At last . . . a po­lice­man who isn’t just a po­lit­i­cal pawn

The Mail on Sunday - - News -

IT’S not of­ten that I have a good word to say about po­lice chiefs. Greater Manch­ester Po­lice bosses forced me out of a job I loved and top brass ev­ery­where are usu­ally too busy do­ing the bid­ding of politi­cians.

But there are still a few who aren’t po­lit­i­cal pawns. One is Mike Veale, the inspirational Chief Con­sta­ble of Wilt­shire Po­lice.

Mr Veale has given a text­book demon­stra­tion of how the po­lice should be free from po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence and able to

in­ves­ti­gate crimes with­out fear or favour.

He has been sub­jected to fierce Es­tab­lish­ment crit­i­cism for in­ves­ti­gat­ing sex abuse claims against for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Sir Ed­ward Heath.

Lesser po­lice chiefs would have dropped the in­ves­ti­ga­tion by now, but not Mr Veale. He’s do­ing ex­actly what po­lice chiefs should be do­ing – in­ves­ti­gat­ing se­ri­ous com­plaints and not be­ing de­terred by the fact his force could ar­rive at a very in­con­ve­nient truth.

All too of­ten, the threat of un­cov­er­ing some­thing politi­cians don’t want the pub­lic to know stops in­ves­ti­ga­tions in their tracks.

I know be­cause it hap­pened to me. As a de­tec­tive for Greater Manch­ester Po­lice, I spent years work­ing on mur­ders, rapes and child pro­tec­tion is­sues, help­ing even­tu­ally bring the Rochdale groom­ing gang to jus­tice.

In 2004, I went to bosses and warned them that large num­bers of Asian men were vi­o­lently abus­ing white girls.

Even though I had strong ev­i­dence that would lead to con­vic­tions, the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was closed down. The po­lice did not want to go there.

They were wor­ried about dam­ag­ing ‘com­mu­nity co­he­sion’. And the more I pushed for jus­tice, the more I came un­der at­tack from bosses.

My chief con­sta­ble said I was ‘too emo­tion­ally in­volved’. I was bul­lied, iso­lated and I even­tu­ally col­lapsed at work in a sergeant’s of­fice due to se­vere stress.

I had no choice but to re­sign in or­der to speak out pub­licly and ex­pose the truth. As a chief con­sta­ble, Mr Veale is harder to si­lence and he is right to stand his ground.

Tim Fortes­cue, a Whip in Heath’s Gov­ern­ment in the 1970s, boasted he could cover up a ‘scan­dal in­volv­ing small boys’.

So there are very rea­son­able grounds to in­ves­ti­gate al­le­ga­tions from this time.

I wish there were more like Mr Veale. When we re­turn to a cul­ture where po­lice can fol­low the ev­i­dence with­out be­ing pet­ri­fied of the po­lit­i­cal con­se­quences, we’ll all be bet­ter off for it.

By MAG­GIE OLIVER

FOR­MER DE­TEC­TIVE WHO HELPED TO EX­POSE THE ROCHDALE GROOM­ING RING

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