No record of how many police are also freemasons
Saturday, October 31, 2009
This is Exeter
THERE is no official record of how many police officers in North Devon and Torridge are freemasons, a force spokesman has confirmed.
The Journal, which this month revealed the results of an investigation into freemasonry and local councillors, asked Devon and Cornwall Police how many local officers were members of the society. The force said it did not keep a register of which police officers were freemasons.
The only organisations officers are forbidden from joining are the British National Party (BNP), Combat 18 and National Front.
The spokesman said: "There is no restriction on membership of other societies or organisations provided it does not conflict with their current role or post. It is a managerial issue based on individual circumstances as to whether there is the possibility of a conflict."
The police, councils and the judiciary have in the past been associated with freemasonry and a voluntary system of registering membership was introduced by some forces in the 1990s.
In March 1997, a Home Affairs Committee inquiry recommended that "police officers, magistrates, judges, and crown prosecutors should be required to register membership of any secret society and that the record should be available publicly."
The inquiry reported there was "a large number of freemasons within the criminal justice system, but the numbers in themselves give no general cause for concern".
The report went on: "Where it is not entirely groundless, most or all of the evidence alleging masonic corruption in the field of policing is largely circumstantial . . . It is not possible on the evidence we received to say that there has never been any abuse of masonic contacts and certainly there are many allegations."
The inquiry's recommendation to oblige police officers to declare membership was not passed by the Government although there were calls for transparency.
Judges and magistrates, including those in North Devon, are not obliged to declare masonic membership.
The Journal surveyed all district councillors in North Devon and Torridge about freemasonry and local politics and found that 15% of members were or had been masons.
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