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Magpie

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Thought it might be interesting to post articles relating to Whistle blowers in all areas of the 'system'. Especially those cases that are in the Public Interest to Know the Truth.

 


Wednesday, 12 November 2003, 13:46 GMT

The whistle blower comes of age

Dr David Kelly After all the twists and turns of the Hutton Inquiry, the accusations and bitter recriminations, it's easy to forget the essence of Dr David Kelly's act.

Like countless other employees, most of whom never make the local papers let alone the national press, Dr Kelly was a whistle blower.

The role of the whistle blower in bringing public bodies and private companies to account is the subject of a new programme, in BBC Four's Timeshift series.

The programme traces the history of how courageous employees have taken to informing on their bosses when they believe they have witnessed a cover-up in the workplace.

"The whistle blowers that I interviewed or researched in the course of this programme showed a steely determination to make public the misdeeds they witnessed in the public and private sectors," says Gerry Dawson, who produced the programme.

"To the simple question 'With what you know now would you do it again?' all replied 'Yes'"
Gerry Dawson, producer, Whistle Blowers

The likes of Steve Bolsin and Harry Templeton may not be household names, but their decision to speak out helped paved the way for a wider acceptance of whistle blowing.

Mr Bolsin, an anaesthetist a Bristol Royal Infirmary, was first to raise the alarm about the large number of infant deaths during heart surgery at the hospital.

Several years earlier, Mr Templeton tried to raise his concerns about the dubious running of Robert Maxwell's Mirror Group pension fund. He soon found himself sacked.

These cases have helped shift the balance of credibility from employer to employee. Today, the rights of "whistle blowers" are enshrined in law.

Clive Ponting "Nobody in Britain now has a problem when they want the whistle blown," says Guy Dehn, Public Concern At Work

"When your kid is being treated by an incompetent surgeon, or when your pension fund is being stolen, you rightly say: 'why didn't anyone who was there do anything about it?'"

The idea of the whistle blower in British society only emerged clearly in the early 1980s, when three civil servants - Cathy Massiter, Sarah Tisdall and Clive Ponting - risked prosecution under the 1911 Official Secrets Act to reveal what some government departments were really up to.

Cathy Massiter, an MI5 agent, disclosed the extensive use of phone taps against the government's political opponents - notably against CND. She escaped prosecution, possibly in case too much would be revealed in a court case.

Sarah Tisdall, a junior clerk in the Foreign Office, was not so lucky. She revealed that Michael Heseltine wanted to mislead Parliament and the British public about the deployment of cruise missiles.

Acting out of conscience

The establishment wanted to make an example of her and succeeded in so doing by sentencing her to prison.

The year after, however, the 1911 Act was itself sentenced to history when a jury refused to convict a senior civil servant, Clive Ponting, who revealed the real operational details of the sinking of the Argentinean battle-cruiser Belgrano during the Falklands War.

The jury accepted Ponting had acted out of conscience, with integrity, and would not let the law to be used to punish such an act.

The need for protection was also evident in the private sector.

Robert Maxwell In 1987 the cross-Channel ferry Herald of Free Enterprise sank outside the Belgian port of Zeebrugge with the loss of 188 lives.

She had sailed with her bow doors open and the sudden inrush of water made a tragedy inevitable within a few seconds. Yet the public inquiry heard that the Herald and sister ships had sailed with bow doors open before but no-one had acted effectively to stop this dangerous practice.

In 1998 Britain at last enacted legislation, known as the Whistle Blowers Act. The Act gives some protection to employees who raise serious concerns within the workplace and suffer from so doing.

"The whistle blowers that I interviewed or researched in the course of this programme showed a steely determination to make public the misdeeds they witnessed," says Mr Dawson.

'No regrets'

"They did not do so for personal gain but because they seemed to share a belief in a strong moral code and realised that they and their families would suffer from the pressure and the likely loss of employment that their actions would trigger.

"Few seemed to flinch or express regret: to the simple question 'With what you know now would you do it again?' all replied 'Yes'."

Yet as investigative journalist Duncan Campbell commented at the time of the Hutton enquiry "Whistle blowers invariably lose, and lose badly."

Admin2

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And to top your post off Magpie not all WHISTLE-BLOWERS are REFEREE'S they are honest folk who want things to change..............then it does by throwing them out the door and in some cases like Dr Kelly being driven to suicide.

 

Will the WHISTLE blowers win? not in my lifetime.


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Magpie

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Exactly my point Admin2. If it wasn't for those brave individuals like Dr David Kelly who risked his career reputation and eventually his life, we the public would never have the truth revealed. The same in the case of Clive Ponting leaking the MoD document. Only for this leak the Public would not have known the truth of the sinking of the Argentinian cruiser killing 360 people. 
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Hi Magpie... thanks for your excellent post with regards to 'The Whistle Blowers'. 

 

I agree with you wholeheartedly that if it wasn't for these courageous people who spoke out about the misdeeds (suspected or otherwise) of their colleagues, then the public would be (and is!) at risk.  This story reminds me of SCRO expert Gary Dempster, who although I wouldn't class as being a whistle blower, he spoke out - definately against the 'ethos' of his fellow colleagues and told the truth about the Shirley McKie fingerprint, and by doing so, now faces disciplinary action, and most probably, the sack.

 

As for Admin2's comment as to whether the whistle blowers will ever win in this lifetime - hey, I thought I was meant to be the skeptic here!!  But I can fully understand the reasons behind such a statement.

 

Thank you both for your posts!


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Bilko

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Bilko agrees, Give the whistle blowers a shout on the forum.......where would we be without them! Maybe someone among the ranks of the boys in blue would like to blow their whistle......and tell of any misconduct among the rank and file.......ferrisconspiracy.com give any police officer reading (and we know you ARE reading) the chance to do the right thing........Out the corrupt ones now........BLOW THE WHISTLE!!!   ONE TOOT AND THEIR OOT!!!

 

Bilko

 

 


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Hi Bilko... thanks for your post with regards to 'The Whistle Blowers'.  Perhaps we can start something new here (courtesy of Magpie), like Shop-A-Cop, whereby the boys in blue who are watching (and we know you are) - perhaps the good cops who want to make a difference - are able to shop (or blow the whistle?) on their scheming, lying and corrupt counterparts.

 

An incentive would be to out the 'bad apples', and thus prevent them from climbing the career ladder quicker than a rat up a drainpipe (ahem, Mr Pearson), so that the cops who do want to make a difference are able to progress up their career ladder with a clear conscience and an UN-EDITED career record.

 

Now THAT'S what I'd like to see.

 

 


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mactheknife

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Ethicists who are concerned that their theories not allow for moral dilemmas have more than consistency in mind, I think. What is troubling is that theories that allow for dilemmas fail to be uniquely action-guiding. A theory can fail to be uniquely action-guiding in either of two ways: by not recommending any action in a situation that is moral or by recommending incompatible actions. Theories that generate genuine moral dilemmas fail to be uniquely action-guiding in the latter way. Since at least one of the main points of moral theories is to provide agents with guidance, that suggests that it is desirable for theories to eliminate dilemmas, at least if doing so is possible.

But failing to be uniquely action-guiding is not the only reason that the existence of moral dilemmas is thought to be troublesome. Just as important, the existence of dilemmas does lead to inconsistencies if one endorses certain widely held theses. Here we shall consider two different arguments, each of which shows that one cannot consistently acknowledge the reality of moral dilemmas while holding selected principles on whistle blowers.


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Magpie

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Great idea Bilko and Admin. Perhaps the Good cops could use this forum to give us an insight[as if we need one] into the daily workings of the Bad cops, maybe in a blog style similiar to the Policeman's Blogs. http://coppersblog.blogspot.com/  

 

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Hi mactheknife & Magpie... thanks for your posts.  Magpie is spot on in saying that although we don't really need an insight into the corrupt goings on of the police (they do enough advertising of that for themselves), it would be very interesting to see what response shop-a-cop would produce...

 

As for the link to the policeman's blog - at first Admin thought you was taking the p**s, but realising that it is in fact the 5th of April and not the 1st, I thought I would check it out, and incredibly it does exist.   Didn't really get very far through it though - partly because I can't believe one actually does exist, but also for laughing...


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Magpie

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Oh yeah, Admin there's loads of them. Here's another one;

http://www.scottishpolice.blogspot.com/

 

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Hi Magpie... thanks for the link (and the laughs)...  I wonder if others find this as amusing as I did...


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Magpie

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UK Web site to lift lid on ‘police corruption’

Published Friday 3rd November 2000 17:56 GMT

A Web site allegedly operated by "serving and retired Surrey Police officers" is set to blow the whistle on police corruption.

The site is due to go live on Sunday and claims to be written and produced by serving officers who have themselves been the "victims of police corruption".

 

It claims it will details the "conduct of certain senior police officers".

Those behind the site claim they are merely "expressing [their] rights under Article 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998".

Article 10 relates to freedom of speech.

Those running surreypolice.com (http://www.surreypolice.com) have already received a letter from the Surrey Police Force, based in Guildford, threatening "injunctive relief".

This, though, is for cybersquatting.

Although the name of the sender has been blanked out, the letter says: "It is my view that if your use of the [surreypolice.com] domain name amounts to passing off. Due to the content of the site, it is clear there can be no reason for the use of this domain name other than to damage the goodwill of this organisation."

However, the deadline for those running the site to "cease using the above domain name" passed last Friday. The site is still up and running although at the time of writing there were no allegations of police corruption posted on the site.

A holding page on the site reads: "This is NOT an 'official' UK police web site.

"The domain is funded, written and managed by serving and retired Surrey Police officers who have themselves been victims of police corruption and who want to see changes made.

"Many of us have tried in vain to encourage people in positions of authority to address the serious concerns we have raised about the conduct of certain senior police officers.

"The overall majority of our colleagues on uniform police patrol share our fervency and zeal to remain loyal to the principle for which we became police officers; honesty, truth & justice.

"We will undoubtedly be brandished by senior police officers and Government Ministers as disgruntled and disloyal individuals. This is not the case."

A spokeswoman for Surrey Police confirmed that the letter on the site was genuine but refused to comment further.

It's understood officials have been in meetings all afternoon discussing the matter.

 


Police gag ‘corruption’ Web site

Published Monday 6th November 2000 13:01 GMT

Surrey Police served a High Court injunction against one of its own officers late on Friday night forcing him to remove a Web site that was set to expose alleged police corruption within the force.

The injunction was served just hours after The Register ran the story (http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/1/14470.html) behind surreypolice.com.

 

Inspector Andy Catlin is currently on sick leave but used to serve in Surrey Police's Technical Firearms Unit.

He claims the site is "not employed to undermine the excellent work of the majority of our colleagues who perform a difficult and often dangerous job in protecting the public from lawlessness."

However, this was not enough to prevent a High Court injunction being served at his home late Friday night forcing Catlin to withdraw his site.

The injunction effectively accused Catlin of cybersquatting.

Defending its decision to take legal action, Surrey Police said: "It could be misunderstood as being an official Surrey Police site. We respect the right of an individual to publish material on the Internet but this should be published using an address which is not likely to mislead."

Catlin told Reg that he had to proceed with caution: "Because of the injunction I have decided not to name and shame now, but I will when the time is right."

He is currently seeking legal advice and will concentrate his activities on another of his sites, policecorruption.co.uk. ®


http://www.theregister.co.uk/2000/11/06/police_gag_corruption_web_site/

 

 

hammer6

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Hi Magpie, I was familiar with this case and web site although I never knew the final outcome.

 

They must have something to hide and if anyone feels they want to post a message to the WHISTLE-BLOWERS then this is the website to do it.

 

All you have to do is get an email address (preferably not your own) then register as a member on http://www.ferrisconspiracy.com go on we know you want to as long as you KEEP IT REAL and SHOP A COP today.

 

 


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ferrisconspiracy : ARCHIVE

 

On 4th December 1997, former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Condon said to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee:

 

 ” I honestly believe I command the most honourable large city police service in the world. I believe that the overwhelming majority of the 27,000 men and women in the Met are honest … decent … brave. However, I do have a minority of officers who are corrupt, dishonest and unethical … they commit crimes, they neutralise evidence in important cases and they betray police operations and techniques to criminals.

 

These bad officers sap the morale of their honest colleagues … because of their training they are aware of the tactics we use to try to catch them. They are cunning, they are experienced and they are surveillance conscious”. 

 

The Commissioner went on to say that the number of corrupt officers in his force was somewhere between 100-250.

 

(See First report on Police & Complaints Procedure; HC258-I 15.1.98).

 

ferrisconspiracy : VIEW

 

This report is nearly 10 years old and the former MET Police Commissioner had the bottle to say this to the Home Affairs Committee.

 

What has been done over these large numbers of CORRUPT OFFICERS? are they still serving POLICE MEN/WOMEN?

 

This is not a 'BAD APPLE' syndrome this is an organised corrupt epidemic that not only affects the Metropolitan Police Force.

 

STRATHCLYDE POLICE have yet to announce ANYTHING in relation to Police Corruption even its mere existence and are in denial.

 

If the POLICE in any city in the UK want to have REAL Law & Order they must remove the way that they are allowed to investigate themselves first.

 

100-250 POLICE OFFICERS was a conservative estimate back then and now wonder what the REAL figures are (which we will not be allowed to see).


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Magpie

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A few bad apples?

When confronted with allegations of corruption for which there is supporting evidence, police agencies will generally claim that the problem identified is limited to a small number of corrupt officers who are quite unrepresentative of the wider standards exhibited by the organisation. The history of policing, however, is full of examples where this explanation could simply not be sustained in the face of overwhelming evidence of organised corruption. Thus, perhaps best known of all, after the revelations of Officer Frank Serpico in New York City, the Knapp Commission hearings ‘destroyed the police union’s argument that police corruption was confined to a few ‘rotten apples’ in an otherwise healthy barrel’ (Sherman, 1978: xxviii). In Knapp’s view:

 

“According to this theory, which bordered on official Department doctrine, any policeman found to be corrupt must promptly be denounced as a rotten apple in an otherwise clean barrel. It must never be admitted that his individual corruption may be symptomatic of underlying disease… A high command unwilling to acknowledge that the problem of corruption is extensive cannot very well argue that drastic changes are necessary to deal with the problem.” (Knapp, 1972:6-7)

 

The Knapp Commission concluded that corrupt ‘pads’ existed in every plain clothes gambling-enforcement squad in New York, and that corruption could be found, indeed was often extensively found, in drugs enforcement, criminal investigation and in uniformed patrol. A system of internal corruption, where managerial discretion and favour were bought and sold in a marketplace of payoffs, was also uncovered. Corrupt practices were highly, and often sophisticatedly organised, and were protected and reinforced by tolerance of, or selective blindness towards, it by non-participating officers (Henry, 1994).

 

The reform commissioner, Patrick V Murphy, supported and reinforced the Knapp Commission’s view that the idea that the barrel was ‘clean’ could not be supported:

 

“The ‘rotten apple’ theory won’t work any longer. Corrupt police officers are not natural-born criminals, nor morally wicked men, constitutionally different from their honest colleagues. The task of corruption control is to examine the barrel, not just the apples – the organisation, not just the individuals in it – because corrupt police are made, not born.” (quoted in Barker and Carter, 1986: 10)


The above article is an extract from the Police Research Series

Paper 110: Understanding and preventing police corruption: lessons from the literature.

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