The Angiolini Report

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Today there has been much discussion, debate and many views and questions following the publication of The Angiolini Report.

Lady Elish Angiolini has been conducting an enquiry following the shocking events surrounding former PC Wayne Couzens and others.

I don’t need to repeat here exactly what he did, we all know, and I’m certainly not going to attempt to excuse, justify or trivialise any of it.

The Angiolini Report
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However, to protect my sanity, I would like to add some context to it.  Context that you definitely won’t get from the Home Office, or anybody else in government, or the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) or the College of Policing (CoP).

I certainly haven’t read beyond the bullet points and the lunchtime news, but it does make for some very sorry reading.

Courtesy of BBC News the main bullet points are these

  • The man who killed Sarah Everard in south London in 2021 should never have been a police officer, an inquiry into the case has said
  • Wayne Couzens’ liking for violent and extreme pornography and his history of alleged sexual offending dated back nearly 20 years
  • Couzens joined Kent Police as a special constable in 2002, before joining the Metropolitan Police in 2018
  • The inquiry says he is accused of sexually assaulting a child “barely in her teens” while in his early 20s
  • In 2015, Couzens’ car was linked to a report of indecent exposure – but he was not even spoken to
  • The inquiry says “without a significant overhaul, there is nothing to stop another Couzens operating in plain sight”
  • Couzens, who was off-duty, murdered Sarah Everard after kidnapping her under the false guise of an arrest
  • He was sacked by the Met after his arrest and is now serving a whole-life sentence
  • Responding to the inquiry, the Everard family says “we believe that Sarah died because he was a police officer – she would never have got into a stranger’s car”

The Angiolini Report highlights some shocking facts about Couzens, some of which I was unaware of before today.  Based on what I have read above there is absolutely no way in which any Constabulary should have recruited him or accepted his Transfer Request.  None.

Then come the inevitable recommendations

  • Better national guidance and training to improve investigation of indecent exposure cases, particularly cases involving masturbation
  • A public information campaign to raise awareness of the illegality of indecent exposure, including the sending of unsolicited photographs
  • Better vetting, including in-person interviews and home visits for everyone applying to be a police officer, plus a robust assessment of their psychological suitability. Anyone with a sexual offence conviction or caution automatically rejected
  • Better information sharing between forces to flag vetting failures
  • Police officers and staff to face randomised re-vetting throughout their careers
  • Zero tolerance of sexist, misogynistic and racist “banter” in every police force
  • Greater efforts to recruit more female officers and better support for staff who report sexual offences by fellow officers.

The only one that I have any real issue with is “A public information campaign to raise awareness of the illegality of indecent exposure” I’m quite sure that anybody who has completed their Police training is quite aware of the fact, along with a good percentage of the population.

Now for my context.  As I said previously I haven’t read The Angiolini Report word for word, but in what I have read I haven’t seen a single reference of the seemingly irreparable damage caused the so called Austerity cuts under the Cameron/Osborne/May clique.

Along with thousands of others, my recruitment consisted of a Home Visit by an Inspector, background checks on me, family, and my neighbours. A two day face to face assessment at Paddington where even my bum was checked (quite literally), and also included a psychometric test.  If you got through all that there followed a 16 week residential course at Hendon where just about everything was put under the microscope by the Instructors, and you certainly weren’t allowed out until you had convinced the instructors that you had retained a reasonable percentage of what you had been taught, but a further 18 months of on-the-job training beckoned.

By the time that was completed the Job knew just about everything that there was to know about you.

BUT following the disastrous, savage, cuts introduced under Home Secretary Theresa May, that degree of thoroughness is simply not sustainable.  It is not possible to slash budgets by more than 20% and expect everything to function as it used to.

Two things really vex me about all of this.  Firstly the wholesale auctioning off of the family silver, real estate, and the perverse view that a private company could provide support services cheaper and with greater efficiency than the in-house team.

Secondly, and far more aggravating, is the fact that NOBODY in government is prepared to acknowledge the awful mistakes made under Cameron/Osborne/May, apologise sincerely, and swear to put it right as a matter of URGENCYThe Police Uplift Programme gave us 20,000 ‘new’ Police Officers, but not enough to put Policing back where it should have been.

I can only imagine how the rapid recruitment of 20,000 in a relatively short space of time were vetted.  If there were failures of vetting when Couzens was recruited (and there were), imagine ow many failures there may have been under a broken system.

The Angiolini Report

In conclusion, I don’t disagree with The Angiolini Report in essence, but I think that both Policing and the Public deserve to hear the government accepting the responsibility for breaking the system, and promising to properly resource and fix it, and then maintain it.

 

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5 thoughts on “The Angiolini Report”

  1. Whenever I read such media headlines and reporting public trust invariably features. I have found the annual IPSOS polling (with a long history) useful. The main question being: ‘For each would you tell me if you generally trust them to tell the truth, or not?’
    So in the late 2023 edition how did the police score? The police 56% and politicians generally 9%. See: https://www.ipsos.com/sites/default/files/ct/news/documents/2023-12/ipsos-trust-in-professions-veracity-index-2023-charts.pdf
    Once they asked about senior police leaders, they scored less than the ordinary police officers and they have never asked about PCCs.

  2. I joined the Met in the late 1070’s. It was not a simple open door process even thought recruiting was dire until Edmund Davis. While at Hendon one member of my class was promptly removed and discarded after an ABH allegation was discovered from his past. His feet didn’t touch the ground and we never saw him again.
    I felt the standards in terms of recruitment in those days was robust but now…….
    With the need to fill quotas so that there is gender, racial, religious etc, etc diversity something has to give and I feel that quality has been discarded as an important requirement.

  3. Couldn’t agree more with your context.
    May, Osborne & Cameron are to blame for much of the ills of the Police service nowadays, together with the supine managers within the Service, past and present, who should never have been in the Police but stood by and allowed the destruction of what was once a great force.

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