Codes Of Conduct – They Are There To Be Complied With

Agreed?

For example PACE (Police And Criminal Evidence Act) is a complex piece of legislation, so there are numerous Codes of Conduct each relating to a different aspect of PACE.  By virtue of these Codes both sides (Police and Public/Persons Detained) knows exactly what to expect in any given situation and (in the Police’s case) how they are expected to behave.

Good idea?  Most people think so, even if they are a right royal pain to remember and put into practice.  Stick to the Codes and you won’t go far wrong.

Great idea. Simple.

Codes of Practice have been brought in all over the shop now, for much the same reasons.  Not just the Police, but all manner of organisations.

Even the mighty Independent Police Complaints Commission has Codes of Praqctice for various things.  As the ‘watchdog’ and final arbiter of all things wrongdoing within the Police it wouldn’t be doing for the IPCC to be in breach of their own Codes of Practice would it?

Excuse me while I laugh because I have just caught them with their very own pants down.

 

 

trousersBrowsing ther website I happened to notice that the Gifts and Hospitality Register and the Register of Commissioners’ Interests were seriously out of date, not having been updated, or indeed, reviewed,  since June 2015.  So, being a good citizen I sent them the two following Freedom of Information Requests.

I note from your website that your Gifts and Hospitality Register contains only information for January to June 2015

Could I please be provided with an electronic, up to date, copy of the Commissioners’ Gifts and Hospitality Register

and

I note from your website that the ‘Published Version’ of the Commissioners’ Register of Interests has not been updated since June 2015, nor reviewed since July 2015.

The Commissioners’ Code Of Conduct states that the Commissioners’ Register of Interests should be open to the public and kept up to date.

Could I please be provided with an electronic, up to date, copy of the Commissioners’ Register of Interests?

Well, not surprisingly both requests were ultimately refused, but for slightly different reasons.

With reference to the first one, their refusal stated

ipcc-1

And the second said

ipcc-2

So, it’s good to know that the IPCC adhere to their Commissioners’ Code of Conduct and that their Registers are now up to date and available online.  I truly hope that theu have not had cause to investigate any poor, unfortunate officer for breaching Codes of Conduct between June 2015 and October 2016, that would be a tad naughty wouldn’t it?

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An Open Letter To Rt Hon Theresa May MP and Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP

Mesdames,

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.

Police watchdog granted judicial review to quash own report into death of Jordan Begley

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

IPCC bungled case against officers accused of abusing firefighter

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 Guardian also had this to say

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.

Concerns raised over IPCC’s handling of Nick Gargan investigation

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.

I’m obliged.

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Fit For Purpose? I Think Not

It may just come as a surprise to you but I am referring to the Independent Police Complaints Commission or IPCC as they are affectionately known.

I’m not going to bore you and take up any more of your time going over Taser’d Firefighter territory again, you can read any amount of that material here or elsewhere and form your own opinion.

What I am going to do is go over an item in the Manchester Evening News.

Police watchdog granted judicial review to quash own report into death of Jordan Begley

Why on earth would they want a Judicial Review into their own report?  The clues are in their somewhere.

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.

Crikey the IPCC clearing a Force of blame, that’s unusual.

Jurors at an inquest last year concluded using the weapon was ‘not reasonable’ and that officers’ failings contributed to his death.

#Awkward

“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.

I should say not, clearing the Force of all blame isn’t really consistent with the comments from the Inquest.

“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.

Call me old fashioned but shouldn’t the IPCC have considered ALL of the evidence before they issued their report with the first version of their ‘findings’?  That sounds awfully familiar.  Different office, different Commissioner, same apparent slapdash attitude.

Worse still is the fact that the Courts and government are not up in arms but are aquiescing and allowing them to get away with it because they have offered to ‘Review’ the issues and problems.  Nothing short of a full scale investigation into IPCC, it’s policies and practices will restore Public Confidence.

You can rebrand it, you can increase its budget but until a Root and Branch Reform (now there’s a controversial word) is carried out neither side will be able to have any confidence in the IPCC.

Is it Fit For Purpose?

I vote NO

 

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The Independent Police Complaints Commission

Or are they?  Independent I mean.

Yesterday they casually released three tweets to the world which ignited a pure shitstorm on Twitter and Facebook.

So after FIVE years of investigation, and all that involves for both complainant and officers, they simply issued a statement announcing the withdrawal of proceedings and apologising to all those involved.

Having been most insistent that proceedings for Gross Misconduct were warranted against the officers, meaning that the officers were at risk of being summarily dismissed from the Met and all that involved, they suddenly decide to withdraw the proceedings.

WHY?

Because it became apparent that not ALL of the evidence had been served on the officers’ defence team.  Witnesses who could support the officers’ version of events were neither interviewed by the IPCC investigators nor was their existence revealed to the officers and their defence team.  At the point when the reasons for this were about to be challenged the IPCC decided to withdraw from the proceedings and not even turn up for them apparently.

We’re not talking about one or two witnesses who may have been overlooked, there were apparently SCORES of potential witnesses who would have supported the officers.

There was also information available that the complainant did not do as the officers told him to do at the scene of an incident and had no desire whatsoever to help them in any way.  He was apparently behaving in a manner which could have inflamed the situation more.

When their shortcomings became apparent the IPCC merely acknowledge that their report did not meet legal requirements, discontinued the proceedings (after 5 years don’t forget) and submit a letter to the panel containing an apology.  Is this really sufficient?  Is it ethical?  It most certainly isn’t professional.

So, there is now to be an “in depth review” of what went wrong.  In my humble opinion there should not be a Review, there should be an Investigation.  Whoever is responsible for this farce at IPCC should be identified, disciplined and face the same sanctions as the officers were facing.Was this a case of Gross Negligence where the IPCC investigators were blissfully unaware of their obligations under Disclosure?  I very much doubt that on the grounds that they investigate Police for similar failings.

Or is this part of an emerging trend where Disclosure obligations seem to be simply cast aside in the rush to convict a Police Officer of something?  Could be.

The IPCC don’t like recruiting ex Police Investigators on the grounds that they might not be ‘Independent’ enough.  The other side of that coin is that they know how to investigate and know all about the relevant bits of legislation that dictate how an investigation must be conducted.

Last night I asked who the IPCC are actually accountable to

I don’t expect an answer any time soon, but it’s a perfectly reasonable question.  Who ARE they responsible to, and what do they propose to do about this travesty?

This is NOT a “one off”.  The issues raised here must be simply swept under the catpet.  Heads should roll, in the same way that the IPCC were after heads, and it must never be allowed to happen again.  EVERYBODY should benefit from the same lawful, ethical and professional standards of investigation.  If this had been the Police “stitching up” a few local criminals there would be public outrage.

Let the outrage begin.

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Is This What An Extra £30 Million Gets You?

The government gave the IPCC an EXTRA £30 million in their budget so that they could do more good works.

Policing minister Mike Penning said there would be a cash reduction of £299m in the overall 2015-16 police funding budget, compared with 2014-15.

But the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) will get a £30m funding boost to take on more work.

Today they publish their report Police Use of Force: evidence from complaints, investigations and public perception.

Two of the “highlights” that were quick to publish were these;

At first glance you may think that is something to be concerned about, but as I delve deeper I begin to have concerns about the report and its methodology.

It is true, the %age of BEM respondents having confidence in the use of force by Police does indeed drop to 61%.

  

Then I noticed the sample sizes at the bottom of the diagram, 61% of 179 BEM respondents had confidence.

The TOTAL sample size was a mere 1,302 persons across the board.

  
1,302 represents 0.002% of the total population of England and Wales.

This does NOT mean that the results have no validity but it is well known that the larger the sample size the more confidence can be enjoyed in the findings.

My mood did not improve when I read the page on methodology;

  
What on earth is an “ethnic boost”?  I truly don’t know but it doesn’t sound very good.  I have yet to find an explanation in the report or supporting documents.  I also noted that this sample was taken in August to September 2014, with such a small sample size why has it taken 18 months to publish the findings?

Somebody on Twitter has explained an ethnic boost to me thus;

I’m not a Statistician, I do not have a degree in anything (except bollocks maybe) but as a Member of the Public I am offended and incensed by the manner in which the findings of this survey have been put over.  I, along with others, have put a few questions to IPCC about the report and its findings but no response as yet.

Finally I have also been informed that the company that carries out this fine piece of work for the IPCC also carry out the Crime Survey of England and Wales for the ONS.

I just know I’m going to get flak for this post but I just don’t see the same issues as IPCC obviously do.

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Yes Folks, It’s Pantomime Season Once More

Oh no it isn’t.

Oh, yes it is.

Last night saw a public meeting, chaired by the Metropolitan Police, to discuss and seek to explain the events leading up to the fatal shooting of a young black man, Jermaine Baker.

Let me be clear, I KNOW no more than anybody else, why would I? However, like others, I have become increasingly uncomfortable with the IPCC handling of events such as this.

After the shooting of Mark Duggan the IOCC quickly made a statement to the public.  It included;

“We do not know in the order the shots were fired (sic). We understand the officer was shot first before the male was shot”

That statement turned out to be inaccurate and there was rioting in the streets.

Fear not, the IPCC have learned from their mistakes in the past, they won’t do that again.

Instead they announced with indecent haste that a ‘homicide’ investigation was under way.  Before you all shout at me, I know that is standard practice, but it’s the wording that seems to have changed.  I don’t recall an emphasis on the word ‘homicide’ and all its negative connotations before.

Then last night we had, what I consider to be, the shocking sight of Cindy Butts, IPCC commissioner,  told a public meeting that the officer who shot the suspect had been arrested and interviewed under criminal caution just that very afternoon. The IPCC declined to say what the officer had been arrested for.
Butts stressed the arrest did not mean the officer would be charged.

Ms Butts told the meeting that no relevant CCTV footage had been identified. Officers were not wearing body cameras, which drew repeated criticism from the meeting and shouts of “Why?”
She told the meeting, which was attended by more than 200 people, of the events leading up to the decision to arrest the officer.

All in all it seems like a statement to the public aimed solely at getting the local population “on side”

It’s almost as if somebody within IPCC Halls decided that after mishandling the Duggan Press Release, “we won’t do that again, and who cares about the rights of the officer.  The Police won’t riot in the streets but the local populace might and we can’t have that can we?”

Elsewhere on Social Media I saw at least one Custody Officer state that in his opinion the arrest of the officer amounted to Unlawful Arrest and Detention due to the apparent lack of necessity under Code G, which states;

A lawful arrest requires two elements:

A person’s involvement or suspected involvement or attempted involvement in the commission of a criminal offence;

AND

Reasonable grounds for believing that the person’s arrest is necessary.
• both elements must be satisfied, and
• it can never be necessary to arrest a person unless there are reasonable grounds to suspect them of committing an offence.

As I said previously, I have no idea what the evidence and necessity amount to but I seriously hope that this officer has not become Collateral Damage in the IPCC’s laughable quest to demonstrate that they are ‘Independent’, a claim that few serving or retired officers believe. 

Surely they would have been better advised to say nothing at all until all the facts have been established.

The Coroner hasn’t delivered a verdict yet.

I sincerely doubt that all the evidence has yet been gathered and assessed.

Contrary to the beliefs of at least one Tweeter last night I have no problem with the the officer being investigated, but he/she is entitled to the same regard for the law as anybody else.  If there is EVIDENCE that the officer knowingly did something wrong then he/she is clearly accountable for that, but sadly, it seems that the IPCC are going to hang him/her out to dry in a feeble attempt to placate the rioting few.

I will not be surprised if officers up and down the country are wueueing up this morning to hand in their Firearms ‘Tickets’, as they can no longer rely on any form of protection when things go wrong, and they will, no firearmsoperation is ever guaranteed to go without hiccup as the reactions of third parties are never KNOWN in advance.

Cindy Butts, I give hou 0/10 for your attempt at a Press Conference last night, must try harder.

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