Stephenson Resigns: Now time to democratise the police…
Until this point, the police have remained relatively unscathed by #Hackgate, the concentration on Murdoch’s ailing empire has aided this as does the media’s natural fascination with itself. However, there are serious questions to be answered by senior figures in the Metropolitan Police and indeed its already dubious integrity has probably been damaged beyond repair. Tonight, the Metropolitan Police Commissionaire; Sir Paul Stephenson has resigned.
Earlier, it seems the Met are actively conniving in limiting the testimony Rebekah Brooks can give to the DCMS Select Committee hearing on Tuesday she was supposed to testify before, in fact, its likely she will not be able to testify at all. Speculation is also rife that James Murdoch will be arrested Tuesday which will conveniently have the same effect. People will say the police investigation is more important but in this instance it clearly is not. As is the case with News International we need to look at structural solutions to problems of institutions which have been found wanting. In such a situation the Metropolitan Police cannot and should not be trusted to conduct a fair and impartial investigation. It is therefore a situation where the testimony before the Select Committee should take precedence.
All these events show that the police need to be subject to democratic accountability and independent, similarly accountable, scrutiny. I have said before I don’t support elected Police Commissionaire’s because I feel they concentrate too much power in the hands of an individual. Instead, what we need to see is the extension of the powers of Police Authorities and a move to direct elections to these authorities (as opposed to elected representatives sitting on them). Only through this will we be able to make the police accountable to the communities they serve in the way they should be, not the sycophants and servants of corrupt institutions like News International.