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The champagne cops are a national embarrassment

Three cops so full of rich man’s champagne they refused to do their job. And now they want us to praise them for their courageous choices? There is no shame left in the Met.

Any Saturday night, any British town. Somewhere a pub leaver will be urinating up a close, sometimes a policeman will catch him, usually the miscreant will deny all knowledge of urination even as he’s pulling his trousers back up, eventually the policeman will eventually just look the kid in the eye and say ‘look, stop wasting your time and mine – you got caught’. If only this attitude would reach the higher reaches of the Met.

So all three former cops (former because they had to step down because wherever they went the stench of corruption – or at best incompetence – followed them) who resigned over the Murdoch-stroking hacking cover-up appeared in front of Levenson yesterday. And their mission was to insult our intelligence. Who knows if Levenson will do a Hutton and behave like there are no words or pictures which could ever make him believe ill of the British Establishment (which gave them their respective Lordships). But we know plenty. It was a cover-up; lies were told and information fiddled. You can always tell a cover-up because it requires much more effort than does simple incompetence. Incompetence means you missed the evidence; when you go to the trouble to hide and undermine the evidence that is a cover-up. And anyone who thinks it isn’t about Murdoch and all that champagne is deluded.

But still, there they are, telling us it was simply normal practice to let the super-rich off the hook. The reason given bothers me two-fold. That reason is that they didn’t go after this widespread crime because they were too busy on Terror. Apparently the policy of the Met is only to investigate crimes that involve people dying. That is the on-the-record defence. Great – could we all have a list of the crimes which won’t be investigated because there’s Terror going on? Because I’m fairly sure that the police did indeed investigate various crimes that took place over the last decade which were not Terror-related. Indeed, we know that the theft of consumer goods is the sort of thing that the police take very seriously indeed and will burst down the doors of anyone nicking a rely during a riot. We can also assume that a host of crimes from smoking a joint to spray painting a wall were not ignored. It is an insult to us all to pretend that this is a police priority matter. It’s not. It’s a police-up-to-their-necks-in-it matter.

And yet the insults to our intelligence don’t end there. After all this time, and even as Tony Blair and George Bush sleep with the political fishes, still the very mention of the word Terror is meant to require us to suspend our critical faculties. While they were covering up their lack of action they were foiling a hailstorm of death falling on our heads. We should be grateful. But for how long can this nonsense go on? Terror is not a get-out-of-jail-free card for a corrupt state.

Oh Met, you got caught. You got caught sucking up the champagne. You got caught covering up the crimes. You got caught ‘paying back your favours’. You got caught walking out of the close with your trousers unbuttoned and we all know what you did. A drunk miscreant has more dignity that the lot of you. Be gone.

Robin McAlpine