Friday, June 12, 2015

Another British whitewash

The purpose of police watchdogs is to preserve public confidence int he police by investigating and punishing police wrongdoing. Except, of course, in the UK:

The Independent Police Complaints Commission will not mount a formal investigation into allegations of criminal wrongdoing by police even though it has found evidence to suggest that police officers assaulted miners at the mass picket of the Orgreave coking plant during the 1984-85 miners’ strike, then perverted the course of justice and committed perjury in the failed prosecutions which followed.

Senior officers at South Yorkshire police, which commanded the Orgreave operation and conducted the prosecutions, privately acknowledged that many officers did overreact at Orgreave, and that there was evidence that they committed perjury, but did not want that misconduct made public.

In a report to be published on Friday, the IPCC says that the force’s withholding of evidence about improper treatment of miners and perjury by officers, and its failure to investigate it, “raises doubts about the ethical standards of senior officers at South Yorkshire police at that time” and suggests they were complicit. However, after two and a half years’ research into evidence relating to the bitter Orgreave confrontation and prosecutions which followed, the IPCC has decided not to investigate further.

Sarah Green, the IPCC’s deputy chair, said that while she recognised “the seriousness of the allegations and their continuing effect on public confidence [in the police] in the affected communities”, too much time has passed for the allegations of assault and misconduct to be pursued.

People faced criminal charges as a result of this misconduct and perjury, and while all the trials collapsed, they deserve to be exonerated, no matter how much time has passed. Likewise, the police officers responsible, some of whom could still be serving, need to be identified and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. But instead, the UK IPCC would rather just whitewash the whole thing. And then they wonder why people think their police are crooks...