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New investigation after ‘2,000 police officers’ are implicated in corruption

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Police corruption is to be investigated by a powerful committee of MPs amid fears of widespread impropriety – as The Independent reveals that thousands of officers are suspected to be crooked.

The Home Affairs Select Committee will launch an inquiry next month into the police’s relationship with organised crime, focusing on the infiltration of forces by criminal networks. The inquiry, which will allow MPs to hear from witnesses under the protection of parliamentary privilege, follows a series of scandals including the inquiries relating to Stephen Lawrence, Daniel Morgan, phone-hacking and Plebgate.

It comes as The Independent can reveal for the first time the Government’s official estimate of how many members of police staff were suspected of being compromised by dealings with criminals.

An analysis of intelligence by Home Office researchers found between 0.5 and 1 per cent of the 200,000 police officers and civilian employees in England and Wales in 2003 were “potentially corrupt”, and involved in leaking information to criminals, stealing property during raids, fabricating evidence, helping villains to escape prosecution and “using their power to obtain money or sexual favours from the public”.

However, the previously unnoticed report said the problem at the time was “far wider” and made clear the 2,000 figure did not include officers suspected of “criminality and misconduct”, which included dealing and using drugs ranging from steroids to crack cocaine, fraud, domestic violence and “sexist, racist and homophobic behaviour”.

The report suggested that police who had committed crimes should be dealt with behind closed doors

The report cited raids where suspects were apparently expecting police, had no incriminating evidence and had “already got the kettle on when the police arrive”.

One investigator is quoted as saying: “A good villain can’t operate without having a bent officer…it’s impossible.”

The report said the suspected criminality was not limited to junior officers and found “examples of higher-ranking officers implicated in corruption or other unethical behaviour”.

The Home Office report also recommended that, in some cases, police who had committed crimes should be dealt with behind closed doors, rather than mount prosecutions in open court, with “alternative outcomes” such as “disciplinary procedures” and “disruption tactics” being “less damaging to the morale of the organisation”.

Another theme running through the 2003 paper was the fear of “bad publicity and criticism” that resulted from publicising investigations into police corruption. “Media strategies accompanying investigations might be used to minimise negative publicity,” the report suggests.

Critics said this “kid-gloves” approach to the police from successive Labour governments was one of the reasons why the Home Secretary, Theresa May, is having to deal with a series of historical scandals, such as Hillsborough, the Daniel Morgan murder and corruption of the Stephen Lawrence investigation.

 

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Law & Politics

Police Will Be Able To Read Everyone’s Internet Search History Under New Plan

UK Police are asking the government for new surveillance powers to be able to view the Internet search history of every single person in the country.

Richard Berry, the National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesman told The Guardian that “We want to police by consent, and we want to ensure that privacy safeguards are in place. But we need to balance this with the needs of the vulnerable and the victims. We essentially need the ‘who, where, when and what’ of any communication – who initiated it, where were they and when did it happened. And a little bit of the ‘what’, were they on Facebook, or a banking site, or an illegal child-abuse image-sharing website?”

“Five years ago, [a suspect] could have physically walked into a bank and carried out a transaction. We could have put a surveillance team on that but now, most of it is done online. We just want to know about the visit,” he added.

It is likely that police are already looking at your online activity, but just want the power to do it legally. As we learned from whistleblower Edward Snowden, governments are very interested what their citizens are doing online, and they do have the technology to spy on every telephone call and Internet communication.

Police in the UK have been attempting to reach for these powers through legislation for years, but they have been blocked on multiple occasions. This new effort proves that they will not be giving up on getting legal permission for their spying programs.

MP David Davis told The Guardian “It’s extraordinary they’re asking for this again, they are overreaching and there is no proven need to retain such data for a year.”

Home Secretary Theresa May will announce the specifics of the plan during a meeting about the Government’s new surveillance bill in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

“I’ve said many times before that it is not possible to debate the balance between privacy and security, including the rights and wrongs of intrusive powers and the oversight arrangements that govern them without also considering the threats that we face as a country,” May said.

“They include not just terrorism from overseas and home-grown in the UK, but also industrial, military and state espionage.They include not just organized criminality, but also the proliferation of once physical crimes online, such as child sexual exploitation. And the technological challenges that that brings. In the face of such threats we have a duty to ensure that the agencies whose job it is to keep us safe have the powers they need to do the job,” she added.

 

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