It should surprise no one if police have sought information to incriminate the law-abiding family of a murdered boy.
In a criminal investigation, when evidence of wrong-doing is found, we congratulate our constabulary on a job well done. A crime has been committed. The gathering of evidence is designed to enhance public safety. The criminals deserve it. When a conviction is achieved in court, a few careers in policing are enhanced as well. However, when the same careers are threatened by bad publicity, it is human nature – and a logical further step – for police to investigate those responsible for this publicity in order to discredit them. We need to watch our own backs. All that training and manpower, and all those resources, are meant to be used, aren’t they?
The Lawrence family and their supporters embarrassed police with their criticism. Although they had not committed an offence, or been accused of any crime at all, an undercover agent now says that he was assigned to spy on them. So, police resources, which are often portrayed as scarce, were allegedly diverted away from the investigation of real crime – the murder of boys, for example – and marshalled against the private lives of an innocent, grieving family. When real criminals walk free, this same scarcity of resources is one of the excuses that are given.
In 1993, the reflex action to bungle by an institutionally-racist police force made the guilty look innocent, while the reflex urge to sniff and spy, in this case, we are told, to make the innocent look guilty, has remained a secret until now. None of this should surprise anyone. Considering what happens to whistle-blowers, it is a wonder such allegations are made at all. What will they be saying in 2033? Very little. The police are so much better at it now.