Thursday, December 20, 2012

 

Police Due for a Real Kicking after Plebgate

It's not been a good year for the police. First there was Leveson and the revelations that senior police were on the take for handing out information to the News of the World. That took some licking but the report on Hillsborough, where police we revealed to have physically altered scores of witness statements to help secure t heir untenable position, was way beyond unbelievable for its crass wickedness. And now its Plebgate, with the unlikely Andrew Mitchell suddenly surfacing from the mire of all the accusations smelling gorgeously of roses. I have to confess I was wrong about him too, though we only had what was in the public domain to go by. The then Chief hWip Mitchell rode his bike out of Downing St and exchanged words with a policeman before wheeling his bike through a side-gate and bowling of to lunch at the Carlton Club. Allegedly he had called the policeman a 'fucking pleb' for forcing him to divert from the main gate as he wished. The police log of the event later appeared to have been leaked to the press and the fan got very smeared with the brown stuff.

But the most damning testimony came from an alleged 'passerby' who, 24 hours after the event, wrote to his MP, who just happened to be the Deputy Chief Whip, John Randall, and, as it turned out, no friend of his boss. In this email he wrote an account which oddly seems to echo the official police log. Randall sent the email to Number 10 where Cameron- why wouldn't he?- apparently swallowed its content. Mitchell denied the charges regarding use of the word 'pleb' but agreed he'd sworn at the No 10 police. After a month in which the Police Federation- furious with the government over cuts, not to mention the left, including me- ground its teeth with fury., Mitchell resigned, still insisting on hsi innocence. Clearly Cameron felt he'd had enough disruption and had called in Mitchell to the pavilion.

Last night Michael Crick- it would have to be him, former editor Newsnight who left the Beeb some time ago- uncovered what appears to be the truth about the events leading to the former Chief Whip's loss of his job. CCTV showed Mitchell did not rage at the police nor were their tourist bystanders.But the most serious revelation was that the e-mailer was no idle by stander but himself an off-duty member of the same group of policemen.Crick's phone conversation with him revealed a man sounding evasive and nervous.

It now seems clear that the e-mailer was merely seeking to bolster the story put out by the police at the gate, possibly infuriated by Mitchell's infamously haughty manner.The gate police stand accused now of concocting a story to incriminate a government minister- Cameron is said to be furious; Michell vindicated. And who can blame him? He clearly suffers from a marked lack of love from his colleagues many of whom seemed delighted to see the back of him. But, amazingly, he was framed! The only thing which seems to be true is that he used the 'f' word to a policeman; well, school rules might have been violated and the beak might issue a telling off, but the full works, rustication just do not seem justified. We know the police do this sort of thing but what kind of arrogance, or vindictiveness explains this behaviour, supported to the hilt, as it was, by the Police Federation. The police will get a mega kicking for this.. and they deserve to.     

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