Should police be charged with murder in the line of duty?

Police Secrecysource: The Guardian
published: 31 July 2014

It’s a rough year to be a police officer. Theresa May’s speech to the Police Federation conference in May, telling them it was time to face reality – a Tory home secretary leading the attack on the forces of law and order – was the climax of a long spell of bad press concerning a generation of policing decisions, stretching back to the years of social unrest under Margaret Thatcher.

May’s roll call of dishonour ranged from the investigation into the murder of Stephen Lawrence to Hillsborough and Plebgate. It might also have included undercover policing, newspaper collusion and the policing of the miners’ strike. As May warned her astonished audience that day, the very model of British policing was at risk.

The shooting by police of unarmed suspects falls into a separate category. Most of us accept that police need to be armed sometimes and admire the courage of those who don’t carry weapons.

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