Philip Johnston writing in this morning's Telegraph joins a call made on this blog (Time for a Royal Commission on policing) for a Royal Commission.
His piece is spot on. He points out the strange and counter-intuitive phenomenon that it is the new generation of university-educated fast-tracked police bosses whom one would expect to be both liberal and alive to the dangers of allying themselves to party politicians who have been the most careless in this regard; as I have pointed out below, it is Chief Constables who have used their discretion to retain DNA samples of unconvicted persons, now in breach of a binding court ruling; Chief Constables who have filled newspaper columns supporting 90 day detention, ID cards, intrusive surveillance and who regularly criticise the verdicts and sentences of our courts.
We have lost police forces in which low level corruption was endemic but which answered fairly well to public expectations, and gained police services in which a perverse application of the law more corrosive than petty corruption has become institutionalised and which no longer serve the public well or effectively.
We rightly value highly the British tradition of policing; police chiefs who serve the nation well have a price above rubies, and police officers who serve their communities diligently and responsively are everyday heroes. But they are both now rare as hens' teeth.
There can be no one left inside or outside politics who has any confidence in Labour's ability to hold a fair inquiry. A culture of fixes, spin, mendacity, distortion, omission and misrepresentation that characterises every aspect of a Labour government has flowed like a toxic pool into risible whitewash inquiries that draw only cynical laughter from the public. Only a Royal Commission, set up under this government but reporting to the next, now has a chance of redeeming policing in Britain before it's too late.