Po­lice the streets, not our morals

Sunday Mirror - - FRONT PAGE -

THE job of the po­lice is to main­tain law and or­der. It is not to act as judge and jury.

It is the cor­ner­stone of our le­gal sys­tem that any­one sus­pected of a crime is in­no­cent un­til proven guilty. Damian Green is not be­ing ac­cused of any crime, yet two em­bit­tered ex-de­tec­tives have put him in the dock of pub­lic opin­ion and pro­nounced him guilty of look­ing at dirty pic­tures.

This has the po­ten­tial to get Mr Green fired as First Sec­re­tary, and ruin his po­lit­i­cal ca­reer.

That is clearly the out­come Bob Quick and Neil Lewis de­sire.

It’s an out­ra­geous in­ter­fer­ence in our demo­cratic process by two former of­fi­cers who ought to know bet­ter. It dam­ages pub­lic trust in the po­lice and smacks of the kind of be­hav­iour more usu­ally found in a po­lice state.

If Quick and Lewis want one of those, they should ship them­selves out to Rus­sia.

The spe­cial pow­ers po­lice of­fi­cers en­joy are con­di­tional on hon­our­ing the spe­cial trust we place in them. No po­lice of­fi­cer past or present should re­veal pri­vate de­tails un­cov­ered in an op­er­a­tion which were ir­rel­e­vant to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion they were con­duct­ing.

If you are out with a se­cret lover and wit­ness a crime, your pub­lic duty is to re­port it. You would not ex­pect po­lice to then trot round to your spouse to blow the whis­tle. It is not for them to pass judg­ment on moral­ity.

Met Com­mis­sioner Cres­sida Dick now needs to ur­gently re­view em­ploy­ment con­tracts so that this can never hap­pen again.

That means en­sur­ing of­fi­cers have an en­dur­ing duty of con­fi­den­tial­ity, not just while they are serv­ing but also once they have re­tired.

Of­fi­cers must un­der­stand they can leave the po­lice, but they will never be out of the reach of the long arm of the law.

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