RANK and file officers from
the Grampian board of the Scottish Police Federation are calling
for an investigation into the strength of links between Freemasonry
and the police.
The demand for an inquiry into police membership
of the Masons and other secret societies has come amid growing
concerns about the influence of "the Brotherhood"
in some forces and talk of a possible connection between the
Freemasons and the Dunblane murderer Thomas Hamilton. LINK
South of the Border, the Association of Chief
Police Officers is calling on the Home Office to bring in legislation
to make it compulsory for officers to register their membership
of any organisation whose articles of association demand a bond
of loyalty from its members. LINK
It is believed a similar demand is being made
by officers from Northern Constabulary.
The Grampian board has passed a motion on Freemasonry
which will be put to the federation's national conference at
Peebles in April 1997.
Henk Rennie, the secretary of the board in
Grampian, said yesterday: "We have passed a number of motions
for conference, one of which deals with membership of any organisation
or society which has secret or semi-secret undertones."
He refused to comment on the reasons behind
the branch's motion because of the sensitivity of the subject
but confirmed that membership of the Freemasons would be one
of the issues raised. "The motion was passed
by a majority and it is now up to the joint central committee
to decide what happens," he said.
If the motion is approved for debate at conference,
it would be the first time in the federation's history that
links between Freemasonry and the police have been discussed
Douglas Keil, the federation's general secretary,
said: "At the moment the federation does not have a policy
on membership of the Freemasons or any other society.
"Officers are free to join whatever club
or society they wish, provided they do not conflict with a number
of restrictions on the private lives of police officers. LINK
They cannot take an active part in politics or have separate
business interests. But at the moment the regulations
are silent on what organisations they can join.
Last week the Convention of Scottish Local
Authorities published draft guidelines of a code of conduct
for council staff which would include a requirement to declare
membership of Masonic lodges and other secret organisations.
Mr Keil said, however, that the COSLA plans
would not affect serving police. "Although the police
are seen in one way as a department of the council, police officers
aren't council employees and are classed as public servants
and employees of the chief constable," he said. [Ed
~ Que? Classed by whom? Walter Mitty? Homer
Simpson? Whom? I think we should be told.
If police officers are employees of the Chief Constable, where
does he get the money to pay their wages! ]
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * *