So, the police officer who claimed to have witnessed former cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell calling cops “plebs” has pleaded guilty to committing misconduct in public office between 19 September and 16 December 2012. So, Andrew Mitchell has been vindicated. Or has he?
Mitchell denied calling the police “plebs”, but he admitted swearing at the officers, saying “I thought you were supposed to fucking help us,” or similar. Now, we might expect to hear such language down town on a Saturday night – but is this the kind of behaviour we should accept from a government minister?
I say no. If a member of the general public talked to a cop like that, he’d be given a stern warning if not reported or arrested. And I think a government minister should be held to a higher standard. Mitchell should have been sacked for swearing at the police. But so much has been made of the alleged use of the term “pleb”, everyone is forgetting that he used obscene language remonstrating police officers just because they wouldn’t open the main Downing Street gates for him and his bicycle.
So okay, PC Keith Wallis misrepresented himself as a member of the public in a letter to his MP and blatantly lied about witnessing Mitchell using the word “pleb”. Wallis is now going to be punished – probably sent to prison – for the serious offence of misconduct in public office. But I say that Mitchell is also guilty of misconduct in public office by swearing at police officers in the street. Some commentators are now saying that Mitchell should be reinstated to a ministerial position. But really he should join Wallis in a jail cell. Government members like to pretend they’re somehow better than the rest of us, lording over us and telling us what’s best for us; so when one of them is found to be a foul-mouthed yob with no respect for common decency he should be punished more than one of us mere mortals would be.
Well, whaddaya know? When Tory ex-Cabinet Minister Andrew Mitchell was accused of swearing at Downing Street cops and calling them “fucking plebs”, I thought it was probably true. That’s a classic Tory attitude isn’t it: “The police officers won’t open the main gates for me and my bicycle. Who are they to disobey their Lords and Masters? Fucking plebs.”
But now, it appears that the police were lying – and that is equally feasible. We’re not just talking about the cops who were actually there at Downing Street, in all the hoo-hah and police “investigations” into themselves and their mates, the police including the chief constables of West Mercia, Warwickshire and the West Midlands constabularies, have all been lying about the affair.
The police in Britain usually investigate themselves when there has been complaint of wrong-doing, and they generally don’t believe anyone who isn’t a copper. I have personal experience of making a complaint against the police and the “complaints department” have dismissed my complaint even though there was documentary proof that the officers in question were lying.
Well, the cops who apparently made up the “pleb” story are now to be recalled to Parliament to apologise for lying to a committee of MPs, and if they don’t do it they will be “in contempt of Parliament” which hopefully means they’ll get sent to the Tower of London to be beheaded. There would be plenty of folk volunteering for the executioner job; in fact I wouldn’t mind taking a swing at it myself!
Remember when Andrew Michell, the then-Government Chief Whip in the House of Commons, was forced to resign in the aftermath of the “Plebgate” row, where police officers claimed he had called them “fucking plebs”. The insinuation was that Mitchell was a liar: after a meeting a year after the Plebgate affair with Police Federation representives from the West Mercia, West Midlands and Warwickshire forces, Ken Mackaill, chairman of the West Mercia federation, said Mitchell’s position was untenable. He resigned a week later.
But it was later alleged that they lied about what went on in the meeting – which had been taped – in order to support their colleagues in London. They were accused of deliberately misrepresenting the meeting and calling Mitchell’s integrity into question. There are even murmurings about a conspiracy to get rid of Mitchell.
IPCC deputy chair Deborah Glass said on Tuesday (15 October) the officers should face disciplinary panels to decide whether they lied. She said:
“In my view the evidence is such that a panel should determine whether the three officers gave a false account of the meeting in a deliberate attempt to support their MPS (Metropolitan police service) colleague and discredit Mr Mitchell, in pursuit of a wider agenda.
“In my opinion the evidence indicates an issue of honesty and integrity, not merely naive or poor professional judgment.”
If the IPCC has elected to investigate the case themselves, they would have the power to direct the forces to convene misconduct proceedings but have chosen not to exercise these powers. The Crown Prosecution Service is to review the relevant proof; but no officers are going to be prosecuted, are they? If the police can get away with murdering innocent bystanders (think Jean Charles de Menezes or Ian Tomlinson, or any victim of police brutality) what chance does Mitchell have? Very little. Keir Starmer, the director of public prosecutions, said at the weekend prosecutors would come to a decision on whether any officers or members of the public should be charged “as soon as we can”. I think we can all assume what that means.
Please comment on this story, it would be good to know what public opinion is about police dishonesty. There’s a Comment button below. 😉