May 24, 2012
The Home Secretary has today laid the second part of the Independent Police Complaints Commission’s (IPCC) report on corruption in the police service before Parliament.
The report was requested by the Home Secretary in July 2011 amid concerns about the relationship between the police and media. It concludes that, while police corruption is not endemic, ‘it is corrosive of the public trust that is at the heart of policing.’
A number of serious cases which have been investigated under the direction and control of the IPCC, such as perverting the course of justice, abuse of authority, misuse of systems, unauthorised disclosure and theft/fraud are illustrated in the report.
IPCC Chair, Dame Anne Owers, said:
"There are strong links between public trust and perceptions of police corruption. A serious focus on tackling police corruption is important, not just because it unearths unethical police behaviour, but because of the role it plays in wider public trust, views of police legitimacy and, on a practical level, cooperation and compliance with the police.
"This report illustrates the kind of behaviour that undermines public confidence in the police such as abuse of authority, perverting the course of justice and accepting generous hospitality. The IPCC has identified where change is needed and we have set out some clear recommendations.”
IPCC recommendations to improve public confidence include:
The requirement for Chief Constables to ensure greater consistency in the recording and referral of corruption cases to the IPCC. An IPCC analysis showed variations across police forces, both in the rate of recorded corruption-related complaints and in the rate of serious allegations referred to the IPCC.
The need for clearer public information on what constitutes police corruption. Focus group research illustrates the lines between corruption, misconduct and poor judgement can be fine ones. This reinforces the need for a clear definition, understood by both the public and the police.
The need for a more effective national system for handling allegations against very senior officers. The IPCC will work with the HMIC, the NCA and the CPS to establish a more formalised and robust system for escalating such complaints.
The report also highlights that:
The public expects serious corruption to be investigated by an organisation independent of the police, and there needs to be consideration of whether the IPCC can be resourced to carry out more investigations and exercise greater oversight in this area.
Additional powers are necessary to enable the IPCC to conduct the most effective corruption-related investigations - such as powers to investigate contracted out private sector employees, to gain access to data held by third parties and the power to require the police and other responsible bodies to respond formally to IPCC recommendations.
Notes to editors:
For media enquiries, please contact the IPCC Press Office on 0207 166 3082, 0207 166 3134, 0207 166 3028
For a copy of the report, please click here
An act of parliament that provides the core framework of police powers to combat crime and provide codes of practice for the exercise of these powers.
Leads and manages the development of the police service in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The body that represents the interests of all police constables, sergeants, and inspectors.
Department within a police force that deals with complaints and conduct matters.
The average is calculated using the individual results of the forces in that most similar force group.
An investigation carried out by IPCC staff.
Carried out by the police under their own direction and control. The IPCC sets the terms of reference and receives the investigation report when it is complete. Complainants have a right of appeal following a supervised investigation (unless it is an investigation into a direction and control matter).
This act sets out how the police complaints system operates.
How a police force is run, for example policing standards or policing policy.
An investigation carried out by the police under the direction and control of the IPCC.
An intelligence-led agency with law enforcement powers, it is also responsible for reducing the harm that is caused to people and communities by serious organised crime.
Investigations carried out entirely by the police. Complainants have a right of appeal following a local investigation (unless it is an investigation into a direction and control matter).
A person is adversely affected is he or she suffers any form of loss or damage, distress or inconvenience, if he or she is put in danger or is otherwise unduly put at risk of being adversely affected.
IPCC guidance to the police service and police authorities on the handling of complaints.
Parameters within which an investigation is conducted.
This could be the Police and Crime Commissioner, the Common Council for the City of London, or the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime.
A flexible process for dealing with complaints that can be adapted to the needs of the complainant. It may involve, for example, providing information and explanation, an apology, or a meeting between the complainant and the officer complained about.
Consists of a chair, two deputy chairs, and commissioners – each responsible for specific police forces, guardianship work and individual cases.
Disapplication means that a police force may handle a complaint in whatever manner it thinks fit, including not dealing with it under complaints legislation. This may only take place in certain limited circumstances where the complaint fits one or more of the grounds for disapplication set out in law.
The ending of an ongoing investigation into a complaint, conduct matter or DSI matter. An investigation may only be discontinued if it meets one or more of the grounds for discontinuance set out in law.
Used to house anyone who has been detained.
Complainants have the right to appeal to the IPCC if a police force did not record their complaint or notify the correct police force if it was made originally to the wrong force.
The purpose of an investigation is to establish the facts behind a complaint, conduct matter, or DSI matter; and reach conclusions. An investigator looks into a complaint and produces a report that details the outcome of each allegation. There are four types of investigation: local investigation, supervised investigation, managed investigation and independent investigation.
A person who makes a complaint about the conduct of someone serving with the police.
The type of behaviour being complained about. A single complaint case can have one or many allegations attached.
An independent judicial officer, the coroner enquires into deaths reported to him/her.
A record is made of a complaint, giving it formal status as a complaint under the Police Reform Act 2002.
No further action may be taken with regard to a complaint if the complainant decides to retract their allegation(s).
Casework involves assessing appeals. Casework staff also have a role in overseeing the police complaints system to help ensure police forces handle complaints in the best possible way.
The IPCC must be notified about specific types of complaint or incidents to be able to decide how they should be dealt with.
Conduct includes acts, omissions, statements and decisions (whether actual, alleged or inferred). For example: language used and the manner or tone of communications.
An application by a complainant for a police decision to be reviewed.