I suspect every criminal defence solicitor in London could name a police officer who they believe has abused their position of authority. Few end up in jail like Metropolitan Police Commander Ali Dizaei and fewer still are described as a "criminal in uniform" by Nick Hardwick, the chair of the IPCC. Dizaei's prosecution is therefore a welcome development - but it is hard not to see his unpopularity within the senior ranks of the Met as the reason why he wasn't provided with the normal protection afforded to serving officers.
For Hardwick in particular, Dizaei's conviction is an extremely convenient result. Not only does it allow him to pontificate about the jury's decision sending a message "to any other corrupt officer that nobody is untouchable", which is a patently absurd statement, but there is absolutely no prospect of the Metropolitan Police Federation calling him a "witchfinder general", as they did last year following the death of Ian Tomlinson.
We now await a similarly robust to the "criminal in uniform" who was filmed striking and pushing over Tomlinson during April 2009's G20 protests. The decision of the Crown Prosecution Service was due before Christmas but we have heard nothing yet.
Expect too a concerted effort from within the police to argue that Dizaei is a classic example of the dangers of 'political correctness gone mad". Former Met Assistant Commissioner Andy Hayman has started the ball rolling, arguing in the Times that:
Anonymous police blogger 'Inspector Gadget' yesterday said:
"the police can afford to be less frightened about dealing with racially sensitive issues: it is no longer the case that the default position of a jury is to assume that the police are racist."
I'm sure that there will be further efforts to close completely the 'window of opportunity' that was created by the Lawrence Inquiry in 1998. However, as I argued on its tenth anniversary in January 2008, it had already failed to create a permanent shift in police attitudes and "whilst policing in Britain certainly is different than it was in the 1980s, new powers make it easier to slip back into ingrained habits - habits whose impact will be felt mainly by Muslims, young black men and working class communities."
Maybe at last we can bin the ridiculous Diversity agenda which allowed him to survive for so long and get back to treating everyone as equal.
By far the funniest comment on the Disaei case comes courtesy of the satirical website Newsarse, which pretty much sums up what many of us feel about the protestations of outrage in the media today. Here's their take on the story in full:
Metropolitan Police Commander Ali Dizaei has been sentenced to four years for assaulting and false arrest, prompting a countrywide review of the way our police forces are covering their tracks.
Mr Dizaei’s sentence is in relation to the poorly concealed assault of Mr Al-Baghdadi - a man who had the temerity to demand payment for work he had undertaken on Mr Dizaeri’s personal website.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said: "It is extremely disappointing and concerning that this very senior officer was so clearly unable to adequately cover his tracks after abusing his position of power."
"We had invested heavily in the career of Mr. Dizaei, both in training and personal development, so you can imagine how let down we all feel this morning."
The systematic review of all track-covering methodologies is expected to take two years, and will address all levels of the force, starting with beat officers.
Commissioner Stephenson continued, “As far back as the sixties our officers were taught to apply blows in areas that will not bruise, and to do it out of sight of any cameras, but clearly this lesson has not been learnt by today’s generation of powerful officers."
"I had assumed that every PC on the street knew the rudimentary basics in manipulating the public through the use of dubious pressure tactics - and how to quietly deal with those who don’t acquiesce, but I was wrong."
"I am however confident that by 2012 when this review will be complete, our police forces will be capable of concealing just about anything they put their minds to."
"After all, if we don’t have complete freedom from the law ourselves, what’s the point of even joining the police force, eh?"