UK – The above question should elicit the answer Never. But the fact that I am asking this question at all means that this is not true.
It is central plank in the justice system that no one is allowed to conspire to pervert the course of justice. Leading to either a false conviction or acquittal. Justice has to be seen to blind and impartially metered out.
To this end there are strict laws to protect the justice system. It is illegal to:
- intimidate jurors
- interfere with a witness
- destroy evidence pertinent to the case
- conspire with others to pervert the course of justice
- omit when asked anything that they know
- commit perjury
and quite right too.
For many years this was strictly applied to both prosecution and the defence.
The West Midlands Regional Crime Squad
But in the late 1980’s there came a series of highly embarrassing miscarriages of justice. Where it was proved that convictions had been obtained because the police — think West Midlands Regional Crime Squad — had committed criminal acts.
So far at least 30 convictions have been quashed by the Court of Appeal because of evidence that the squad fabricated evidence, tortured suspects and wrote false confessions.
Publicly the WMRCS was disbanded but NO OFFICER from the West Midlands Police Serious Crime Squad has been successfully prosecuted.
The lesson that went out to the rank and file was do not get caught.
The next problem that came a long was a number of high profile criminal trials failed to secure a conviction because the police witnesses involved in the trials contradicted each other. the contradictions create doubt.
The standard of proof required to secure a criminal conviction is that the jurors must be in NO DOUBT of the guilt of the accused. It is up to the prosecution to prove their case to this standard of proof.
The newspapers lead by the Scum
Sun had a field day blaming the incompetent plods for letting criminals out to roam the streets.
So how do you eliminate these contradictions in the evidence. The police response was obvious, to allow officers to confer before they wrote up their notes. This eliminates both the inconsistencies and the falsifying of these notes later. But this is also called collusion. Again the solution is obvious. Call this collusion something innocent and harmless like “conferencing”. This is exactly what they did after
This is fine IF and only IF the officers concerned are honest and above reproach. No doubt that most are. But once again politics and the need to improve clear up rates got in the way.
The police are only human, and they are vulnerable to both press and political pressure. The desire to please is innate in all of us. So normally honest and decent police officers subconsciously colluded with their fellow officers to pervert the course of justice in order to secure convictions.
A conspiracy of guilt
Pretty soon police officers became aware that they were in fact colluding to pervert the course of justice. What will happen to them their families and their careers if they report it.
It is much like being a doctor. Doctors do kill people, much more frequently than you realise. It is important to their ability to function as a doctor that they can kill and get over it in order to continue to be a doctor.
This does not mean that your GP is another mass murderer like Dr Harold Shipman. No When doctors kill it is almost mercy killing of those about to die anyway, or through a mistake or negligence. This is manslaughter not murder.
That is before we get to high profile cases where the other witnesses and CCTV evidence have directly contradicted the police evidence. These cases include the cold blooded murder of Mark Duggan and Jean Charles de Menezes.
The IPCC proposal
It is this light that the IPCC has proposed that police involved in serious incidents should be prevented from ‘conferencing’.
Now Commander Neil Basu, Scotland Yard’s head of armed policing, has said that up to half of his officers would resign if they were made to comply with this proposal.
Previously the same group of officers had made exactly the same threat if one of their number was ever arrested and prosecuted for the murder of a suspect.
The Blair’s government gave in citing its making the streets safer for the people agenda. Not that any other government would have called their bluff.
No one can be above the law
This time it a matter of national importance that this IPCC proposal is rammed through over the heads of the Armed police. All threats must be called out when it comes to the law.
So in conclusion Commander Neil Basu and all those officers that have threatened to resign if the new IPCC proposal is implemented should be sacked. with immediate effect. No one can be allowed to be above the law.