Is Sue Akers Pointing To Widespread Police Corruption?

Sue Akers is certainly getting some work done.  I don’t believe in widespread police corruption, though I do now think our society is shot through with the stuff.  Akers’ claims are presumably backed by the initial evidence arising.  Evidence clearly available had any enquiry really been done in the past.  The big problem doing any enquiry is being able to get access to and investigate what’s been going on.  We would, of course, not known about the thieving parliamentarians if money had not been on the table to a whistleblower.  Even subsequent to the Telegraph and the intrepid Heather Brookes, material was still issued with material redactions.

Maybe what’s really at issue here is secrecy and the need for information to be much more freely available – with people responsible for its publication also being criminally responsible if they fail?  The Met is hardly covered in glory and we have hardly missed Yates and Stephenson – the former presumably making no impact on high salary in Bahrain either.  If we are to believe the story that this was not investigated because there were other much more pressing demands like terrorism, should we now conclude we are at more risk because Ms Akers and her team are diverted from such purpose with the Olympics pending?  From what I’ve seen she would be better fitted to the complex, multi-sourced enquiries involved in terrorism, than the buffoon men of the past.


Corruption Models

It should have dawned on most of us that greed has finally screwed our productive economies.  It’s the triumph of Wall Street and the decline of America writ worldwide.  Yves Smith’s Naked Capitalism reposts this:

‘Whatever the deeper story, however, Madrick’s subtitle gets it right: what we have experienced is, in a very real sense, the triumph of Wall Street and the decline of America. Despite what some academics (primarily in business schools) claimed, the vast sums of money channelled through Wall Street did not improve America’s productive capacity by “efficiently allocating capital to its best use”. Instead, it diminished the country’s productivity by directing capital on the basis of financial chicanery, outrageous compensation packages and bubble-infected stock price valuations.

My suspicion is that it has mainly been intellectual fashion, fanned with the backing of any number of corporate backed think tanks spewing out “research” that was anything but real research; rather pro-business propaganda. A sort of flat earthism, helped by some unsavoury support from those who benefit the most. But in the end its supreme illogic is catching up with it. When the contradictions of greedism only affected peripheral economies, such as Latin America and Asia, then those “other countries” could safely be blamed. But now it is affecting the major developed economies of Europe and the US, and it is becoming harder to avoid the obvious conclusion. It is not a choice between no government or bad government. It is a choice between bad government or good government.’

My own view is that organised crime is a better metaphor (and possibly real model) for what’s going on.  What we need are other models of enquiry to understand what organisation does.  Police corruption looks small enough to make a start on (though I believe this is a pin-prick in wider CJS corruption).  My starting point is people like Shijuro, Gadget and others who more or less deny police corruption.  I take them as straight people.  I saw little police corruption when I was a cop and heard a lot of complaint from obviously bent bastards that it was rife – they sometimes claimed the same of me and I know I was ‘hopelessly straight’ (tea and bacon butties aside).  This might seem to lead me to agree with the ‘deniers’.  Indeed, I do believe in the heavy presence of bent and idiot complaining.

My interest is in a wider and practically applicable theory (nothing is more practical than good theory) to organisation in general -my subject specialism is organisation theory.  The police case will hopefully lead to this wider understanding.  One might think here that a finding of no police corruption  would rank against this wider interest, but in fact a ‘clean case’ would help a lot in establishing it.  If we knew how to build such a clean system we could build clean financial services (at least in principle).

We regularly see corruption emerge, reluctantly, to daylight – Parliamentary expenses, the hacking scandal and so on.  Those around it claim they weren’t aware of it.  And as said, like Shijuro and others working more recently, I saw little and was offered little.  At least, this was true when I was plodding.  There was a bit, but it was pathetic  Undertakers turning up single-manned offering a fiver to carry out a body sort of stuff.  I saw more later, but the question as to whether blokes like me and Shijuro would ‘see’ corruption going on remains.  Not wanting any part of it, being subject of false complaints and other factors probably work against your average Joe being part of corruption or ‘seeing’ what might be there.  The most obvious way to find corruption is probably to be invited into it.  If one accepts, then silence or denial follows – and we all know the dangers of trying to blow the stuff out of the water.  The evidence we can give at this level needs explanation, but is not decisive.

I’d want to establish the full picture of complaints, cases and convictions.  I don’t know of one and the absence of a freely available source is itself disturbing.  There is a website that has a ‘rough catalogue’ – – and reading through it I found quite a lot I’m aware of missing.  As it is, it’s big enough to be worrying.  We should have a reliable official source.  The IPCC is the obvious agency that should insist on and collate such.  Quite how they think they can submit a paper to the Home Secretary without this base information, or reference to its lack, I don’t know.  I believe they may be the paradigm case of how not to do independent evaluation.

I doubt we can legislate or preceduralise some of the worst behaviours out of our organisations, though a lot is not being done to make things better and outcomes straighter.  A key word in my subject discipline is ‘transparency’, making realistic teaching of accounting, finance and organisational design somewhat farcical if one takes this seriously.  Dark pool and shadow financing dwarf balance sheets about anything one could shine a light on.  If we are teaching practice, we should be teaching ‘how not to get caught holding the baby’.  How one stops the revolting cop who sexually exploits children and women of whom a colleague might say ‘not even with yours’ is always going to be difficult (yet it should be easier to prosecute on real matters than words exchanged in jest and isn’t).  The accountant who presents management finances showing great bonuses for the senior group through the creation of a toxic subsidiary should be sacked, yet its the honest Joe who will be.

What we could do, both in policing and banksterism, is demonstrate the model we believe should be in place.  Even this is more difficult than at any first glance in the honest assumptions most of us share.  Greed was supposed to be ‘good’ and provide a cake so big we’d all be well off with its crumbs than through honest business, properly regulated. The cop equivalent is to say the job can’t be done with all kinds of regulation of their back – yet the rich get the ‘judge on the shoulder’ of judicial review.

‘Transparency’ is, in fact, a weasel-word – like ‘learning lessons’ and other pap.  95% of its use is naive or cynical.  The input words will be that we must have a robust, transparent, full and rigorous investigation and the output (intended before the outset) will be that ‘Blair didn’t lie to us on Iraq’ (speaking of weasels – watch Dispatches on Monday).  We need to break this kind of hold and risk more direct democracy.  One way f doing this is to do the real casework on matters like police corruption to establish how it works.

I’m not really interested in exposing more bent cops than surface at the moment.  This would be a good side-effect if this is the case that pertains.  There is already substantial work on ‘how we corrupt the organisations we work in, are corrupted by them and conceal this from others and ourselves’.  It’s disparate.  I’d point to some really good field work on eye witness evidence and the general issue of ‘working blind’ – police and forensic work are considerably corrupted by ‘personal and group Idols’.  We should be very concerned that people with scientific training are often so bad in this respect.  Much of the work that needs doing is in producing organisation theory that isn’t the sort of poncy piffle found at academic conferences, and instead approaches the moral corruption of work, bullying bosses, the jobsworth and incompetence.  My own start in this is 400 years old and can be found in the otherwise unreadable, arse-licking of Francis Bacon.

I think the key is money and our lack of control over it.  I didn’t take the five quids (maybe £60 now) from Mr B the undertaker.  This level of corruption is profoundly uninteresting, if often hilarious (60 cops in a fishing contest, all without necessary licences).  Much worse has taken place in an entirely legal framework.  Much ‘evidence’ produced in our courts is as doctored as Enron accounts.  But the point is the discovery of how this comes about and is so easily legitimated until reality is breached to the point of miscarriage.  We need, in the first place to establish what the Idols that legitimate corruption are.  In this sense, I agree focus on our cops is unfair because other groups are much worse.  The rich are notably unprepared to be regulated and whilst it must now be obvious they have no case, there is a problem with regulation that becomes red tape.  This is actually classic in avoiding the intent of regulation, especially in writing unusable legislation.

We can now at least ‘write’ organisational forms that limit corruption.  These challenge vested interest.  In wide academic reading one finds that all the general suggestions politicians come up with have been tried and failed.  Police in the UK have always managed to resist an independent body with its own investigators who can get in quick, prevent collusion on evidence and that would be responsible to the public directly, with its work subject to speedy public scrutiny.  The tiny IPCC is no such animal.  .

Organisation theory as taught fails to address our complexity as social animals.  It gives recipes for ‘herding cats’ as though cats do herd.  Not content with this incompetence it provides those bright enough to know this is crap with elaborate diversions into critiques of power also based on fantastic notions of human nature or hopeless hopes like the ‘State withering away’.  Some of this work, like Lyotard’s is really witty, much like that of Habermas is so boring (if sometimes accurate) you lose the will to live.  The standard fodder is in textbooks fit only for bit parts in Fahrenheit 457, taught by pedants who shrike over whether I got the temperature of ‘book burning’ right.  Left behind are barkingly obvious thingies like it being unfair for a few to get filthy rich (important because we end up in serfdom to their money), a work ethic fit for the 13th century and the fact most of us don’t want to suffer crap bosses and jobs so dull monkeys are smart enough not to do them.  To talk like this is against manners, and if you want a theory of that you can use Norbert Elias.  Most people can’t do much maths, so we base economics on it.  Humour is everywhere crushed and one suspects regarded as uncouth.  The dullest departments of all are the business schools, where empowerment, kwality, innovation and creativity drown under the weasel use of the terms.  Here, dworks teach excellence, not realising the concept blew up within 6 months of publication of the book they think businesses use and don’t.  None of us, under this barrage of drivel have a clue of how much work needs to be done in our society and how this might be fairly managed.

My model would start in tracking real work – this happens in manufacturing,  If we find  miserable crooked families making life hell for neighbours and living lives of welfare sponsored crime over and over again and using housing, police, social worker and legal aid money over and over how can we call this a ‘success’?  And I don’t say this lightly because the agencies concerned are claiming to be successful rather than bungling, serial incompetents.  I believe something like this is the case in many spheres of work activity.  We are stamping qualifications out all over – but where is the real educational success?  Bankers stamp out mega-bonuses whilst losing our shirts.  You get the drift – some corruption must be involved.  We’ve been pumping aid out – where is the real success?

I believe the corruption is such a ‘mechanism’ that it must be known and expected by some of the players – we may blame Mugabe because aid money turns up in his “Swiss” account – but maybe other players know this will be the case and turds like him are just a front like a bent jewelry store fronting money laundering and usury? The corruption ‘mechanisms’, whatever they are, make it impossible to sensibly invest either money or effort.

To get to a model we need something like police enquiry in terms of being able to demand evidence.  One reason there is so much ‘theorising’ is that there is no access to evidence to derive facts from.  Imagine being black in Rhodesia dreaming of freedom from white colonialism – then imagine what this spring moment would be like knowing you wouldn’t get freedom but Mugabe.  Lack of knowledge of ‘corruption mechanisms’ sticks us in something like this situation.  To think of curbing banksterism, obscene excess and settling for a peaceful world in which we shifted from planet burning to something more communal is impossible why?  In my view, at least one possibility is the lack of corruption control models of organisation that would facilitate new and fairer forms of work.  There are, incidentally, economic models that predict success from handing out money to the poor instead of the banking black hole of the rich Politburo.  There have also been anti-corruption organisational designs in policing (they were utter bureaucratic piss).

My suspicion is that the ability to hide transactions is a major part of any ‘corrupt mechanism’.  Some stuff is private and we don’t want members of any anti-vice and promotion of purity squad peering into our houses to check our partners are wearing burkhas.  A register of complaints and process against police officers isn’t that and is something we should be able to demand.  Banks should not be able to assure us the investment we put into a local factory is now safely hedged in Zimbabwe delta-bonds either.  Black pools, shadow banking and bureaucratic secrecy, along with control through hot money and capital flight threats ain’t democracy either.

A Short Introduction To Literature On Police Corruption – full text Home Office – full text Home office Maurice Punch

This article has two themes. Firstly, that police corruption is not an individual aberration of an incidental nature that can be readily combated with temporary, repressive measures. The ‘new realism’ on this maintains that corruption and police misconduct are persistent and constantly recurring hazards generated by the organisation itself. Secondly, there is consensus on effective measures to tackle it and to promote integrity. Ingredients are strong leadership, a multi-faceted organisational strategy, a well-resourced internal affairs unit, proactive techniques of investigation, and persistent efforts to promote professional standards. The essence is a judicious and sophisticated balance between negative and positive social control. Policing is about the rule of law and due process: corruption and other forms of police deviance undermine the legitimacy of the police organisation and by implication the state. A ‘clean’ police is a crucial barometer of a healthy society. One can have few illusions about the difficulty of achieving this but a comparative review of the experience in four societies – USA, Great Britain, Belgium and the Netherlands – provides clear indicators about reform, control and leadership in fostering integrity and in tackling corruption.


The literature on police corruption tends to be dominated by North American studies of widespread “grass-eating”. By contrast, this article examines scandals in three European societies (Belgium, the Netherlands and Great Britain) requiring analysis at the system level. In all of these instances, police deviance was unlike much of that in North America: there was either gross failure in the system to perform adequately or systemic rule-bending to achieve formal or informal institutional ends. The cases reveal that misconduct and/or failure to perform fostered significant scandals that implicated others within the criminal justice system and even beyond it. Understanding such upheavals requires cross-cultural attention to the specific social-political context. In addition, reform of police and justice agencies after major scandal demands proposals at the system level. Institutions often rationalize excesses with the “rotten apple” metaphor (human failure is the cause and can be swiftly rectified by removal). Here, the systemic emphasis is conveyed by the alternative metaphor of “rotten orchards”

Police Corruption: Deviance, Accountability and Reform in Policing – book, Maurice Punch:

The book portrays police corruption as consisting of many deviant and criminal practices in the context of policing that may change character over time. Corruption is defined in a broad, multifaceted way that has the common thread of abuse of policing authority and the trust of the community. Its most serious forms involve criminal conspiracies that use specialized professional knowledge, contacts, and power to both commit crimes and evade detection. Typologies of corruption are identified, along with the forms of corruption that emerge in diverse policing environments. Also discussed are the pathways officers may take into corruption and their rationalizations for their corrupt and criminal behaviors. The book rejects the overarching portrayal of police corruption as caused by a few individual “bad apples” while promoting the metaphor of “bad orchards,” meaning that police corruption stems from corrupting police subcultures and temptations related to institutional failures and the nature of policing. Comparative analyses are made of police corruption, scandal, and reform in the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. The analyses examine issues of control, accountability, and the new institutions of oversight, such as the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) for England and Wales, at a time when external oversight of police has become a prominent feature of anticorruption efforts. This book is intended as an overview of the topic of police corruption for students, academics, police and criminal justice officials, and members of oversight agencies. Chapter notes, approximately 400 references, and a subject index.

An examination of the ‘blue code of silence –  This paper examines the ‘Blue Code of Silence’ and its contribution to police corruption. After offering evidence for the existence of such a code, the paper locates the origins of the code in the work and culture of policing. The paper also examines cases, commission reports and an original case study to understand how the code is reinforced. Based on ‘participant observation’ research of the New York County Prosecutor’s Official Corruption Unit, the paper also illustrates how the code impedes investigations by police overseers. Finally, the paper discusses various measures to address the code of silence.

full text on Australian management changes. – This paper examines issues concerned with police corruption and its control in England and Wales. The topic of defining police corruption is addressed, some current areas of risk are described and anti-corruption strategies, particularly those pursued by the London Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), are examined. What appears qualitatively and quantitatively different in the approach of services such as the MPS and Merseyside Police is the use of an adequately resourced, dedicated anti-corruption unit. This strategy has been buttressed by preventative measures involving management/administration and ethics/training. Dedicated units have been controversial, and preventative measures raise questions concerning evaluation. Nevertheless the approach to corruption bears comparison with that adopted by other major police services in other jurisdictions and represents a break with previous and unsuccessful efforts at corruption control in major police forces in England and Wales. – a recent review with the first page available free.

Procedural Justice, Trust and Institutional Legitimacy by Mike Hough, Jonathan Jackson, Ben Bradford, Andy Myhill and Paul Quinton – a free pdf can be found by hitting the link at –,5 – the IPCC in their ‘half-submission to the Home Secretary state little empirical research on public attitudes towards police corruption.  This paper demonstrates much work has in fact been done in relating empirical experience with explanatory theory.

This post represents half an hour of work by me done without any university access to what turns out to be a massive literature described in parts as ‘an industry’.  The IPCC ‘half-report’can be found at – by clicking the link there.

My own reading has been done as research for a novel.  I don’t believe our cops are substantially corrupt.  I do believe our CJS is and that our police are the best part of this wider system.  What’s wrong is subject to debate and the main problem is we aren’t getting this done in proper public scrutiny.  Any ‘blue code of silence’ is dwarfed by our pathetic secrecy practices (a theme of Heather Brookes) and the medieval ‘superiority’ our ‘authorities gone mad’ exhibit in covering up mistakes whilst blathering about ‘learning lessons’.

The IPCC make some mention of Cheshire detectives getting a felon out of prison to nod various crimes – he ends up with a mobile phone back in jail, drugs and was allowed to see his girlfriend.  I can find no full published report.  What they do say is known ‘gaming’ practice – you can get plenty of information at thinblueline (Steve Bennett).  Such reports need to be published in full and subject to academic scrutiny.  I witnesses much the same more than 30 years ago.  The big question is less about a couple of low-level jacks offering some perks to a chummy and his munter and more about how this is encouraged by more senior culture – we have no idea whether this is even entertained by the force PSD or IPCC worthies.  I’ll admit to having handed a few of my own ‘bodies’ over to this system – but then I can now.

The embarrassing truth is very few crimes are detected a la Jack Regan or though intelligence or detective case work.  Some ‘Plod’ (no derision intended from me) doing his or her job bravely spots some likely criminal and applies arrest – and this asset gets sweated.  Or despite a massive detective case, say, the ‘Black Panther’ or ‘Yorkshire Ripper’ remains free until ‘some Plod’ asks ‘what’s in that bag then’ (a phrase that leaves out much bravery).  Many detective efforts are huge feats of bureaucratic effort – like the Morecambe Cockle Pickers – which makes good examples no less brilliant.  I’d guess detection rates are nearer 4% than claimed figures if we take out TICs and other ‘clear up’ gaming.

When some awful tosser starts up on ‘illiterate cops’ we should remember that Plato himself wouldn’t have had the balls to ask ‘what’s in that bag then?’ – and no lawyers do that kind of asking or face the sawn-off pulled out.  We might get rid of a lot of corruption by making police work easier and doing something genuinely statistical with TICs- matters beyond scope here.  Most people would have no clue about getting nods,coughs and the rest out of a bent bastard.  Does anyone who has ever dealt with one think them likely to do so out of remorse (which they act) or ‘concerned citizenship’?  They do so through inducements.  Cops at the bottom of the scale doing what they do are not different in position to the phone hackers and their bosses no different than the ‘see no evil, hear no evil’ Murdoch-monkey species.  Finding a few who haven’t covered their tracks at the bottom is not a ‘corruption enquiry’ – finding out why they break the rules might be.  And we’ve known about TIC corruption for more than 50 years.

Just how many more cops would we need to get ‘real detections’ up to the claimed figures?  This might entail a ten-fold increase in on-street police activities.  The crooks I’ve interviewed all claim they get away with 99 out 100 crimes (they are, in part, wrong – as they all get nicked and TICed).  In a straight and naive system we could double street-policing to turn them over more often, triple burglary sweeps and so on.  Some of the corruption arises because we do policing on the cheap.  Where are the figures on detection where there has been a direct arrest and/or a direct evidence case for the offence?

There’s a can of worms here and what I think most unfair is probably decent cops at the bottom copping for discipline and harsh treatment doing what is the bidding of senior people and indeed the public.  The systemic problem needs to be addressed and maybe even something like an amnesty is needed to find out what is really going on.  I was good on TICs and you ca bet I was only smarter or luckier than the two Cheshire detectives.  They got no financial reward – something not true of some bureaucop taking a bonus on the basis of their work.



Are Police In the UK Bent?

My over-riding feeling is we don’t have many bent cops – this despite knowing even in local dealings they can provide very shabby service and will lie to protect themselves at the expense of severe distress and unlawful conspiracy against victims.  The real problem is how to get the majority into a position to do the better job they want to do.  The constraints that have grown against this are probably typical of the work most of us do.  The biggest lies outside of our jobs in economic matters.

Whether you think police or other agencies are corrupt will largely depend on what happens in direct dealings with them and what you glean from ‘admass’ reporting, literature and any contact you have with more academic material.  I’m not aware of an objective reporting or body of knowledge to refer to as I might refer to books and papers on molecular biology.  There is academic work and in that you will find reference to a ‘rotten orchard’ and a lack of accountability.  This is not material I would regard as scientific, though I’ve seen some good arguments made.  Jack Regan and Dirty Harry figures were unknown in the reality of my police work, but dubious practices like those in Charlie Owen’s novels and his characters strike a chord.  I’m sure I worked ‘Horses Arse’, GMP’s missing ‘H; Division.  GF Newman wrote long ago, and is worth a retrospective.

The IPCC have just published a 36 page interim report on corruption – it;s on their website and converts to less than a side of A4 – once you strip away the undergraduate dissertation part it says little  and manages a few lies in the form of bureaucratic-speak. They aren’t up to the job and even say 87% of us think they should investigate police corruption – a classic of village idiot consultancy.  We would be unlikely to ask members of the public who should conduct hot fusion research and this area is as complex in its own way.  The public have as little idea on the requirements of major corruption enquiry as of the technologies of a tokomak (and I don’t know how to spell it).

The thing about corruption is that perpetrators can usually only practice if they can hide what they are doing, though there are counter-examples.  And who better at hiding evidence than police officers (bankers? accountants? lawyers? politicians? press?)  The Americans prided themselves on having no moles as we were being embarrassed by Philby, MacClean and Burgess, but in reality weren’t finding them.

My own view is we get off already off-kilter in trying to bring accountability in our public sector.  We are generally failed by our public enquiries, judge-led this and that and so on.  One tedious enquiry after another on Iraq hasn’t even really the full scale of the Blair-concocted horror – we can’t get past secrecy and closing ranks.  The Murdochs and others put up the standard CEO excuse recently – that what went on went on without their knowledge.  They never make this admission when taking bonus payments.

In a sense we have no right to dare ask for investigations into police corruption when there are no police investigations worth speaking of into much wider banking and other business-financial corruption.  It is quite likely that our privilege and selection systems prevent the kind of people we need to do ‘regulation’ having any access to the work, and there is much evidence around the world of a ‘political class’ of jobsworths dominating them.

We need fresh ideas and to take into account of such realities that the kind of bureaucratic structuring of organisations around corruption prevention as a focus will be a disaster – and that there are plenty of examples of this to learn lessons from.  Elected police commissioners seem a good idea until you look at the politicians we already get.  We’ve had them on police authorities with no good effect I’m aware of.  Most of us already hold politicians in much greater disapproval than our cops.

One big problem in the mess is getting proper investigation done and done under open challenge.  Judicial review is open only to the rich (with a few token counter-examples) and it is possible to think of (cheaper) expansions of this that could organise new forms of enquiry with high degrees of power to demand evidence and get to it before cover-up opportunities, and reversing normal credibility issues and police or other organisational players colluding.  Much ‘corruption; is not criminal, but comes about through poor cultures, supervision and so on.  I would guess this is the biggest problem in our police, but we shouldn’t have to guess on the extent of criminal corruption.  The figures should be listed in the police record of recorder crimes as a special appendix and cases of miscarriages of justice should be available, in full, for public scrutiny – the opposite is the general case.  The idea, of course, is for the question of whether our police are bent not to arise because we would have reason to know either way.

The general way to prevent corruption is to involve countervailing interests.  I would put forward Nico Bento as the paradigm case of our failure to do this with almost everyone involved duped or corrupt (who knows which in the absence of full public scrutiny?).  Welsh officers are on trial at the moment for a case dating to 1988 and I heard interview tapes being played the other day.  It now appears we throw away relevant evidence ‘as a matter of course’ in considerable haste. There is no reason in this digital age, and this hardly helps us believe our CJS wants to come clean..


IPCC Should Go In Police Cuts

The IPCC have pronounced on several of the Met’s now former officers and continue to ferret away on John Yates’ involvement in a job for one of the girls. This is all a waste of money.  There has obviously been a problem at the Met with officers getting involved in selling stories and frames.  This looks much worse when various officers seem rather too close to the media bosses involved further up the chain.  Officers involved in attempts to frame people to discredit them is really bad news.  One hopes there is a real investigation going on into this, done by cops who know what they are doing.  By the time the IPCC were doing their work, those who might have done something had had plenty of time to get rid of any evidence and get their stories right.  The whole of Westminster seems into ‘unhealthy’ relations with media.  No reason really to look at the Met over this.  A ‘clean you act up now’ message should have been enough.

The IPCC is a dismal failure and the reasons generally given for this point to a management failure in our country.  The same failures as in previous revisions of what to do about police corruption and bent cops were built into the IPCC – this reeks for the classic British management disease of repeating past mistakes in apparent change.  The others involve the closed nature of the organisation, restricted remit, lack of power, bureaucracy in extremis, bias towards internal accounts (i.e. police accounts), timidity and with no influence on the kind of change that could make a real difference.  After enough time to be making a real difference (8 years +) the IPCC’s website is not full of competent reports and successful prosecutions, but cluttered with failures like Stockwell and clown performance management.

Compare the costs of a Bill Bratton style “assault” on UK policing with those of the IPCC.  I don’t expect you have these to hand, but the first obvious downer for the IPCC is that it saves no money and is always an added cost.  You don’t need Bratton to ‘do Bratton’  – the management style essentially boots out the ‘LOMBARDS’ at the top, brings in a new top team, cuts our dross (BPR – whatever) and forces accountability (including testing for cheating through statistics) and sponsors action (broken windows is usually team action on genuine problems) rather than ‘cuffing’ on work.  Bratton’s work has happened alongside far more serious arrests and convictions of bent cops than anything the IPCC has screwed up here.  There may be more corruption in the USA, but if not you have to wonder what we are paying our lillywhites for.  The IPCC look ripe to cut because of their success in being unable to find any!

They won’t find any if they keep looking where there is none and where the evidence has already been “routinely” destroyed or left in the hands of the potentially culpable to change or disappear.  They could be cut to provide the running costs of setting up a Bratton type re-engineering of British policing.  We could replace them with 10 regional teams under elected chiefs with a broader remit and more power to do management discipline and proactive anti-corruption work.

In terms of measuring police performance, we could establish a better understanding of why so many of the non-criminal public who come into contact with police are dissatisfied and work through the data for reasons.  On the same theme, we also need reliable estimates on crime costs as well as numbers to enable a better gauge of whether crime is under control or just being diverted.

My guess on cost saving is that 15% could be targeted and that a major part of restructuring would be improving recruit quality and flattening supervision structures (less ranks, less in rank).  The ‘overhead’ on a piece of police action is dire (some of my old research bids were at 60% – I’ve worked recently where they are at 24%).  There are ways to beat this through more focused recruitment, part-timers and specialisation that doesn’t require the current uniform ‘plodding’.  I’m not surprised Bratton says he would love the job.  As a business re-engineering prize it looks as good as the Imperial Group back in the 80’s.

Cops Taking Bungs

Stephenson taking £24K (Telegraph) to live in as much comfort as possible is obviously wrong, even though he was ill. It’s weird because he could afford to pay and could probably excuse the Met paying.  He has a long history of turning down bonus money way in excess.  There’s an error of judgement here, but I’m not sure who’s it is.  That it’s connected with the ‘in-crowd’ Wallis stuff makes it worse.  He’s not on the take in brown envelopes here – but could favours of some kind be asked in return?  My own view is that the fact that there was no one about to say ‘no John, think of the impression this could give’ around suggests that he was left with only sycophants around him.  ACPO failed to stop chocolate dipped strawberries and champagne in a similar spree of unawareness.

More interesting in terms of what we generally hold as criminal corruption, is that the former DPP has said it only took him a few minutes to know that ScrewsNews emails were showing ‘dirty cops’.  The ‘bungs’ available to me when I started plodding were cups of tea, the odd bacon butty, curry, drops from the undertaker (£5 for the call to him from a sudden death, £10 if I helped out with the body) and vehicle recovery people and a few offered direct bribes.  I’m not sure how much I was offered in a couple of years.  Later, there were other offers that would identify people if I talked about them like this.  I was told over dinner by a modern police woman that all this is gone.  We were going Dutch, but the owner wouldn’t take the money.  All nothing to do with any police connections – it was to do with me helping him build the bar years ago when he was broke.  I am guilty of eating some bacon and drinking some tea.  And then there was VLP – visiting licensed premises – we did that by lot.  Not having that kind of drink would really have made me a raw prawn.  And I took drinks from criminals for a variety of reasons.  This was the culture and the closer to real money you got, the more opportunities.  What I took in bacon and tea wouldn’t pay from an ACPO’s individual reception bill.  There were cops on much more of a take 30 years ago and I don’t remember more than half-a-dozen dealt with.  The vast majority were more likely to stick a bribe attempt up where it hurts.

The world is much more corrupt these days and there’s more money awash in criminality.  I doubt much has changed.  This isn’t the kind of thing you can get rid of through bureaucracy, though the undertakers and vehicle rescue people have probably been sorted and VLP has gone.  Society has become more corrupt from selling pensions and mortgages to compensation culture and the rest.

There has always been another way to be corrupt.  The boys and girls who have been selling stories to ScrewsNews only service a form of economic niche that wasn’t around in my day.  There will be others.  But this isn’t what I mean.  They changed the way up the greasy pole.  GF Newman’s Terry Sneed will now rise in the lily-white form of career portfolio builder, conference attending and image management smoozing that is unarguably more corrupting in my view and certainly costs us more money as tax payers.

These people are corrupt in the way Soviet performance managers were – there is only ‘accounting’ no real market testing – they start, like bankers being able to mark assets to models and not to real market prices.  In the financial world, the losses are ‘hidden’ in myriads of transactions that will only show up if the banks are asked to fess up and are forced out of the benefit culture.  In police statistics, the losses are stacking up in antisocial behaviour and other gaming.  We might say that we should return to ‘primitive’ banking and policing.  The corrupt top not only serves no purpose but is a major drain on the real economy and real crime busting.  Politics, of course, has its hands in both sets of this corruption, as is most of our media.  Too many of us suck at its teat.

There is currently as much chance of getting anything done about the real corruption as finding the evidence of mine – though I can think of some I’d like to be looking for the remains of the bacon butties and tea!

You have to admire John Yates in all this.  The timing of his resignation was sublime – done before the awkward questions about security from terrorists that should follow from the custard-pie man!  I suggest they put Wendi Murdoch in charge.  On Newshite tonight they claimed she prevented something even worse happening.  This is pretty frightening on the quality of our journalists – she jumped on him from behind in retaliation – that’s assault.  Not that my corrupt blind eye would have noticed.  The question the press should be asking is whether the £24K bung is worse than one of my cups of tea.  It is you know, but unlike the current blighters at the top, I wouldn’t expect to investigate myself.

The whole ‘Champers’ thing of Sir Paul trying to rush his return to work against all medical, family and general expectation, as the determined soldier, falls to the rot such stuff is when it turns out we can do without him and a major deputy overnight.  Part of the corruption is beginning to believe the ‘excellence’ bullshit and how vital you are.  Shagger Todd was the bee’s knee’s and yet Peter Fahey is now admitted to have had to cope with an utter mess when he took over.  We can now ring the police in Manchester and not be told they are too busy and to stop bothering them.  All this PR and cosy crud with newspapers has more to do with telling us the chiefs are supermen – for so they are until they fall or just fade away.  I doubt one in ten is even any good – we need these image-managers and their lackeys and toadies gone.  Police news could be delivered on line very cheaply.

Some Old Literature on Police Corruption

This, in effect was a literature review in 1999.  The following is the bullet-pointed conclusion:

  • police corruption is pervasive, continuing and not bounded by rank;
  • any definition of corruption should cover both ‘financial’ and ‘process’corruption, and should
  • acknowledge the varying means, ends and motives of corrupt activities;
  • the boundary between ‘corrupt’ and ‘non-corrupt’ activities is difficult to define,
  • primarily because this is at heart an ethical problem;
  • police corruption cannot simply be explained as the product of a few ‘bad apples’;
  • the ‘causes’ of corruption include: factors that are intrinsic to policing as a job;
  • the nature of police organisations; the nature of ‘police culture’; theopportunities for corruption
  • presented by the ‘political’ and ‘task’ environments’;and, the nature and extent of the effort
  • put in to controlling corruption;
  • some areas of policing are more prone to corruption than others;
  • although there are many barriers to successful corruption control,
  • there is evidence that police agencies can be reformed;
  • reform needs to go beyond the immediately identified problem;
  • reform must look at the political and task environments as well as the organisation itself;
  • reform tends not to be durable; and
  • continued vigilance and scepticism is vital.

This is from 2002/3 and describes some British police corruption. There is a large literature. with

little sign of linking corruption with bad work from the “users” point of view, or the evasion of

this through hapless statistics.  – giving up, the page editor has gone haywire.

What’s the difference between ‘jobsworth’ and ‘corrupt’?

Ambush Predator made the interesting point that ‘jobsworth’ has almost replaced ‘brave’ as a kind of public sector ideal these days.  The newspapers are full of stories about emergency services’ people hanging around while people die for all kinds of dire ‘reasons’.  No doubt much that is good goes unreported too, though this is much less likely in these PR days.  My own view tends towards the idea that we are just seeing the tip of an iceberg and we aren’t linking the sightings very well – it’s not bad apples, but a rotten orchard kind of thing.

Most cops I’ve got to know since I left the job (long ago) don’t think there is much corruption in the UK.  They tell me they just never see any.  In my old days, we thought there was none in uniform, but probably was in CID and plain clothes (uniform officers in plain clothes).  I did work with a bent uniform cop – he was a burglar.  It struck me when I was a cop and now that anyone bent would be unlikely to tell me they were.  I’ve worked under-cover and it is very difficult to get in to even minor networks unless you have rather special resources and a lot of time.  The bent bastards, by their very nature, are a kind of secret society.

The “professionals” involved in the Baby P saga should be named, shamed and treated like criminals.  Those cops found guilty of corruption should be treated in the same manner.  So should our bankers and Enron merchants.  I doubt more than the Telegraph’s  ‘Saints List’ of our MPs and Peers should have survived into this Parliament.  We should be coming down hard on the jobsworth and corrupt – instead we still come down hard on whistle-blowers.

It’s very hard to tell the difference between a good cop and a bent cop at times.  Good cops have to break rules on informants to get information, but others are bent and really get used by certain types of informants.  I imagine even social work can have its ‘Dirty Harry‘ form – nursing certainly does.  I slept with someone once to get closer to an enquiry.  It was no big deal (no doubt what she says!).  I knew I was taking chances, in much the same way I had going into burning buildings before the fire brigade turned up and so on.  I was as likely to change a spare wheel for a nun as the infamous Norwegian tourist with big tits – more likely to be honest, even though I’m atheist.

Cops who think there is little corruption probably don’t work where the loose money is.  Whilst practised in ‘hard talk’, they are probably virgins who don’t notice what is going on around them.  It took Dutch police to unearth very high level corruption in the Liverpool drugs scene and a lot of undercover work to pull out the pathetic bent cops in the Colin Gunn case.  You have to remember in this that cops decide what gets investigated and often put forward diversionary cases they know will come up smelling of roses.  Across the public sector, we need new approaches to investigating corruption, but also the wider incompetence form of jobsworthiness and its role in promotion and supervision.

In the UK, we have a habit of allowing the bet to supervise and investigate themselves – the City being the most obvious.  We  also make corruption investigations very hard by not allowing wire-taps and modern IT-based equivalents.  Even where there is hard evidence, it is unlikely that an ordinary member of the public can get a fair investigation – we lack modern and sophisticated understandings of public scrutiny.  The junk statistics on crime are a classic example.  Crime rates have been falling forever, as the police force gets bigger and bigger, with no one really believing any of it.  If we had independent projects running alongside a few random police dealings, we’d soon see they cuff the majority of crime and dissuade people from reporting it through jobsworthiness tactics that make people think it isn’t worth it.  Burglaries have been coming down forever, but not my home contents insurance – burglary being the only claims I have ever made.  You should get the reasoning.  There are places to look other than police statistics.  I joined just at the time shop burglaries were coming down like falling off a cliff.  I was not personally responsible – alarms were making the difference and we saw an increase in ‘burglary dwelling’ – the villains just move their activities, and this is what they are doing now.

The jobsworth ACPOs do get bonuses and are on massively inflated salaries – so how close is this to corruption – indeed are they more corrupt than someone with fingers-in-pies old-style who does actually nick some bastards as a result?  For “ACPOs” you can read all kinds of people across sectors, such as Vice Chancellors, Town Clerks and so on.  This isn’t a police matter, it’s ripping the fabric of our society – indeed it may now even be stealing this and taking it abroad – the villas in Spain etc. (mine is far away from such loutish intrusions).

The key issue for me is the way we never really get open enquiry into our public sector.  A few posts back I mentioned that California created a prison empire that costs it 11% of State expenditure and has not improved its crime problems.  Prison officers and prison builders did very nicely, thank you.  My guess on the UK is that we have a massive CJS feeding a lot of people very well, but which hardly catches anyone other than the desperate crime palookas who give themselves up every so often.  I know I can’t have a fag in the pub, can drink the far more dangerous alcohol but not draw on some hash and that even willing cops can’t do much about crime inspired because of illegal drugs, and that I see (in passing) roulette games on television quoting the odds wrong, bullshit selling techniques all over that rip-off grannies and all kinds of crime nothing gets done about.  My MP should be investigated, but he won’t be.  They will keep on intermittently nicking very ill, very sad bastards and doing nothing for them, and nothing for the areas they are dumped in.  This is corrupt.  Who keeps making the money from it?

I’d shoot a lot of our low-life criminals in much the same way as I’d put down a rabid dog or a faithful old hound in pain.  This kind of ‘social cleansing’ has been practised more than virgin liberal prudes can admit to themselves.  The Nazis, incidentally,  are only one example amongst many, from the unlovely Athenian Democracy, through Moses (Numbers 31) and god knows how many more from the Balkans to the Baltic and all  over.  You may wimp out at the ‘cull’ – yet would you if your pretty 14 year old daughter was about to be introduced to drugs (easier than you think) and become a slag-hag by 20?  We probably don’t want to licence any State with such a ‘cull’ – but we need some thinking about it as a thought experiment that at least  considers how victims feel.  Police are often so crap victims would be better off killing the vile crooks and doing the time.  Ghastly outfits like JUSTICE, Liberty-wankerdee and Human Rights Watch make  things worse by focusing on to middle class concerns.  They can afford not to want to kill the scum, always making sure they never have to live anywhere near it – or so they think until one of their kids is smacked and coked up and nasty drug dealers have them re-mortgaging.  I wouldn’t really advocate killing; yet we need something to stop the roundabout of jobsworth-corruption.  The point is that there is a solution.  We might have to kill a million people, maybe two million.  If the problem is this serious, then what should we be doing about it and why aren’t we?  Where are the real employment schemes for not very bright, not very skilled people; what are we doing to stop the next lot of kids moving into the crime networks … and who do we dump these problems on because we can’t build enough prisons or grasp the Rwandan nettle?  Liberals, of course, could always save the day by taking in scum families and removing the burden put on disabled and poor people.  Just see them pigs fly!

tells the story of a bent cop who evaded PV.  The burglar cop who was my colleague had CRO for burglary.  The same mistakes being made today were around me 30 years ago.  Nothing gets learned except how to keep conning the public.

If you want real corruption, nip to Nigeria – – but notice Paul Boatang in the story and wonder what he has done in the UK.  The UK and USA  don’t take the lead – – and we may have to face up to learning from other countries.

An awful lot of liberals get paid to keep the system much as it is, failing and stocked out with liberals telling us it ain’t.  Cops are even pretending to be hard-liners, whilst actually  going along like pussies eating at the establishment zoo, too scared to blow the whistle, bottling it as soon as their mortgage is under threat.  These are the same people we are supposed to see as virtuous when they give evidence!