Too little too late. Harwood can barely get a fair trial now and what should be ‘on trial’ is how Ian Tomlinson’s family were treated so badly and why those in our justice system tend so readily to cover-up. The same is really true in the Pilkington case. It should not have taken this kind of enquiry to open up the problems and lead to the ‘new practices’.
When the IPCC investigators are ‘let loose’ they are pretty good, something I knew long ago. The problem is getting them or other reliable investigators on the case – with the further problem is is necessary because ‘local resolution’ is a total con.
The prosecution of Harwood is only necessary, in my view, because the complaints system failed so badly and so quickly became a cover-up through misinformation and use of available bent practice. He is now likely to be the fall guy for this. The DPP’s statement today is thin cover for his own incompetence. In inquest produced no new evidence, merely the evidence that would have been collected had their been any willingness to do so.
My own preference is for a police force that prevents the culture that allows behaviour like this and quickly moves to remove those who fail decent standards through open review.
Both these cases involve deaths and are likely to be the tip of an iceberg – other cases suffer from the brush-off approach of the complaints system and lack of status of those victimised. Consider the support of law for Giggs in trying to hide embarrassment, compared with the lack of support for those living near ‘problem families’, or Ian Tomlinson who just wanted to get home.
For each of such cases that fit media criteria, there are many more. They should be publicly collated and the fact this is not happening only reinforces poor actual quality and waste. My own solution would be to bring a cheap version of judicial review to bear. Many of these problems would not exist at all if police performance statistics (as opposed to any procedures useful to practice) were taken out of the hands of senior officers and political manipulators.