Senior Tory minister slams 'cancer' of corruption in UK force amid 'plebgate' affair

Last Updated: Sun, Dec 23, 2012 12:11 hrs

Former justice minister Nick Herbert has demanded urgent reform as crisis over Andrew Mitchell 'plebgate' affair has intensified.

Herbert, who was in charge of Britain's police until September, has delivered a blistering attack on the 'cancer' of corruption among a minority of officers, as the crisis engulfing the service over Mitchell affair that has reached new heights.

According to the Guardian, writing in the Observer, Herbert, who quit as minister for police and criminal justice in Prime Minister David Cameron's autumn reshuffle, called for urgent reforms to restore public trust, arguing that while 'corruption may not be endemic, neither is it an aberration'.

Herbert praised the 'decent majority' of officers whom he said do 'brilliant' work.

He suggested that for too long the police have been shielded from criticism by a lack of accountability and an unhealthily cosy relationship with sections of the press that rely on officers leaking 'juicy' information, the report said.

According to the report, in a sign of how Mitchell's resignation as chief whip in October, after he was accused of calling officers guarding the Downing Street gates 'fucking plebs', is causing continuing bitterness and division in government.

Mitchell admits that he swore at officers but denies using the word 'plebs'.

He accused the officers of using 'awful toxic phrases' and said police actions following his altercation were an attempt to 'toxify' the Tory party as a whole.

According to the report, the 'plebgate' row is also threatening to tear apart the Police Federation, the organisation representing police interests. (ANI)

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