Sputnik: Many people declined to admit that they are part of the Freemasons as they might feel that they will face discrimination, why do you think that is so?
Peter Williams: One thing that we do know about Freemasons is that it’s an all male organization and happily the police service in England and Wales, in particular, is no longer like that. As your listeners are probably aware we have heavily recruited female officers over the years. But also what is often greatly forgotten about is the amount of females that make up the ranks of support staff, civilians support staff who are all part and parcel of the police family. Senior police officers reflect well, I think, the amount of female officers we have in the force. So that is one particular key factor in my view.
Also we have seen in the last few years with the implementation of the college of policing. What went with that was the police code of ethics. In my view, and in the view of a lot of serving officers and support staff, as I mentioned, it would conflict with the code of ethics to be a member of a group such as the Freemasons. I think that has completely and utterly changed the atmosphere within the services if you like to that sort of thing and one that is not conducive with the role of a modern police service. I think those factors have weighed heavily on the decisions of people who remain within the ranks of Freemasons to basically say nothing, and so to almost keep their own membership secret.
Sputnik: Do Freemasons have any opinion or influence on the UK Brexiting from the EU? Can they put any pressure on the government?
Peter Williams: I don’t have any specific information; the only thing I would say is that they always had a reputation. And that is what as far as I can say it is. It is the reputation that I have only heard anecdotally that they will be sort of pro Conservative Party. And probably as your listeners know that vast majority of Conservative Party is pro Brexit and pro a leave campaign. So if that evidence is correct I would imagine they would be an organization that probably did support the leave campaign, but I have no specific knowledge about that. What I can tell you is that there was a saying that went around some years ago in relation to police service but I think it has changes completely now.
It was very often said that the Church of England was the Conservative Party in prayer, but the British police service was the Conservative Party in uniform. Well I am glad to say that those days are now gone. And that is mainly because of the complete and utter changes in the personnel of the police service which you correctly referred to in relation to recognition of equal opportunities, in particularly, women etc.,etc. So I think that is the best way I can probably answer that and hope the listeners appreciate what I have said.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.