Leading article: We deserve an honest and uncorrupted police force

Related Topics

The phone-hacking scandal linked to the house of Murdoch is starting to assume the quality of one of those fast-moving epic dramas in which, if you miss a single scene, you are in danger of losing the thread entirely. After the arrest yesterday of Rebekah Brooks, all bets were already off about what had been billed as tomorrow's spectacle, the appearance before the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee of the two Murdochs, father and son, plus Ms Brooks. Some even suggested that the arrest had been timed to undercut public interest in the interrogation.

By nightfall such questions had been largely effaced by an entirely new twist, namely the sudden resignation of the head of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Paul Stephenson - an event that drew attention away from the scandal as a purely Murdoch affair, and back to the excessively close, one might say incestuous, relationship between News International and the Met.

It is important to note that Sir Paul has in no way admitted wrongdoing, or knowledge of News International paying the police for information. And when such claims first emerged, his initial response was robust. But in recent days, the support of senior politicians had ebbed away and sounded ever more conditional. As allegations continued to swirl around the Met about improper relationships with the Murdoch empire, doubts increased about whether he was the right person to continue playing a leading role in an investigation into the newspaper's affairs. His own credibility was undermined by the fact that he had hired Neil Wallis, a former deputy editor of News of the World, who was arrested last week in connection to phone-hacking charges, as PR chief for the Met at a time when the police faced calls to reopen inquiries into the newspaper.

With Sir Paul's departure, pressure will now grow on John Yates, the Assistant Commissioner of the Met, who decided against a fresh investigation into phone-hacking allegations in 2009.

In one sense, the charges of misconduct being laid at the door of the Metropolitan Police were always more significant than those imputed to the bosses of News International. Nefarious doings are almost part of the warp and woof of a certain kind of muck-raking journalism, whose lifeblood is the exposure of the secrets of the rich.

These newspapers certainly need to be held to account when their hot pursuit of secrets leads them across a red line into acts of flagrant illegality. However, we should not exaggerate the degree to which the misdeeds of a clique of journalists and editors affect the life of the country as a whole. For all the talk of media empires whose tentacles allegedly stretch into every corner of the British Establishment, it is worth remembering that not everyone in this country reads Murdoch newspapers, or is remotely touched by what they do or say. It is a quite different matter with the police. An honest and uncorrupted police force is a vital pillar of society without which no healthy democracy can maintain itself. If a corrupt culture has indeed embraced parts of an organisation in which we have placed such enormous trust, that should worry everyone.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Army reservist Corporal James Dunsby  

Whether it’s in the City, the Army or at school, this ritual sadism has to stop

Chris Blackhurst
Caitlyn Jenner, the transgender Olympic champion formerly known as Bruce, unveiled her new name on Monday  

'I'm the happiest I've been for a long time and I finally know where I fit': Here's why role models matter for trans kids

Susie Green
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific