I see that a good night’s sleep has done nothing to quell the appetites of the Hang ‘em High Brigade. Armchair critics are having their say (as they are entitled to do) fuelled by some quite atrocious reporting by the BBC (not sure they’re quite so entitled to slant things the way they have). Just for once in his life Damian Green was trying to be reasonable and hold the middle line, pointing out that the vast majority of Police Officers are honest, hard-working people with the greatest integrity and the odious Charlie Stait was relentlessly trying to get him to say that the person who shredded some ‘evidence’ was corrupt. Apart from the fact that this person was probably an office junior doing the shredding for somebody else, the enquiry was only announced yesterday, so no conclusions can yet be drawn as to who was corrupt and who wasn’t. In fact he was pressuring him to admit that almost everybody he mentioned was corrupt. Then there was a female BBC reporter whose name is immediately forgettable who is already branding the Police Service of England and Wales as Institutionally Corrupt.
For the avoidance of doubt, as some people seem to be unable to understand what my position on this matter is, let me repeat it; Corruption is wrong. Corruption has no place in any civilised society, certainly not in the Police Service and NOT in Government either.
But before we can bring someone to book for their wrongdoings there has to existence sufficient EVIDENCE of the appropriate quality. If the evidence exists, then arrest, prosecute, convict and punish the offenders, you will hear no criticism of that from me. These are the standards that apply to everyone in this country, and I see no reason why they should be waived or lowered for Police Officers or Politicians. If you want to live in that sort of society look no further than North Korea and the miscarriages and abuses that regularly happen there.
The the straw on my camel’s back was seeing that Imelda May has announced plans to introduce a new offence of “police corruption” to overhaul the outdated law of “misconduct in public office”. Misconduct in Public Office seems to be well-used at the moment. Corruption is Corruption. Do we really need an offence of Police Corruption? What exactly is the difference? Misconduct in Public Office carries a maximum sentence of Life Imprisonment. Do we really need something else? It is an offence confined to those who are public office holders and is committed when the office holder acts (or fails to act) in a way that constitutes a breach of the duties of that office.
I apologise for my second blog on the same subject today. I had thought I’d got it out of my system but the BBC and others clearly think differently.
I’m now off for a walk in the sunshine whilst it lasts and to blow this sorry situation out of my head.
Right, had my walk, looked at the swans all graceful and serene. I had a thought. The Met has quite a good idea of how many of its officers are thought to be corrupt. I’m pretty sure most of the other Forces either have systems in place to count them or could bring in such systems.
In the spirit of transparency, in their Annual Reports, each Chief Constable, together with their PCC could publish these figures and, in broad terms, how they propose to deal with the problem. Without giving away any operational details of course.
It’s a bit like #crimestats. It’s a painful bullet to bite, but absolutely no point in pretending that the elephant isn’t in your lounge.
Why can’t we be honest, reveal the scale of the problem and deal with it? Is that too much to ask?
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