One of the themes of The Gold is that the police of 1983 have many members in influential Masonic lodges, and that this played a role in protecting some criminals and also corrupt police. The main detective character, Boyce, insists on 'no freemasonry' in his special task force.

Freemasonry also plays a subversive and corrupting role in the 1980s-set police drama series Ashes to Ashes.

Freemasonry and corruption in the police seems to be a recurrent theme in UK-based police dramas set in the 1980s - but was it as big and far-reaching an issue as the dramatists portray?

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    Is the show set in the UK? I wouldn’t be surprised if freemasonry is different in the UK vs USA, Canada, Australia, etc. I’m guessing UK because that’s the only place I’ve ever heard of “flying squads”. Mar 12, 2023 at 13:55
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    @Todd Thanks, updated question to make UK setting more obvious. Mar 12, 2023 at 15:12
  • The parallel scare in the US was Satanists, who were eventually replaced by evil clowns. The latter took over the government at one point. Mar 15, 2023 at 15:19

1 Answer 1


It was a perceived problem.
Freemasonry was blamed for everything in the 80s. There were books about it. It was in all the red-top newspapers. They were demonised as being some evil secret club where to be a member meant you subsumed yourself as if to some Eyes Wide Shut/Wicker Man type devil-worshipping cult, where they probably drank the blood of goats & burned small children in large wicker statues. Once you were high enough up the hierarchy, the world opened up for you like some all-pervading secret underground society who held all the purse strings & had the key to every door. Think what Dan Brown made of his Illuminati etc in the DaVinci Code, except these people lived just next door & you couldn't tell who was a member, unless you knew the funny handshake.

The trouble is, the freemasons could never respond; it's against their 'charter' or whatever they have, so the journos speculated to their heart's content.

You only need to add to this that both the police & the 'crims' must now, of course, all be in the very same lodge [and probably play golf together at the weekend] & you have a lot of room for the wildest speculation, with no fear of anyone ever actually disabusing you.

My father in law was at one time [not in the UK, though he is British] the second highest ranking member in his country's entire Freemasons society. Literally only one person senior to him.
He once explained this entire misconception to me quite concisely as a 'load of old bollocks', but couldn't tell me any details either, beyond yes, they wear funny aprons & odd medallions and sashes - I've seen his & ordinary members of the public can visit Masonic halls to see some on display [I filmed a couple of nights in the big one in London for Assassin's Creed; they're really not hidden away]. Yes, they have really, really long ritual speeches for ceremonies which must be done from memory. He says he did well in the organisation mainly because he's good at remembering speeches.
No, goats & small children are quite safe, though they're not actually allowed in the building at all.

I think as a story element, to go with the press frenzy about it all at the time, you may as well 'blame the masons'. Everybody did.

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    Its still very much a perceived problem today, with it being demonised by the government as late as 1998 (when there were plans to force members of police forces to declare memberships) and 2014 (when there was a now-discredited report on how crime gangs were using Freemasonry to corrupt police forces).
    – Moo
    Mar 12, 2023 at 22:53
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    So it's basically Larping, except for old and rich people ?
    – dna
    Mar 13, 2023 at 6:46
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    "You would say this ..." !
    – Fattie
    Mar 13, 2023 at 14:25
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    The son of a high-ranking free-mason would say this though... Mar 13, 2023 at 21:25
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    I don't think the problem with freemasonry was the ethos of the club itself, the problem was that it often drew together those, like police officers and criminals, whose close fraternising might have seemed improper to many if done more openly, and it often drew together those who had a penchant for corruption in the first place and whose attraction to the club was the opportunity for forging such corrupt links with the like-minded.
    – Steve
    Mar 14, 2023 at 4:31

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