Avoiding accountability? Not on our watch!

Although the responsibility for the death of Sarah Everard ultimately rests with her killer, Wayne Couzens, there are questions to be asked about how someone with the nickname amongst his colleagues of “The Rapist”, with three incidents of flashing going ignored, managed to be in the police for 19 years and even get through the vetting process to become an armed officer in the Met.

Couzens, sentenced to a full life term last week for the abduction, rape and murder of Miss Everard had even been on protective duty at Parliament on five occasions in 2020.

Calling for the resignation of commissioner Dame Cressida Dick is not going to to magically solve a problem that stretches much further than the Metropolitan Police.

One only has to look at the aftermath of Hillsborough in Yorkshire and Essex Police’s continued feet-dragging over bringing resolution to surviving victims of the 1990s Shoebury child sex ring to see that justice comes second to protecting the institution, or possibly even just your mate.

Ranks close tightly and the longer a scandal is hidden, the bigger it becomes and the more damage will be done to the reputation of an establishment the mostly law abiding public desperately need to be able to trust.

But trust is earned and on present form the work of the thousands of honest police officers across the country is being destroyed from within by people who should never have been allowed to join the force in the first place.

Hiding those who abuse the responsibility placed upon them in plain sight makes things ten times worse.

The police are public servants. Too many don’t appear to recognise that and until there is a campaign to cast them out, it makes no difference who heads the force.

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The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has been working with media organisations across the world, including BBC Panorama and The Guardian newspaper, to expose the tax avoidance and hidden wealth of some of the most powerful people on the planet, including over 300 politicians – 35 of them current or former world leaders.

That it happens can’t be a surprise to anyone, but the almost 12 million documents in the so called Pandora Papers provide vital details of the extent that those who run the show manipulate loopholes in the system via secret offshore and cross border companies to siphon off millions and line their own pockets.

And there’s no sign that this will stop when the people with the power to put a stop to it are the ones who benefit from it.

It’s the core of what journalism is all about, making those in authority accountable, whether it be world leaders, governments, royalty, councils or police forces.

Stupid TV quiz answers of the week

Tipping Point of course. Oh dear oh dear. The idiots really have come out to play.

Q: Which Hollywood actress was screen legend Paul Newman married to for over 50 years?

A: Nanette Newman

Q: Which major war began in Asia in 1950 and ended with an armistice in 1953?

A: World War 2?

Q: Statesman Grigory Potemkin was the lover of which Russian empress?

A: Diane?

Q: Which UK political party shares its name with the collective noun for moles?

A: Liberal; Democrats?

And from a guy who walked away with four grand!:

Q: Ebeneezer Scrooge is a character in which Charles Dickens story?

A: Oliver Twist

Special mention to the Mastermind contestant who thought the famous Irish playwright with the initials GBS was George Bernard Smith.

Edward Case

Columnist