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Friday, 15 July 2011

Institutionalised Corruption in the Met

Andrew Hayman, Met Assistant Commissioner, enjoyed a good troughing with tame journalists and media executives. These no doubt loud and vulgar boys days out, involving numerous bottles of expensive wine and the faux golf-club chic and fake stripey ties that signal a plod that's 'made it' are still viewed as a perquisite of the senior ranks in the Met. They don't even take time off - this theft of the public's time can be put down to 'media relations' and anyway no-one's going to pull them for it - even the Commissioner's at it. But on these pissed-up jollies at the taxpayer's expense, no doubt secrets are let slip and bonds of mutual protection formed.

And indeed the Commissioner himself is at it, as the Telegraph describes today. The better restaurants around Victoria must be heaving with more (out of uniform) silver braid on the lash with dodgy chums each lunchtime than you can shake a stick at. Of course, they'll tell you it's completely different to an ordinary beat copper accepting a beer from a local drug dealer. Completely different. Why, these man are senior officers and mature enough to dine with criminal suspects, to befriend them and even to employ them at public expense without anything being at all wrong. Because they're senior and it's different. It just is. 


Edward Spalton said...

Sir Robert Peel decided that the police would not be recruited from amongst gentlemen. He wanted to avoid an "officer corps" mentality amongst senior police officers which, he thought, might be a danger to freedom.

The top posts - Chief Constables and so on - would be filled from among the real officer class , usually from the armed forces. In those days that meant they came from amongst people who had a stake in the existing order.

That system petered out in the Sixties, I believe, when it was decided that policemen could rise to the very top. In people like Hayman, it seems that the so-called "canteen culture" rose with them and became the "trough culture".

In the late Sixties I was at a farmers' conference in Dorset with two Dutch colleagues. They were puzzled by our licensing laws - that only hotel residents could drink after closing time. They were even more puzzled when one of the conference organisers came round, asking non residents to leave. One of the prominent farmers (a retired colonel) was also Deputy Chief Constable in charge of Special Constabulary. People were asked to leave so that he could not possibly be embarrassed by a Police Constable turning up and finding illicit, out of hours drinking taking place.

Surely, my Dutch friends thought, there was no possibility of such a thing happening if the PC knew that one of his chiefs was at the meeting?

Changed days!

Barnacle Bill said...

It's been going on for years, our family had an "uncle" who was in the Flying Squad back in the sixties.
He could afford a holiday home in Spain, drove a Jag and regularly turned up with cases of Scotch in it's boot.
Of course it didn't help matters that one of my real uncles was an accountant for the Richardson family!

Ah happy days, British corruption for Brits!

Greg Tingey said...

E. Spalton
There was another attempt to get real professionalism and proper officers in the police - when Trenchard was put in charge, after WWI.
That didn't last, either, as the new professionals started asking too many really wakward questions - especially when it came to apron-wearing.

I strongly suspect there's a lot of that (aprons, that is) in the current mess....

Blue Eyes said...

I had a good laugh when Stephenson (or was it Blair?) said that he was sure that corruption was not organised, not endemic and was confined to the lower ranks.

James Higham said...

Let it all come out and let's see where we all are then.

Gallovidian said...

You are well out of date with your apron reference.

The secret power brokers are called 'Common Purpose'.

MTG said...

The discreet tuft of straw showing here and there, gives the Met uniform a certain distinction.