Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Why the secret handshake between police and Freemasons should worry us

freemasonry accountability transparency police corruption

When the late Sir Kenneth Newman became commissioner of the Metropolitan police in 1982, he outlined his thoughts on how his officers should behave in what became known as “the little blue book”. Always a tactful man, his passage on freemasonry noted delicately that “the discerning officer will probably consider it wise to forgo the prospect of pleasure and social advantage in freemasonry so as to enjoy the unreserved regard of all those around him”.

More than 30 years later, it will come as a surprise to many that membership of the Freemasons is still causing disquiet within the police. Steve White, the retiring chair of the Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, told the Guardian this week that he and his colleagues suspected that Freemasons within the service were hampering reforms and acting in an obstructive way. “I find it odd,” he added, “that there are pockets of the organisation where a significant number of representatives are Freemasons.”

The Freemasons themselves have denied that there is anything untoward and say that they see no conflict of interest between membership of a masonic lodge and a job in the police. “We are parallel organisations … and have high moral principles and values,” Mike Baker, spokesman for the United Grand Lodge, told the Guardian.

That may well be, but being both a Freemason and a police officer remains just as delicate and conflicted an issue as it did in the 1980s. After Newman’s pronouncement, Freemasons within the Met, some of them in quite senior positions, responded defiantly by setting up their own new lodge called the Manor of St James, and there was little that Newman could do about it. Since then, commissioner after commissioner has made the same point.  (more...)


freemasonry accountability transparency police corruption

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