Why it matters to all of us
Theresa May has just lost my vote by renewing Sir Hogan-Howe’s contract, a move that shows poor judgement and lack of respect for the public anger over his disgusting handling (“non-arrest”) and treatment of Lord Bramall. His arrogance and refusal to apologise to Lord Bramall for the way his force has dealt with false allegations against him is stunning. He was clearly wrong not to take responsibility for the criminal wrongdoing of his organisation – wrongdoing that is now clear and obvious to all (except of course the police and Theresa May). If the police can make dawn raids based on one of the most distinguished men in the country based on just the slightest allegation from any old phycho or disgruntled person with an “axe-to-grind” then it can happen to any of us – that is why it matters. Did Hogan-Howe have no knowledge of Operation Midland and what was going on – impossible given the suspects high and public positions. Up until Ms May’s action he was fighting for his survival although attempting to save himself by placing blame on his officers and processes instead of taking responsibility for it like a decent man (revealing his true selfish character). Now that he has been let off the hook by May, as have his officers, is there any good man or woman for that matter, who will now right this wrong? I think we all know the answer to that one.
Anyone can make such allegations knowing that they will remain anonymous and face no charges if later found out to be false. Officers can act in the most amateur and cavalier way against anyone knowing that they won’t face any consequences. Leading up to it those making the allegations may have been blackmailing or at least getting paid by the press for their story. So it is a win-not loose very high reward low risk situation for anyone wanting to exploit some big public figure. If the word sex wasn’t in the charge it would have been laughed out of the police station. eg imagine going to report someone for an alleged burglary that happened 30 years ago. But put the words sex and pedophile in it and suddenly it is all hands on deck as all rational logical thought and reason evaporates.
However we do know (although the police don’t) that from the way the ritual child abuse industry came and went a few years back that there are plenty of people out there prepared to make plenty of crazy fantastical allegations that once properly tested in a proper court have been found to be pure fiction. Bizarre theories about sexual abuse have been given currency and become mainstream in the world of psychiatry (and supported by the ignorance of the police) only to be disproven decades later after many people have been wrongly accused and jailed as a result – listen to the compelling Radio 4 podcasts by David Aaronovitch’s on Ritual Sexual Abuse: The Anatomy of a Panic. These programmes depict a deja-view of almost exactly what we are seeing happening now. The example of the McMartin trial infamous for being the longest ever trial in US history ran for 6 years on child sex allegations before the accused were finally acquitted of all 64 charges. Not before the main accused a teacher had spent 5 years in prison though and subject to a second trial as a result of public hysteria and protests. It has very close parallels to not only the victims of Operation Midland but Operation Yew Tree and the recent celebrity sex abuse cases in the UK where the media frenzy and the mob have propelled these false cases forward. This should be required reading for all police officers involved in investigating sex abuse in the UK.
As for the Lord Bramall case let’s ask a few basic questions of the police:
1. Why does it need 20 officers to make a dawn raid on any 92 year old man, yet alone one of such great public distinction as Lord Bramall? Why not just quietly send two offices to his door to interview him or ask him to anonymously attend the station? If that many officers are available to waste time like this then the police must surely be heavily overstaffed. This looks pretty much like bullying to me.
2. Why did it take 10 hours to search his house? What were they expecting to find, videos, photos, letters admitting to sexual child abuse?
3. Why did they keep him on bail for 10 months causing great distress to him and his wife at their age?
4. Why does it take just one allegation (from any one of potentially many disgruntled former employees) to embark on a witch hunt like this?
5. Why is the name of the senior officer making the decision to abuse this 92 year old not made public and the officer held accountable?
6. Why did it take almost a year to close their investigation – no doubt the cause of great stress to him at his age even if he knew he was innocent?
7. Why do the police continue to use the lazy tactic (also used on many of the big names) of publicly naming the suspect and getting the press to cover the arrest and search of their houses in order to get “more victims to step forward”, publicity that tarnishes or even destroy’s the innocent suspects’ reputations especially once the press get hold of it (see the picture above) which of course is the full intention since who cares since if the investigation is later dropped then the police were “only doing their job” regardless of the distress and damage it caused ot the lete’s not forget innocent suspect, and if more “victims” appear then it strengthens their case. Either both the accuser and the suspect should be named or both should be kept anonymous in the interest of equity. This is one area of “cooperation” between the police and media that is still fair game, having survived the Levison enquiry.
8. What punishment will be given to those responsible in the police and will they bring charges for perverting the course of justice against the liar who made up the allegations? We all know what the answer to that will be. Why are those that make such false allegations and lies not named and publicly shamed? Why aren’t their motives carefully assessed and looked into. These often turn out to be financial as in the case of Rolf Harris’s accusers. Isn’t motive meant to be a key element of a crime – at least is was in Cluedo, but not modern day policing of paedephilia. How many more entirely reputable and innocent victims have to suffer like this before the press and public says enough?
And what about Lord Janner? – The police are however obsessed with trying to manipulate the media which is hardly surprising since the symbiotic relationship. They desperately use the timing of announcements to try and protect themselves from any adverse PR. On the Friday 15th January the evening headline news was that Lord Janner was considered guilty after all – funny how they did nothing in the face of many allegations and complaints while he was alive. They then later on in the evening slipped out this bit about dropping the case against Lord Bramhall – too late to be discussed at the same time or included in Saturday’s papers – very odd timing don’t you think?
The reality is that each time the police allow a Cliff Richard or Lord Bramall to take place it will make it harder for a Lord Jenner or Jimmy Savile to be brought to justice and that makes the world a less safe place for all of us.