Police the streets, not our morals
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.