Dozens of police officers are being allowed to keep their jobs despite being convicted of very serious offences.
Officers convicted for possession of Class A drugs, being caught drunk behind the wheel of a car and for leaking information held on the Police National Computer were all subject to disciplinary enquiries after being convicted and yet still retained their positions in the police force.
Those who are charged with upholding the law are seemingly able to violate it with impunity.
These latest facts are reported in the Sun newspaper and have been obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
However, TheOpinionSite.org must point out that this is not a new phenomenon and the practice of retaining convicted police officers has been going on for many years and shows no sign of being scrapped.
Figures released under Freedom of Information legislation as far back as 2009 showed that 432 officers were convicted across England and Wales between 2005 and 2008. Of these, 185 stayed in their posts. Offences that serving officers committed during that period included perverting the course of justice, kerb-crawling, posession of child pornography and assault.
Needless to say, the great and the good have been quick to condemn these practices although it is notable that no currently serving police officer has bothered to do so publicly. For example, ex Scotland Yard Commander John O’Connor said: “It is totally inappropriate that these officers have been allowed to stay in their jobs.” He may be saying that now but one can’t help wonder why he stayed so quiet whilst he was still employed.
Politicians to0 have remained silent when confronted by difficult questions regarded convicted but still serving policeman. The usual answer that one receives when putting such a question to an MP is that it is nothing whatsoever to do with him or her and that the matter should be referred directly to the police. Home Secretaries in particular are quick to pass the buck rather than give an honest answer.
It appears that policemen of all ranks are prepared to abuse their excessive power for their own ends.
Back in January of this year, we published an article relating to police corruption (http://theopinionsite.org/?p=660).
In March we showed how the police were using fear to try to force the government not to cut what some would regard as their excessive pay (http://theopinionsite.org/?p=964).
Back in December 2010 we exposed how Jim Gamble, the former head of the online task force CEOP was prepared to save himself rather than allow his personal empire to be destroyed under the latest government reforms (http://theopinionsite.org/?p=161).
These exposures are not about ‘police bashing but they are about exposing grossly hypocritical behaviour by those who have immense power over others yet are not afraid to abuse that power for their own purposes.
Nor are police officers the only ones who seem to be above the law. As many visitors to TheOpinionSite.org will attest, probation officers are just as bad and just as arrogant.
It was Lord Acton, the British historian, who said: “All power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Given the apparent and rampant abuse of power by policemen and those who grant them their powers, one cannot help but think that what we are seeing in Britain today is a pattern of ever increasing abuse of power by police forces across the land, the authorities responsible for them and ultimately, the politicians who decide on the criteria both for the prosecution of those in public office as well as the retention of positions of power granted to them.
It would seem that we now have a situation in this country where three public bodies in particular are protected from the trials and tribulations that affect the rest of us. The three bodies are the armed forces, the police and the fire service. Even in the latest row over public sector pensions, the three aforementioned organisations have all been granted special status.
Contentious though it may be, TheOpinionSite.org must question the reasons as to why the three bodies above should be set apart from everyone else.
Presumably, if somebody joins the Army they must expect at some point in their career to be shot at. Similarly, anyone who joins the police force should not be surprised when they end up dealing with violent criminals. It has to be a very naive person indeed who joins the fire service without expecting to find themselves fighting a dangerous fire at some point in their career.
The thing that seems to most annoy people about the police however – though this should not come as a surprise given the excessive power over the rest of us that officers now have – is the astounding arrogance that some of these policemen have, especially the younger ones who have had no experience of life.
In fact, they are now so arrogant that they believe they are above the law and, in some cases at least, the prosecuting authorities seem to agree with them.
Any policemen or probation officer will tell you that a criminal’s past behaviour is the best guide to his future conduct. This may or may not be true but it is the excuse that both parties use to shove people back inside at the slightest excuse. Why then does the same logic not extend to those in authority?
One of the cases reported by the Sun regards an officer caught in possession of Class A drugs yet who received only a caution. How is that officer ever to be trusted again on a drugs raid? How do we now know that any drugs recovered from the scene of a crime may not end up in his own pocket? How can he ever be trusted to uphold the law in the future?
This endemic arrogance of the police is further enhanced and supported by the attitudes of successive Home Secretaries who have been quick to pass what are essentially judicial decisions from judges to senior police officers instead.
Even with regard to such contentious issues as the ruling of the Supreme Court that sex offenders should have the right to appeal against their inclusion on the sex offenders register, the current Home Secretary,Theresa May has made it clear that the final decision will lie with the police rather than the courts.
Policeman will in effect be judge and jury regarding somebody’s liberty (breach of the notification requirements carries a five-year jail sentence) and furthermore, the individual affected by the decision will not be able to test the evidence used to make that decision as it will be kept secret. Nor will he be allowed to appeal the decision other than by Judicial Review which is often very hard to obtain.
Thus we have secret policeman making secret decisions based on secret evidence, all of which adds up to a fairly classic description of a police state.
And in case you are feeling sanctimonious or vindictive towards sex offenders, it is worth remembering that you are equally affected. The same process is used during any CRB check, decision makers often relying on hidden, secret ‘police intelligence’ which you may not know about or be allowed to see.
When TheOpinionSite.org published a controversial article regarding the threat of strike action by prison officers (http://theopinionsite.org/?p=1069), dozens of those working in the prison service took the trouble to comment on the article and to defend their case. Whilst we most certainly do not agree with most of the points of view put forward by the prison officers concerned, we do wholeheartedly respect them for putting that view forward.
In contrast, in the case of all the articles relating to police corruption and other police issues, not a single police officer has taken the trouble to put a comment on TheOpinionSite.org in defence of their own position.
One may therefore be forgiven for believing that the police are now so arrogant and consider themselves so far above the rest of us that they do not feel it necessary to defend their position at all as, thanks to successive governments giving them more and more power, policeman really are now above the law.
Of course, not all police officers are bad but regrettably it does seem that more and more of them are prepared to use their excessive power for their own ends whilst at the same time doing everything they possibly can to exploit others and making the lives of ordinary people as miserable as possible.
It is a fact that police officers are not employees; they are Crown Servants and as such cannot be sacked other than for a serious disciplinary offence.
If a policeman is caught drunk behind the wheel of the car, caught in possession of child pornography, is apprehended for possessing a Class A drug or for leaking confidential information from the Police National Computer, most people would describe that officer as having committed a serious disciplinary offence.
If that same officer is then convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced, regardless of what the sentence is, most people would believe that that officer should then be removed from the police force for good. The fact that some officers who have found themselves in precisely the situation outlined above are still being allowed to keep their jobs sends only one message to the rest of us:
Policeman and those in authority above them consider themselves to be above the law, are willing to exploit the law for their own ends and are content to take on powers best exercised by judges. Once the judiciary is excluded from the legal process, Britain is one step away from becoming a police state in all but name. Arrogant, overpaid and conceited police officers should not be allowed to get away with offences for which the rest of us would almost certainly end up in jail.
TheOpinionSite.org also wishes to make it clear that if any police officer disagrees with us, there is a comment box at the bottom of this page. We suggest they use it before they portray themselves as being so arrogant that they are now out of control.