commentere smith

Strange how often Plod in other cases spills the beans to the papers, so much so they are often outside ready to take photos when the door is bust, but they seem very shy on this one. Remember all the leaks on the cash for questions case (though in that case No10 must have been responsible for some and No11 for others as Brown was out for Blair)

Dec 24, 2010 at 5:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterBreath of fresh air

e smith

No, I doubt it was Jones. Here he is just being held to the facts, which - unsurprisingly - tone down the alarmism rather a lot.

Let's not forget that the consequences of CGate nearly cost Jones his job, and his academic reputation (which may not be exactly intact as a result even though he got a promotion out of the affair).

Yes, you could argue unintended consequences, but I suspect that Jones, who has spent decades trying to convince the world that the warming is indeed the signal of AGW, is no sceptic.

Dec 24, 2010 at 5:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

I have heard about being ecconomical with the truth but they seem to have taken a further step by being ecconomical with untruths.

Dec 24, 2010 at 5:45 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

Seems pretty clear - they know it was a leak not a hack, but they dont want to say so, as that would embarrass UEA.

Dec 24, 2010 at 5:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaulM


The difference between you and me is that you view Jones primarily as a scientist with an opinion, wheras I view him as a Ministry of Defence employee who does what he is told. Like any other employee these days. The fact that he plotted with Mann and others doesn't auomatically imply he believed in what he was doing.

I was a lecturer who took voluntary redundancy. All my colleagues would have left at the same time if they could have afforded it. The three top layers of management had left previously. They all smilingly did what they were told (they lied) before they left. A few years before, the chance to retire at 50 was offered. There was an unholy stampede for the exit.

Dec 24, 2010 at 5:53 PM | Unregistered Commentere smith

I imagine that, if the emails and other files were released by someone with authorised access to them, such as a UEA member of staff, or even a student with a valid logon that happened to give access to FOIA2009, then no law would have been broken - at most it would be a disciplinary matter within UEA.

Dec 24, 2010 at 5:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin

May I take this opportunity to wish whoever was responsible for the publication of the CRU emails a very merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Dec 24, 2010 at 5:55 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

So Norfolk's Finest turn out to be turkeys after all.

Dec 24, 2010 at 6:01 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

Sensitivity eh? Sensitivity not likely to change in the near future at that. And why mention the timing as being before COP-15? Surely irrelevant unless they've been breathed on to tread carefully.

Are they seriously saying that a year isn't enough to bring an investigation of this sort to a conclusion?

I think it's sensitive for the police in that they've found things out they don't want to make public and the easiest thing is to spin the investigation out so that it's either forgotten, or other events make it irrelevant.

Dec 24, 2010 at 6:03 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

I still believe it is not in UEA's best interest to find the "culprit" if it was an inside job. May I also take this opportunity to wish the "culprit" a very happy christmas and new year

Dec 24, 2010 at 6:08 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

e smith observes:

The difference between you and me is that you view Jones primarily as a scientist with an opinion, wheras I view him as a Ministry of Defence employee who does what he is told. Like any other employee these days. The fact that he plotted with Mann and others doesn't auomatically imply he believed in what he was doing.

Why then, when the powers that be started investigating, did not Jones speak out? Blow the whistle on them all?

He would have been a hero, and he's almost at retirement age - quite a bit of upside for him when you think about it.

I certainly take your point, but I still don't think that it was the prof. wot dunnit.

Nor do I believe that he is a closet sceptic - he says in one of those emails something like 'I almost wish the world would warm up to prove the science correct. But that's being selfish, not scientific.' (This is a paraphrase from memory, but close enough - apologies for the lack of link but I simply cannot find it).

Dec 24, 2010 at 6:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Jack Hughes

As I said earlier, where is Julian Assange when we do need him? I wonder if this isn't the reason why they busted him for the Swedes. I can see it now, "Look, Julian, cough up the Norfork Police files or off you go to Washington."

Your point, as usual, is right on.

Dec 24, 2010 at 6:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

@Don Pablo - you can copy and paste web page content to a blank Word / Notepad document for that traditional black on white look.

Dec 24, 2010 at 7:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterwoodentop

It's worthwhile noting the first comment at Climate Change Dispatch.

Southend Viking recalls that the people leading the investigation are the National Domestic Extremism Team (NDET). That is useful if you wish a white wash, because NDET are a wholly owned subsidiary of ACPO Ltd. ACPO Ltd is a company limited by guarantee, and thus answerable only to its members who are the senior police officers responsible for implementing ACPO Ltd's policy instructions. Because ACPO Ltd is incorporated as a company, it is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, as are its subsidiaries.

Dec 24, 2010 at 7:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterYokel

Detective Superintendent Gregory knows that this AGW business is so highly political that the consequences of coming down on the wrong side far exceed the benefit (to the police) of putting the darbies on the culprit (hero). "We are pursuing the matter, but what's the harm if the dust settles a bit before we're done, eh, Guv? Why, none at all!" Who said policemen aren't intelligent?

Gregory is certainly smarter than commenters who play Sherlock Holmes and speculate on who the hero is. Consider the consequences. The AGW canard involves billions of euros and I suspect powerful people were most displeased to see their expensively crafted hoax exposed. I don't want to know who did it, and if you have a single grey cell, you'll follow the lead of the circumspect Detective Superintendent Julian Gregory and stay mum for now.

So a Merry Christmas to all and to DS Gregory and his quarry. Long may he remain afoot!

Dec 24, 2010 at 7:54 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

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