Thursday, 15 May 2008

Telly Addicts

You'd have thought that it was the job of the police to be out there catching criminals, and the CPS to be prosecuting them (or, all too often, deciding not to). Not one bit of it. In the West Midlands they have different priorities; they seem to fancy themselves as TV critics. Literally. Really.

It's a rather curious case that seems to have been rumbling on for some time now, where the West Midlands police and the CPS took exception to a C4 Dispatches programme Undercover Mosque. They referred the programme to the TV regulator Ofcom, and issued a very strongly worded statement accusing the programme makers of 'inciting criminal activity' through malicious editing of undercover footage. You'd have thought that they'd just have got on and prosecuted the broadcaster, given that incitement happens to be an offence in the UK. But not a bit of it, just a well-publicised press conference. Now the affair has finally reached some sort of conclusion, leaving several unanswered questions in its wake.

Presumably the police originally issued their highly critical statement because they preferred to turn a blind eye to what was going on in a few mosques in their patch, and weren't grateful to the Dispatches programme for screening fairly damning evidence. So who was it who took the decision to refer the programme to Ofcom, let alone issue that statement? It's hardly likely to have been PC Plod returning from patrolling the streets of Brum, far more likely Sir Paul Scott-Lee, the Chief Constable. And who from the CPS decided that they should lend their support? Most importantly, what are the police and CPS now going to do about those three preachers, and others of a similar bent? Don't hold your breath.

A very considerable sum from the public purse has been wasted on this scandalous exercise in evasion and resignations should follow. But they won't, of course; that sort of thing went out of fashion years ago. Sir Paul, prove me a cynic for once.

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