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Watchdog says racist and rape jokes routine for cops

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From racist and sexist cops to private equity scams and Tory sleaze Troublemaker looks at the week’s news
Issue 2791
Protest against cops after the murder of Sarah Everard in march 2021. Some people wave red flags and hold home made placards

Protest over the murder of Sarah Everard Picture: Guy Smallman

Met police officers routinely made jokes about rape and exchanged racist messages, according to a report from England’s official police watchdog. 

It detailed a pattern of misogyny and bullying in the force. The usually tame Independent Office for Police Conduct  said the episodes it detailed were not isolated ones or the work of a few “bad apples.”

In one exchange, two officers talked about domestic violence, with one officer writing about women, “Knock a bird about and she will love you. Human nature.” In another exchange, a male officer told a female officer, “I would happily rape you.”

The report said that “the casual exchange and blase nature of this communication indicates a culture where officers were comfortable to make these comments, suggesting it was part of a status quo rather than an exception to the norm.” It added, “The messages appeared to be sent without fear of repercussion or consequence.”

The report was the result of ­findings from a series of investigations into the Met—which is headed by Cressida Dick, the former MI6 officer who has done so much to help out Boris Johnson.

They uncovered evidence of ­bullying and discrimination within its ranks. They began after a complaint alleging that an officer had sex with a drunk person at a police station, but soon grew to encompass many more issues.

The report also detailed repeated racism and xenophobia. Messages between officers mocked the Black Lives Matter movement and ­non-Christian religions, insulted people with ­disabilities and included homophobic comments.

The investigation ended in September after a review of thousands of messages between officers. According to the report, this included many that were “highly ­sexualised, discriminatory or referred to violence” and which were generally described as “banter” by officers in their defence. Sue Fish, the former chief of Nottinghamshire Police, ­admitted the report “graphically portrays the toxic racist and sexist culture which is endemic in policing.”

Hancock’s letters of corruption

Newly released documents reveal for the first time how former Tory MP Owen Paterson directly lobbied a senior minister for a healthcare firm that was paying him to be a consultant.

Paterson contacted Matt Hancock, then health secretary, in the early stages of the Covid pandemic to promote Randox, a healthcare firm that paid him £100,000 a year.

Randox was awarded contracts worth nearly £500 million during the pandemic without any other firms being given the opportunity to bid for them.

The government was forced to release the documents last week. They reveal that following Paterson’s lobbying, Hancock chased his officials, saying he was “very worried” about how his department was treating Randox and other firms.

Paterson told Hancock that he was “exasperated” that the government was slow to respond to Randox’s offer to help deal with the pandemic.

The two politicians were in regular contact via WhatsApp. Paterson also appeared, after an article in the Guardian, to ask Hancock to “kill once and for all” the suggestion that Randox had been awarded a contract because he was being paid by the firm.

Hancock appeared to agree. The Department of Health and Social Care had resisted disclosing documents relating to Randox amid criticism of cronyism.

Private equity drug pusher’s profits scam

Private equity group Cinven has been fined, again, for excessive prices of drugs sold to the NHS. Cinven will share a £15.5 million fine due to its historic ownership of drug distributor Focus.

An investigation found that Focus struck a profit sharing agreement with rival distributors to ensure it did not face competition supplying an anti-nausea drug.The price of prochlorperazine, which is used to treat nausea, dizziness and migraines, subsequently rose by 700 percent in four years.

The ruling marks the third time Cinven, which traces its roots back to the British coal miners pension scheme, has been fined in relation to drug price fixing in the last year.It was fined £20.9 million last July as part of a probe into overcharging the NHS for hydrocortisone. And it was fined £51.9 million in an investigating into costs of thyroid tablets.

Cinven is appealing against its fines.

Tory TV “star” Kirstie Allsopp  said cutting back on things such as coffee, film-streaming services, holidays, gym visits and  moving to the north would let people by a house. A first-time buyer who gave up a latte every weekday, a Netflix subscription, gym membership, and two return flights to Europe a year would save about £1,600 a year. To get an average deposit of £59,000  on a house would take 37 years.

Jacob Rees-Mogg has denied being “out of touch”, despite getting a bracelet made from the mane of Wellington’s horse for Christmas. The posh Tory described the £5,100 trinket as “the best present” in an interview. Asked about being branded a “deadbeat dad” because he’d never changed a nappy, Rees-Mogg said, “That doesn’t mean that Helena does all these things, very bluntly because I pay other people to do them. I mean, I make no bones about it, we have a very fortunate life.”

British Gas leaves customers in the cold

British Gas has been forced to apologise to hundreds of thousands of customers over its failure to fix and service broken boilers this winter.

Ruthless bosses rammed through a vicious “fire and rehire” assault on workers last year that ended with many leaving or vowing to seek new jobs. Now customers have been left without heating and hot water. People with broken boilers say they have faced weeks of delays and cancelled callouts despite paying for the company’s HomeCare scheme. This charges from £14 a month to provide breakdown cover and an annual service to around 3.4 million people.

Some customers have faced their annual services being delayed many times over. The company admitted that it is facing a “shortage of standard appointments in some areas”. Requests for emergency callouts are also taking weeks to be fulfilled, leaving customers without adequate hot water or heating.

Things they say

‘As Rafiki in the Lion King says, change is good, and change is necessary even though it’s tough’

Boris Johnson’s message to staff the day after four top officials left

‘Somebody needs to take the spade out of his hand or it looks to me like he’s digging his political grave’

Guto Harri’s thoughts on Johnson before he took the job as his latest spin doctor

‘I will survive’

What Johnson sang to Harri when Harri turned up for work

‘Everyone was whooping and cheering as he did so. For a few seconds it was as though he was one of those dancing Russian bears. There was something rather sad about it.’

An unamed advisor describes Boris Johnson’s dancing at a downing street Abba-themed party


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