So the News of the World was hacking mobile phones as a tool of journalism. We know that the red top newspapers are utter scum so this comes as no surprise. Where they have transgressed the journalists and management should be investigated, charged and prosecuted. Also the Press Complaints Commission needs a considerable boost in its remit, powers and activity, or they need replacing with something that can do the job. And maybe it should be made a criminal offence for a newspaper to knowingly publish a lie.
The BBC are having a field day over this, it is an excellent opportunity to do damage to their biggest competitor (if you can call it competition against the BBC’s 47% of total UK news reach). Yet the whiter than white, holier than thou BBC has also been using private detectives.
What is far, far worse than all this is that the police, the guardians of our law and order, have knowingly been sitting on all the information about the latest revelations since 2005. They had the private detective’s notebooks which listed all the victims. So why did they not act? What force or power was preventing them from doing their job and implementing the law of the land? We really need to get to the bottom of this, find out all the people responsible both for breaking the law and for the apparent cover up, and then apply the criminal justice system to them. If policemen are not prosecuted over this it will take a lot of explaining.
Next we come to the widespread release of lots of information about many individual policemen selling information to the press. This is corruption and it is illegal. Listening to the talking heads on the radio was interesting, one estimated that about 10% of Metropolitan Police officers had been doing this. One lawyer says that he had advised clients not to go to the police when they were the victims of crimes because the story would automatically be sold to the press. Another source says that for a really big story the payment could be as much as £50,000. This is the biggest utter disgrace to come out of the whole sorry episode. These policemen are far, far worse scum than the journalists. We expect the journalists to be scum, we expect the police to protect us and uphold the law. Over this we need to see everyone involved prosecuted, right up to the highest executive levels. Rebekah Brooks admitted this activity to a parliamentary committee years ago, why wasn’t she immediately arrested?
Also with regards to the phone hacking, where were the detectives and journalists getting the phone numbers from? Especially as some of these numbers were only known to very few (like the royal family numbers) and some were ex directory. This would be extremely interesting to know.
Meanwhile in Cardiff 8 ex policemen are in court for framing three innocent men for murder, with another trial to follow with 4 more ex policemen charged. This has echoes of the West Midland Serious Crimes Squad in the 1980s who routinely abused their powers resulting in many miscarriages of justice.
You have to wonder how much of this sort of stuff goes on, the police have immense powers and very little oversight. The organisation Innocent campaigns on behalf of some of the victims and their website is well worth a visit. Miscarriages of JusticeUK does a similar job.
It is a given that police routinely abuse their powers, we have seen this with anti terrorism legislation, including stop and search, which has been used far more often in a non terrorist context than for the purposes that parliament intended. So it is amazing that the police are going to be given even more powers today with a piece of legislation being rushed through parliament with little thought. This relates to the way that the police have been misusing the bail system in this country. Many eminent lawyers are against this new legislation and have written an open letter urging the government to stop. We really should be putting more care and thought into what we are doing here because, as we have seen, the police can’t be trusted with the powers that they already have.
I have written on here before about some of what is wrong with the police in this country. But debate is stifled and the current government is very timid to act, especially against the totally undemocratic state within a state that is ACPO. How many more disgraceful allegations are needed about gross police misbehaviour before something concrete is actually done about it?
btw I am sorry about the recent dearth of articles but I am writing a book, which is proving to be a little time consuming.