The Truth Has A Habit Of Emerging When Least Convenient

I was sitting in Angry Towers this morning mulling over recent events and it occurred to me that one of the biggest problems we have at the moment is TRUTH.

I most certainly don’t have a problem with truth at all, in fact I frequently urge that the truth be told, as in the ongoing #Crimestats disgrace.  The problem with the truth is that it refuses to be buried, it keeps on popping it’s head up shouting “I’m over here” at the most inconvenient times. If you’re really unlucky it will leap up and bite yer bum.

In the past few months and years we have had several instances of the truth getting in the way of a good story.

Crimestats – I won’t bore you too much with that, it’s still current, but even Bernie Hogan-Who admitted that there was a truth to James Patrick’s revelations and that it needed to be heard.  It needed to be heard so much that, instead of making James part of the Working Party studying and rectifying the problem, they forced him out of his chosen career. I for one want to hear the TRUE situation with Crime Figures, not a manipulated version to suit the bonus culture which seems to have crept in to some senior officers careers.

Interestingly I refound this:- Tom Winsor (NEVER a Police Officer), who  is leading an inquiry into crime statistics, told the HASC committee he was in no doubt it would uncover “some fiddling of the figures”.  Lord Stevens (previous Met Commissioner) said “fiddling of figures” has been going on since he joined the police. A slight difference there.

The Lawrence & Morgan enquiries– the truth that at least one corrupt officer may have compromised one or both of these murder investigations making it difficult or impossible to secure a just conviction.

The Blakelock Investigation – His murder was followed by three extraordinary police investigations. The first, headed by Det Chief Supt Graham Melvin, resulted in the prosecution of three youths, and three men. But the tactics were described in court as having more in “common with a witch-hunt of the 17th century than an orthodox attempt to solve a murder” after youths were questioned without legal representatives.

Without forensic evidence or CCTV pictures, it relied on confessions and witness statements. “You ain’t got enough evidence,” one of the accused and the alleged ringleader, Winston Silcott, was alleged to have told the senior officer during an interview. “Those kids will never go to court. You wait and see. No one else will talk to you. You can’t keep me away from them.”

Silcott, Mark Braithwaite and Engin Raghip were convicted of murder but scientific tests later revealed that the notes from the key interview with Mr Silcott – which were not routinely recorded – had been tampered with. Based on the findings, the so-called “Tottenham Three” were cleared in 1991, reigniting feelings of resentment and mistrust between the police and the black community.

A second innovative murder inquiry, headed by Commander Perry Nove from an outside force the following year, offered lifetime immunity to witnesses who were “kickers” in the attack rather than “stabbers” if they cooperated with police. But  the Nove inquiry did not lead to anyone being charged over the killing on the advice of a senior barrister. The inquiry ended when Det Chief Supt Melvin and another senior investigator, Det Insp Maxwell Dingle, were put on trial for allegedly tampering with a witness statement. They were cleared by a jury.

Hillsborough – an independent panel laid bare a cover-up which attempted to shift the blame for the tragedy onto its victims. It revealed operational failures as well as the fact that the victims were not exceptionally drunk, as was originally suggested, and around half could have survived.

The list goes on and on, I am not going to document them all here.  What screams out loud and clear is this;

There are laws and procedures for dealing with all investigations on every scale.  If they are followed, you may not get the result you are after, but the truth will not pop up and bite you in the arse when you are least expecting it.  Let truth be your friend, let it work FOR you, not AGAINST you.

integrity non negotiable

Honesty and Integrity

Just a few words today, a few words to mark the passing of the incredible HUHNE saga.

TEN years it took him to admit his guilt, not 2/3 like he would have us believe.  Ten whole years of lying to everyone, and for what?  To save his sorry arse from a driving ban.  My parents brought me up knowing right from wrong.  Knowing that the consequences of getting caught lying would be far worse than the original ‘crime’.  I’m sure that most, if not all, of you were brought up just the same.  I can’t say I ALWAYS took notice of that, but I ignored it at my peril.

Well Chris Huhne ignored it at his peril and I hope he likes porridge, in more ways than one.  Not just a breakfast cereal Mr Huhne.  I like the way he had the integrity to do the honourable thing and immediately resign his seat in the Commons.  No, really, I liked that, because it made me laugh.  He’s had TEN years to do the honourable thing and ignored it.  Whether by coercion or not he got his then wife to take his penalty points, to save his sorry arse.  Next he subjected his son to an exchange of text messages which sadly have now become public.  Fortunately his son does not seem to have backed down and the support for his mother does him credit.  What’s honourable about that Mr Huhne?  Honesty?  Integrity?  You decide.

Honesty and Integrity – two qualities that really MUST exist in Police Officers and Politicians.  I’m not getting into the ‘cops are corrupt’ arguement here, I know that some of them are, I have always accepted that, and I’m fully behind any moves to root them out.  I don’t know if it still exists but when I was serving the Met had an Integrity Testing Unit whose function was to make targeted tests on officers’ and staff integrity, handing in some ‘Found Property’ and making sure that none of the cash was nicked, or testing the reaction to a racist comment  for example.  Some were very grand and complicated affairs, some very simple.  The point of my rambling is that we should be able to take Police Officers’ Integrity for granted, we should never have to doubt it.  Much has been made in the media about some very high profile alleged failings.  If wrong-doing has taken place, identify it, deal with it and move on quickly, restore some public confidence.  Do not cover it up, do not tell someone else to cover it up, bite the bullet and deal with it.  Don’t let it drag on for years.

The same standards should really apply to our politicians.  They, like the Police, are taken from our midst, albeit by a slightly different route.  They are elected, Police are not (unless you’re a PCC).  We come back to Vetting again.  Not only are politicians not routinely vetted, but some of them even seem to oppose the very idea of Vetting.  I don’t want my village bobby to be a criminal and I certainly don’t my politicians to be criminals, local or national.

Whatever standards we set for our Police Officers re Honesty and Integrity, the standards for Politicians should be AT LEAST as high, certainly no lower.

I’m sorry but I don’t subscribe to the idea that some of these MPs mistakenly misclaimed their expenses.  They are supposed to be intelligent people, they are supposed to understand the rules (ignorance is no excuse remember) and they are supposed to be able to get help if they fall at the first two fences.

The most important bit in my book is that THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE THE LAWS.  They are not just like you and me, subject to those laws, they make them, every last word.

If they can’t bloody understand them what chance do the rest of us stand?

I’ll wind up this rant by simply saying that if any of you Police Twitterati appeared on my doorstep asking for a sofa for the night because you’d missed your last bus/train, you’d get one.  Not because I know you, because in most cases I don’t know you, but because of what you represent to me.  I’d even trust you with my bacon and eggs.

If the Right Hon Charlie Farnsworthy MP did the same he’d be told to sling his hook to one of his many houses because of what he represents TO ME.