Boris To Decide MP Prosecutions?
Up and down the country Chief Constables have been deluged with complaints about local MPs. Many constituents believe that their MP’s conduct has gone beyond error and misjudgement to the point where the police need to investigate. There is huge anger and if Harriet Harman’s “Court Of Public Opinion” gets its way then there is to be much humiliation and many prison sentences for miscreant MPs.
Chief Constables are accused of sitting on their hands and being in fear of taking on such high profile suspects. In fact, there is confusion about jurisdiction and about what recourse is open to the public if the police will not take action.
An attempt has already been made to bring a private prosecution against Home Secretary Jacqui Smith. District Judge Bruce Morgan at Redditch Magistrates Court adjourned the application for a summons and referred the matter to the Metropolitan Police, saying that the applicant could *come back to court” if the Met failed to investigate.
The Association Of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) says that the Met is taking the lead and that jurisdiction for all MPs is likely to be in the Met’s hands as expenses claims are paid out from Parliament and not in the constituencies.
The Met’s current position is still that it’s thinking about it. It “needs to understand the Parliamentary processes for expenses” as part of its assessment as to whether to launch an investigation. After its clumsy and inept handling of the Damian Green affair it’s not surprising that discretion should be the better part of its valour but really, it’s a shabby response to what is probably the greatest ever betrayal of public trust.
Perhaps that’s what the problem is. It all just seems too big, too grand, too important. In reality, the sordid, self-serving decisions that so many MPs have taken are just as small and pathetic as any shoplifter or petty thief.
What we need here is clarity and courage. We deserve a police service that can see through the obfuscation, blather and bluff. If you look at them in the same way as you would a shoplifter or a petty thief , brush away their pathetic excuses, well, officer, what are you going to do now?
If the police fail to take action, where will the public turn? The Independent Police Complaints Commission has a very narrow remit. It can only address questions of police misconduct. Questions of policy, or the conduct of Chief Constables are a matter for the local police authority and in London, that means the Metropolitan Police Authority, chairman of which is ex-MP, Boris Johnson. The Association of Police Authorities (APA) is waking up to this fast approaching buck and where it might be stopping. Let’s hope Boris is too.
Written by Peter Reynolds
May 29, 2009 at 6:08 pm
Posted in Politics
Tagged with ACPO, APA, Association of Chief Police Officers, Association of Police Authorities, Boris Johnson, Bruce Morgan, confusion, Court Of Public Opinion, Harriet Harman, Home Secretary, humiliation, Independent Police Complaints Commission, IPCC, Jacqui Smith, judge, jurisdiction, lead, Metropolitan Police, Metropolitan Police Authority, misconduct, miscreantfear, MPA, prison, private prosecution, public, recourse, Redditch.magistrate
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