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Freemason Ken Marsh, Chair of the Metropolitan Police Federation, has described allegations that Freemasons are blocking reform and diversity in policing as unfair and untrue.
Freemason Ken Marsh, Chair of the Metropolitan Police Federation, has described allegations that Freemasons are blocking reform and diversity in policing as unfair and untrue. He says that he is bewildered by accusations that secretive cabals of Masons are preventing female and black and minority ethnic (BME) officers from reaching the top tiers of policing. Mr Marsh claims he has never known colleagues exploit their membership of the society for personal gain or to prevent others progressing, but does not explain how he has ended up on a lucrative day job which brings with it generous expenses and no prospect of working shifts for the remainder of his service. He was democratically selected to succeed John Tully, another known Freemason and head of lodge. Mr Marsh was responding to claims by former National Federation chair Steve White that female federation representatives are concerned about the influence Masons hold in the service. They are not alone. These are not new concerns, they go back at least to the 1960s, and possibly much earlier, to the formation of the elitist, secretive and rolling rich Knights Templar, who may or may not be their predecessors (the Masons will not tell us). Former Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Commissioner Sir Kenneth Newman was worried about the integrity of officers who refused to declare that they were Masons, and advised officers against joining. He was the first of a series of MPS commissioners, the most recent of whom is Sir Bernard Hogan Howe, who have voiced their discomfort, without disclosing whether they themselves were members (the overwhelming majority of chief officers might be). Lynne Owens, Director General of the National Crime Agency, who is almost certainly not, as yet, a member, says she struggles to align the secrecy of membership of the Freemasons with policings principle of transparency. She claims to know some honourable Masons who are open to the debate. This infers that she knows many who arent, and arent, which sounds about right. Mr Whites concern about Freemason influence over BME and female progress in the Federation is somewhat blinkered. White Anglo Saxon Protestants and Catholics throughout the police service also have good reason to be concerned, particularly when it comes to deciding who gets a cherished and increasingly scarce day job and who does not. Mr Marsh says: As part of being a Freemason, I have raised over £1.3 million for charity and have received a MBE for it. Well, he could have raised all that money without being a Freemason, and of course we dont know who is in charge of awarding MBEs. The row rumbles on, with the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) claiming that Steve Whites views were misrepresented, but they nevertheless show a complete and disappointing misrepresentation of Freemasonry. Steve White, however, stands by his statement, and is of the view that UGLE has no right to apparently report my opinion. Steve, UGLE has no right to do anything. Nor are they obliged to tell anybody about anything that they do. It is a little late in the game, but now, at last, you might be finding out what you have been up against. Yours, Stitch