Recent revelations regarding the murder 20 years ago of Stephen Lawrence have demonstrated further police corruption at the highest level, adding to the long list of dishonest activities by police officers who are supposedly there to uphold the law.
However, the reason for so much police corruption can be laid directly at the door of 10 Downing Street and government ministers who do not care about justice and are only interested in pursuing their own political ideals.
Theresa May and her posse of ministers, notably the policing minister, Damian Green have all said that they believe, “… The majority of police officers across the UK to a good job, often in difficult and dangerous circumstances.”
The personal experiences of individuals however tell a different story. Whatever ministers may believe, it is becoming increasingly apparent to TheOpinionSite.org and other interested organisations that an increasing number of the general public now distrust the police almost as a matter of course.
Given Hillsborough, the phone hacking scandal, Plebgate and numerous other incidences in which police officers have found to be lying (including cheating and misinforming those suspected of offences), one would be forgiven for believing that actually most police officers in Britain today are only interested in their own well-being.
A cynic might say that the need for career advancement and the power that their position gives them over their fellow citizens is almost bound to create the opportunity for police officers to become corrupt, should they wish to misuse their power and position.
Actually, one reason why so many police officers, many of whom go into the service with good intentions, give in to weakness and end up being nothing more than liars in uniform, has nothing to do with intended abuse of power or self-interest.
TheOpinionSite.org believes that one of the principal reasons for the inherent dishonesty that is now so prevalent in Britain’s police officers (not just in the Metropolitan Police but also in forces such as Cleveland – and there are plenty of others) is the fact that the police have become too involved in the prosecutorial process.
Although technically it is the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that is responsible for bringing forward prosecutions, it is the police who gather the evidence.
In today’s Britain, the police no longer gather evidence fairly.
Police frequently fail to disclose to defence counsel (as the Law requires them to do) evidence that could damage the prosecution case; hardly surprising given that it is the investigating officer in the case who is usually responsible for such disclosure being made.
Detectives, having decided that the suspect must be guilty (which is not the job of the police) often misinform, bluff and mislead suspects during interviews in the hope that the suspect will incriminate themselves.
Worst of all, investigating officers frequently only look for evidence that will support the prosecution case, rather than looking for evidence on an impartial basis, which is what they are supposed to do.
For those who missed it, the new Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, recently made the comment that, “If we took to court only cases where, on the papers, we were certain of a conviction, we would rightly be accused of being over-cautious.”
That statement from the DPP goes completely against the principle of the Code for Crown Prosecutors which lays down strict guidelines on when a case should or should not go forward.
The purpose of the Code however is clear:
If, on the papers, the evidential and public interest tests are not met, the case should not proceed, regardless of what the public or politicians might think.
In the case of high-profile and often sensitive cases however, the only statement that we ever hear from the collective mouth of the CPS is, “Having examined the evidence, we are satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to support the realistic prospect of a conviction and that it is in the public interest to proceed with the case.”
What this actually means is that regardless of the fact that there is often no corroborative evidence available, or the fact that the alleged offences may have supposedly taken place half a century ago and regardless of the fact that witness statements based on memory are unreliable at the best of times, the case will still be allowed to proceed if it is politically expedient to do so.
Where does such a policy leave a bunch of policemen anxious to advance their careers?
Given that in such cases there is so little real evidence available, it is hardly surprising that the police are encouraged by the CPS – albeit unofficially – to agree to search out only evidence supportive to the prosecution and to do so by any means possible.
TheOpinionSite.org would suggest that this sad state of affairs has been brought about by the intense politicisation of criminal justice matters over the last 20 years or so.
In Britain, unlike the rest of Europe, it has always been the case that criminal justice is inexorably connected with politics, every successive government wanting to be seen to be tougher on crime than the last.
The new mantra of both the police and the CPS, especially – though not exclusively – in cases where sex is involved, is to encourage anybody and everybody to come forward with any complaint they can think of (true or not), “…safe in the knowledge that they will be believed.”
In other words, the accuser is now immediately deemed to be telling the truth, even before any evidence has been gathered or tested.
The end result is that the accuser becomes a “brave victim” and the accused person – normally a man – is automatically believed by the police and the CPS to be thoroughly and entirely guilty…even before anything has been investigated or proven.
With such pressure be put on officers by the CPS, ministers and every chief constable in the country, it is hardly surprising that ordinary policeman are becoming disillusioned arrogant and increasingly dishonest.
Many people believe that police officers can now do what they like, to whom they want, whenever they want.
TheOpinionSite.org must make the point however that for all the pressure, policeman are not victims.
Any decent policeman worth his salt, upon discovering dishonesty of a senior officer or on being pressurised by the CPS, would report it to a higher, independent authority such as the IPCC.
Instead, most officers are far more likely to submit to bribery, bullying or advancing their own career progression.
To make matters worse for the public, when police corruption is discovered or when police officers break the law or misbehave, instead of being prosecuted they are often given the option to resign, retire or take indefinite sick leave.
Figures show that in just one year alone, the City of London police lost 1,200 officers under such circumstances – and that’s a relatively tiny force to begin with.
In the end of course, it’s self-serving politicians who are really to blame.
By piling more and more political pressure on the police and by giving police officers more and more powers that should be reserved for ministers (who give it away because they don’t want to accept responsibility when things go wrong), the police have become more and more arrogant, detached, vindictive and, just like their political masters, self-serving.
When did a policeman or CPS spokesman ever appear on television or radio and honestly and unequivocally apologise for police corruption or official manipulation of our justice system? If any reader knows the answer, please feel free to use the comment box below.
(Discuss this in our Forum)