Good morning folks,
I woke up this morning to a right little Twitter Shit-Storm about Ethics. I’m sure you’ve seen it, how can you have missed it?
I’m sure it’s reported everywhere this morning but our favourite news agency Pravda, sorry, I meant the BBC, have chosen to report it under the headline
“Police officers who commit serious misconduct should have their pensions docked, a group of MPs has said.
The Home Affairs Select Committee also called for a new code of ethics for all officers in England and Wales.
Its report comes after the “plebgate” affair and a series of allegations about the conduct of undercover police.”
So what’s actually NEW about this? The old Police Authorities always had the power to take away part of an officer’s pension if he/she was convicted of a serious crime, I presume that PCCs have retained this power, I have seen nothing to the contrary. Last time I looked British Justice still worked on the ‘Innocent till proven Guilty’ principle, although sometimes I wonder with the way certain sections of the media report things.
“But the committee said it had learned of numerous cases where police officers facing corruption allegations had retired to avoid disciplinary proceedings and had suffered no financial penalty.
It cited the example of Sir Norman Bettison, former chief constable of West Yorkshire, who stepped down while facing a disciplinary investigation for gross misconduct charges relating to the Hillsborough disaster.”
This is true, I’m sure that we can all repeat stories of officers who have resigned in order to avoid disciplinary proceedings, but this is somewhat different. If an officer is facing allegations of corruption as stated above, the mere fact that they have conveniently resigned does not make them immune from criminal investigation and subsequent prosecution. Many Police Forces allow officers under criminal investigation to resign so that they appear in the dock as “Ex Policed Officer Smith” and not “Serving Police Officer Smith”. Personally I don’t have a problem with this practice per se as it helps to maintain the image of the Police Service, but it is important that the investigation/prosecution is continued to retain the integrity of the process.
I remain to be convinced that we need a new Code of Ethics, I’m pretty certain that existing policies and procedures are quite capable of dealing with almost any issue if applied correctly and consistently.
As for the allegations about the conduct of undercover officers, they are just that, allegations. Trial by Media has taken place and all 43 Police Forces have been convicted. If these allegations turn out to be true then I would fully support any action that is taken to bring those responsible to book. IF they are true there are several people out there who know the truth, let them come forward and we should be big enough and ugly enough to deal with it and take it on the chin, deal with honestly and move forward to retain the respect and admiration that the Police Service in the United Kingdom deserves, and it DOES deserve it. The SIO must know the truth. Other Undercover Officers presumably know the truth, there should be a Decision Log in existence somewhere recording the decision and why it was taken. A costly enquiry will/should uncover the truth anyway, so let those people who know the truth come forward and put us out of our misery. All I want to hear is the truth, good, bad or indifferent. Is that too much to expect?
As for MPs demanding Ethics from anybody, that’s just laughable. Ethically bankrupt, I don’t need to go any further than one word – Expenses. I have no desire to repeat all of the details that we know so well anyway, but I will share one thing with you. This morning I reversed my own decision, and once again put on my #FOI Cloak and submitted the following request to IPSA and the Met Police
“Since 2008 what is the TOTAL number of MPs who have been
investigated for mis-claiming Parliamentary Expenses?
What is the TOTAL number that have been prosecuted?
What is the TOTAL number of MPs who have been asked to pay back
expenses previously claimed but not prosecuted?”
If IPSA doesn’t duck the issue and refuse to answer this should enable us to quantify the Ethics of MPs. We know how many MPs make up the House of Commons, if I actually get an answer we can calculate the percentage that is Unethical.
No profession is perfect and I’m not blind or stupid enough to think that the all Police Officers are perfect. But I am arrogant enough to think that those that MAKE the laws of this land should be prosecuted if they BREAK the laws of this land, in EVERY instance.
Finally, is it just a coincidence that this shit-storm broke today, when the other attention-grabbing headline was this one
Apparently our politicians think that they deserve a pay rise of up to 32%, although, in fairness, this is likely to be pegged at a mere 15%.
#AllInThisTogether or #SnoutsInTheTrough? You decide.