The Metropolitan Police aren’t having a great week are they?
Firstly, what should have been a victory for the boys in blue when an inquest jury in London gave a lawful killing verdict for a police marksman shooting dead gangster Mark Duggan in a London street two years ago turned into a PR disaster when Mark Duggan’s family and supporters very publicly expressed their anger outside the High Court to the extent they aggressively shouted down Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley as he made a statement.
And today police officer Keith Wallis has pled guilty to lying about witnessing the Plebgate row, where former Government chief whip Andrew Mitchell MP was accused of verbally abusing armed police officers at the gates of Downing Street and calling them ‘plebs’ when they refused his request to cycle through the main gate, which Mr Mitchell has strenuously denied.
PC Wallis admitted misconduct in public office by writing an email to Conservative deputy chief whip John Randall, who was his MP, wrongly claiming that he had seen what happened in Downing Street on September 19 2012. Following the guilty plea, the Metropolitan Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has said he would like to meet Mr Mitchell to apologise in person.
The root of this scandal is how the police conduct themselves across the board. If they are capable of lying about what a Cabinet minister said to them, they are more than capable of lying about what a black young man in South London says to them.
PC Wallis will be sentenced on 6th February and faces a potential life sentence in prison. He won’t get that long but he may well be sent down with the judge saying today ‘all sentencing options remain open to the court’.