An Open Letter To Rt Hon Theresa May MP and Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP
I truly hope that what I have to say is not, and will not be viewed as, a knee-jerk reaction to a single hiccup in process. It most certainly is not.
Most recently there has been the case of Anthony Long, a retired Authorised Firearms Officer with the Metropolitan Police, who was recently acquitted of murdering Azelle Rodney some ELEVEN YEARS earlier. After the verdict Mr Rodney’s mother said this
The IPCC still owe me an apology for the wholly inadequate investigation in 2005. A better investigation may have resulted in a trial nine years ago – I can never get those years back – the IPCC must stop failing families in this way.
She was clearly not satisfied with the IPCC investigation.
Today we hear Mr Long’s thoughts on the situation. In a BBC News report it was reported thus;
He expressed his concerns about the Independent Police Complaints Commission in a Radio Times interview.
An IPCC spokesman said it was “right that when there is a fatality there is an independent investigation”.
Mr Long said scrutiny was expected, but said “the problem is the interpretation of the rules and the way in which officers were treated”.
He added: “Today, the Independent Police Complaints Commission seems to be treating police officers as criminals.
Clearly Mr Long isn’t satisfied with the IPCC investigation either. Both sides of the fence claiming that the IPCC were incompetent, or worse.
At the very beginning of August we had the nonsense in Manchester where the IPCC requested a Judicial Review to quash their own report because they had got it wrong.
The unprecedented move by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) comes after criticism of the Greater Manchester Police during an inquest last year. In their report of the incident, the IPCC cleared GMP of blame.
An IPCC spokesman said: “At the coroner’s inquest into the death of Jordan Begley concerns were raised about the conduct of the officers involved that may not have been consistent with the IPCC’s findings.
“In light of this, the IPCC reviewed its investigation and decided to seek permission to quash its independent investigation report in order to ensure all the available evidence could be considered.
Surely ALL of the available evidence should have been considered before the final report was even written? On face value that seems very shoddy practice and consistent with that found within the IPCC elsewhere in England and Wales.
Jordan Begley’s mother also attacked the competence of the IPCC, she clearly has no confidence in them, neither can I see why the Greater Manchester Police should have any.
At the end of July we had the case of Edric Kennedy-Macfoy, a firefighter who alleged that he was Tasered and racially abused by three officers from the Met. This case has been well reported in the media, and the case against the officers collapsed not only due to wholly negligent (being generous) procedures by the IPCC but also the fact that there were numerous witnesses who allegedly supported the officers’ version of events.
The Guardian reports it thus
In a statement the IPCC vowed to review the case to ensure it did not repeat the blunders. It said: “The withdrawal follows procedural shortfalls identified by the IPCC. They related to disclosure of relevant material and the need for further investigative work, including witness interviews, which it became clear were not conducted during the investigation.
Even the IPCC admitting that their investigation did not come up to standard, leaving both Mr Kennedy-Macfoy and the 3 Police Officers lacking confidence in the IPCC.
The watchdog admitted it failed to take into account statements corroborating the officers’ accounts from independent witnesses, did not interview those witnesses and then failed to disclose those statements during disciplinary proceedings.
Admissions like these can hardly instill confidence in anybody.
At the end of 2015 we had an Authorised Firearms Officeer arrested for ‘homicide’ following the fatal shooting of Jermaine Baker.
In the IPCC’s most recent update on this case Commissioner Cindy Butts says
As part of the IPCC’s homicide investigation, an MPS firearms officer was arrested on 17 December. That officer has now been interviewed twice by IPCC investigators under criminal caution and remains on bail.
In total, the IPCC has so far obtained more than 450 documents, gathered in excess of 250 exhibits of evidence and obtained more than 250 witness statements.
The investigative work is now focused on scrutinising the planning, risk assessments and decision-making of the MPS operation.
Right from Day 1 Cindy Butts sensationalised this case by bandying words such as Homicide about and her handling of a Public Meeting in North London
“There is disgruntlement among armed officers because their colleague was arrested and is facing the possibility of a homicide charge or whatever other pretend words the IPCC is thinking of,” said Mr Marsh.
Clearly the Police Federaqtion are not impressed with the handling of this investigation so far, although I do accept that it has not reached its conclusion yet.
Prior to this we had the disciplinary process involving ex Chief Constable Nick Gargan of Avon and Somerset Police.
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said
I believe the IPCC acted with good intentions to protect and support witnesses and not betray the confidence of those that did come forward, but clearly the way they managed the process in this case has caused concern, as any failure to follow the disclosure process could have led to the proceedings being compromised or worse still collapsing.
The disclosure process needs to be reviewed by the IPCC so it is clearer for all concerned in future investigations and I will be writing to the IPCC Chair Dame Anne Owers to request this.
Disclosure is clearly an issue with the IPCC, not restricted to one isolated investigation.
I do not know of one single Police Officer who thinks that the Police Service should be unanswerable and unaccountable. What they do expect is that ALL SIDES are examined equally, fairly and truly independently. Anything less than that lets the Police down and it lets the Public they serve down, and neither side wants that.
I emplore you to initiate a programme of reform of the IPCC that goes beyond rebranding, rebadging and an increased budget. A Root and Branch reform of working practices, policies, abilities etc etc is what is needed, plus a proper INVESTIGATION into the cases above where serious shortcomings have been highlighted. A Review or a Scrutiny is simply not sufficient.