In the last few weeks I’ve thought a lot about the poor old Met. What has happened to it over the years? Where is it going? Why is it going there?
When I joined mid 72 I heard a lot, and I mean a lot, of tales about the bosses of the previous few years “going out to collect the rent”. Thankfully I never encountered it myself, and I’m still not sure, all these years later, what I would have done if I had. I absolutely know what I SHOULD have done, but life is not that simple for a young lad who wants to get in and see his 30. The closest I ever got to a boss being on the take was a Chief Superintendent who “took delivery” of a 56 pound bag of Curry Powder, I kid you not.
I have written before about how certain operations and enquiries most definitely DID get binned after a diktat from a faceless senior officer. I thought then, and I still think now, that was WRONG, Nowadays I would use the word UNFORGIVEABLE. There is no place in the Police Service for officers of ANY RANK who actively assist in covering up the crimes of others, especially when those others are politicians.
On the other side of the coin were the likes of Jack Tegan and Gene Hunt. Two characters quite accurately portrayed in my opinion. I worked for DIs and DCIs who just like the. I am absolutely certain that any of my ex Met readers could name at least two or three from that era.
They were certainly a challenge to work for, sometimes fun, sometimes bloody awful, but their whole raison d’être was to bang up villains. I can remember vividly, as a young buck on the Crime Squad being told on a Monday morning “off you go to Court lad, get some warrants and we’ll keep a few on their toes this week”. PACE saw the end of Search Warrants for “Diverse Stolen Goods”.
Maybe I should make it clear that I’m not talking about ‘fitting up’ anybody, rather than make the evidence fit the charge, these were bosses who would make the charge fit the evidence. If you were a bit short on evidence for what you’d nicked somebody for these were bosses who would look at the evidence you DID have and maybe advise a slightly different charge to the one you might have been thinking of.
No Fitting Up, no Gilding the Lily, no Verbals just good, practical coppering to avoid having to kick chummy out the front door or, worse, offer him a lift home, because your evidence was a bit short. Charge him something else instead that you DID have evidence for. I get the impression that PACE and the CPS aren’t overly keen on those tactics any more. The only people now that are subject to Fitting Up and Gilding The Lily seem to be cops, and I certainly don’t approve of that practice thank you.
So when I think about child abuse enquiries being kicked into the long grass, and Regan & Hunt and their unorthodox methods (they didn’t so much break the rules as play by different rules), given the choice I would take Regan and Hunt every day.
Villains got charged and sentenced in those days, they also had RESPECT.
I have no desire to be associated with any guv’nor that says “stop that enquiry now, the Yard says so”. Any senior Officer or, worse, politician, that interferes and halts or disrupts any investigation has sold their soul to the Devil, and I don’t want to work for them.
I joined the job to nick criminals, and by and large, that’s what I did. Never had the inclination to be a Rat.