Monday, 8 August 2011

A Police Force Out of Control

There have been many abuses of Police power and authority throughout history. As a society we tend to tolerate them when an investigation finds in favour of the abused with recommendations ensuring it never happens again.

Unfortunately for the Metropolitan Police force, the abuses are happening faster than relevant inquiries can placate the public with a popular placebo.

The Tottenham riots (which should now be more accurately referred to as the 'London riots' as they extend to parts of Enfield, Walthamstow and Wood Green) are viewed by the media as having taken root in the shooting of Mark Duggan on Thursday. Initially Police statements referred to a gun being found at the scene. A shot it seems had been fired at Police and a bullet was found lodged in the radio of a Police Officer. Now unofficial Police sources are scurrying away from that statement citing the bullet in the radio as being 'one of their own' - It would appear then that Mark Duggan fired no shot - though this of course is not definitive.

Mark Duggan is no longer thought to have shot at Police.

It reminds me of an earlier Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, standing triumphantly before live TV cameras and announcing a suspected terrorist had just had his head filled with seven bullets on a tube train in London. By next day, he too was rowing backwards when the victim was revealed to be no more than an innocent, unarmed man, John Charles de Menezes who was heading off to work. The seven bullets in Mr Menezes head were fired over a period of thirty seconds at point blank range whilst he sat on his seat on a tube train - no officer was convicted of any criminality - their only culpability it seems was to be guilty of over enthusiasm in trying to get a good job done.

Since then there has been no shortage of controversy delivered to the in-tray of the incumbent Commissioner by the rank and file and associates. The death of another innocent man, Ian Tomlinson, after an aggressive push from a Police officer during the G7 protests, a coroner happily producing Police friendly autopsies on victims of Police aggression, officers colluding illegally with the media, and what for me is a prime example of a Police force out of control - The physical removal (for removal read 'dragging') of Cerebral Palsy sufferer Jody Mcintyre from his wheelchair during the student protests in 2010.  That shocking and shameful action was further compounded by the media mouthpiece of the British Government, the BBC, implying Mr Mcintyre had it coming to him for 'rolling towards officers' and doing so armed with political beliefs. The whole sorry episode and the unbelievably ignorant interview conducted by Ben Brown at the Beeb can be found HERE

Given that the Tottenham riots of 1985 were pre-empted by 'over enthusiastic' Police action leading to the death of Cynthia Jarrett - and we were promised it would never happen again; does it appear we've moved any further forward? If anything the indiscipline is growing. Some would argue that Britain is the European nation most at risk of becoming a Police state containing as it does more CCTV cameras per head of population than any nation in the world, a DNA Database held by Police of persons whether innocent or not ('Who knows you may commit a crime in the future' seems to be the justification), and an Independent Police Complaints Commission which quite frankly is anything but independent.

As stated earlier - the population are ordinarily placated by reassurances that action will be taken to ensure such wrongdoing by Police Officers will never be repeated. It is heartening then, that when the cesspool of corruption and vice the Met and the Murdochs were wading in was revealed, Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson had no hesitation in resigning. The job, for the moment, has been entrusted to Clarissa Dick.  The same Clarissa Dick who was the senior officer in charge of the operation which led to an innocent Mr Menezes receiving a head full of bullets.

Methinks the Met have learned nothing. It's a Police force out of control.

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