Feb 13, 2012
Statement from IPCC Commissioner Sarah Green
“The terms of reference for our independent investigation have been updated to reflect the discovery of the documents that the Lynette White trial was told had been destroyed. These are set out below.
“This is a very tightly focused investigation that concentrates on events regarding the alleged destruction of IPCC documents that were referred to in Swansea Crown Court. We are not investigating the reasons for the collapse of the trial, which is a matter for the Director of Public Prosecutions.
“We have already met with the inspector carrying out Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate review announced on 26 January and will continue to update him on our progress.
“I will ensure that the IPCC investigation findings are published in full at the conclusion of our investigation.”
The IPCC investigation will seek:
To establish the date that each of the four specific copy files of documents came into the possession of the Disclosure Team on the Lynette White III investigation.
To establish what disclosure process each of the four specific copy files of documents was subjected to by any police officer or police staff member and any recording process used to detail that disclosure process.
To establish if any decision was made to destroy any of those four specific copy files of documents by any police officer or police staff member and if so whether any police officer or police staff member properly recorded the reasoning and rationale for such a decision.
To establish the movements and location of the four specific copy files of documents from the time they originally came into the possession of the Lynette White III investigation until their discovery on 17 January 2012 still in the possession of South Wales Police.
- ENDS –
Notes for editors
The Crown Court in Swansea was told by prosecution counsel on 1 December 2010 that four files relating to complaints made to the IPCC had been destroyed by officers from South Wales Police.
The documents which were discovered to have still been in the possession of SWP were examined by the IPCC and have been positively verified as the photocopied files submitted by the IPCC as part of its third party disclosure in the summer of 2009 in advance of the trial.
The material is all of document 7447- this disclosure reference comprised of photocopies of three complaint files against SWP from one of the original defendants in the Lynette White murder trial.
It also contained part of document 7448– this disclosure reference contained the relevant material from the IPCC and was a photocopied file relating to a complaint against the South Wales Police LWIII investigation team.
The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, announced the terms of reference of the review to be carried out by Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate on 26 January 2012.
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.