Professional Standards – But My Way
Last Updated on April 7, 2015 by RetiredAndAngry
If a certain well known Danish Brewery did Professional Standards Departments they MIGHT align with my version.
I would base it more or less on the model that existed in the Met in the late 90s under Sir Ian Blair. Heaven only knows what the current model looks like.
I’m not going to go into Resources and Budgets as I don’t understand Resource Allocation Formulae and I’m crap with Budgets, I’d just find a reason to spend it all. So I will leave it for others to establish Budgets and Staffing Levels etc. However many there are, INTEGRITY is key.
At the lower end of the spectrum I would have a series of Complaints Units covering one or more Boroughs, equipped and capable of recording all Complaints made in their Area and Investigating simple (as in not complex) Complaints. They would be empowered to investigate through to completion and issue a formal Result at the end, these results would include Not Proven and Not Guilty.
In the second tier, a centrally based unit capable of receiving Complaints referred upwards from the Area Units if they proved to be more complex than originally assessed. They would be RESPONSIBLE for Investigating all complex Complaints and allegations of Minor Crime. Once again they would be competent to pursue the allegation to the end and issue a Formal Result.
At the top end would be a centrally based, smaller unit, investigating Major Crimes and Corruption. Once again, investigating to the ultimate end and issuing a Formal Result.
Three things would be absolutely VITAL to maintain the confidence of Police and Public alike
- No numerical Targets
- Definitely no inappropriate use of Professional Standards to silence Whistleblowers or Witnesses.
- A corporate willingness to accept that some of the officers subject to an investigation might actually be innocent, and they should not be afraid to find accordingly. To prove and demonstrate that an officer is Not Guilty should be a matter of pride and is equally important as proving guilt, possibly more so. In tandem with this would be the innovative practice of pursuing offenders found to have made malicious/vexatious complaints against officers, often in order to aid their defence in a Criminal trial. The Police Service has been absolutely rubbish at doing this for an eternity, and it would do wonders for morale if the practice were to be adopted.
The Public need reassurance that appropriate action is being taken at all levels, but I do believe that don’t, generally speaking, support unfounded witch hunts just for the sake of numbers.
Police Officers, and Public alike, need reassurance that appropriate action is being taken against Corrupt Cops.
To use the full weight of Professional Standards to crush Whistleblowers and the like does no one any credit, and I don’t believe that the Public expect or want that sort of behaviour.
Several examples of seemingly criminal conduct by professional Standards Departments have made their way into the public domain, courtesy of t’internet, in the last couple of years, and cases such as these do immense damage to Public Confidence. Investigations by Professional Standards should be exactly that – PROFESSIONAL. A good, quality investigation, fully complying with the legal requirements of Disclosure (We haven’t forgotten the TSG6 and others) and a balanced, properly compiled file at the end of it, a transparent result that is clear to follow.
I don’t believe that having the IPCC investigate everything is the way forward, as we need the Public and the Police to have confidence in the system, and not convinced that EITHER sector has confidence in the IPCC. However, there is no reason why Complaints etc can’t be investigated by another Force, the important factor must surely be that all investigations are proportionate, fair, and ultimately justifiable. I’m sure we can all quote examples of disproportionate disciplinary investigations, or nvestigations that appeared to have no justification. Take away the mystery, and the practice of using Professional Standards for inappropriate reasons, and I’m sure we’re beginning to arrive at something better.
Finally, the Management Information bit, publish comprehensive data which includes Allegation Withdrawn Not Proven and Not Guilty. Discontinued is not a result we can have faith in.
Possibly a website showing a League Table, OCU by OCU of the various category of investigations to help restore Public Confidence that the Force are taking it seriously.
I’m fully aware that not all of this is doable, but it’s My Model. My idea of how it could operate. The Model can be tweaked for individual Forces with regard to their size, or enlarged if Regions become the order of the day.
I have been retired 13 years now and I’m certain that the Disciplinary process has probably changed in that time, so if I’ve made any horrendous gaffs please let me know and I’ll go hide under the stairs, but nothing will ever improve if nobody ever demands change or suggests ‘improvements’. So these are my suggestions, a Starter For 10.
I can accept that my model may not be perfect. Hopefully it would be an improvement on what we have. Let it be a beginning and provoke discussion and suggestion. At the end of the day, both sides of the fence want the same thing don’t they? System that is open, fair, consistent, proportionate and accountable.
There’s my Model suggestion, anyone else want to suggest one?