Promoting incompetent police officers


by Rumbold
22nd December, 2008 at 8:32 pm    

Cath Elliot has a scathing piece on Comment is Free today. As she points out, police officers guilty of gross incompetence (and possibly more) are being promoted. Cath Elliot highlights two officers, Cressida Dick (now a deputy assistant commissioner) and Angela Cornes, shortly to be a sergeant. DAC Dick was considered responsible for giving the order to shoot Jean Charles De Menezes, while PC Cornes repeatedly failed to help Banaz Mahmod when her life was in danger. PC Cornes’ discplinary hearing before the Metropolitan Police Service collapsed after the key witness refused to testify. Now, in fairness to the disciplinary hearing, there is only so much you can do if your key witness refuses to testify. However, she could have at least received a written warning, as some other officers did:

“In March 2008 the IPCC announced that four MPS and two West Midlands detectives would receive written warnings and one MPS constable words of advice in relation to how Ms Mahmod’s allegation of historical sexual abuse had been investigated.”

Cath Elliot also makes two very pertinent points about the media and our attitudes to crimes involving women from minorities:

“By the same token I’d also add that the media led public outcry over much more minor events, like the crass behaviour of Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand, or the hysteria over the ill-judged arrest of Damian Green, when placed alongside the relatively muted response to the collapse of the disciplinary proceedings against Cornes, not only illustrate the confusing ways we talk of responsibility, but also illustrate confusion as to where exactly our priorities lie. After all, no one died when Ross and Brand left their inane message on Andrew Sachs’s answer phone, and yet the great British public wasn’t satisfied until heads were seen to roll…

What exactly does it take to galvanise people into caring as much about the death of a young Asian woman as they do about an insult to a popular ageing actor? Is it, as [Diana] Nammi’s letter implies, that violence against minority women is seen as a low priority, not just for the police but for the media and the public alike?”

(Hat-tip: Galloise Blonde)


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Filed in: 'Honour'-based violence,Civil liberties,Current affairs






6 Comments below   |  

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  1. halima — on 22nd December, 2008 at 8:41 pm  

    What a great article . Thanks for posting .

  2. Galloise Blonde — on 22nd December, 2008 at 9:37 pm  

    I’m wondering if, when a witness is under police protection and in danger of his life, is it still reasonable to ask him to testify against a serving officer, given how dependent he is upon the police?

    Even without that testimony, there was ample evidence from various other sources. Cornes failed to follow procedure in numerous ways: she didn’t accompany Banaz to the hospital, she didn’t record the allegation of serious crime, she informed the family of the allegation (!), she made no referral, and she carried out a follow-up visit in earshot of the family. Her own testimony in the Crown Court (where she was the main witness for the defence) would reveal all this!

    The letter to the IPCC has been backed by Dr Aisha Gill and Balvinder Saund so far.

  3. persephone — on 22nd December, 2008 at 10:54 pm  

    ” What exactly does it take to galvanise people into caring as much about the death of a young Asian woman as they do about an insult to a popular ageing actor? Is it, as [Diana] Nammi’s letter implies, that violence against minority women is seen as a low priority, not just for the police but for the media and the public alike?”

    Ever increasingky, a mass public & the media build celebrities into a god like figure so that even a comedy actor best known for a supporting role in a 70′s tv comedy is seen as a national institution that cannot be mocked.

    Perhaps if Banaz had been in Big Brother her death may have created the public outcry that is & was needed in her case.

  4. douglas clark — on 23rd December, 2008 at 9:08 am  

    Rumbold,

    The problem with the case appears to have been that the chief witness for the prosecution refused to testify. I wonder why?

    Perhaps being under Police protection has it’s own quid pro quo?

  5. Sofia — on 23rd December, 2008 at 9:46 am  

    i once had a police officer ask me to fill in the gaps to his notes as he hadn’t bothered to write them up…

  6. MaidMarian — on 23rd December, 2008 at 7:53 pm  

    ‘After all, no one died when Ross and Brand left their inane message on Andrew Sachs’s answer phone, and yet the great British public wasn’t satisfied until heads were seen to roll..’

    Well, yes, but that was all really one big stalking horse for the right wing media to wave their collective genetalia at the BBC rather than any real concern for Sachs.

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