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Roger Buffham
Roger Buffham
Roger Buffham has years of security experience
Roger Buffham, 54, was Head of Security at The Jockey Club from 1992 until 2001. Before that he was an army bomb disposal officer, attached to military intelligence in Northern Ireland between 1977 and 1981.

He was awarded the MBE for military service and Mentioned in Despaches for bravery. He served at the British Embassy in Washington and has advised Cabinet Office committees on terrorism.

Following his army career, Buffham set up a business selling counter-terrorist equipment.

By the mid-nineties, Buffham had revamped the Jockey Club Security Department, installing CCTV cameras at every racecourse to beat the dopers, and recruiting former senior police officers and military men.

Hostile reaction

His Northern Ireland experience led him to establish a confidential phone-line, "Raceguard", and he built up a network of informers. In 1996 he ushered in a new "Fit and Proper Person" rule, which gave The Jockey Club wide powers to warn and expel errant trainers and jockeys from the sport.

But Buffham's reforms, and his instigation of a police inquiry into alleged race-fixing, which got nowhere, provoked a hostile reaction from the industry and the racing press.

At the same time, it was reported that Buffham's military equipment business was implicated in dealings with Dr Wouter Basson, a former military scientist in South Africa, knicknamed "Dr Death".

Basson stood accused of illegal experiments on, and the murder of, black opponents of apartheid. Basson was also about to stand trial accused of siphoning off South African government money.

Exonerated

Buffham's firm had supplied equipment to Basson and, when a second order was cancelled, returned over 1 million as instructed to a Swiss bank, after subtracting a commission for processing the failed order. It was alleged that this money had been stolen from the government by the South African.

However, at a later trial, Wouter Basson was acquitted. Long before that Buffham had been exonerated of any wrongdoing by the Serious Fraud Office in London.

In the summer of last year he was sacked by The Jockey Club over an alleged incident of sexual harassment involving a female colleague.

The incident dated back to 1993 and had not been reported for eight years. Even though the woman tried to withdraw her complaint and refused to give evidence at Buffham's internal disciplinary hearing (she was interviewed by the committee in private), he was found guilty and sacked.

Settled

His appeal against dismissal was immediately settled by the Jockey Club who paid him compensation.

The Lord Chancellor's Office subsequently reviewed the circumstances of Buffham's departure from The Jockey Club and concluded that he should remain on the Lincolnshire Bench as a magistrate.

Buffham's main criticisms of racing are that it is "institutionally corrupt" in that a culture of gamesmanship and cheating is uncontrolled; and that the Jockey Club are unsuitable regulators who lack "the moral courage and resolve" to deal with racing's ills.

He maintains there is a conflict of interests, since many Club members themselves participate in the sport and are imbued with its values.


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