Broken Yard: The Fall of the Metropolitan Police

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Broken Yard: The Fall of the Metropolitan Police

Broken Yard: The Fall of the Metropolitan Police

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Protesters outside Scotland Yard, marking a year since Sarah Everard was murdered by police officer Wayne Couzens. Whereas the likes of the Krays in the 1960s robbed banks, risky and visible, their equivalents now are doing cyber, and profiting from the drugs trade and trafficking.

This exposé is linked to those that follow by a thread of corruption, incompetence, of internal politics and lack of resources. It demolishes the few bad apples argument about News International – and, while he is about it, Harper demolishes the same excuses for serial failings of the Met. Harper reveals an institution that is riddled with corruption, racism, sexism, officers scuppering each other’s work as they compete for promotions, and basic incompetence.

Broken Yard does not suggest things were once all Dixon of Dock Green perfect, although it points out the success of the Labour government’s Safer Neighbourhood policies. It’s reminiscent of the physical and emotional distance between the generals and the ‘poor bloody infantry’ in the First World War. Is it a hopeful sign that bad things are getting at least confronted in public, or bad in that it depresses public trust in those institutions, not easily regained? Among those quoted for the book are the ‘frauditor’ Peter Tickner, and retired senior cops Roy Ramm, and Bob Quick, and QC and judge Sir Richard Henriques, author of the riveting memoir From Crime to Crime; men featured or quoted in Professional Security Magazine over the years.

Harper quotes late on a story from an anonymous lord justice of appeal that a scammer at his door was impersonating police.Sir Richard Henriques, the retired high court judge who witheringly reviewed the failures of Operation Midland, is quoted as suggesting that there are “far too many ranks” in the Met, no fewer than five above the rank of chief superintendent. They include the cuts in the number police of officers – 20,000 in 10 years, and hundreds of detective posts currently unfilled. But in general the government is treated pretty gently for its major role in the current crisis and in the demoralisation of the Met.

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