Police Corruption is often a theme in crime fiction

We writers for print or TV find police corruption or other failings in the constabulary a theme we can’t resist. Drama of all kinds tends to be anti-establishment. I have written before about the need for the police to fail so my amateur detective hero can have anything to do. This tendency has often led to criticism by the police. Officers of all ranks have objected that we give a one-sided view of the police and undermine public confidence in that service.

Who says Police Corruption is over-represented in fiction?

Not long ago, the Metropolitan police Commissioner, Cressida Dick, reacted angrily to Line of DutyIn the past, people have criticised her for defending officers too much. Some say she seemed to cover up wrongdoing. Now she has apparently disowned two officers who had allegedly treated a black couple unfairly. However, the officers say the couple had been acting suspiciously and had been uncooperative when approached. Perhaps the Commissioner has changed her approach.

Is there Police Corruption in DOWN?

The story is of an Afro-Caribbean woman who asks a solicitor to reopen the case of her husband who was hanged for murder some years before. She has found a new reason to believe he was innocent. It would be a dull story if the police and judiciary had got it right all along, but some of the officers involved turn out to be better than others. You will have to read the book to decide for yourself what was wrong with the original investigation and trial. Was there corruption, racism or just incompetence? There are many surprises along the way. Of course, as it’s set in 1978/9, things might have changed since. Who knows?

It’s on Amazon/Kindle.  In paperback and e-book.

The cover of DOWN. Is police corruption part of the story?

The cover of DOWN. Is police corruption part of the story?

Are we wrong to write about police corruption?

Fiction should draw on real life, and not become fantasy. Murders may not be as common as writers might suggest, but they do occur. Likewise, corruption may be rare, not that I can say for certain, but I cannot believe it does not exist at all. However, readers need to bear in mind that a perfect world would not give us much scope and authors almost always write about things that go wrong.

Is police corruption similar to religious hypocrisy?

Drama and fiction usually depict clergymen or other religious people as either nice but dim or judgmental and hypocritical. I expect some are as bad as that, but most of the many I have known over the years have been neither. You don’t encounter many of the sincere, sensible ones on TV or in novels. Nobody can say it’s unrealistic to portray the bad ones in a story, but the cumulative effect is damaging to the image of Christianity. Therefore I can see why the police don’t like the way they are portrayed, but I can’t see how we writers can help it, except that I do include some honest coppers in my novels. Please note!