Monday, 15 October 2012

I Don't Like Andrew Mitchell. However ....

The GateGate Saga boils down to he said, he said. The Official Police Log has been published and that appears to damn (or d*** to use the asteriskinessof the media) Mitchell. Mitchell claims he didn't use the word plebs (wish I'd been called that rather than some of the other four, five, six, or seven -letter words that have been directed at me).

But the Police and Labour hold that words of the Official Police Log are as if writ in stone, as unchallengeable as the particular religious text of any group of fundamentalist religious nutters. Excuse me, but I believe the Police tell the truth, but I also believe the Public tell the truth. Just as I believe that everyone remembers things differently. No group has a monopoly on the truth. It is a vital part of our judicial system that Police Officers may be cross-examined in court instead of the court simply reading the relevant page of the Police Notebook into the court record, case closed, guilty.

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph:

"Chris Jones, secretary of West Midlands Police Federation, who will meet Mr Mitchell today, said the Tory whip was effectively accusing the police of lying about what he said.

“I accept the fact that he has apologised for the offensive language used. But the issue remains open that he in effect has intimated that those officers were untruthful. Their integrity now is not in tact. That extends to every police officer in the country because he has disagreed with their account.”

Mr Jones said police records of incidents could be increasingly challenged in criminal court cases as a result of Mr Mitchell’s stance"

Well, excuse me but Harwood forgot to write in his PNB that he had pushed over Ian Tomlinson. It appears that other members of his TSG serial alongside him had similar lapses of memory or writers' block. It was three officers from Hammersmith & Fulham Station that informed their Inspector of the incident a couple of days later.

I have no idea what went on during GateGate and make no judgement about either side but I am extremely reluctant to ignore the testimony of one party to the incident and give the other a privileged credibility status. The Police are the People and the People are the Police. If we abandon healthy sceptism and give the Police carte blanche, then we all might as well learn French and lose our freedom. We are not sheep.

Update 21:34 18 December, 2012 here


Edward Spalton said...

"Minister speaks sharply to officious Bobby" sums this all up. As we know from Hillsborough, police records are not always reliable and this one found its way to the press remarkably quickly.

Why hasn't Lord Leveson had both the paper and the police on the carpet?

The same people making a fuss over this were kicking up a real hullabaloo over Murdoch's misdeeds but this one, apparently, doesn't count!

Brian said...

It does appear that the Leveson Inquiry has turned into a Bash Murdoch show trial as it seems that only the Church Times didn't hack voicemail.

And we all know that the Police never make mistakes.

In case anyone objects to the link above, I included it because of my considerable respect for the Police. I set them high standards that they almost invariably exceed with plenty to spare. You'll note I didn't write "exceed easily" because Police work isn't easy.