The human rights lawyer Michael Mansfield QC has attacked the ‘unspoken immunity’ enjoyed by the police and called the extent of corruption in the force ‘extremely serious’. Speaking to the Justice Gap, the barrister said the level of collusion between the political class, the police class and the media class that was revealed during the Leveson Inquiry was ‘disturbing’.
Meanwhile, a senior Tory has said that police officers should wear cameras and microphones to record all contact with the public, as reported in The Times today. David Davies, the former shadow home secretary has called for a Royal Commission following a ‘crisis of ethics’ within the police service. Senior officers accused of lying to force Cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell out of office are to face MPs today
People that lead the way and push change are families like the family of Stephen Lawrence, he said.
‘It’s been an inspiration for me to work alongside people who have been committed, who’ve never given up, right to this day who’ve actually brought about a form of accountability. These families are icons.’
The ‘Plebgate’ row is the latest revelation in the press of police gross misconduct. Officers claimed that Andrew Mitchell called police ‘f**king plebs’ as they tried to stop him wheeling his bike through Downing Street’s gates.
According to the Independent Police Complaints Commission the conversation between Mitchell and the three police federations was misrepresented. The IPCC’s investigation concluded that the ‘none of the officers had a case to answer’.
The Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper told the Telegraph that the ‘plebgate’ row shows that police shouldn’t be allowed to investigate themselves: ‘We need a powerful and independent Police Standards Authority to replace the IPCC.’
Speaking on his weekly phone-in show on LBC radio, Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg sympathised with the ex chief whip – ‘it is perfectly legitimate for Andrew Mitchell to feel pretty sore’.
Clegg said: ‘I don’t think anybody wants – I am sure Andrew Mitchell doesn’t want – this to descend into some sort of long-standing slanging match between politicians and the police. That is a bad state of affairs. But I have to say to you on the facts of the case as revealed by the report from the Independent Police Complaints Commission it seems to be pretty clear that those three representatives of the Police Federation who went in to see Andrew Mitchell had every intention not to listen to what he said and every intention to go out and condemn him. Basic fairness says that is not right and it is correct that the IPCC has revealed that.’
‘The IPCC report doesn’t pull its punches. It says there are serious question marks about their honesty and their integrity. Of course it is not a good thing that it has become some ongoing slanging match between politicians and the police.’
When ‘something goes wrong’, Clegg continued, ‘natural justice dictates that people should be held to account’. ‘And something clearly went wrong when these fed representatives went into Andrew Mitchell’s office with one intention in mind, which was basically to go out and tell the worlds press that he needed to resign,’ he said.
Justice Gap reporter and journalism student at the University of Winchester