The Stupid Drug War Lumbers On

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One of the defining characteristics of the drug war is politician’s ignoring expert findings and providing demagogic enforcement measures to placate idiot & ignorant voters. And never, ever, EVER considering de-criminalising and harm reduction allied to social reform. And Gordon’s no different-

Downing Street today signalled that the prime minister remained intent on toughening the law on cannabis despite reports that the government’s official drugs advisory body opposes its reclassification. Gordon Brown’s spokesman played down reports that the advisory committee on the misuse of drugs (ACMD) had concluded there was no need to raise the classification of cannabis from class C to class B.

The mental health charity Rethink said Mr Brown should heed the committee’s advice. The charity spokesman Paul Corry said: “Gordon Brown should put aside his personal views on cannabis and accept the fact that it does not make sense to reclassify.

“Use of the drug has gone down since it was downgraded in 2004 and research by Rethink shows that only 3% of users would consider stopping on the grounds of illegality.”

Cannabis was downgraded from class B to class C in January 2004. People still face up to two years in prison if caught in possession of the drug, while those supplying the drug to others can be given a five-year sentence.

Paddington Gitmo

They want 42 days detention without charge, what that means is six weeks of interrogation, here is what they did in just 12 days to one woman, it might seem familiar-

When Farrah arrived at Paddington Green, her clothes were taken from her. Suffering from diarrhoea, she was in constant pain. She described the basic washing and hygiene facilities in detention. “There was no toilet roll and only paper towels for body drying. I wasn’t even allowed to comb my hair.”

Exercise consisted of walking around in a circle in a small yard behind the station for five minutes while officers held guard dogs in each corner. Farrah said: “I was frightened of the dogs so rather than getting any exercise, I just found these exercise periods really frightening.”

She became unwell, suffering from diabetes, and a doctor was called on numerous occasions. He confirmed that an existing condition had been exacerbated by the stress of her arrest and detention.

She was not allowed to speak with her family for four days. Eight days had passed before the police disclosed the reason she was being held.

Farrah claimed the guards were constantly rude and aggressive when dealing with her. She was effectively held in solitary confinement and not allowed to communicate with or pass another prisoner when being taken to and from her cell between questioning. After four days, she was permitted to make a telephone call to her parents. They speak English but she was told to make sure she spoke in English and not in “your language”.

After 12 days of 24-hour detention in a cell and repeated questioning in a room with no natural light, Farrah was released without charge. No explanation was given and no apology made. She had no way of travelling home and was not offered assistance; her solicitor organised a taxi. She said she felt “tired, shocked and exhausted”, and had thought she was never going to get out. Her clothes were never returned.

After release, Farrah said she became increasingly paranoid, not wanting to leave the house alone. Her employers were understanding but the pressure of colleagues knowing what had happened to her, the increasing paranoia and her poor health forced her to quit her job. Friends and family stopped visiting, terrified they would become suspects by association.

As Taser Use Increases The RCMP Redact Details

I think maybe authoritarians think of Tasers as like remote controls… for humans. And as their use rolls out across the world by uniformed goons everywhere such lack of transparency is a big red FLAG! Our own trials here at the four month stage lack many specifics, something that should be remedied (*begins researching FOI procedure*). There is much more to the below article and it is worth reading in full (full version below the fold or click link), this is not how a police service should act in a democracy-

A joint investigation by The Canadian Press and CBC found the Mounties are now refusing to divulge key information that must be recorded each time they draw their electronic weapons. As a result, Canadians will know much less about who is being hit with the 50,000-volt guns, whether they were armed, why they were fired on and whether they were injured. Taser report forms obtained under the Access to Information Act show the Mounties have used the powerful weapons more than 4,000 times since introducing them seven years ago.

Information stripped from the forms includes details of several Taser cases the Mounties previously made public under the access law. In effect, the RCMP is reclassifying details of Taser use – including some telling facts that raised pointed questions about how often the stun guns are fired and why.

A Canadian Press analysis last November of 563 incidents between 2002 and 2005 found three in four suspects Tasered by the RCMP were unarmed. Several of those reports suggested a pattern of stun-gun use as a handy tool to keep drunk or rowdy suspects in line, rather than to defuse major threats. But the Mounties are now censoring Taser report forms to conceal related injuries, duration of shocks, whether the individual was armed, what police tried before resorting to the stun gun, and precise dates of firings.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Gang Planet

Via Chicken Yoghurt

An Israeli general wanted for alleged war crimes escaped arrest in the UK because British police feared an armed confrontation at Heathrow airport.

Erm, er, well…um…um…er…well…erm…Hey I know, yeah, we had to execute an unarmed Brazilian on a tube train because…erm…um…well…er…look it’s called power, when you are a member of a powerful gang you don’t get fucked with by the Met gang. If you’re just little people, y’know the public, watch out suckers.

Trouble is some of us expect the rule of law and equal treatment, not this power schmoozed simulation of democracy, where the security forces only victimise the weak and protect the strong regardless of the crimes they commit. It puts civilised people at a real disadvantage, just unarmed marks open to predation by gangs, be they police, military, state or drug. I mean, I know there are people who when they see a uniform think some legitimacy resides in that gang, which it should, forces should be open, accountable and democratically controlled, but with behaviour like this… well shit man, Omar has it right.

Tasers: Children Stunned By Encroaching Police State

Via RawStory

Police have been given the go-ahead to use Taser stun guns against children. The relaxing of restrictions on the use of the weapons comes despite warnings that they could trigger a heart attack in youngsters…they can now be used against all potentially violent offenders even if they are unarmed.

It is the decision not to ban their use against minors that is likely to raise serious concerns. Home Office Police Minister Tony McNulty said medical assessments had confirmed the risk of death or serious injury from Tasers was “low”.

But he failed to mention Government advisers had also warned of a potential risk to children. The Defence Scientific Advisory Council medical committee told the Home Office that not enough was known about the health risks of using the weapons against children. The committee, which is made up of independent scientists and doctors, said that limited research suggested there was a risk children could suffer “a serious cardiac event”.

It recommended that officers should be “particularly vigilant” for any Taser-induced adverse response and said guidance should be amended to “identify children and adults of small stature” as being at potentially greater risk from the cardiac effects of Tasers. The Government scientists were also asked to test whether the weapons could cause a miscarriage if used on a pregnant woman.

While not saying whether police would be allowed to Taser an expectant mother, the Home Office said the DSAC committee had “specifically asked” for computer simulations to be carried out to analyse the effect on “a pregnant female”.

Now call me a troublemaker, but tell the anti-abortion mob about the expectant mother issue, hell any ally in pushing back this assault by authoritarians. Oh and to call the Defence Scientific Advisory Council ‘independent’ is some new hitherto unknown definition of ‘independent’ that someone should call the OED about (cross reference with the IPCC).

The Secret State: Police Crimes Could Free Serious Offenders

this is a tip of a very dirty iceberg” I told you so. What the hell did they think they were doing? How widespread is this? And from how high did the orders come? Given the obvious illegality of the practice it suggests a high level instruction, this goes to the Ministry Of Justice (or MiniJust in newspeak eh?) I would (hello resignations) reckon.

A legal precedent has established that deliberate bugging of conversations with lawyers constitutes such an affront to the rule of law that trials should be halted and any convictions obtained overturned.

The ruling, in the court of appeal in 2005, may mean that dozens of terrorist trials could be aborted and the Soham murderer, Ian Huntley, go free if allegations by a whistleblower that lawyers’ visits with clients were routinely bugged at Woodhill prison are substantiated.

The source, who spoke to the Daily Telegraph, may have communicated with Mark Kearney, the former detective sergeant who exposed the bugging of the Labour MP Sadiq Khan on a prison visit to a constituent. Kearney is due to appear at Kingston crown court today on unrelated charges of leaking information to the media. At least 10 solicitors were bugged at Woodhill, where Huntley was held in the run-up to his trial in 2003, the source has alleged.

The whistleblower has claimed that solicitors including Gareth Peirce and Mudassar Arani, who act for a number of terrorist suspects, had their conversations with their clients recorded by police. 

The Liberal Democrats are urging the justice secretary to give a statement after the House of Commons recess. They want a full inquiry into claims bugging was extensive, systematic and routine and into how much ministers knew of what was going on.

Geoffrey Robertson said: “The end result, if that is the case, is that these cases will have to be brought back to court and, in my view, the courts will react with such fury as a matter of principle, those whose conversations were bugged will have to be let out.” 

The Tories also want a probe into new claims hundreds of lawyers are bugged. 

What. The. FUCK? This is how it goes, you get away with Iraq, nothing, nothing is then out of bounds. If I were Kearney, I wouldn’t be taking any long walks in the woods on my own, capice?

Thus, every good tree bears good fruit, but the rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree produce good fruit. 

Bhutto Assasination Whitewashed Again

The only thing worth knowing about the Scotland Yard report is this-

Scotland Yard said that despite the lack of a detailed search of the crime scene or autopsy of Bhutto’s body, “the evidence that is available is sufficient for reliable conclusions to be drawn”. Investigators relied considerably on x-rays and detailed examination of video footage of the attack, the report said.

The Scotland Yard findings, released by the British high commission in Islamabad, support the theory put forward by the Pakistani government at the time.

D’you think? Old school colonial dirty deeds to back up an imperial puppet regime, oh it’s just like the good ol’ days.

In the report, Scotland Yard investigators said it was able to reach a conclusion without autopsy results or other potentially important evidence that was washed away by cleanup crews in the immediate aftermath of the blast, which also killed more than 20 other people.

“Considerable reliance has been placed upon the X-rays taken at Rawalpindi General Hospital following Ms. Bhutto’s death,” the report said, adding that interviews with medical staff and family members who washed the body resulted in “valuable insight.”

From the available evidence, British experts were able to unanimously agree that a major wound to the right side of her head was not the result of a gunshot. But there was less certainty on ruling out any other wounds.

Without medical records of her neck or upper torso, the only parts of Ms. Bhutto’s body not protected by her armored vehicle, the team’s pathologist was unable to rule out gunshots to her neck or upper torso. However, he reaffirmed the overall conclusion that the head wound killed her in any case.

Hey it’s like fixing the ‘facts’ around the policy, a tiny few indications that back the official version (who also control the evidence) are played up and everything else is relegated (including family and colleagues testimony reduced to a polite “valuable insight” yet clearly not valuable enough to unseat the government’s preferred version) by a pliable security service. Then bingo! Headlines which never deal in subtleties reinforce the official version and on a Friday so any dissent is buried in weekend news mulch. And of course at no point were they tasked to investigate whodunnit or given the manpower to properly investigate the death independently. In fact the manner of death is not as important as why and who, but by making a fuss of a limited investigation into the act of murder it eclipses these more pressing and revealing matters. These people are supposedly professional criminal investigators, they should be ashamed of this work. They let themselves down by being party to this ludicrous public relations manoeuvre and perhaps become complicit in a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Her party are already disputing the report’s findings. I’m no great fan of Bhutto, she was a corrupt globalist, but she did show courage and any murder victim deserves a competent and honest investigation, as do the others killed that day.

Assassination, kidnapping and torture are carried out in broad daylight by our elites and their allies as well as a genocidal invasion based on lies. Not too many people are kicking back against that yet because they are not feeling too much suffering because of it and the gaudy distractions of capitalist culture are so seductive and encourage this self absorption. But without getting too Niemöller on your ass, ignore this pattern of behaviour, this creeping brutalism, this spreading corruption at your peril. They think they can do anything and get away with it with only the most perfunctory & laughable lies to cover their crimes. And at the moment, they are correct in that assumption.

The Police State ConsenSUS

Mr Cameron said concern about a return to “sus” laws – one of the factors behind inner city riots in the early 1980s – were misplaced and the police were no longer racist.

Labour has been locked in a war of words with the Conservatives over stop and search, with the two parties promoting apparently similar policies.

In an interim report published last year, Sir Ronnie Flanagan, the chief inspector of constabulary in England and Wales, said police were bogged down in red tape and afraid to use their own judgement. 

Well I’m reassured, white, rich, Eton educated conservative leader can categorically tell the police aren’t racist and he should golly gosh well know being the aforementioned- white, rich, Eton educated conservative leader. And better yet both parties want to outdo each other in how much power they give to the police, go democracy! And dear old ‘Sir’ Ronnie Flanagan, former head of the RUC-

In RFJ’s submission to The Patten Commission on Policing, we recall an incident that occurred during an investigation into threats against defence lawyers by the UN Special Rapporteur on The Independence of Judges and Lawyers Mr.Param Cumaraswamy in October 1997. This incident involved the then Chief Constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan and his Assistant Chief Constable and then Head of Special Branch, Raymond White, during a meeting between the Special Rapporteur, Flanagan and White, which they stated that ‘some lawyers are working to the agenda of the paramilitaries’.

The comments so alarmed the Rapporteur and his assistant, Mr. Alan Parra, given that they were reminiscent of similar comments made by Mr. Douglas Hogg MP in the British Parliament after he was briefed by senior RUC officers in Downing St. in 1989. Within weeks of these comments being made human rights lawyer Pat Finucane was murdered. Mr. Finucane’s murder had been at the core of the Special Rapporteur’s inquiries during his visit to the North.

Special Branch officers protected loyalist paramilitary informants and failed to stop them committing up to 15 murders, according to a damning report by the police ombudsman for Northern Ireland published yesterday. There was clear evidence of collusion between members of the banned Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) in north Belfast and police officers over a period of 12 years, the ombudsman, Nuala O’Loan, declared.

Last night there were calls for the resignation of the former chief constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, Sir Ronnie Flanagan, who is now head of the Inspectorate of Constabulary, with an overview of standards throughout policing.

Yeah, so let’s trust them with more power, what could possibly go wrong?

Govt. Still Pushing 6 Weeks Detention Without Charge

Power is addictive, they just won’t let this thing go-

The government has unveiled plans to let police hold terror suspects for up to 42 days without them being charged. The Counter Terrorism Bill also proposes “full use of DNA” in investigations and greater use of post-charge questioning.

It advocates putting terror convicts on a register like that for sex offenders. Some senior police officers support extending terror detentions beyond the current 28 days, but it is opposed by Lib Dems, Tories and rebel Labour MPs.

Ms Smith added that the bill would work in combination with government efforts at “challenging extremist ideology”.

What, like killing people for their oil and lying about it while agitating for a police state? Is that what you meant? We already have a four weeks without charge limit, plenty of time to fit up a punter, lazy friggin’ pigs. They used to torture a confession out of Irish Catholics in a few days and you can’t understand the words in pop songs anymore and I remember when all this used to be fields…

Tased In The Head

According to Sylvester, he got out of his car and was surrounded by officers, at least two of whom were carrying automatic weapons. Without warning, one officer fired a Taser into the back of his head which made him drop to his knees, he said. A second shock caused him to fall on his face, breaking a front tooth. A further six shocks made him wet himself and left him lying in the road in pain while the officers and sniffer dogs searched the car and found nothing. Sylvester said the incident had left him traumatised and he now suffered from short-term memory loss. He doubts the police would have stopped him had he not been black. A spokesman for the Met said: “Just after midnight, officers on an intelligence-led operation stopped a car in Bounces Road, N9. The driver got out of the vehicle and was subsequently Tasered. Our information is the Taser was deployed once.”

Sylvester had been followed by police cars for about three miles through Tottenham before they boxed him in. “Armed police jumped out and opened my car door,” he said. “I said OK, I’m coming. I asked what was going on and as soon as I stepped out of the car I felt something touch me on the back of the head and then I was on my knees. Then it happened again and I was on my face and I felt somebody pressing my head down with their foot. By the fifth time I realised officers were pinning my arms together. It was like they were trying to break my arms and I was in pain, screaming out.

“I was shocked eight times altogether and I had urinated on the floor. It was like being tortured. It went on and on and I felt they were going to kill me.”

“the Taser was deployed once.”- Well I guess that depends on your definition of ‘deployed ‘ doesn’t it officer. As reliable as the technology is at creating a sadistic fascist of the user the standard lie about the severity and duration of use is also a pretty reliable response from the authorities. I suppose really the problem with a lot of taser use for the bad cop is it leaves the victim alive, if they could just kill their targets then there is no one to contradict the official version. Oh no that’s probably giving them ideas now.

The push for electrocution to be considered use of reasonable force by security forces is as unrelenting as Taser Inc.’s (evidently very successful) marketing, we are in a huge lab where the government is seeing if we will accept this new category of state violence. What is clearly happening with taser technology is it has gone from being a non-lethal alternative to lethal firearm use to an everyday tool to get compliance from victims. Regardless of guidelines, portentous announcements and risible demonstrations under friendly controlled circumstances human nature is interacting with the technology and it is being used as a mobile torture device to gain absolute submission to authority. And it is happening too much for us to trust security services don’t have a less public policy of use, one that allows for any use under the operative’s judgment with the implicit understanding the full dull force of the institution will back them up, including pursuing false charges to gain leverage against complaining members of the public.

There is always a tension between publicly stated policies and ideals and the day to day reality of how an institution operates, particularly ones that do have to deal with sudden violence. The problem comes when even obvious abuses of power are covered up and no is accountable (looking at no one in particular ‘Sir’ Ian Blair) the security forces gain an arrogance born of a belief they are able to manipulate the law to escape censure. Then throw into that culture a technology that even a rather stupid psychologist would realise tempts the user towards abuse of the power it provides at the touch of a button (a remote control tyranny generator perhaps), particularly when its use is becoming normalised (perhaps very deliberately by the state) as an appropriate response to almost any challenge to authority, even verbal or symbolic. There are many enemies of liberty but the taser is a very compact battery powered one (a dildo of fascism? They can certainly leave you well fucked, ahem), it is a posionous technology to confer on policing establishments who already have problematic tendencies towards authoritarianism. For the relationship between public and police and for the police’s sake themselves, tasers are a complete disaster.

Ps. This awesome essay by John Pilger makes a nice companion piece even if I do say so myself.

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Policing By Consent

What did the Northern Ireland police ombudsman say in October ’06?-

“if it were that I found there was a need for something like a taser, then I would feel entitled to say it. I haven’t identified such a gap yet.”

What did the Policing Board do in October this year?-

The board voted on Thursday in favour of a motion that they should not be deployed until an equality impact assessment is completed. Human rights experts who advise the Policing Board have expressed concern about the use of the stun gun.

So what did the Chief Constable do today?-

Specialist firearms offices (sic) are to trained in January in the use of the controversial electric stun guns that hit a human target with 50,000 volts. Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde told members of the Policing Board that a pilot scheme would be set up. The board said it was unhappy he was going ahead with the move before all relevant public bodies were consulted.

So, erm, that democratic accountability thingy where the police are overseen by other public bodies, not so much eh? Amnesty says-

‘We are deeply disappointed that Sir Hugh Orde has chosen to ignore the human rights and equality advice available to him. Tasers potentially pose a disproportionate risk to many of our most vulnerable citizens, the pregnant, those with mental health or drug problems and those with heart complaints; all conditions which may not be visible to an officer firing a Taser.’ 

Go Tasers! The Lockdown continues.

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UN Committee Against Torture: Tasers Constituted A Form Of Torture

A United Nations committee said Friday that use of Taser weapons can be a form of torture, in violation of the U.N. Convention Against Torture. Use of the electronic stun devices by police has been marked with a sudden rise in deaths – including four men in the United States and two in Canada within the last week.Canadian authorities are taking a second look at them, and in the United States, there is a wave of demands to BAN them. The U.N. Committee Against Torture referred Friday to the use of TaserX26 weapons which Portuguese police has acquired. An expert had testified to the committee that use of the weapons had “proven risks of harm or death.”

“The use of TaserX26 weapons, provoking extreme pain, constituted a form of torture, and that in certain cases it could also cause death, as shown by several reliable studies and by certain cases that had happened after practical use,” the committee said in a statement.

We’re almost 2 months into national trials of widespread Taser deployment in the UK, so there is still time to avoid them being permanently issued to all our police. Or look to America where 280 people have died after being Tased with this ‘non lethal’ technology. The technology itself has been in use enough to see comparisons with results from classic experiments on sadism and authoritarian dysfunction.

Metropolitan Police Authority *Hearts* Blair

Yet another Blair escapes scot free, maybe the name has some kind of mystical power to evade justice-

The UK’s most senior officer was facing censure after his force was found guilty of health and safety failures following the shooting of Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes. Fifteen members of the MPA supported Sir Ian, seven voted against him and there was one abstention.

After the vote Sir Ian said: “I’m going to go back and get on with my job.”

MPA chairman Len Duvall said Sir Ian had the “overwhelming support” of the Police Authority. He said: “I think it is appropriate he is allowed to get on with his job, which is about learning the lessons of this and making sure it never happens again in London.”

Except Blair tried to stop the IPCC investigation so is that someone looking to learn lessons? His force aggressively pursued whistleblowers and attacked them with trumped up charges. Not to forget the other raid where his forces shot a man in his own home and have since threatened to shoot him again. The establishment protecting its own although given the capacities of the MET some ‘arm twisting’ probably helped too. Same old.

Man In Diabetic Coma Tased Because He Looked ‘Egyptian’

And it gets worse-

Mr Gaubert said he was on his way to meet friends when he suffered a hypoglycaemic fit on the bus which left him slumped on his seat clutching his rucksack. Armed police were called to the bus depot in Headingley and when he failed to respond to their challenges he was shot with the Taser.

He said as this was happening, another officer was pointing a real gun at his head. He was restrained and eventually came round in the police van. He said it was only then that the officers realised it was a medical emergency, despite him wearing a medical tag round his neck to warn of his condition, and took him to hospital. Mr Gaubert said he was told the police believed he looked “Egyptian”.

And he is speaking up now because-

the Crown Prosecution Service ruled no officers involved should be charged with any criminal offences. The IPCC is still considering whether any disciplinary matters will be brought against the officers.

Mr Gaubert’s solicitor Ifti Manzoor said the incident had clear parallels with the shooting of Mr Menezes at Stockwell tube station and showed there was evidence of a breakdown in communication between the police on the ground and their commanders. Mr Gaubert said: “When I heard about that Brazilian man in London I just thought, ‘oh no, that could have been me’.” Mr Manzoor added: “The evidence is there was an order that officers be deployed and contain the scene. This direct order seems to have been ignored.

He is now suffering PTSD while the terror porn hard on in our security services continues unabated in our lockdown state. Apparently our paramilitary police force considers browness as reasonable grounds for suspicion of terrorist activity, still makes a change from it being the Irish. Prejudice & paranoia always finds a target for their projection, like expanding foam it will always move and expand to fit whatever situation is at hand. The one constant being uniformed martial forces attract a disproportionate percentage of authoritarian bigots which our current T.W.A.T. culture encourages and rewards. Progress init?

Omertà

The IPCC also said the tradition of police officers being allowed to write up their notes together should stop. It said it could be significant that none of the 17 civilian witnesses in the tube carriage – who were not allowed to confer with other passengers before giving statements – heard officers shout: “Armed police.” All eight police officers on the train recall hearing this being shouted, the report said.

Meanwhile Blair has until November 22nd to blackmail the members of the Metropolitan police authority.

  • Police officers failed to take advantage of a 30-minute window of opportunity to correctly identify whether Mr de Menezes was a suspected terrorist;
  • There was no contingency plan available to deal with a suspect travelling on public transport despite the nature of the 7/7 and 21/7 attacks;
  • None of the 17 members of the public on board the Stockwell Underground train recalled hearing officers shout “armed police” but all eight police in the carriage said they had;
  • Ms Dick missed part of the early morning briefing at New Scotland Yard after being sent to the wrong room;
  • Armed response officers from the Met’s CO19 unit were not in place to intercept suspects leaving Scotia Road and were later in the wrong place to intercept him;
  • There were “gaps in the planning” about how the premises would be contained
  • It was a “failure of strategy” to allow Mr de Menezes to board the number 2 bus at Tulse Hill towards central London, including an “inexplicable” failure to stop him reboarding the vehicle.
  • Ms Dick should have said that the Met’s shoot-to-kill policy, Operation Kratos, had not been engaged and there was confusion over what the order to “stop” Mr de Menezes meant.

-‘failed’, ‘inexplicable’, ‘gaps’- Nice to see the IPCC has the big book of euphemistic platitudes on hand for its report.

it says Commissioner Sir Ian Blair tried to prevent its investigation. 

This is the most powerful police chief in the UK obstructing a legal investigation of his activities after his organisation murdered a man, resignation? Fired and prosecuted and if I’m feeling charitable he’ll be allowed soap on a rope when he’s sent down.