Damned if we do...
On glancing at the headlines today, I thought that the police had been called in to investigate the verging-on-illegal expenses claims being made by - it seems - most of Brown's government. But no, it appears I was mistaken. In fact the Met have been asked to investigate the leaking of MP's expenses which has caused much embarrassment to Brown.
Without wishing to sound like I don't care about pen-pushing or mindless bureaucracy, since when do we launch police investigations into embarrassing stories about the government? Obviously a disgruntled civil servant, or for all I know a thoroughly gruntled one who just thought we deserved to know, has passed the information to the press and the press have printed it. How exactly does that differ from every other major political news story of the last decade?
Of the many responses the Metropolitan Police might give to the complaint from the Commons' Authority, I am guessing that "sod off" isn't going to be one of them. In case any of my readers have been living in Canada for the last ten years, here is what happens when someone, anyone, makes a complaint of crime to the police:
- A crime report is generated by the civilian call-taker.
- Depending on the category of crime, it is handed to a police officer to investigate, given to a PCSO to give "reassurance", or kept within the civilian crime desk for a slow-time office-based investigation.
- Regardless of which of the above is selected, the crime report cannot be ignored and must be resolved either by detection, filing (unsolved), or no-criming (decision that no offence has taken place after all).
Further to my post on the perils of being a whistle-blower in Brown's Britain, my qualms no longer centre purely around my off-duty activities. I have already carried out trivial warrants, arrests and prosecutions as a result of the stringent National Crime Recording Standards we work under. How long before I am passed a package asking me to knock on a political rival's door in the Blandmore area, and take him/her into custody in front of partner and children? No doubt the arrest will be sanctioned as necessary for matters of national security. Will I know enough to know I have become a political pawn? At what point do I dig my heels in, and how many people will be waiting in another part of the station to do the deed if I won't? Can you keep your integrity if you are willing to "just follow orders"?
I still think 90% of what I do is worthwhile. I don't want to give that up to avoid the 10% that isn't.
If the Met launch this investigation, the question must be asked, just who exactly is the police serving in this country?
'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in some bookstores and online.