Friday, 25 October 2013

Oh, What A Blow That Plegate Policeman Gave Me!

Police Federation More Fearsome than the TUC
THE Northern Voices Blog has tried to show that the police, spearheaded by the Police Federation, often operate as an elite interest group rather like a trade union or masonic order.  The part played by the Police Federation in the 'Plebgate' saga has been a lovely illustration of what goes on among the circulation of elites in British politics.  The coppers concerned about cuts in their profession tried to show in the Mitchell plebgate affair that they could inflict pain upon the government, and they have shown in that case and in the way they seemed to hold back during the town centre riots of 2011 that they can inflict damage and remind the politicians of their worth.  As Private Eye often reminds us most politicians are nervous of taking on the police because many politicians have skeletons in their cupboards which the police can use against them.  

The problem in this case is that the Police Federation has broken the fundamental rule 'don't get caught'.   Mr Mitchell took the precaution of using a tape recorder to keep a record of his conversations with the three distinguished representatives of the Police Federation, and now he has them 'bang to rights'.  
Because the Socialist World Web (Fourth International) has below produced an intellengent and well considered report on the 'Plebgate' case and the Police Federation, and the infantile nature of some parties on the British left such as the SWP, I believe it needs wider circulation through our  NV Blog: 

NONE were more enthusiastic at the outbreak of this “anti-toff” populism than the pseudo-left, with the Socialist Workers Party presenting Mitchell’s resignation as a triumph.

In fact, the entire affair was a set-up. Moreover, the exposure of this set-up has owed nothing to any official investigation, as the parliamentary parties fell over themselves to assuage the police.

It was a Channel 4 Dispatches in December that showed that CCTV footage from Downing Street did not support the police version of events, and that the “eye-witness statement” turned out to be from a police officer from the same Metropolitan Police unit as the diplomatic protection squad, who was not even in London at the time.

Only then, and with great reluctance, was it finally agreed that there should be a further investigation into the events.

According to the Sunday Times, a whistle-blower from within the Metropolitan Police confirmed that a conspiracy was hatched among police officers to frame up Mitchell, which included fabricating evidence. At the time, the Police Federation was running a high-level public campaign insisting that government austerity must not be applied to the police, who should be ring-fenced from the cuts taking place elsewhere in the public sector. The attack on Mitchell was intended as a demonstration to the government of police power and the political damage it could cause.

One year on, evidence of a police conspiracy continues to go unpunished. A police-led investigation into the three officers involved in the October 12 meeting has decided no disciplinary measures will be taken. The inquiry by West Mercia police concluded that while the public statements made by the three officers after the meeting could be seen as “ambiguous or misleading”, they did not deliberately lie so there is no case to answer.

This is despite Mitchell having made a secret tape of the discussions—the transcript of which is now available—that makes clear that they did lie about the content of the discussion.
This transparent whitewash has occasioned a protest by the usually compliant Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). The IPCC has covered over numerous instances of police abuse, including murder. As is usual, the IPCC had been content to allow the police force to investigate itself over the Mitchell affair, choosing only to “supervise” the West Mercia inquiry.

A statement by IPCC Deputy Chairwoman Deborah Glass challenged the police decision, stating that the meeting raised an “issue of honesty and integrity, not merely naive or poor professional judgment.”

“In my view, the evidence is such that a panel should determine whether the three officers gave a false account of the meeting in a deliberate attempt to support their MPS colleague and discredit Mr Mitchell, in pursuit of a wider agenda”, she wrote.

The response of Head of the Association of Chief Police Officers Hugh Orde was to demand the abolition of the IPCC.

It has now been revealed by the IPCC that the conclusions of the West Mercia inquiry were watered down, reportedly after the intervention of senior police chiefs. In a letter, Glass stated that the first report submitted to the IPCC in July concluded “that there was a case to answer for misconduct, although their final report, submitted in August, did not.”

Despite the furore, the only action that is being proposed is that the police representatives involved should apologise to Mitchell.

As to the events of September 19, 2012, although eight people have so far been arrested, including five serving police officers, the Crown Prosecution Service has yet to decide on the central allegation of a conspiracy to depose Mitchell.

Nor are there any answers as to who leaked information to The Sun and the Daily Telegraph, or who organised “witnesses” to make lying accounts.

“Plebgate” does more than prove that nothing has changed following the exposure of criminal activity—involving bribery and corruption—between police and the Murdoch press as was revealed in the News of the World phone-hacking scandal. The scandal testifies to the enormous powers accrued by the police over the last decades.

The assault on democratic rights under the guise of the “war on terror” and preserving “law and order” means the police are ever more nakedly a law unto themselves.  Empowered to mete out punishment and abuse against workers and youth as a matter of routine, free from any accountability, they felt no compunction against the set-up of a serving MP.  Many others lower down the social hierarchy suffer far worse fates than the career destruction—including being beaten and murdered—at the hands of this wholly corrupt and purposefully unaccountable mechanism of state repression.
From Socialist World Web (Fourth International)

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