Written evidence submitted by Anonymous (PCO0056)
[Note: This evidence has been redacted by the Committee. “***” represents redacted text. Text in square brackets has been inserted where text has been redacted.]
Perceived Lessons to be Learned (recommendations)
1. Unless the IOPC remit includes looking at how a police force have deal with a complaint and have complied with proper standards of conduct, then as matters stand, in dealing with complaints outside to the specific investigations referred to the IOPC currently have no effective role. They need to be able to consider a complaint concerning ‘serious corruption’. The impression I obtained from the IOPC is that it was up to the local police force to identify ‘serious corruption’ and if the local police force did not do this, the IOPC had no remit to intervene. The IOPC gave the impression of siding entirely with the local police force.
2. When a complaint is made to a local police Force, it cannot be expected the complainant knows the full precise impact of any legislation. The police force should act with honesty and integrity, disclose relevant legislation, and be accountable for failings at all levels including Professional Standards. Officers should be personally accountable for their indiscretions on a proportionate level. If ‘serious corruption’ has taken place then officers should be appropriately dealt with. The same applies to the CPS, with full individual accountability.
3. When a complaint is made to a local police force it should be immediately investigated as best possible. In the cases referred to above it appears to be that blanket policy of the police force NOT to investigate complaints until the outcome of court proceedings. That policy not only contradicts Police Complaints Handling Systems but is contrary to what is fair, proportionate and reasonable. If the Outcome Report would clearly prejudice a court case then full accountable reasons need to be documented and disclosed upon request. There needs to be individual accountability.
4. My experience regarding complaints to police is limited to the issues raised above. I am however used to dealing with Bank complaints and using the Financial Ombudsman Service. It appears to me that although the Police Complaints Handling System should be open and transparent, if the legislation does not protect the complainant to the highest possible standards, then the System is ineffective when a local police force covers up irregularities by its’ own officers.
5. At every stage when complaints are made, the response of the police is if the complainant does not agree, to go to court. This in my view is not the answer as the complainant may not have the financial means to challenge police, and the balance or probabilities is likely to be that police will win in court as the court relies on police acting with honesty and integrity.
It is expensive to seek legal advice. ***
6. The role of the CPS should be considered. Where officials of the CPS ignore their own policies (ie in this case ***) they should be individually held accountable. ***