In the upper reaches of society, where does inept end and corrupt begin?
It is human nature to want a quiet life. I would certainly like a quiet life. But when you choose a career in the police force, and especially if you rise to the rank of Borough Commander, you are paid by the people to protect the people – and you absent the right to a quiet life. And when you choose the career of a politician, and especially if you enter Parliament, you are paid by the people to protect and support and defend the people, and especially your own constituents – and you absent the right to a quiet life.
Faced with a claim that his station officers had not adequately investigated an instance of possible criminal behaviour over an alteration to and unauthorised release of personal medical records, Chief Inspector Burton of Lewisham Borough Police wrote to Dame Joan Ruddock, member of parliament for Lewisham Deptford, “The General Medical Council conducted their own investigation. I am informed that they concluded that Dr xxx’s actions did fall below the required standards but did not amount to criminality.”
This is not true. The GMC confirmed to the person concerned, “Please note that it is not the GMC’s role to judge whether a criminal act has occurred. I can also confirm that I have not sent any correspondence to the Met Police nor have I informed the Met Police that ‘Dr xxx’s conduct did not fall below criminality’.”
Borough Commander Burton has left himself some wriggle room. He doesn’t say who ‘informed’ him. It could have been the station janitor or a man in the street. But he has no right to imply, when this is clearly not the case, that he has received advice from the GMC. If he is being 100% honest, then the police response needs to be revisited because it was at least partly based on misinformation (and there is more not discussed here, yet). If he is not being honest, and was never so informed, then that has other implications that need to be aired.
Proof that these comments were at the very least misleading if not a simple lie was sent to the local member of parliament, Dame Joan Ruddock. An audience was requested and granted. It was recorded and published on SoundCloud.
The MP responds thus:
As a member of parliament I am in no position whatsoever to investigate anything that purports to be of this magnitude. It is not possible. It is not my job… I am powerless to tackle these issues… this is something I cannot undertake on your behalf… I’ve got absolutely no evidence of lying, as you put it… I think there may be a misunderstanding… I can’t look at this detail… here at this moment… I will look at [everything on Tuesday] but at the end of the day the chances are still very high that I will be saying to you that I don’t have any power to deal with this… there are real limits to what MPs can do, and my expectation is that I am still going to conclude that I can’t change these things for you… I will consider everything you have said about the inconsistencies with a view to seeing if there is any reason why I should reconsider my position… I will get back to you in due course…
Here is someone who doesn’t want to get involved; would rather abandon her own constituent – for the sake of an easy life – even when the evidence is in front of her (as it was). I am just a blogger, so obviously I am in no position whatsoever to investigate anything that purports to be of this magnitude. But I can write this. And a member of parliament can surely do much more, for the sake of the people who pay her wages.
It is profoundly disturbing that a senior police officer has not checked his facts and has misled a member of parliament for the sake of a quiet life. It is equally disturbing that the member of parliament then tries to ignore the situation for the sake of a quiet life. If senior police officers will not defend the law, why do we have them? And if members of parliament will not defend the people, why do we have them? And where, in the final analysis, does the man in the street go for justice?
There is more to this story. Its basis is, after all, a breach of the Data Protection Act. It will not go away; and there is more to come out.