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Home Secretary announces shake-up of police complaints system

2014 Police Federation Conference, Bournemouth, Dorset, Jason Bye, 21/05/14The Home Secretary has announced a review of the entire police disciplinary system.

Speaking in the House of Commons Theresa May said the review would be chaired by former Army officer Major General Clive Chapman – and there would be a consultation on the findings later in the year.

She said the major shakeup of the police complaints and disciplinary system, including proposals to hold police disciplinary hearings in public, would help make the system clearer, more independent and “public-focused”.

It will include an examination of the powers and funding of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

Addressing the disciplinary system issues, Mrs May said that the current process “lacks transparency, is bureaucratic and lacks independence”.

She said: “The review will look at the complaints system from end-to-end, examining the process every step of the way for all complainants, from the minor to the most serious.”

Mrs May told MPs: “Together these measures represent a substantial overhaul of the systems that hold police officers to account. They will build on our radical programme of police reform. And they will help ensure that police honesty and integrity are protected, and corruption and misconduct rooted out.”

Detailing the reform package the Home Secretary told MPs that she believed the “vast majority of police officers in this country do their job honestly and with integrity”.

Mrs May also announced new proposals to protect police whistleblowers including introducing “sealed investigations”, which prevent both force and suspects from knowing they are under investigation.

She also said there will be annual inspections of forces to include a measure of “legitimacy of each force in the eyes of the public” as well as its effectiveness.

Mrs May also announced a review of police leadership – which will start immediately.

She added that the review of police leadership would be carried out by the College of Policing and would examine issues including opening up direct entry and “how we can open up senior ranks to candidates of different backgrounds”.

Responding to the Home Secretary’s announcement, Steve White, Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “The statement by the Home Secretary expands upon a number of areas previously raised, including police misconduct, disciplinary procedures, whistleblowing, direct entry, police integrity and the police complaints system.

“Policing is a highly complex and volatile profession and it is important that the views of police officers are heard and that any change does not result in them being treated less favourably than other workers.

“The Police Federation will therefore play a full and active part in the consultation process as the voice of police officers across England and Wales, seeking to ensure that change does not result in a negative or detrimental impact on the service the public receive.”

Date posted: July 31, 2014

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