Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Police Are the Worst Leakers of All

I wonder if the Police would like to conduct an investigation into their own leaking habits. Haven't you always wondered how odd it is that press photographers and TV networks happen magically to appear at the scene of an arrest just as it is about to happen? Amazing, isn't it?

Remember how a phalanx of photographers appeared at Ilford Police Station, waiting for Neil and Christine Hamilton to arrive to be questioned over an alleged incident of rape? Remember how reporters just happened to know about a Special Branch operation against possible terror suspects in the West Midlands a couple of years ago? We never quite found out whether it had been leaked by a Ministerial Special Advisor or by the Police themselves.

I am sure readers can quote a zillion other examples.

Funny how these leakers are never identified, isn't it? One law for them, one law for the rest of us...

21 comments:

Paul Pinfield said...

Perhaps this is the "most fortunate" arrest for the last few years?

I can't imagine a more perfect constructed petard...

JPT said...

By informing Boris of the impending arrest were the police themselves not leaking information?

Mike Wood said...

or the way that the full details of Stephen Milligan's suicide miraculously found their way into the national media within hours of police arriving at the scene.

Ctesibius said...

Iain,

That's a very good post.

I'm a Conservative member and have been for many years. I feel that a 'tipping point' has now been reached. Labour has been in power for a long time and the cumulative effect of their 'reforms' have been to bias the system in their favour. They don't have our respect for the independence of the system from party influence.

As a Conservative I'm unhappy with 'civil disobedience' concepts, such as boycotting the opening of Parliament. I think that the 'loyal opposition' is, or should be, an integral part of our system.

So I think there is a really powerful implication in what you say. Lots of material has been leaked to the Labour Party, with Labour politicians colluding with the leakers. Could you arrange to post the facts and figures for a whole series of uninvestigated Labour leaks? Could you also post the procedure for making a formal request for a Police investigation of a suspected criminal act?

Then we can all make multiple requests for investigations into alleged leaks. We could clog up government business for ages by forcing Gordon Brown and his cronies (including in the BBC) to defend themselves in literally hundreds of cases where they have been involved in government leaks.

Corporal Jones said...

Ian,

The point is not leaking by those in control/power. Damien Green was not arrested under the latest version of the Official Secrets Act but under a common law offence about public office (common law offence means something judges decided several hundred years ago was naughty; the maximum sentence is life imprisonment; right-on lawyers - e.g. Cherie - have been keen to abolish these ancient relics).

The real issues are Parliamentary privilege and common sense.

It is an outrage that the police were able to confiscate/review the personal papers of an MP. This goes back to the 17th century.

And the failure of government ministers to accept this (e.g. Geoff Hoon on Any Questions) shows that they have been in office for too long.


Please, please, please keep the wretched Hamiltons out of this. They are not capable of rehabilitation with the British voter. Neil lost a libel action against Mohammed (Al) Fayed because someone turned up from Mobil Oil and blew his case apart. It does not help our party or you as a credible commentator to try to resussitate this unsavoury duo.

strapworld said...

Iain,

Very fair point. As a former Metropolitan Police Officer I can tell you that I was appalled by Mr Green's arrest, as I was with the treatment of the Countryside Alliance protestors, as I have been with many things since I left.

Why Mr Green was not asked to attend a Police Station at an agreed time and place I will never know. Perhaps it was to get hold of his emails etc!!!

The police have been politicised and I find it ironic what Brown and Smith have been saying. Blunkett changed the law ensuring that he, as Home Secretary, had control of Chief Constables with the ability to dismiss them - beforehand they were like latter day Barons BUT they were immune from Home Office Control.

So, I for one, dismiss with contempt all the nonsense spoken by Brown and his malcontents about the police being beyond their control!

In my day we had trouble with those who informed the Press (or worse, criminals) about raids going to occur and/or arrests that had been made. I am afraid that you are always going to have those who will sell their souls for a few quid.

But not only should the actions of the Police be investigated.

The actions of Ministers/ Secretaries of State/ Prime Minister and Speaker of the House must be investigated.

Ctesibus..in relation to your question to Iain, IF you believe a crime has occurred you can report it to any Police Station or telephone them. BUT be careful you cannot be accused of 'wasting police time'

Iain, Like the thousands and thousands of words I have read on this and many other blogs, plus many excellent journalists, like Matthew Parris, I too am seriously concerned that we are drifting into a communistic government.

We must all urge Cameron to stand up for the UK as never before. The fight for our freedom depends on him. I pray he has the backbone.

Dick the Prick said...

Apparently the lad is being held at Paddington Green high security nick - bit of a change from 'duty of care' that the Home Office had. They're strongarming young Chris.

Quite agree about Brittany - atrocious.

Bird said...

I enjoy the staged police raids on brothels and drug dens.
The cameras are set up outside the premises and we watch hordes of keystone cops batter a plywood door down and rush into the building.
Next we see "trafficked" whores/ evil Chinamen led away to waiting Black Marias.
What happens to these wretched victims/ruthless drug barons?
Good question.
A better question; are these performances set up by the police? Or the Home Office? Or both?
Are they any kind of substitute for Border Police or Controlled Immigration?

Jimmy said...

Iain,

Your point about police leaks is well made. As unsympathetic as the Hamiltons may be, humiliating them in this fashion was unacceptable. I wonder what you think should happen to someone who betrays his office in this way, and what, if anything should be the consequences if it transpired that the officer in question had been persuaded by some outside party to act in this manner?

DocRichard said...

May I just say how nice it is to hear a Conservative realise that the police are not necessarily immaculate in all that they do?

Chris Paul said...

You lot didn't have much sympathy when the entirely innocent Ruth Turner was subjected to a dawn terrorist-style raid - rather than as Strapworld suggests an appointment - and attended naturally by the press.

The cowardly bully DCI Yates was something of a hero among right wing bloggers over all that.

I'd agree that this is an extraordinary situation and I've no idea on the true whys and wherefores but we'll no doubt find out in the end.

Meanwhile it doesn't look good if Tory bloggers get all upset at this arrest/press convergence but not at Ms Turner's even more extreme experience.

As for the Hamiltons? They are well capable of telling the press themselves those two. Do you have some proof that the police leaked the details in that case?

Iain Dale said...

Chris Paul, do you just come on here for entertainment value or do you really believe the crap you write?

Andy in Newcastle said...

I think it is quite probable that the police genuinely don't understand what the fuss is about over their arrest of an MP, and that worries me. They seem to think their power and right to arrest is virtually unlimited these days. Even 20 years ago, I'm sure they would have cleared this at the top before daring to make such an arrest.

I in no way suggest that an MP should be immune from arrest on genuine suspicion of a criminal act. But we live in a parliamentary democracy with an unwritten constitution. That system can only work, as it has for centuries one way or another, if all the organs of the state respect the unwritten rules that make it all work. Of course, it can only work as well if the limited checks and balances that do exist are effective. In this case, I'm thinking in particular of the Speaker of the House of Commons.

Johnny Norfolk said...

If you want proof that the BBC supports Labour.
The arrest of Mr Green and all its implications is not even on the BBCs "Have Your Say" section.
Just imagine if had been an opposition Labour MP under the same circumstances.

Just how do Labour control the BBC and media. fear I would think.

Unsworth said...

@ Strapworld.

Amen to that. Well said.

It's clear that the machinery of State (and that includes the now notorious BBC) is completely out of control. It's time for the common man to take action, however small, to ensure that it is stopped - as Ctesibius has suggested. We really cannot carry on like this.

As of today I, and I suspect many others, will be seeking each and every opportunity to do so. Nationwide civil disobedience is about to begin.

Unsworth said...

@ Chris Paul

"I'd agree that this is an extraordinary situation and I've no idea on the true whys and wherefores but we'll no doubt find out in the end."

Actually, you have no idea - full stop.

2345 said...

Police used to deal direct with the media in the public's best interest. Government media controllers now act in THEIR best interests with spin and manipulation.

Mike Hobday said...

And here's another:

"[Chris] Galley ... is alleged to have told police that Green “induced” him to leak the documents." [Sunday Times today]

Genuinely, it is shocking that the police leak... Or, in this case, that we all think it credible that the police might have leaked.

DespairingLiberal said...

Chris Paul - I'm a bit sceptical that Ruth Turner was "entirely innocent" as you put it, although it's certainly true that no court has convicted her.

I have always voted either Labour or LibDem, but am wholly behind Damian Green and David Cameron on this one (and also Nick Clegg who to give him credit has for once come out strongly on the right side).

Could blogs like this be used as rallying points? We seem to be heading for a situation where we need more than just the usual parliamentary badinage by way of defence and protest. Clearly either (a) the police are out of control and attacking our democracy head-on or (b) ministers/senior civil servants (often almost the same thing) now regard themselves as effective dictators and MPs and opposition as mere bagatelles to be harassed at will.

The police rifling through an MPs papers and intercepting their emails and phone calls is more worthy of Putin's Russia than Britain.

The parties need to be ready in Parliament for this to happen again. They should be prepared to block and repel the police.

The senior police officers who authorised this (and astonishingly they are refusing to say who!) are in Contempt of Parliament and therefore in Contempt of the People. Can a parliamentary committee issue a warrant?

Clearly this was some sort of act of revenge by the outgoing Commissioner. He should be arrested and brought to Parliament.

We are in the arena of High Crimes and Misdemeanours and should be organising resistance. The people may have to rally to Parliament and if this happens again, blog like this one should be used to organise.

MPs often seem unpopular but when the authorities decide to spy on them, arrest them, rifle their correspendence and hold them without charge, we have truly reached the point of no return.

Dick the Prick said...

Ruth Turner wasn't a bloody MP and a Privy Councillor... err....

JMB said...

Perhaps it should be made clear that next time we see TV cameras and reporters waiting outside a house as police arrive to arrest someone or search the house then there will be numerous complaints to the Independent Police Complaints Commission into possible leaks from the police and/or bribery of police officers by the media.