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Friday, September 30, 2016

London Mayor Stops Plan to Register City's Freemason Police Officers

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has squashed an attempt to require the city's Metropolitan Police Department (Met) officers to publicly declare their Masonic membership, pointing out that such a register would be illegal. Earlier stabs at this pointless exercise in Europe were eliminated in 2009 in the wake of a successful suit brought in the European Court of Human Rights by Italian Masons fighting a similar regulation. UGLE threatened a similar action and the Home Office scrapped its registration requirement of Masons in police departments and the judiciary six years ago.

Nevertheless, this "issue" keeps raising its head now and then in Britain. And, naturally, the press is right on the scent to keep it alive. Note the multiple swipes from The Independent on Tuesday.
The mayor’s statement comes despite the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) revealing that it is now investigating whether Freemasonry played a part in South Yorkshire Police’s handling of the Hillsborough stadium disaster and subsequent cover-up. 
Mr Khan ruled out a compulsory register of Freemasonry in the Met, the largest police force in the country, after Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the Liberal Democrats in the London Assembly, asked him to consider such a move in the light of the Hillsborough investigation, “to improve public confidence”. 
In his written response, Mr Khan said: “The Met is bound by the legislation of the Police Regulations Act 2003 which states that no restrictions other than those designed to secure the proper exercise of the functions of a constable shall be imposed on the private life of members of a police force.”

Criticising Mr Khan’s response, Ms Pidgeon told The Independent: “It is long overdue that police officers routinely declared that they were Freemasons.   Public confidence could only be improved through routine publication of such information.”
Currently the 31,000 officers in the Met are only required to declare associations with people who have the potential to conflict with their duties as a police officer.  They do not automatically have to declare membership of Freemasonry.
The Met does not collect information about how many officers are Masons and has never banned officers from joining the all-male fraternity, despite long-held fears that its ideals of mutual help could be twisted into collusion between police and criminals.
In 2014 Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howesaid human rights law made a compulsory register difficult, but added: “For me as a police officer the secrecy of membership is a concern.  I think police officers should be transparent: nothing to hide, then why not mention it?  My view would be that you ought to be open about your associations.”

Check out the whole article for the full-on effect of Adam Lusher's reportage. Even the article's title screams with indignation: "Sadiq Kahn refuses to make London police declare if they are Freemasons after Hillsborough questions raised." He goes back more than four decades and even farther to rattle old bones, with never any definitive proof of any actual wrongdoing by Freemasons as a group in police forces around the country. He seems to be auditioning for Martin Short's old job in England as the fraternity's chief accuser, especially as UGLE's 300th anniversary celebrations vie for more press coverage in the coming months. No doubt the Beeb will be calling him soon for his "insights."

Lusher (right) has now penned two smearing articles about Freemasons for The Independent in the last two months (HERE's the earlier one), so he now seems to be their official staff conspiracist. (In fact, as with the earlier story, the site has again included "conspiracy theories" in this one's hyperlink address.)

So if my English brethren see him trawling around Great Queen Street sniffing around for a quote, or to cover a Tercentenary event, you might just wish him a nice day and keep walking. He's not exactly what one would call a neutral observer.

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