These are uncomfortable times for the police. The parade of officers before the Commons home affairs select committee this week to answer questions about "Plebgate" represented a new low for the force. Members of the Police Federation were accused of misleading the public about what was said during a meeting with Andrew Mitchell, the former government chief whip, while a trio of chief officers were criticised for failing to deal properly with this apparent misconduct. An apology has been offered to Mr Mitchell, who continues to deny the allegation that he called police officers at the gates of Downing Street "----ing plebs".

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