Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Arthur Allen Thomas and police accountability

Earlier in the month Bruce Hutton, the police officer who framed Arthur allen Thomas, died. This has led to people revisiting the case, spurred in part by the police establishment's refusal to accept Hutton's criminal behaviour. Now we learn that police joked publicly at the time about the frame-up, thinking no-one would ever notice. And of course there's this bit:

Ms Edmonds said she's speaking out now because the officer in charge of the homicide investigation at the time is now dead and she wants to see justice done.

Despite providing an affidavit in 2006, she said the police have not contacted her.

And this highlights the basic problem: the police are simply not interested in investigating themselves. Like the Catholic Church, they put the prestige of their organisation ahead of truth and justice. And like the Catholic Church, the result is a massive loss of public trust. As for the "independent" police conduct authority, that "watchdog" was captured, muzzled, and de-fanged long ago. It has never delivered proper accountability to police, and it never will.

We need an accountable police force we can trust. This means we need a properly independent outside investigator, with teeth. We also need changes to police culture to end the culture of unaccountability, and to employment practices to allow officers of questionable integrity to be removed. These are political problems, and it is up to our politicians to solve them.