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Professional Standards – But My Way

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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

  1. No numerical Targets
  2. Definitely no inappropriate use of Professional Standards to silence Whistleblowers or Witnesses.
  3. 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?

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10 thoughts on “Professional Standards – But My Way”

  1. Unlike the writer of this blog, real research proves otherwise. And I haven’t had “one unpleasant event” though if that’s how you describe a road death you’re a funny man; as for being placed on a mental health database – I can assure you (as I am sure you know) this is a common practice of the police as many members of the public have testified to me. I suggest you study for an MSc in Policing or actually speak to real victims and real witnessness who have been involved in investigations but who are shut up by PSD and the iPCC. You want an indepdent complaints system where all police are exonerated. I note you don’t say ‘Yes, what happened to you is appalling’. No. Because you know how common such practices are – I am sure you have even partaken in them youself.

    1. Now that you have resorted to accusing others of things which you can’t possibly know to be true, you leave me no alternative but to decline to moderate any future, defamatory comments. I have sympathy for your experiences but I do not recognise the practices you describe, and I’m completely unclear what the relevance of an MSc in Policing is. Do you have one? Any further comments of a defamatory nature will be ignored.

      1. Sorry r&a l bit and fed this ” topic”. However if anyone thinks PSD and IPCC are on our side & covering for police then they are gravely mistaken. I couldn’t be more polite than that.

  2. How about accepting 100% that every complaint is legitimate and well founded (over 80% are now dismissed, ignored, rejected, termed vexatious or an abuse of the complaints system); The police hold the hegemony and no complaints dept ever run by the police is going to stop their corrupt practices – such as spying on innocent people and discrediting witnesses or victims who complain of poor policing practices. See my website here: – every comment I’ve received from the public holds my story to be an appalling means of the police to treat a bereaved next of kin – the police, however, take a different view – they all support the way that police officers lie their way out of corruption; they do this by a careful strategy of creating ‘the inferior other’. First the police do this by turning an innocent person into (1): a victim – as a victim, as everyone knows is in a passive, secondary position to someone who is strong and active; (2) a vulnerable person – this accentuates the victim into someone who is unable to look after themself or is at risk of harm (regardless of whether this is true or false – it’s all in the name) and (3) mentally ill – for under Depart of Health Guidelines the term ‘vulnerable’ actually applies to people who are mentally disabled and unable to look after themselves. I am not alone in having been branded in this way (because I hold 4 degrees, a PhD, am an author and can see through their transparant vicious game) It’s a common ploy that they police make nowadays (probably always) someone complains about a member of your force, turn the complainant into a mad person, that discredits them and your officers can feel free to continue. The money and resources that are required to do this, however, is laughable. In my case, instead of investigating a road death, (confirmation bias hypotheses quickly saw to that one) Sussex Police spent thousands on discrediting me – and getting nastier and nastier in the process – why? Because I wouldn’t accept (1) being mocked in a mortuary by family liaision officers and the coroner’s officer when I had to identify my (misdescribed) dead mother and (2) putting an incompetent SIO in charge so she could earn some brownie points. You might not believe in numbers but to the general public who unwittingly, with no fault of our own, find ourselves faced with men and women in uniform (particularly those cretinous family liaision officers), we are just numbers; we are not even seen as human – which, incidentally is the same attitude as the Nazis took toward the Jews and disabled and gypsies etc . Lower scale, obviously, but the same mentality

    1. Quite simply your opening sentence is 100% inaccurate and demonstrates that you are not in possession of FACTS but only what you would like to be the truth. Some complaints ARE False and Vexatious, deal with it. Regardless of what happened to you, you cannot extrapolate that and apply it to every conceivable circumstance and complaint. Some complaints are valid, some are not.

      1. Well said.
        It appears rdresearch has had one very unpleasant event, for which l offer my condolences. However unpleasant that was it does not correlate that all cases are like this.
        Of course, rdresearch, if you are as intelligent as you suggest, you already know this.

  3. Don’t know how accurate this rumour is but the source an A/DS “destined for high office” heard it from a very senior rank that the way to get promotion is to get officers the sack! The way it was told was 10 officers =£1 million saving for the year! The replacements will be from next year’s budget and cheaper! All from the same organisation that has stopped officers sending victims’ their crime reference by a text msg via the e-mail system to save money!

    1. I had something similar but can’t verify it. Have also heard that the intention of Home Office is to ultimately reduce the total strength to 80k for England & Wales, every little helps eh.. Who knows what’s discussed at Ivory Tower meetings??

  4. This reads like a good, structured plan but is best swept under the carpet, as “Not thought of here”.

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