8

Worshipful Masters of Conspiracy

Corruption among Scotland Yard detectives, always a problem, grew enormously during the 1960s. One cause of the trouble was that conventional methods of detection were becoming less and less effective in the face of the burgeoning crime rate. Many policemen believed in a surer way of securing convictions that necessitated a blurring of the 'them and us' divide between the law enforcers and the law breakers. The belief was that to combat crime adequately, the police had to be intimately acquainted with the ways of individual criminals and the day-to-day workings of the underworld. This meant cultivating certain smaller villains, who in return for favours could be counted upon to 'grass' on the bigger men the Yard regarded as its prime quarry. The idea was not new. London police for generations had known that brilliant detective minds which required only sketchy clues and a warm fireside to solve the most bizarre crimes were fine for 221b Baker Street and 10a Piccadilly - but in the cold reality of life at Scotland Yard, things did not work out so neatly. Real-life detectives had to some extent to depend on informers; and informers were usually criminals. In the past it had been an unpalatable necessity, never officially recognized. By the 1960s it was the norm. The system inevitably brought temptation to many police officers, who would be offered money to keep quiet about so-and-so's activities, or a cut in the takings if they made sure the regular police patrol was diverted or unavoidably delayed on a particular night when a job was planned.

The question to be asked is: were there any masonic elements in this corruption, and but for Freemasonry would the corruption have been less likely to have occurred or more easily discovered?

In forces all over England, Freemasonry is strongest in the CID. This had been particularly noticeable at Scotland Yard, and the situation remains the same today. Between 1969 and the setting-up of the famous Operation Countryman in 1978 there were three big investigations into corruption in the Metropolitan Police. These were:

1.  An enquiry into allegations of corruption and extortion by police, first published in The Times. This resulted in the arrest, trial and imprisonment of two London detectives in 1972.

2.  An enquiry by Lancashire Police into members of the Metropolitan Police Drug Squad. This led to the trial of six detectives, and the imprisonment in 1973 of three of them.

3.  An enquiry into allegations of corruption among CID officers responsible for coping with vice and pornography in London's West End. Over twenty detectives were sacked from the force during the three-year investigation in the early 1970s, which led eventually to the notorious Porn Squad trials.

There were corrupt masonic policemen involved in all these cases, but this report is not concerned with corrupt policemen who just happen to be Freemasons any more than it is with corrupt policemen who happen to be Roman Catholics, Rotarians or members of their local lawn tennis club. Many people see the discovery of a corrupt Free-

mason as proof of the corrupting influence of Masonry. This is about as sensible as condemning Christianity because a murderer is found to be a regular churchgoer. There might well be grounds for criticism of Freemasonry in the police, but where Freemasonry has clearly played no part in the corruption of an officer, where his membership of the Brotherhood is incidental, it must not be brought as evidence. Only one of the three major cases of corruption investigated in the seventies can be said to have had any serious masonic elements - the activities of the Porn Squad. This section of the Metropolitan Police was, in the words of the present Lord Chief Justice, 'involved in wholesale corruption. The very men employed to bring the corrupt to book were thriving on the proceeds of corruption.'

The worst of these men was Detective Chief Superintendent William 'Bill' Moody, former head of the Obscene Publications Squad. Moody, an exceedingly corrupt policeman, was an active Freemason. He was gaoled for twelve years, the heaviest sentence meted out to the 'bent' members of the Porn Squad. Moody and ten others, who had received sentences ranging from three years upwards, were told when their appeals were dismissed that 'the individual sentences properly reflected the degree [of responsibility] and complicity and wickedness'.

Moody still protests his innocence from behind bars. Ironically, it had been Moody who in 1969 had been placed in charge of the first of the major enquiries into corruption while himself extorting vast sums of 'protection money' from Soho pornography racketeers. In one transaction alone Moody received £14,000. Almost the entire Porn Squad was in on the racket, openly collecting huge bribes -at one stage estimated at £100,000 a year - from porn shop proprietors in return for the freedom to flout the law unmolested.

Moody lived at Weybridge in Surrey. He and several other Freemason members of the Porn Squad who lived in the area were members of the same Lodge. So, incidentally, were a number of pornographers. These included a smalltime pornographer who used to work in the nearby village of Cobham; another whose home was at Walton-on-Thames; and others who lived or worked at Hampton Wick, Weybridge and Hersham.

John Shirley, co-author of The Fall of Scotland Yard, who gave oral evidence before the Royal Commission on Standards of Conduct in Public Life, chaired by Lord Salmon, told me, 'It's fairly certain that the basis of a corrupt network, of the corrupt relationship between that particular group of police officers and those particular pornographers, was either formed or developed within that masonic Lodge.

'The point I was trying to make to the Salmon Commission was that, yes, police officers had private lives but in the nature of it the privacy of their lives needed to be more clearly known to their superiors. If it had been spotted that Moody was a member of the same Freemasonry Lodge as a number of well-known pornographers, on whom the police would have had files, then I think the link between them would have been established much earlier than it was.'

The major breakthrough in stamping out corruption on a grand scale within the Metropolitan Police was the, appointment of Robert Mark as Commissioner in 1972. As Chief Constable of Leicester until 1967 he was unhampered by long-standing personal loyalties, untainted by the years-old corruption at the Yard, and a man who loathed nothing so much as a bent copper. Within a very short time, Mark, a non-Mason, had turned Scotland Yard on its head. One of his first reforms was to set up the 'ruthlessly efficient' department A10 to investigate complaints against police officers. In The Fall of Scotland Yard, the authors explain:

The setting-up of A10 broke the absolute control of the CID over the investigation of all major crime, whether it occurred inside or outside the Metropolitan Police. For the first time, uniformed officers were to be empowered to investigate allegations of misconduct - whether disciplinary or criminal - not just against their uniformed colleagues but also against the CID. This was a complete reversal of the status quo, where only CID officers had been able to investigate complaints against the uniformed branchand their own tight fraternity.

That tight fraternity, as has been mentioned, was and is heavily masonic. And despite A10's success in ridding the Yard of suspect detectives - nearly 300 had been forced to resign by spring 1975 - it was constantly obstructed in its attempts to obtain evidence solid enough to make charges stick. Even in cases of obvious criminality, fellow officers whose evidence was vital clammed up and obstinately refused to make statements, or co-operate in any other way. Some would not speak at all. It rapidly became clear why. The 'honest' men needed as witnesses were members of the same Brotherhood as the 'bent' officers. Many shared the same Lodges.

If you find an error please notify us in the comments. Thank you!