Stories from 2001:

Incompetence and dishonesty in a police shooting

Published May 2001.

The Guardian, May 2001 Written with Nick Hopkins and Nick Davies A naked, unarmed man was shot dead by a police marksman during an early morning raid which was catastrophically flawed in both planning and execution, yet prosecutions against five officers involved have all failed, it emerged yesterday. Other more senior officers in the Sussex […]

Chief police officers in disarray

Published May 2001.

The shooting of Jimmy Ashley provoked an extraordinary three-way punch up in which the neighbouring police forces of Sussex, Kent and Hampshire accused each other variously of incompetence, unprofessional behaviour, conspiracy and crime.

Getting away with murder? Problems with police use of firearms

Published May 2001.

If a man with two guns and 60 rounds of ammunition barges his way into a bedroom in the middle of the night, confronts the naked and defenceless occupant and then shoots him dead through the heart, he has surely committed a criminal offence – a murder which must land the gunman in prison for life. However, the uncomfortable reality is that if the man with the gun is a police officer, it is just not that simple.

The trouble with Chris Woodhead

Published March 2001.

The kindest thing that critics say of David Blunkett is that he knows he’s wrong – he’s just forced to implement daft policies by the bullies in Downing Street. There’s nothing so kind to be said about Chris Woodhead: his error is fabulous, his thinking is fatuous. But the poor boy really believes it.

Vote-rigging is easy

Published March 2001.

The whole world threw up its hands in horror at the electoral malpractice which was revealed in Florida in the long harsh climax to last November’s presidential election. As though election-rigging were new. As though election-rigging were some kind of American disease, which couldn’t happen here.

The politics of the drug war

Published February 2001.

It is a strange but revealing fact that hundreds of thousands of people in this country are currently afflicted by a dangerous and highly infectious disease and that, even though the government has been warned repeatedly that many thousands of these people will die, the current position of the Department of Health is that they are reviewing the report of an advisory group to decide whether they might then set up a special working group which might then develop a strategy to deal with it.

What’s wrong with the war against drugs

Published February 2001. One comment... »

On April 3 1924, a group of American congressmen held an official hearing to consider the future of heroin. They took sworn evidence from experts, including the US Surgeon General, Rupert Blue, who appeared in person to tell their committee that heroin was poisonous and caused insanity and that it was particularly likely to kill since its toxic dose was only slightly greater than its therapeutic dose.

Breaking a global child-porn ring

Published January 2001.

The Guardian, January 2001 Seven British members of a global child pornography ring named Wonderland face prison after pleading guilty to their roles in the distribution of 750,000 obscene pictures on the internet. They were among more than 100 men arrested in 107 coordinated raids across three continents in the largest international police operation mounted […]

Romancing in Cuba

Published January 2001.

Sometime long after midnight – after the food had run out, but while the wine and the rum were still bubbling over the bar, probably around the time that the salsa band finally took off into orbit and the whole room went with it in one collective dance of perspiration – just around then, I fell in love.

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