originally by: The Guardian
published: 20 October 2013
The rotten apples argument has served the police well for as long as I can remember, because everyone knows that any large group of people contains a few individuals who abuse their position and bring shame on the vast majority of their hard-working colleagues. But most forget that the point of the barrel of apples metaphor is that the rot spreads to all the apples.
There has never been a more graphic proof of this than in the Plebgate case, when police officers of varying rank lied to destroy a democratically elected politician’s career to increase political leverage in a time of cuts. We must now consider that the rot has spread, that the police service in England and Wales is so infected by a culture of dishonesty, expediency and outright corruption that radical reform is now the only option.
What was striking about the Andrew Mitchell case, quite apart from the institutional vindictiveness it betrayed, is that police were so used to seeing their lies prevail in court that they did not even bother to lie very well about the incident in which they alleged he used the word “pleb”. They were caught out by CCTV coverage and a recording of a subsequent meeting between the Police Federation representatives and Mr Mitchell.