A former undercover officer presented with the Queen’s Police Medal for bravery by Prince Charles says freemasons in the force threatened to derail his career.
Garry Rogers claims masons within Greater Manchester Police (GMP) tried to prevent his crime fighting efforts being recognised and stop him receiving the coveted medal.
He claims he did not receive commendations for bravery because officers he believed to be freemasons wrongly suspected him of blowing the whistle on one of their corrupt colleagues.
Mr Rogers – who during six years as an undercover officer nailed more than 100 criminals, many of them extremely violent – says that GMP’s most senior officers eventually confirmed that masons may have tried to block his progress.
Mr Rogers told The Sunday Telegraph: “I underwent a long struggle before I was eventually awarded the Queen’s Police Medal (QPM), as my original nomination had been shredded by someone within the CID. I believe they were protecting a senior officer who was later arrested charged and convicted of criminal deceptions. I believe many senior officers were masons.”
He added: “A report was even placed in my personal file which stated l was not to be trusted and was under investigation, none of which was true.”
Mr Rogers’ disturbing allegations come after the Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, claimed attempts to reform the service are to this day being blocked by masons, and their influence is thwarting the progress of women and black and minority ethnic officers.
Dr David Staples, the chief executive of the United Grand Lodge rejected the claim, saying there was nothing sinister or self serving about the activities and rituals of the masons.
He said: “We do not influence the police. We are a non-political, non-religious organisation. The Home Affairs Select Committee said there is a lot of unjustified paranoia about Freemasonry.”
But Mr Rogers, 60, claims his experience confirms the widespread suspicion that masons in the police cover up for fellow members, favour them for promotion and exert a secretive influence.
He said: “The people who tried to block me and stop me getting the QPM have long retired, but I think there’s still a problem with masons in the police and the Police Federation clearly agree.
“I don’t think serving police officers should be masons because it creates a rival allegiance. Their loyalty should be to the law and public, not each other.”
During his time as an undercover officer with the GMP’s Omega Covert Operations Unit, from 1989 to 1995, Mr Rogers – who is planning to write a book about his experiences – gathered evidence against a killer by joining his gang; broke up a drug running operation by setting up a wine bar to entrap them; disrupted ram raiders and identified more than 50 football hooligans by posing as a skinhead thug.
But in 1998 Mr Rogers took legal action against GMP, claiming he had been badly treated by the force and received little support from senior officers, despite frequently putting his life on the line.
He eventually received a settlement of £8,000 damages from GMP for the post traumatic trauma he suffered.
Mr Rogers claimed that commendations for his actions were suppressed in an attempt to undermine him and he was blocked from receiving the QPM while a more junior colleague with less front line experienced received the award.
In 1999 Mr Rogers, a married father of three who spent 30 years in the force, finally made the journey to Buckingham Palace to be presented with the QPM.
He says this only came about after he held a meeting in November 1997 with Sir John Stevens, the newly appointed head of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Police who later became Metropolitan Police Commissioner.
But in 2003 – after being given authorised access to his personnel file by a member of GMP’s admin staff – Mr Rogers discovered a secret report from 1995, which appeared to explain why it had taken so long for his contribution to fighting crime to be recognised.
The report described him as “paranoid” and not to be trusted and stated that he was suspected of sending anonymous whistleblowing letters to GMP and the Manchester Evening News. The letters eventually led to Chief Inspector Ken Seddon, the head of Omega Squad, being convicted in 2003 of “multiple offences of dishonesty” involving fraudulent car loans to police officers.
Although Mr Rogers denies sending such letters, he says he had suspected Seddon of being a freemason after coming across his masonic regalia in his office.
By the time Mr Rogers retired in 2005 he had finally received the support of senior commanders and his allegations appear to have been backed by Vince Sweeney, the former Assistant Chief Constable of GMP.
In a memo from May 2004 ACC Sweeney described Mr Rogers as “an officer who has given exemplary service” and who was subject to “some pretty shoddy treatment”.
He wrote: “I accepted and find no other explanation than that someone on the then V Command structure effectively halted the progress of that [QPM] recommendation. This was accepted by Sir David [Wilmot, then Chief Constable of GMC], who subsequently sought to remedy this wrong by personally supporting Garry’s nomination for the QPM, which he subsequently received in the New Year’s Honours in 1999.”
He added that wrongful allegations about Mr Rogers had been added to his personnel file in a sealed brown envelope by “an unidentified person”.
Mr Rogers subsequently met Michael Todd, who took over as Chief Constable of GMC in 2002. He claims: “It was Mr Todd who mentioned Masonic Conspiracy to me during a meeting l had with him.”
At this meeting in July 2004, Mr Rogers says CC Todd – who took his own life in 2008 – told him that “what went on was some corrupt masonic influence” within CID” but that “this no longer exists and that most of the concerned left under a cloud”.
Titan, the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit – which replaced the Omega Unit – said in a statement: “The management and welfare of undercover officers has changed and improved considerably since the 1990s.”
However, GMP refused to answer questions about the continued influence of masons in the force or on what led to the Omega Unit being disbanded.
Chief Constable Martin Jelley, National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Ethics and Integrity, said: “If convincing evidence ever came to light which clearly showed that freemasonry was adversely affecting the integrity of the police service then we would take appropriate action”.