The confirmation of massive police corruption and dishonesty relating to the Hillsborough disaster has sadly but unambiguously confirmed what TheOpinionSite.org has been saying for years: British police officers can never be trusted.
It is not only the scale of the corruption engaged within the South Yorkshire force that has shocked the public; not even the fact that the then officer in charge, Sir Norman Bettison has gone on to an illustrious career with West Yorkshire Constabulary or that he tried to smear the High Court judge who led the original Hillsborough inquiry in 1989.
It is not even the fact that the West Midlands police that investigated the South Yorkshire force gave that force a clean bill of health over Hillsborough, despite knowing full well that officers were lying and altering evidence in order to protect themselves.
It is not even the fact that the police themselves doctored and edited more than 100 statements of evidence in order to blame fans and exonerate officers, sickening though that is.
What has dragged Britain’s police to the gutter is the fact that for 23 years, police officers who knew that their colleagues were at fault said nothing and the criminals wearing police uniforms who thought they had got away with it were prepared to do anything necessary to hide the truth, safe in the knowledge that neither the government, MPs or the press would ever speak out against “Britain’s wonderful police”.
With politicians and police officers, civil servants and even the Sun newspaper queuing up to say “sorry” after having forced untold misery upon Hillsborough survivors and relatives of those who died, this week the airwaves have been full of putrid, verbal vomit issuing forth from the mouths of those who were involved.
Finally, the deceit was confirmed on Wednesday, even though most British people were already fairly convinced that gross police dishonesty and corruption had taken place 23 years ago and every day since.
The nauseating and ever arrogant Kelvin Mackenzie, the former editor of the Sun who published the headline, “The Truth”, finally admitted he would have been better off using the word ‘lie’ instead. This nauseating man has no excuse though as even the reporter who originally covered the story told Mackenzie at the time that the headline was wrong and should not be used.
The principal source for the story, a former right-wing, wealthy Conservative MP, Sir Irvine Patrick also tried to squirm his way out of trouble by claiming that he had been given “wholly inaccurate” information by the police. TheOpinionSite.org suggests that he should have kept his mouth shut instead of trying to cash in on the then fashionable view that all football fans and young people were thugs; a view still held by many Conservatives today.
For all their statements of ‘remorse’ – if one can call it that – the real truth in all this is still not being discussed openly because for many, the truth is too terrible to contemplate:
That truth is that British police are and have always been corrupt and that successive governments have made it easier for them to act dishonestly by giving officers excessive powers which are open to varying interpretation exercised under what is hypocritically termed, “Professional Judgement”.
The former Home Secretary, Jack Straw was criticised by Thatcher supporters for saying that Margaret Thatcher had to keep the police on the side of the government because it was necessary for the police to deal with the miners, who were in revolt against the government, in a “partisan” manner; the very manner in which police should never act.
As TheOpinionSite.org has pointed out before, the dishonesty and deceit went right to the top of government at the time of Hillsborough and still does to this day. The present Home Secretary, Theresa May and her recent predecessors have given even more draconian powers to policemen in an attempt to thwart judges and to prevent justice being administered in our evidence-based courts instead of in the local police station by often biased police officers.
The proof is that everyone in government for the last 23 years knew that the police were corrupt; ministers and MPs knew that by giving police more powers, government was less likely to be blamed when things went wrong; they were all praying that the truth would never come out.
Don’t listen either to those senior police officers and politicians who tell us, “Things are very different now.”
The only thing that is different is that Britain’s police today have even more excessive power than they had before and even greater opportunities to misuse that power.
The evidence for ongoing police corruption is clear and plentiful:
Hillsborough, the Leveson Inquiry, failed phone-hacking investigations, revelations that the tabloid press and the police are feeding off each other, ‘lost’ police evidence leading to the collapse of major trials involving former officers, arrests of policemen for everything from Class A drug distribution to downloading child porn, misuse of the Police National Computer, false arrests, failure to submit to questioning by coroners in ‘suspicious’ or ‘death in custody’ cases…the list goes on and on and on.
Britain’s police cannot be – and yes, let’s say it – should never be trusted again. There will always be the risk that they will behave as though they were ‘above the Law’, just as they have done in the past. It is today just too easy for them to break the law, lie, fabricate evidence and ‘fit people up’ as has always been suspected but is now proven.
The same thinking can be applied to the agencies that associate most with the police; prisons, the Probation Service and the highly secretive and unaccountable MAPPA system. They are also just as dishonest and corrupt as Britain’s police forces, as the thousands of people who have suffered at the hands of these agencies would testify if only they had the chance to do so and were not scared out of their wits to take the stand.
The late Lord Denning made it clear that in his opinion, the police always tell the truth. We now have absolute proof that in reality, they often lie through their teeth.
After Denning’s death, the second appeal of the Birmingham Six succeeded but only after the bigoted and frankly rather naive old man was dead and buried.
In 1980, Lord Denning refused the first appeal of the Birmingham Six, giving as one of his reasons:
“If they won, it would mean that the police were guilty of perjury; that they were guilty of violence and threats; that the confessions were involuntary and improperly admitted in evidence; and that the convictions were erroneous – – -. That was such an appalling vista that every sensible person would say, ‘It cannot be right that these actions should go any further’.”
Unfortunately, everything that Denning was afraid to admit has now been proved to be true. The British police are corrupt, have always been corrupt and, in the view of many ordinary members of the public, lawyers and even some judges, are always likely to be corrupt.
The same applies to the Probation Service and associated agencies.
For example, it is absurd and unjust that an often inexperienced probation officer should be advising a judge on the sentence to be handed down to an offender by means of a highly subjective Pre-Sentence Report. The sentence is for the judge to decide; it should have nothing whatsoever to do with the probation officer or the probation officer’s opinionated and usually career-advancing views.
Hillsborough and the revelations relating to the tragedy – a tragedy that may have been avoided – have scared today’s government into making an apology, though what use that is exactly is open to question.
TheOpinionSite.org believes that what is really necessary is for police officers, especially senior police officers, to be stripped of many of the legal and decision making powers that they have, that such powers should be returned to the hands of unbiased judges and that policemen should do what they are supposed to do: to collect evidence and to uphold – but not make or force the creation of – the laws of the land.
The sad truth is that with the ‘tribal’ mentality that exists in the UK’s police forces, even were an officer want to come forward to tell the truth about a colleague, he would be too afraid to do so; afraid of losing his job, his pension and possibly even being ‘fitted-up’ himself.
Whatever opinion one may have previously held, if we are to judge on the evidence that we now have, both old and new that the police are corrupt from the very top to the very bottom, it is simply not reasonable to believe or even to hope that Britain’s police officers can ever be trusted ever again.
TheOpinionSite.org makes no apology for saying, “We told you so” for the sad fact is, we did.
(The Hillsborough Report is available at http://hillsborough.independent.gov.uk/repository/report/HIP_report.pdf and you can discuss this topic further by joining our Forum)