What a state for a police state to be in

SO MUCH for those who “fear” the onset of the police state.

As far as I know, police states are not known for instigating investigations into their own police forces’ investigations. But that’s what has happened, with British Transport Police Chief Constable, Ian Johnston, expected to deliver his report into the way the Damien Green inquiry has been handled some time in the next fortnight.

No doubt, those who insist we’re heading towards totalitarianism will dismiss this new inquiry as a whitewash: Ian Johnston is, after all, a former assistant commissioner at Scotland Yard. But having had the good fortune to work with Ian in the past two years, I know he is a principled and professional individual who has been an outstanding leader of the BTP and will bring an entirely objective eye to this task.

I said, a couple of days ago: “It seems, at the very least, somewhat heavy-handed of the police to treat any MP in this way.” So it seems entirely right that the way in which Damien was investigated should itself be the subject of a brief inquiry.

However, that still leaves us with the substance of the original inquiry itself. It will be difficult for police officers to continue their investigation while Her Majesty’s Opposition is shouting “political persecution” from the sidelines. And even if not a single one of them believes it to be true, it does make it more difficult for the police to do their job.



Filed under Conservative Party, Politics

14 responses to “What a state for a police state to be in

  1. Tacitus

    Does not the fact that the public expect a whitewash tell you that the all is not well?

    Cue snide remark and evasive answer.


  2. richard

    As with past “investigations” I expect this to be the typical whitewash;

    1) The government will set the terms and remit of the enquiry to suit.

    2) The investigation almost certainly won’t have the power to requisition the materials needed to justify the Conservative’s claims that the raid was known about by senior politicians.

    3) The person conducting the enquiry is a senior policeman investigating whether other senior policeman (whom he is presumably on daily speaking terms with) to decide whether they’ve done wrong.

    4) The person conducting the enquiry is a senior policeman who is reliant on the Home Secretary / Government to ratify any future promotions.

    5) The person conducting the enquiry is a senior policeman who is reliant on those that he’s investigating to recommend future promotions.

    6) The main claim is that the convention of parliament has been breached, not the law of the land. What expertise does a transport copper have in constitutional convention?

  3. “The government will set the terms and remit of the enquiry to suit.

    Er, no, it won’t. Jacqui Smith has “welcomed” the inquiry, not set it up.

    “The main claim is that the convention of parliament has been breached, not the law of the land. What expertise does a transport copper have in constitutional convention?”

    Is that the main claim? I thought the (Tories’) main claim was that an innocent man (he’s a member of the Tory front bench, after all) had been questioned by the police for nine hours while his homes and office were searched.

    Richard, is this really the best that CCHQ can come up with?

  4. Stu

    Sorry Tom I can`t see the validity of investigating an investigation whilst the original investigation is still taking place. My fear is that the original investigation will be swept under the carpet and we will never know the truth, and lets face it nobody knows the full facts but we should trust the judgement of the Police. I see no reason at all why MP`s should be above the law and be treated any different to anbody else, I say let the Police do their job and don`t forget that yet again the trustworthyness of Politicians is under question

  5. Johnny Norfolk

    The problem is Tom whilst Mr Johnson is a fine policeman and an first class leader of the BTP.

    He is a ex Met man and should not be classed as independent as it is not that long ago. We should have had someone who has never been involved in the Met before.
    The invesigation should be carried out with a representative of the 3 main parties and must include David Davies as a peoples representative.
    This is the kind of enquiry we want. ?

    Not the usual Labour stitch up. We are just sick of it.

  6. madasafish

    I believe Sir Paul Stephenson – who approved the original raid – set up the investigation…

    Reminds me of another internal investigation which found no wrongdoing.. Now where was it?

    Where “all procedures had been followed” said no less a person than the PM.
    Who then accused Cameron of party politics when Cameron asked for an INDEPENDENT enquiry.

    Now where was it? Nothing had been done wrong said the PM…

    Ahh Harringey.

    You don’t get it.

    No-one TRUSTS politicians.
    No-one TRUSTS the police.

    The police do not come out for burglaries or simple assaults and are very hard pressed… but manage to find 9 man days to arrest a politician.

    Internal enquiries have a long history of :Lies.

  7. richard

    Jacqui smith said that she’d spoken to Paul Stephenson yesterday to seek assurances that “that the investigation was being pursued diligently, sensitively and in a proportionate manner”

    That sounds like setting a remit to me.

  8. Brian

    Old Labour, also comes in future whitewash?

  9. Zorro


    I do wish you would stop with the innuendo/suggestion that anyone posting anything anti-labour here is a spokesman for the Tory party. It’s pretty disengenous of you to continue to do so. We are mostly just proles Tom, not opposition members. Most of us hold no great flame for the Tories, we just feel /ANYTHING/ would be better than Brown. Heck I think I’d prefer the (duck) Lib-Dems, yuk, spit.


  10. wrinkled weasel

    If it’s not a whitewash, which it will be, it will be delayed and finessed until they get the “right” conclusion. Words will be had, favours will be pulled, promotions will be mooted, K’s and P’s will be offered, files will get accidentally shredded and some poor bugger will top himself. (We have been there before, have we not?)

    Come on, Tom, I know you live in the land of the brave, but you also know what mendacious bstards your erstwhile colleagues are.

    I commend your loyalty, but you know, it’s time to get real.

  11. ani

    I completely agree with Stu, it looks like Tory outrage, egged on by their supporters, is already undermining the police investigation, as I read in the Times today that the police are wary of questioning David Davis, who would be helpful to the inquiry as Green’s former boss, because they don’t want to raise the temperature further.
    Well, how about that.? Gobsmacking.

    Tories undermining the investigation with their bleating about police procedure, as well as undermining the Government with years of leaking.?
    It seems to me then, that he should be volunteering to answer questions if he’s nothing to hide, and be quick about it.

  12. Chris' Wills

    One wonders if it will be like the coroners enquiry into the Mendezs murder.

    The coroner has told the jury that they aren’t allowed to bring in a verdict of unlawful killing.

    Aren’t allowed!!!
    Judges can guide and advise the jury decides, has been so since the mid 1800s.

    I worry that the enquiry is too soon and will obfuscate rather than illuminate.

    As for the home sec’ not being involved. Strange that as she is in charge of the Met and I doubt anyone currying favour (the top job is vacant and Jaquie gets to say who gets it) wouldn’t have sought her tacit approval.

    Hopefully I’ll be proved wrong.

  13. As far as I can make out, this will be a short, peripheral investigation into the procedures followed by the investigating officers. Whatever it concludes, it should have no effect on the case for or against Damien Green. So will everyone please calm down?

  14. Rapunzel

    “So will everyone please calm down?”

    I’m not sure the majority of Bloggers, either here or elsewhere, do “calm.” As a relative newcomer, it seems to me that “outrage” is the default position to take.


    Wow. That sent the blood pressure up. Going for a lie-down.

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