Organised criminals were able to infiltrate Scotland Yard “at will” by bribing corrupt officers, according to an explosive report leaked to The Independent. The Metropolitan Police file, written in 2002, found Britain’s biggest force suffered “endemic corruption” at the time.
Operation Tiberius concluded that syndicates such as the notorious Adams family and the gang led by David Hunt had bribed scores of former and then-serving detectives to access confidential databases; obtain live intelligence on criminal investigations; provide specialist knowledge of surveillance, technical deployment and undercover techniques to help evade prosecution; and even take part in criminal acts such as mass drug importation and money laundering.
If true, I’d rate this as a threat to the state. And so, what is the point of all the surveillance by GCHQ et al, if not used to protect the state?
The entire criminal justice system was infiltrated by organised crime gangs, according to a secret Scotland Yard report leaked to The Independent.
In 2003 Operation Tiberius found that men suspected of being Britain’s most notorious criminals had compromised multiple agencies, including HM Revenue & Customs, the Crown Prosecution Service, the City of London Police and the Prison Service, as well as pillars of the criminal justice system including juries and the legal profession.
The strategic intelligence scoping exercise – “ratified by the most senior management” at the Met – uncovered jurors being bought off or threatened to return not-guilty verdicts; corrupt individuals working for HMRC, both in the UK and overseas; and “get out of jail free cards” being bought for £50,000.
The report states that the infiltration made it almost impossible for police and prosecutors to successfully pursue the organised gangs that police suspected controlled much of the criminal underworld.
The author of Tiberius, which was compiled from intelligence sources including covert police informants, live telephone intercepts, briefings from the security services and thousands of historical files, came to the desperate conclusion: “Quite how much more damage could be done is difficult to imagine.”
The fresh revelations come a day after The Independent revealed that Tiberius had concluded the Metropolitan Police suffered “endemic police corruption” at the time, and that some of Britain’s most dangerous organised crime syndicates were able to infiltrate New Scotland Yard “at will”.
In its conclusions, the report stated: “The true assessment of the damage caused by these corrupt networks is impossible to make at this stage, until further proactive scoping has been undertaken.
The Independent isn’t the UK’s National Enquirer, so this report seems as though it should be taken seriously. Odd that it hasn’t been widely covered by other newspapers.
Serious concerns – many of them still unaddressed – were raised about the events leading up to those fateful few moments. Why, for instance, was the officer who fired the fatal shot the only witness who says he saw Mark Duggan holding a gun? What led the jury to conclude that the police could and should have gathered more intelligence before stopping the car Duggan was travelling in? Why was that car – a crucial piece of evidence – moved by police officers in the hours after the shooting? Why was there no officer in charge of the crime scene for more than 48 hours?
So now the family is expected to put its faith in the IPCC. But few people in Tottenham, black or white, have any faith in this organisation’s ability to be thorough, fair and impartial. The IPCC has faced much criticism during the inquest and the family believe that this criticism has been well-earned. During the inquest the IPCC’s mishandling of the crime scene was revealed, including the fact that it gave permission for the mini-cab to be removed before investigating officers had even looked at it or had it forensically searched for evidence. It further transpired that the IPCC failed to respond to crucial independent witnesses, even those who tried to respond to their own urgent witness appeals. The IPCC has chosen not to explore the possibility that the gun was planted at the spot it was found, even though it was 7m from his body and two independent witness gave the IPCC statements – and later testified – that they had seen an officer remove a gun from the mini-cab some minutes after Duggan had been killed. But the most crucial reason why the family and local community will have no faith in the IPCC’s investigation is that its lead investigator, Colin Sparrow, revealed to the inquest that he knew Duggan had not fired any gun long before the IPCC began briefing the media that he had shot at police first. It is one thing for the IPCC to have made the mistake, but it still took three weeks to correct a “fact” it knew to be false; and in those intervening days Tottenham, and many other areas, burned.
I’m sure the delay of more than two years in completing the inquest had nothing to do with the circumstances of Duggan’s death.
The commissioner of the Metropolitan police, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, is facing an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission into his actions on the day of the Hillsborough disaster in April 1989, in which 96 people died.
The complaint against Hogan-Howe, Britain’s top policeman, includes the fact that he appears never to have made a statement after Hillsborough to any of the official investigations into the disaster, despite having said last year that he did.
Hogan-Howe said last year he had refused to change his statement after being asked to by another policeman, but in fact it has now turned out he apparently never made any statement at all.
The detention of the partner of a former Guardian journalist has triggered fresh concerns after it emerged that a key reason cited bypolice for holding him under terrorism powers was the belief that he was promoting a “political or ideological cause”.
The revelation has alarmed leading human rights groups and a Tory MP, who said the justification appeared to be without foundation and threatened to have damaging consequences for investigative journalism.
David Miranda is the partner of Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who – often in collaboration with the Guardian – has broken many stories about the extent and scope of spying by the US National Security Agency. Miranda was stopped at Heathrow airport in August and held by the Metropolitan police for nine hours while on his way home to Brazil.
The police watchdog has said it will take the Metropolitan police to court over the force’s attempt to keep secret its investigations into claims it is abusing its counter-terrorism powers.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission said it filed papers with the high court on Wednesday over the Met’s refusal to disclose the conclusions of investigations into its use of powers to stop people at ports and airports.
The IPCC believes the police are required by law to give it the information, and says the Met is the only force in England that has refused to do so.
Boris Johnson sets the Met’s priorities. Does he approve of the Met ignoring the IPCC?
As Chris Mullin in The Guardian reminds us, it is the first anniversary of plebgate.
Alarm bells began to ring. Bernard Hogan Howe, the Metropolitan police commissioner, cut short his Christmas holiday to appear before the home affairs committee. Hogan Howe, who from the outset had been unwisely professing his complete confidence in his officers’ version of events, now promised “a ruthless search for the truth”. Operation Alice was set up, involving 30 police officers who were to leave no stone unturned. The issues they had to resolve were simple enough. Why did the Downing Street log suggest that the incident had been witnessed by members of the public when it hadn’t? Who contacted the Sun within hours of the incident taking place? Who leaked the contents of the log to the Daily Telegraph? And, above all, who put Randall’s constituent up to apparently claiming he had witnessed the incident when he hadn’t?
Nine months on, the outcome of this “ruthless search for the truth” is still awaited. A number of officers and one civilian are reported to have been arrested, but as yet there is no sign of any charges. We will, of course, never know precisely what was said by Mitchell in his exchange with the officers. All one can say is that what has since come to light undermines the credibility of the police witnesses and adds weight to Mitchell’s version of events.
There will of course be those who ask why all this should be any concern to those of us who are not Tories. Why, they may argue, intrude on private grief? In my view, however, there are wider issues at stake that ought to be of interest to all democrats. First, it is not in the public interest that the police should be allowed to reshuffle the government on the basis of evidence of which some is clearly fabricated.
Second, as one of my Tory neighbours remarked: “If the police will go to these lengths to fit up a Tory cabinet minister, imagine what they could do to a black boy late one night in the back streets of Manchester.” Finally, somewhere at the back of all this lies the Police Federation, a mighty vested interest with a long track record of defending the indefensible. It is high time it got its comeuppance.
The Guardian covers the Met’s apology to the family of Ian Tomlinson:
The statement from Deputy Assistant Commissioner Maxine de Brunner of the Met – and an undisclosed financial settlement – marks an embarrassing climbdown by the force.
“I apologise unreservedly for Simon Harwood’s use of excessive and unlawful force, which caused Mr Tomlinson’s death, and for the suffering and distress caused to his family as a result,” said De Brunner.
The police statement apologised for not informing the family that Tomlinson had been assaulted by an officer and for issuing misleading statements in the immediate aftermath of his death, when the force said officers had come under a hail of missiles as they tried to go to his assistance – a version of events repeatedly questioned by witnesses who spoke to the Guardian.
It is good to see that the Met has apologised for its off-the-record briefings in this case.
Britain’s most senior police officer failed to tell Doreen Lawrence, the mother of murdered teenager Stephen, that undercover spies gathered intelligence on her family while they pressed police to carry out a proper investigation into his killing.
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, withheld the information when he met Lawrence three weeks ago to discuss claims that a covert Special Branch unit had collected intelligence on her family. Hogan-Howe had been notified before the meeting that an internal police investigation had uncovered information on the Lawrence family in the files of the undercover unit.
Really not sure why he failed to mention this. Presumably he was managing the news for the Met’s benefit rather than Doreen Lawrence’s.
It found that 511 racism complaints were made against officers in April 2011 to May 2012. In some the Met investigation comprised of asking the officers to respond by email, than accepting their denial and finding against the complainant.
The ranks take their cue from the top. Why can’t the Met’s well-paid senior management get a grip?