‘Psychic Detective’ Joe Power Rides Again (And He’s Still Not Psychic, And Still Not A Detective)


Last week I wrote about the Dyfed-Powys Police force and their investigation into the death of Carlos Assaf – an investigation which saw them spend £20k following up supposed tips from a so-called psychic. The affair, as well as causing outrage throughout the country, sparked something of a debate on the use of psychics within police investigations, which then played out across the various news outlets after the BBC’s Donal McIntyre investigated the claims of one particular medium – psychic detective (although not psychic and not a detective) Joe Power.

Regular readers, and regular listeners of me on various podcasts or just ranting tipsily in a pub in fact, will be familiar with Joe Power – he was the Liverpudlian supposed-psychic I met at a book signing way back in June. The meeting, as I’ve spoken about before, was somewhat surreal in it’s content – especially when Joe decided to go on a random and pretty vehement rant whereby he likened skeptics (and specifically my good self) to paedophiles. He’s wrong of course, which I guess shows in that particular case his psychic powers were proven to be bullshit. It was actually that very conversation that led to my becoming a host of a podcast, so I suppose I should thank Joe for that. Cheers, Joe. If anyone wants to read a full account of the encounter, they can check it out elsewhere on the blog – or simply Google Joe Power’s name followed by the word ‘skeptic’ or ‘paedophile’ (I’ll let you guys choose which, but I know which I’d prefer. There’s something satisfying about the idea of a load of people typing ‘Joe Power Paedophile’ into Google. A GoogleBomb, I think it’s called…)  Indeed typing ‘Joe Power’ into Google is a pretty popular way of finding this site – looking at the key words for accessing it, Joe-related phrases come in both 3rd and 5th. So again, cheers Joe.

So, with Joe proving himself to be a distasteful, angry and pretty disgusting man on a personal level (ask him anything about his powers and you’ll see what I mean), it’s a real surprise and a real shame the BBC and other news outlets took him fully at his word on his ability to solve crimes. In an article published on the BBC Online on the 22nd November, it was reported:

Joe Power is a psychic medium who has worked with several UK forces trying to solve tough cases. When asked if he has helped the police solve murders, there is no hesitation: “without a shadow of a doubt,” he says.

What’s more, the BBC report goes on to clarify one of the cases Joe was involved in:

Joe Power says that he was contacted by the Metropolitan Police, asking for assistance on a very high profile murder investigation.

“I got an e-mail from the Met police asking for assistance,” Joe Power insists, “I gave them some information that was coming through the murder victim and people on the other side. Without a doubt they followed up on it.”

In an initial statement, the Metropolitan Police denied Joe had any involvement in the case. However, the Donal MacIntyre programme has seen an e-mail which Mr Power claims was sent to his partner by an officer working on the case.

The officer writes, “can Joe or the victim assist with any landmarks that would assist in narrowing the search down?” Joe is also asked “what sort of vehicle does the killer use, is it a car or a bike? Can the victim be more specific to Joe as to what happened at 2.10?”

When approached for a second time about Joe Power’s involvement with the case, the Metropolitan Police issued a new statement, authorised by the senior investigating officer.

So, this is the email Joe talked about to me, I take it – the email he said proves the police wanted his help, but the email he feels he doesn’t have to show anyone in order to prove it’s real. The BBC article makes a real point of the Met initially denying his involvement until shown the email, and then coming clean that he was involved to a degree – they make it out like this is some kind of cover up, that the police don’t want to give the psychics any credit. But how about this for an alternative reading of the initial denial: the Met police didn’t know, they didn’t endorse it and they didn’t condone it. Instead – as Joe all but admitted to me in person and as his email seems to prove – he was contacted by an individual, not acting on behalf of the police, but who happened to be a police officer. Which is why the Met wouldn’t have known about it, and which is why Joe has been so reluctant to share the email and thus show it’s unofficial capacity.

Even if this email has indeed come from someone pretty senior (as Joe would like us to believe) that doesn’t mean it’s from an infallible source – if the case of Alan Power doesn’t illustrate that point (a police trainer sacked for teaching his belief in communicating with the dead as part of investigations) then the fact that the US Government employed soldiers to stare at goats in an attempt to kill them with their minds should. People are fallible; police are people.

What’s more, Joe has only shared the email from the police asking for help – so what? Where’s the email Joe replied with, answering the officer’s questions accurately? Where’s the evidence that Joe’s actions were not only picked up on, but were correct? Unsurprisingly, nothing is put forward in either case – a point the BBC and the Daily Telegraph apparently failed to see the importance of. Instead, the angle to the story is the scandal that the police are using psychics at all – the very fact that it IS a scandal should give Joe and other mediums a fairly good indication of the amount of stock people put in their word, but the mere oxygen of publicity is enough for people like Power. The Telegraph does, however, give us an indication of Joe’s amazing abilities:

In 2006, during the manhunt for the killer of Miss Bowman, who was stabbed to death near her home in Croydon, south London, Mr Power said he had been “visited” by the victim. In a newspaper interview he said he had a possible name for the killer of Stephan or Stephen White, and said that he could have been a delivery driver aged between 24 and 26. The Met would again not discuss whether or not Mr Power’s tips had been followed up. The killer was eventually caught through his DNA – Mark Dixie, 38, a chef, was found guilty of Miss Bowman’s murder last year.

I see – so that would be a complete fail then, Joe? Still, he was ‘helping’ the police by offering this insight. This completely 100% wild-goose-chase wrong insight. Some help.

Fortunately, in all this nonsense and confusion, there are still voices getting through with rational messages – the Donal McIntrye show interviews good old Richard Wiseman for his take on it, and his take was both clear and devastating to psychics. Essentially, he proposed we have to go down one of two routes:

  1. Allow police to follow up on psychic leads, waste as much time and resources as they like asking psychics for help. To do this, they have to allow anyone with any kind of magical theory on how to find criminals – including (Richard’s example) people who hear voices from magic pixies. I prefer goat entrail reading myself, but each to their own really.
  2. Only allow proven techniques that are scientifically valid, thus cutting out pixies, psychics, goat entrails and wasting police time.

I know which I favour. Still, Joe doesn’t agree, and sees omens of things to come in the future, as the BBC reports:

But Joe Power is in no doubt that he and others will continue to play a role in solving crime: “I predict that in the next 30 to 40 years you will actually get people like me who will find bodies, where there’s no question about it. The psychic world is moving on very fast and it’s getting more accurate with the information all the time.”

Well, Joe, it’s a good thing we know your predictions aren’t worth a dime.

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  1. #1 by Damian on December 2, 2009 - 12:49

    I think the police could make good use out of Joe Power. By making him come up with as many theories as he can, they can then explore EVERYTHING OTHER THAN those ideas, thus narrowing down their investigation. Worth a go, I reckon…

  2. #2 by Billy on January 16, 2011 - 02:48

    Paranormal stuff in this area’s supposedly thick on the ground if you listen to Tom Slemen-giant cats in Speke and all…

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