Friday, 14 September 2012

Jack Straw says: 'Police acted with impunity!'

YESTERDAY, Jack Straw, a former Labour Home Secretary, said that a 'culture of impunity' among the Yorkshire police was created under the Thatcher government and that this led to the Hillsborough cover-up.  This followed the revelations in an independent report on Wednesday that accused the South Yorkshire Police of deflecting blame for the disaster from themselves onto innocent fans.  Mr. Straw said that the then Conservative government was complicit because they needed the 'partisan' support from the police to defeat the miners at that time.

Jack Straw told BBC Radio Four's Today program yesterday:  'The Thatcher government, because they needed the police to be a partisan force, particularly for the miner's strike and other industrial troubles, created a culture of impunity in the police service.'  He continued:  'They really were immune from outside influences and they thought they could rule the roost and that is what we absolutely saw in south Yorkshire.'

This is a brave statement by Jack Straw MP for Blackburn, because as everyone ought to know that the British police have extensive records and data, and tend to be a bit vindictive in dealing with their political critics and that they have long memories.  Consequently most politicians tend to handle them with kid gloves, because many politicians have skeletons in their cupboards and don't want some disgruntled copper whistleblowing on them to the media.  Perhaps for this reason David Cameron, the Prime Minister, in making his apology to the families of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster this week, was careful  to add to his critical statement on this report the well-warn cliche that 'the police have a difficult job to do'.

Conservative politicians such as David Mellor and Lord Tebbit disputed these claims by the former Labour Home Secretary.  Perhaps they have more to hide than Jack Straw?

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