Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hiding Corruption From Corruption

Recently there has been discussion of whether or not officer corruption led to a brutal, double murder. Nottinghamshire police was tracking a gang led by Colin Gunn for a year when Joan and John Stirland were shot and killed. The Stirland's son had shot one of Gunn's friends and Gunn was looking for revenge. Initially the Stirlands were shot at outside their Nottinghamshire home when they decided to flee to Lincolnshire, where they were tracked down and killed in August 2004.

Former employees of Nottinghamshire Police Department provided statements indicating that they wanted to keep information about tracking Gunn's gang private, even from other colleagues, so they proceeded to meet in a non-police affiliated place and discuss their hidden intelligence operation. An officer stated that "there were suspicions within the force officers were leaking information to criminals," as for "we were very concerned about corruption, we did not want to put intelligence on to an open system that might get into the hands of the crime group and alert them to the fact we existed." (BBC, 2010) None of the officers on the case spoke with or interacted with other officers in the force, which led to an overall disappearance of the team. When the team had information in 2002 that Gunn had a caravan on the East coast, it is questionable whether someone warned the Stirlands not to go there.

Currently there is a jury trial being held, questioning whether the police failed to protect the couple as well as they should have and if police corruption contributed to Mr. and Mrs. Stirland's death. Some other officers believe that more could have been done to protect the couple.

The underlying issue here is whether or not there was corruption in the police force. How did the team that was tracking the gang not know where the gang was headed? Was information leaked?

It seems very suspicious that a police team organized primarily to track one particular gang had no idea that they were on their way to kill the Stirland's. Gunn's gang may have found out, or done tracking of their own, to locate the Stirland's, but the police knew where the Stirland's were located and it seems as if no one went to warn them about Gunn being in the area. The team was so worried about the corruption of other officers in the police force, outside of their team, that they didn't question the corruption of the officers within their team. Someone was not doing their job as well as they could have been. If the team failed to do their job, it's best they speak up and take responsibility for their actions. Either way, a couple ended up dead.

Police corruption has been around since the beginning of time. Police will sell information to criminals, even of cases that they are working on. Police, at times, also help criminals plan their crime spree so that they would presumably get a way with it. There is no absolute evidence at this time that directly points at police corruption but the odds are looking good.

References:

BBC NEWS. Nottinghamshire police feared 'corrupt' officers. BBC NEWS. February 15, 2010.

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