LONDON (AP) — London's police force said Wednesday it is investigating "exceptionally serious" allegations that an officer fabricated claims against a government minister who was forced to resign over a run-in with police.
Andrew Mitchell quit as the government's chief whip after he was accused of swearing at officers who stopped him riding his bicycle through the Downing Street gates in September. Mitchell admitted swearing, but denied hurling the word "pleb" — an insulting term for working-class people — at the officers.
Last week a police officer from the diplomatic protection squad was arrested for alleged misconduct in public office. Channel 4 News has claimed the officer falsely pretended to be a member of the public who had witnessed the altercation.
The program also showed CCTV footage Tuesday that appeared to contradict the officer's claim that there were other witnesses.
The Metropolitan Police said Wednesday that "the allegation that a serving police officer fabricated evidence is extremely serious."
"It goes to the very heart of the public's trust in the police service," the force said in a statement.
The statement said both the force and the police watchdog were investigating.
Mitchell resigned a month after the Downing St. altercation, but strongly denied using the word "pleb," which reinforced a perception of the governing Conservative Party as elitist and lacking empathy with the poor.
"I would never call someone a (expletive) pleb," Mitchell told Channel 4 news on Tuesday. "Anyone who knows me well would know that it is absolutely not in me to use phrases like that."