An excellent article in today's Telegraph by the assiduous Andrew Gilligan on the subject of 'our boys and girls in blue'. He makes a strong case for believing that a large percentage of them constitute the biggest collection of villains outside of Pentonville!
England has 39 police forces, headed by 39 chief constables or commissioners.
In the past 18 months, seven have been sacked for misconduct, suspended, placed
under criminal or disciplinary investigation or forced to resign. That is not
far off a fifth of the total.
In the same period, at least eight deputy or assistant chief constables have
also been placed under ongoing investigation, suspended or forced out for
reasons of alleged misconduct. No fewer than 11 English police forces – just
under 30 per cent – have had one or more of their top leaders under a cloud.
If the head of our constabulary has rotted to that extent then how much decomposition has gnawed away at the main body? Quite a lot, apparently:
At lower ranks, in the three years to April 2011 – that is, even before
“Hackgate” broke – there was a 55 per cent rise in referrals to the IPCC for
corruption, from 215 cases to 333. And in a decade, the overall number of
complaints made each year against the police has roughly doubled – from 15,248
to 30,143 – though there has been a decline in the last two years.
Even before the shocking possibility opened up by “Plebgate”, the police have
been plagued by scandal and incompetence. We now learn that one of the reasons
why the Metropolitan Police did nothing about the systematic criminality of the
News of the World was because some officers were in the paper’s pocket, or even
on its payroll.
Of course, much of this simply passes either over our heads or beneath our noses but sometimes police behaviour is rammed into our faces and becomes impossible to ignore. Such an example occurred at the London riots when the Metropolitan Police Force simply stood by and watched as they lost control of the streets they are paid - very well paid - to protect. According to one of Gilligan's sources I am not alone in suspecting that part of the motive behind the dilatory inaction of the Met was to let their political masters know how much they were suffering with so-called 'savage' cuts in man-power.
Well, bad behaviour by policemen is not new but as Gilligan points out, and as Charles Moore confirms in his commentary on the 'Pleb-gate' row over Andrew Mitchell, the former Chief Whip, the idea is growing that our police forces have become politicised and are determined to do anything to assist in the denigration of our democratically-elected government including outright lying. Time, perhaps, for 'Dave' to strengthen the hands of our newly-elected Police Commissioners and give some of these Police Chiefs a bit of a kicking - to say nothing of the increasingly militant Police union. But that, of course, would take guts - 'say no more, move along, nothing to see 'ere!'