Monday, 25 July 2011

TALK ABOUT A TIT...


I've been watching the all recent talk about phone hacking and police corruption with the kind of interest I normally reserve for the Christmas episode of Eastenders. I've been glued to the select committees and press conferences. I've seen a lot of people offer justifications and excuses. And I've started about eight intense and earnest blog posts about the whole thing to add my two cents to all the other endless pieces of debate, but I got bored wading through the minutiae of the Met's failings and realised all I wanted to say was ha ha ha, I was right, you were wrong...



The idea that the Metropolitan police are incompetent had been put in my head long before I ever dealt with them, but my dealings with them in 2004 did nothing to dissuade of that notion. To accuse them of not being able to organise a piss up in a brewery is insulting to those with poor events managment skills in a licensed property. Not only could they not find their arse from their elbow with a map and the Mountain Rescue to help, they were bitchy, disorganized, biased and bloody rude. Asking them to actually prove my rapes felt like asking a particularly stroppy teenager to clean their room, but with higher emotional stakes. They huffed and puffed and sulked and stamped their feet and made me feel like a burden who gone and got herself raped just to bugger up their nice tidy paperwork.

But in amongst their inability to even do their jobs to a basic standard, there was something else niggling at me. I didn't trust them at all. I thought they were a bunch of lying and corrupt bastards. Their threats that they couldn't keep my details anonymous when my first case looked like it would hit the papers. Gossiping about other cases as they drove me round from appointment to appointment, even pointing out houses where rapes involving footballers had happened. Slandering me to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. Forging my signature to make it look like I'd withdrawn my complaint. Cajoling phonecalls during the day and hang-ups at 4am. The first response to discovering my entire paper file, including over 100 photos of the injuries visible on my naked body, had gone missing was not 'sorry' or 'I'm sure it's just be incorrectly filed'. It was 'Let's hope no one has sold it to the papers.'*

They kept telling me they were rotten. They kept lying to me. They shouted it from the rooftops. And I didn't quite take it on board. Part of me was convinced they stank like three day old fish. The other part of me kept telling myself I was so fucked up and traumatised and bitter I was just lashing out and saying horrible things about them out of pain. I felt utterly biased about the Met. Asking me about them was as likely to get you a balanced answer as doing a bridal shop survey with Miss Havisham. But thanks to a winning combination of trauma, self doubt and the Met's own very persuasive tactics, I ignored the fact I thought they were corrupt, thought I was just nuts instead and learned to swallow the hot sick feeling that rose up everytime I thought about who might be looking at those photos...

Until the last week that is. When the Schadenfraude Fairy came to visit and I realised I'm not mad, I'm not raddled with bitterness and I was right. The Metropolitan police really are institutionally corrupt and full of shit. And don't give me the line that it's just a few bad apples and point to the fact that top coppers like John Yates and Sir Paul Stephenson resigned quite quickly. Everyone I dealt with at the Met covered up for the corruption pervading their police force. Even when I made a formal complaint about them, intending it to go to the Directorate of Professional Standards and be treated with the respect and gravity it deserved, the Sapphire Unit involved managed to practically everyone in the department involved to bully me back down to the ineffective (and illegal) Local Resolution. Officers who had never heard my name before or had any dealing in my case put their names to coaxing letters, bullying phonecalls and bargaining tools that were designed to make me back down and prevent their shameful handling of my case from being exposed. That mixture of cajoling and implied threats went as high as to involve senior officers any news hungry citizen would have heard of.

And that was after the original officers destroyed paperwork, forged details, ignored evidence and it was all covered up from the eyes of their superiors either by lies and deception or people simply turning a blind eye. They all covered ther arses, I had a nervous breakdown and my rapist walked free. It might not be the same headline grabbing corruption of the past few weeks, but it's corruption all the same. So it didn't come as a shock to find out they've been indulging in underhand dealings and nefarious actions worthy of a John La Carré novel as well. But even though I have a spectacularly low opinion of the Met and it was nice to realise I haven't become a conspiracy theorist, I was disappointed to realise just how bad the organisation really is. It's fundamentally important to have faith and trust in the police. It makes us feel safe. It underpins the real need we all have to feel the world is just. It's so incredibly vital to a functioning society that I can't overestimate it enough. And the Met have spoiled it for everyone.

They need to at least try and come clean about their behaviour in general and their involvement in the News of the World hacking scandal and they need to stop taking us for fools now they've been discovered with their mealy mouthed denials, insistence on their 'integrity' and vaguely comical soundbites. They need to shake things up from top to bottom, lose the butt hurt tones and appeal to us to respect them again in the future after showing us what they've changed and achieved rather than just telling us loudly and with the aid of their 45 PR officers. I, for one, will be happy to wait. It might go some way toward making me less regretful and upset that I ever got involved with them.


* I have no idea if they did sell the file to anyone. I have no idea if I want to know. But I know I won't be entirely surprised if it turned out to be true.

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