Freedom of Information requests have revealed that there are over 1,000 or more police officers and PCSOs who have a criminal record serving in Britain’s police forces. Some forces did not respond so the number may be even higher.
Obviously, not all police officers are bad but it has also been revealed that over the last 12 months 130 Metropolitan officers were allowed to resign rather than face disciplinary hearings, thus saving the police from potentially embarrassing revelations regarding corrupt officers. The excuse for this lack of accountability in some cases was the high cost involved in investigating the corruption or breaches of discipline.
43 officers were actually sacked over the same period. A police officer cannot normally be sacked unless they are guilty of gross misconduct.
According to the Home Office police force figures published in March 2011, the UK has over 137,000 police available for duty (excluding transport police). The Metropolitan police force has just under 32,000 police available for duty so, if one were to be kind, on that basis one may consider that some corruption is inevitable when there are so many police officers in the first place.
However, if you were sitting in jail for 10 years and then discovered that the officer that put you there was in fact himself corrupt, how would you feel then, particularly if he had been let off scot free and you had another 15 years to go?
If officers resign or even if they are sacked, their past arrest and investigation records are rarely reviewed. If there are no disciplinary proceedings against the officer, none of the facts are examined in any meaningful way – not officially anyway. Therefore, an officer that resigns is not investigated – and neither is their possible corruption of the law.
One police chief in the City of London force has said that it is simply too expensive to put officers through a disciplinary panel. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) previously said forces failed to respond to “far too many” complaints about officers.
Commander Peter Spindler, who heads the force’s directorate of professional standards, also said complaints about Met officers had fallen by 9% in a year “due to a lot of hard work”. The head of Scotland Yard standards said it was actually more practical to let some people quit. “It’s actually more pragmatic to let them resign”, Mr Spindler said.
One officer (what the Sun would call a ‘sex fiend’ if he were a member of the public) indecently assaulted a vulnerable teenager. Last month, two officers were dismissed for beating up three men after a car chase, and a trainee detective was sacked after sexually assaulting a vulnerable woman. A major trial of allegedly corrupt police officers costing millions collapsed after vital evidence was apparently ‘lost’ by the CPS and police.
Another anti-corruption detective, Ch Supt Richard Heselden said, “It’s cheaper and quicker to get them out of the force.”
So then, it is ok for the police and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to ‘bring to justice’ an old man who may or may not have indecently assaulted a teenager 40 years ago (can you honestly remember in detail what you were doing on a particular day that long ago?) but it is not ok to apply the same ‘principles of justice’ if the offence was committed by a serving police officer within the last 12 months.
One could be forgiven for thinking that perhaps there really is one law for the police and a completely separate penal code for the rest of us. It would seem that actually, if you are a policeman and you commit even a sexual crime, unless the force has absolutely no alternative to prosecute because the offence is already public, the officer concerned is likely to simply be allowed to resign or, in a worst case scenario, be sacked.
Were the perpetrator of that offence an ordinary member of the public however, the CPS and police would go to any lengths possible to prosecute, even if there was no real evidence and the offence allegedly took place 50 years ago.
TheOpinionSite.org has only recently written about police corruption following the report by Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabularies (HMIC) that showed that the public think that the police are corrupt (http://www.theopinionsite.org/report-by-hmic-shows-that-the-public-believe-police-are-corrupt). It is a sad thing indeed that we are now having to report the scandal of corrupt policemen being let off the hook and avoiding prison just in order to save money and embarrassment to the police.
Sadly, British police are among the most powerful in the world. ‘Sadly’ because it is the same kind of power that is prevalent in condemned police states around the world.
Police officers in Britain hate the Human Rights Act, they detest the Freedom of Information Act, are arrogant, dismissive of complaints against them and consider themselves to be above the law that they supposedly represent. Many are also apparently corrupt. That is the opinion of the public by the way, not just TheOpinionSite.org, although you will not find this site disagreeing with any of the sentiments expressed.
Why is this opinion amongst ordinary people so widespread and how have the police become the way that they are? TheOpinionSite.org believes it is because police officers are getting younger and younger and, like their counterparts in the Probation Service, are coming straight from school and university with no experience of real life whatsoever and with an attitude of ‘we have the power to screw your lives, so do as we say , or else’. They are completely career-minded, completely risk-averse and have no consideration for anyone other than themselves. Critically, they love the power as well.
The days of the mature, responsible bobby have long gone. Young officers nowadays can’t wait to get their hands on the latest tazer gun or sign up for firearms training. They have only two aims in life: arrest and bring to court, that’s it. The concept of truly ‘serving’ has been replaced with one of ‘ruling’ the public.
They have been given this damaging and obnoxious power by successive governments that don’t have the courage to make difficult, unpopular decisions themselves and prefer instead to delegate such decision making to what has become known as ‘the uniformed branch of government’, the police. The principle that the police should be separate from the Executive seems to have passed by those in power completely unseen and unheard.
Even David Cameron, our somewhat slippery prime minister has said that ‘People must obey the rules.’ He did not want to be drawn on whether or not the ‘rules’ were fair or just to those ‘people’.
It is unacceptable that a corrupt police officer with the power to destroy lives should be allowed to walk away without consequences when they are found out. It is certainly not acceptable that the politically ambitious and sanctimonious Home Secretary, Theresa May allows these actions to continue when she is fully aware of what is taking place; and if she is not aware, she should not be in office anyway.
The public cannot have respect or confidence for any officials that are corrupt, particularly when those same corrupt individuals have power over the rest of us. Nor are matters helped when the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police states that he ‘wants criminals to be afraid of the police’.
The truth that he and other officers conveniently miss again and again is that nobody is a criminal until lawfully convicted, they are not a criminal just because the police say or think that they are a criminal and, given the manner in which some ‘easy target’ prosecutions are pursued, the person concerned may be innocent anyway.
Margaret Thatcher once said that she was ‘shocked’ at how much hate there was towards the police from ordinary members of the public. Since she said that, the British police have acquired immensely more power than they had at that time and they abuse that power somewhere, against someone every day.
Many ordinary people feel that the police are greedy, overpaid, dishonest, power-drunk, arrogant and completely contemptible. It should be stated that there are of course some officers with integrity but they are seemingly becoming increasingly hard to find. Give a young police officer a tazer gun and he will fire it, whether it’s use is justified or not. Tell a detective about any alleged sexual offence and they will arrest, charge and if possible convict, even if there is no real evidence and the allegation relates to something that may or may not have happened a quarter of a century ago.
Policemen grab these types of opportunities whenever they can for one reason only; they are easy, take little effort and guarantee a result – even if it is sometimes the wrong one.
Find a corrupt officer though and the story is one of complacency, economics and face-saving. Our ‘wonderful’ police are, it would seem, sometimes no different to the people that they arrest other than the fact that one group carries a warrant card and a pair of handcuffs and the other does not.
Despite the fact that most people understandably want to trust the police, it is little wonder that the public have so little faith in them when the fact that so many officers have been found to be corrupt was only revealed after an act of parliament that police hate (the Freedom of Information Act) was invoked.
One may think that chief constables may have been better off putting aside their arrogance for once and being honest with the public about the cancer within their forces. To do so however would mean admitting that the police are not omnipotent, do make mistakes and frequently get everything wrong; something that they will never be prepared to admit, not with the amount of perverted power that is now is available to them.
Is there a solution? Certainly; just take some of their power away but, regrettably, that is something that the politicians will never do. In fact, as time goes on they will do exactly the opposite and give the police even more power than they have now. Politicians (and some police officlove creating fear in society as it gives them more power.
So much for democracy and a free society.