Posted by Matt on January 15, 2014 Tagged with: crime, surveillance
The Independent has a story on a leaked Scotland Yard report that states that organized crime groups have infiltrated all levels of the UK justice system:
In 2003 Operation Tiberius found that men suspected of being Britain’s most notorious criminals had compromised multiple agencies, including HM Revenue & Customs, the Crown Prosecution Service, the City of London Police and the Prison Service, as well as pillars of the criminal justice system including juries and the legal profession.
The strategic intelligence scoping exercise – “ratified by the most senior management” at the Met – uncovered jurors being bought off or threatened to return not-guilty verdicts; corrupt individuals working for HMRC, both in the UK and overseas; and “get out of jail free cards” being bought for £50,000.
The report states that the infiltration made it almost impossible for police and prosecutors to successfully pursue the organised gangs that police suspected controlled much of the criminal underworld.
This is why restraints on the powers of government and government actors are necessary. The idea that all politicians, cops and bureaucrats are virtuous and ethical and only concern themselves with the well being of their country and its citizens is a fiction. Governments and police forces are run by people and like any group of people, some of them really are that virtuous and some of them are in it for themselves. The best way to ensure that the latter don't abuse their power is to limit the power we give them in the first place and to track their exercise of the power we do grant them.
(I wrote a draft of this post yesterday but never got around to posting it. In the interim, Techdirt posted a piece with a very similar sentiment. I posted mine anyway because it's an important point that deserves to be reiterated over and over again.)