Unedited version of column for Scottish Sun on Sunday 20th October 2013
For once I couldn’t agree more with Home Secretary Theresa May- ‘The police need the trust of the public’, but her surprising road to Damascus conversion only began when police officers allegedly lied to stitch up a Government Minister.
Andrew Mitchell MP Chief Whip was accused of calling police in Downing Street ‘fuc###g Plebs’ when they refused to open a security gate for his bike.
Mitchell resigned but denied the allegations, this week after being cleared he stated ‘My family and I have waited nearly a year for these officers to be held to account and for an apology from the police forces involved. It seems we have waited in vain.’
I don’t know why he is so surprised, with his Government claiming the scandal ‘strikes at the heart of public trust in the police’, maybe they should have been more worried about why the public and rank and file police officers were so ready to believe a Tory MP would use such language.
For most it merely confirmed the attitudes of a bunch of arrogant public school boys born to rule, sneering at us from a Cabinet full of multi-millionaires.
Yet Mitchell was right when he asked “If this can happen to a senior government minister then what chance does a youth in Brixton or Handsworth have?”
Every month I watch as (some) Police officers deliberately lie in court to convict an innocent accused. In 99.9% of such cases there is never any disciplinary action or criminal prosecutions and the failure to hold such officers to account makes the job even harder for the honest police officers who put their lives on the line every day.
As for Mitchell I don’t have much sympathy for him. This all started because he couldn’t handle being told not to ride his bike through the security gates.
He used the ‘F’ word and not the ‘P’ word for which lesser mortals could expect to be arrested.
So though the Tories might be desperate to portray this as the biggest policing scandal ever, ‘Plebgate’ is not the same as Hillsborough where 96 died, the persecution of miners at Orgreave, the death of Ian Tomlinson at G8, the shooting of Jean Charles De Menezes at Stockwell Tube, or the Stephen Lawrence murder.
On all these occasions the Police set out to smear the innocent and protect the guilty in cover up after cover up, year after year.
Today the Police seem to spend a great deal of its time investigating hardworking honest officers on trumped up ‘mickey mouse charges’ whilst corrupt officers who at times operate as a ‘professional organised crime syndicate’ are overlooked, ignored or simply retired on healthy pensions.
As for accountability the worst is when a loved one dies at the hands of the police.
The last time a police officer was successfully prosecuted for the death of somebody in custody was in 1969, when David Oluwale a homeless black man with mental health problems died in police custody in Leeds.
Two officers who had beat him, racially abused him and urinated on him were held responsible for his death and found guilty only of assault and sentenced to just several months in prison.
I suspect you will say that was such a long time ago, but since 1969 over 1,000 have died in police custody and not a single police officer has been successfully prosecuted. (check out http://www.inquest.org.uk/)
Sadly whether you are a Government Minister or just an ordinary family fighting for justice, the question remains the same ‘Who Polices the Police?’
I marvelled at strength of the parents of Madeleine McCann who faced the world once again, but I also felt angry with the sick morons who still try to blame them.
I don’t even want to try and imagine how Madeline’s parents have felt since she disappeared on holiday in the Algarve six years ago.
But just like any other parent I do know how it felt when we have lost our daughter or son in a shopping mall, our hearts have stopped as we imagined the worst, feeling pain, terror and guilt.
Just for a fraction of a minute experiencing what is must be like to never again hear your child’s laughter, watch them sleep or pick them up when they fall to wipe away their tears.
Nothing ever makes up for the loss of a child, young or old, no parent ever forgets the last minutes and days before such a loss, the pain permanently gnawing away at them forever.
Kate and Gerry deserve our unconditional support and prayers in the hope that one day they will find their Madeleine.
The Beast of Bolsover- Dennis Skinner MP
Dennis Skinner MP has always been a class warrior but this week he outdone himself by tearing into Cameron and the ‘heartless monster’ of ATOS.
Even better was when said “Half the Tory members opposite are crooks!” On being told to retract he said “Half the Tory members aren’t crooks”.