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The Guardian view on the Partygate investigation: blame the system

Police accountability isn’t working. Instead of creating confidence it is blurring the boundaries

To dismiss the Metropolitan police investigation into Downing Street’s lockdown gatherings as a waste of time, as rightwing newspapers did on Friday, is grotesque. No police inquiry that resulted in 126 fines on 83 individuals from a single workplace for Covid breaches in a country in which more than 178,000 people have died from the virus should be described in that contemptuous way. No investigation that established widespread rule-breaking at the heart of government, where those very Covid rules were made, deserves to be brushed aside as entirely pointless, as the Daily Mail did.

Yet the Met’s Operation Hillman inquiry was in many ways a sorry affair. It was a mistake not to investigate the parties much earlier. It was humiliating to then do a U-turn and launch an investigation under political and media pressure. It was foolish to apply rules of process that suggested special treatment for politicians. It was a misjudgment to suspend the operation during the local elections. It was wrong to wrap the whole exercise in so much secrecy. All this, though, was of a piece with many other inconsistencies in the way that the pandemic was policed around Britain.

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Read the original article at The Guardian

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