Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Police Reform — Theresa May Statement heard in House of Lords


Pretender to the throne?

Lord Taylor of Holbeach (Conservative)

My Lords, with the leave of the House I will now repeat a Statement on police reform that was given earlier today in the House of Commons by my right honourable friend Theresa May, the Home Secretary. The Statement is as follows.

“With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement about our ongoing work to ensure the highest standards of integrity in the police. I have always been clear that I believe the vast majority of police officers in this country do their job honestly, and with integrity. They fight crime in our villages, towns and cities. They deal with dangerous criminals, strive to protect the vulnerable, keep our streets safe and have shown that they can cut crime even as we cut spending. Under this Government, crime is down by more than 10% since the election, proving that it is possible to do more with less. But as I have said before, the good work of the majority threatens to be damaged by a continuing series of events and revelations relating to police conduct.

That is why, over the last 18 months, the Government have been implementing a series of changes to improve standards of police integrity. The College of Policing has published a new code of ethics, which makes clear the high standards of behaviour that are expected from all police officers. A national list of police officers’ pay and rewards, gifts and hospitality is now published online, and their final list of business interests will be published for the first time later this summer. A national register of officers struck off from the police has been produced and made available to vetting and anti-corruption officers in police forces. The Government will legislate later this year to ensure that officers cannot resign or retire to avoid dismissal in misconduct hearings. We have beefed up the Independent Police Complaints Commission so that, in future, it can take on all serious and sensitive cases involving the police. In addition to these specific measures, many of our other police reforms—the creation of the College of Policing; direct entry into the senior ranks; the election of police and crime commissioners; the changes to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary—will make a positive difference when it comes to police integrity.

Since I began the Government’s programme of work to improve public confidence in the police, further events and revelations have reinforced the need for reform. We have had reports on the misuse of stop and search, and the poor police response to domestic violence. We have had the findings of the Ellison review, which examined allegations of corruption during the initial deeply flawed investigation of the murder of

Stephen Lawrence. We have had Sir David Normington’s review into the Police Federation, which recommended change ‘from top to bottom’.

The measures we have introduced are vital, but we cannot stop there, so I want to tell the House about my plans for further change. I want to open up policing to the brightest and best recruits. The Government have already introduced direct entry to open up the senior ranks of the police and bring in people with new perspectives and expertise. In London, the Metropolitan Police received 595 applications for between five and 10 direct-entry superintendent posts. Some 26% of the applicants were from a black or minority ethnic background, compared with 8.6% of traditional recruits, and 27% were female. In addition, using seed funding that I announced at the Police Federation conference in May, the Metropolitan Police is setting up “Police Now”, the policing equivalent of Teach First, which will attract the brightest graduates into policing. However, I want to go further. The College of Policing will undertake a fundamental review of police leadership. The review will look at: how we can go further and faster with direct entry; how we can encourage officers to gain experience outside policing before returning later in life; and how we can open up the senior ranks to candidates from different backgrounds. The review will start immediately.

In addition to these reforms, I also want to ensure that the systems and processes that deal with misconduct by police officers are robust. That means, where there are cases of wrongdoing, they must be dealt with effectively, and, where necessary, appropriate disciplinary action must be taken. In March I announced I would be creating a new offence of police corruption through the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, but this alone is not enough. The police disciplinary system is complex. It has developed organically rather than been structured to fit its purpose. It lacks transparency for the public, it is bureaucratic and it lacks independence.

So today I can tell the House that we will be reviewing the whole police disciplinary system from beginning to end. This review will be chaired by Major-General Clive Chapman, an experienced, independent and respected former Army officer, and I want it to draw on best practice from the private and public sectors. I have asked Major-General Chapman to look for ways to ensure that the disciplinary system is clearer, more independent and public focused. I intend to consult publicly on the policies that emerge from the review later this year. In addition to the review, I want to make some specific changes to the police disciplinary system. In particular, I want to hold disciplinary hearings in public to improve transparency and justice. I will launch a public consultation on these proposals later this year.

In my Statement on the Ellison review on 6 March, I said I would return to the House with proposals to strengthen protections for police whistleblowers. Police officers and police staff need to know that they can come forward in complete confidence to report wrongdoing by their colleagues. So the Government will create a single national policy for police forces on whistleblowing to replace the current patchwork approach. This will set out the best principles and practices on whistleblowing, and ensure consistency of approach

across all forces. Following the publication of HMIC’s integrity inspection, I am prepared to consider putting the whistleblowers’ code on a statutory basis. We will also require forces to publish more information on the number of conduct issues raised by officers and the action taken as a result. From 2015 onwards, the Home Office will collect and publish data about conduct and complaints brought by police officers and police staff about their colleagues. But I still want to go further, so in the autumn I will launch a public consultation on police whistleblowing. The consultation will look at a range of new proposals to protect police whistleblowers. For example, I want to consider how we can introduce sealed investigations—which prevent both the force and suspects learning that an investigation is taking place—into serious misconduct and corruption by police officers.

I also want to take an in-depth look at the police complaints system. Last year, I announced reforms to the IPCC to ensure that all serious and sensitive cases are dealt with by the IPCC. This included the transfer of resources from the police to the IPCC and measures to ensure that the IPCC has the right capacity to deal with demand. As I told the College of Policing conference in October, this work is on track and the IPCC will begin to take on additional cases this year. But now is the time to build on those reforms. Public satisfaction surveys on the handling of complaints show that satisfaction levels remain consistently low. According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, less than a quarter of those who complain to the police are satisfied with the outcome of their complaint. The overall number of complaints being handled independently is still far too low. This year, a review undertaken by Deborah Glass, the former deputy chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, found that 94% of cases referred to the IPCC in 2012 were referred back to be dealt with by the police.

Police and crime commissioners are locally developing new and innovative approaches to police complaints. In Thames Valley, Anthony Stansfeld has announced a complaints, integrity and ethics committee to provide scrutiny on how the force handles complaints. In Greater Manchester, Tony Lloyd has appointed an independent complaints ombudsman to resolve complaints before they become part of the complaints system. We need the police complaints system to keep up with the changes we have seen in police structures, to reflect the changes made locally by PCCs and chief constables, and to meet public expectations. So today I will launch a review of the entire police complaints system, including the role, powers and funding of the IPCC and the local role played by police and crime commissioners. The review will look at the complaints system from end to end, examining the process every step of the way and for all complaints from the most minor to the most serious. The review will commence immediately and conclude in the autumn this year. It will include a public consultation on proposals for a system that is more independent of the police, easier for the public to follow, more focused on resolving complaints locally, and has a simpler system of appeals.

The measures that I have announced today will ensure that we are able to examine the entire approach to cases of misconduct, improper behaviour and

corruption. But in working to ensure the highest standards of police integrity, I want to leave no stone unturned. This year, I commissioned Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary to carry out a review of anti-corruption capability in police forces. HMIC is also carrying out an inspection of police integrity as part of its planned programme of inspections for 2014-2015. In addition, I have agreed with the chief inspector that HMIC’s new programme of annual inspections of all police forces, which will begin later this year, will look not only at a force’s effectiveness and efficiency but at its legitimacy in the eyes of the public. Every annual inspection will therefore include an examination as to whether each force’s officers and staff act with integrity.

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 to ensure that police honesty and integrity are protected, and that corruption and misconduct are rooted out. That is what the public and the many thousands of decent, dedicated and hardworking police officers of this country deserve. I commend this Statement to the House”.

My Lords, that concludes the Statement.

And some interesting responses...

Baroness Smith of Basildon (Labour)

My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for repeating the Statement. Most of us at some point in our lives have contact with the police: as witnesses—not as victims, we hope—reporting a crime; and in their community role, which at its best is excellent and at its worst is minimal. At its best the British police are rightly held in national and international high regard. They are praised by communities and they encourage and justify public confidence.

However, we have also seen evidence of policing going wrong, when its integrity cannot be relied on and public confidence is not justified. Issues such as the Hillsborough disaster and the investigation into Stephen Lawrence’s murder—and the appalling police actions following those shocking events—make it clear that a new framework is needed. The IPCC has too often done too little too late.

From talking to police officers, it is clear that they themselves feel the criticism of their profession more acutely than anyone else, because all the professionalism and integrity on which they pride themselves is undermined by the actions of a minority. We have already initiated a review of ensuring stronger actions on standards in policing. The noble Lord, Lord Stevens, led the independent commission that made a number of recommendations: a new stronger police standards authority, replacing the IPCC and HMIC with the power to initiate investigations; chartered registration for all police; ability to strike officers from the register; and high professional and ethical standards for all officers.

I had hoped that we would have seen some of those issues incorporated in today’s Statement and an indication that some action is taking place. Instead we are going to have a review of the police disciplinary system and a public consultation on disciplinary hearings; as well as the existing Ellison review we are going to have

another consultation on whistleblowing; we have got a review on police leadership; and we have a review on the police complaints system, including a review of the IPCC and the role of the police and crime commissioners. Just to confirm in case I have got it wrong, I count that as three reviews and four consultations. I am not necessarily against these reviews in areas in which we want to see progress, but so many reviews and consultations are a poor excuse for little or delayed action. How many reviews do the Government need to tell them that the IPCC is not working and that a piecemeal, sticking plaster approach to reform is not what is needed?

The Statement begs far more questions than it gives answers. We shall come to some of them today but I hope that at some point we can have a longer debate on this issue. I am sorry that I find the Statement disappointing. It does not give me confidence that the Government will tackle the failures in the system with any sense of urgency or understand the scale of reform that is needed. So many reviews seem to indicate that the plan is to kick reform into the long grass well beyond the next election. The public and the police deserve better.

Yesterday in the Moses Room we debated the Government’s proposals relating to the by-election following the tragic and untimely death of Bob Jones, the police and crime commissioner in the West Midlands. Despite some worthy candidates and officeholders, there is little interest in and support for the role of the PCCs, with humiliating turnouts—just 14% across the country—in the 2012 elections. The cost of those elections, and the by-election in August, would have paid for hundreds of police officers at a time when every police force is facing swingeing cuts. One has to ask whether this is value for money.

I am sure the noble Lord has spoken to police officers, as I have. They have told me that the thin blue line is getting thinner and thinner. They feel they are unable to do their job as they want to and should be able to. The reforms that we and they expect seem no nearer with so many reviews and consultations. Those delays hit their morale, especially when they see convictions falling.

For example, in my home county of Essex, the investigation into the Colchester murders is drawing officers away from other parts of the country. They are having to leave the policing and investigations in their areas to undertake mutual assistance in Essex to ensure that they can effectively investigate these dreadful murders and police the area in Colchester. I have been told that this has meant that some officers have been on permanent 12-hour shifts for three weeks. That has taken its toll.

I do not know whether the Minister has seen the sickness figures for Essex but, in 2009-10, Essex Police lost 27,654 days to sickness. In the last year to April 2014, with fewer officers in Essex Police, that has risen to a staggering 41,251 days. Is the Minister as shocked and as worried as I am that the sickness levels in the Essex Police—and I have no reason to expect that Essex is different to anywhere else—have risen so dramatically since this Government have been in office?

We are right to expect the highest standards from the police, but does the Minister agree that the police also have a right to expect the highest standards from the Government in tackling police reform issues more quickly and in making effective use of resources?


Lord Dear (Crossbench)

My Lords, I welcome the Statement. I endorse its subject matter and I am delighted to see leadership mentioned. It does not get a bold headline but it is in there and Members of your Lordships’ House will know that I have pressed that subject before. The fact that leadership needs ventilation by attachment to outside bodies is well taken. I have two questions for the Minister: one on leadership and one on another matter. Does he agree that, with good-quality, robust, visible leadership, all the issues of probity, ethics, due process, professionalism and so on are almost superfluous because they would flow naturally from it? Without good quality leadership, any of the things I have enumerated would struggle to succeed. Leadership, therefore, needs not only to be endorsed, as it is in the report, but lifted to the top of the list, together with a proper career path for those who are recruited into the service with those attributes. Will leadership be one of a number of issues or is it going to be one of the prime issues that will lead the rest through?

Secondly, if leadership is a key to the door, this is surely a door with at least two locks. We have talked about the first metaphorically. The second key to the door is the structure of the police service. There is nothing in the list we have heard today on structure. There is a balance to be struck which is, sadly, out of kilter at the moment. Wherever I go in the police service or whenever I talk to the many people who are outside the service but interested in it, the question is always why we do not have a national force or a regional force; there are too many forces. I take no view on that other than it needs addressing. I am a great believer in loyalty to cap-badge and locality but the fact that we have the National Crime Agency at one end and police and crime commissioners at the other means there is a great gulf in the middle. So my question to the Minister is: will there additionally be an in-depth review, perhaps along the lines of what has been mentioned in the Stevens report, of the whole structure of the British police service, in which leadership and everything else can flourish?

Well said Lord Dear. As we have said many times from these pages, it is the poor overall Leadership quality within the service that lies at the root of the problems with British policing.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

ACPO Mk1 - R.I.P.

"The best leaders inspire by example. When that is not an option, brute intimidation works pretty well too"
So, it has finally come to pass, that ACPO will be no more...
Readers of these pages will know that we have not been the greatest fans of the ACPO boys club.
The Police Oracle this morning reports:-
The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) will be scrapped and replaced with a new co-ordinating body following a ballot of senior officers.

In a statement following a three-week ballot of its membership, the Association said chief officers voted overwhelmingly in favour of the change following a review by General Sir Nick Parker.

The new body will be hosted in – but remain independent of – a lead police force.

An ACPO statement confirmed that just under 65 per cent of chief officers voted in the ballot. An implementation group is now addressing key issues such as developing an operating model, the process for electing a leader, future funding and a new name.

Progress over the change will be discussed at Chief Constables’ Council on July 17-18 and the Association will continue to provide national leadership until the new body is formed.

The statement added: “The coordinating body will help police cut crime and keep the public safe, by joining up the operational response to the most serious and strategic threats.

“Focusing on operational delivery and developing national approaches on issues such as finance, technology and human resources, it will work closely with the College of Policing, which is responsible for developing professional standards.”

The statement added that ACPO’s “core role” of co-ordinating operational policing and agreeing national approaches would be transferred into the new organisation.

The functions of the body will include co-ordination of national operations, delivery of counter terrorist policing and mobilising a national police response across borders.

It will also ensure operational delivery of standards and policy, working with the College of Policing on developing joint national approaches on areas such as criminal justice and human resources.

ACPO President Sir Hugh Orde said: “This is a very positive step and is to be welcomed.

“The Police Service needs its leaders to have a strong coordinating body to help ensure forces work together in the most efficient way possible to keep safe the citizens we serve.

“The change from our current arrangements to those which have been voted in by police leaders will ensure that the expertise of our chief officers is couched in a body which provides not only the best service for our forces but the best service and value for the public.”


The demise of ACPO will not be enough to start the restoration of confidence in the leadership as a group. There must be a definite change in culture if any successor organisation is not to be tainted with the same flaws.

As we approach the end of the ACPO MkI era we should remind ourselves of the challenges that will face ACPO MkII.

ACPO is a self-serving Lobby Group
Many of Labour’s policing laws that remain a legacy were effectively written by ACPO and designed to serve the interests of ACPO’s elite against the interests of the taxpayer. The Criminal Justice and Police Act (2001) is a prime example: under this legislation, ACPO staff—and remember ACPO is a private company—became entitled to expensive gold-plated civil service pension.

Their lobbying also extended to powergrabs: the Police and Justice Act (2006) mandates ACPO Ltd must be consulted prior to changes in certain police powers. The codes regarding PACE may only be modified with ACPO consultation.
ACPO has millions in cash at the bank and has an income of approximately £10 million per year. It has various commercial activities: it accredits burglar alarms, sells (and promotes) its own accreditation service for the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme and makes a profit each year in excess of £300,000 by holding an annual conference.

ACPO also has a sizeable property empire but refuses to say how large it is. It is known that a small subdivision of ACPO—the Terrorism & Allied Matters Committee—spent £1.3 million on luxury apartments for its members.
ACPO is highly political

Police officers are forbidden by law from joining a political party and diligently avoid accusations of political bias. The same cannot be said of Chief Police Officers and ACPO.
In an interview on Radio 4′s Today, the President of ACPO, Sir Hugh Orde, threatened to resign if Conservative Plans for elected Chief Constables became law.

In 2007, then-President of ACPO Ken Jones spoke out in support of the Government plans–opposed by the Conservatives–to increase precharge detention beyond 28 days.
This lead to the Conservatives writing in a private election note of ACPO giving “political cover to the Labour Government repeatedly and consistently” and engaging in “gratuitous photocalls” with Gordon Brown and other ministers. It goes on to say it “shows almost no criticism of the current Government”.
ACPO is a Secretive Private Company
ACPO president Sir Hugh Orde has acknowledged that its role as a private company was “uncomfortable” and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, the police watchdog, has said its ‘status as a private limited company ‘cannot continue’.

Despite receiving much public funding, responsible for senior appointments in quangos and helping the state draft legislation, ACPO is immune to Freedom of Information laws and is not bound by the usual rules of the civil service, despite receiving many of its perks.
ACPO using the Home Office and the media to deflect attention away from their own nefarious conduct, submitted a secret document to the Home Secretary suggesting, among forty-nine recommendations, that the pay and conditions of the federated ranks be dramatically slashed. 
ACPO that conveniently didn’t tell the Police Federation that they had submitted the document, leaving no opportunity to consult with the rank and file representative body. It was ACPO that met with the Police Federation and the Superintendents’ Association, pleading for unity to resist the Government’s plans for elected commissioners to replace police authorities – after they had submitted their plans. 
ACPO showed arrogant disregard for the welfare and views of the policing frontline, that they are out to protect their own individual interests before anyone else, including the front line officers and the general public they are supposed to serve. 
ACPO have apparently stated that they believed incentive bonuses to show reduced crime and increased detections to be divisive. Intriguing that the now disgraced police recorded crime statistics have not led to any officer handing back the bonuses paid out on the back of fiddled crime figures.(Despite the fact that many senior officers took bonuses without complaint for many years anyway!). If anyone should know the definition of the word 'devisive" it is those ACPO officers who have participated in this scurrilous, deceitful, secretive act of outright betrayal.
As a group, ACPO have shown that they cannot be trusted to stand alone as the authoritive voice of British policing. Any organisation that fails to listen to the views of its root and branch staff, those who experience the real problems and use their initiative to overcome them, is destined to lose the confidence of their 'customer', in this case the British public. 
Senior Officers and the rank and file must be reconciled as one service. It must not be acceptable that the Federation hear about important decisions from leaked documents or other sources. They must be a visible part of the process, not merely an afterthought. 
This will take a monumental shift of culture from the Chief Officers, to accept that this is an essential element in achieving reforms that will last. If they fail to do this, this Government and the next will spend its administration umpiring the contrary view of ACPO and the frontline.
ACPO as an organization has been on the ropes for too long, both financially and in terms of its integrity as a so called professional body. The rank and file have lost all confidence in them. The public and media mistrust them. Accusations of scurrilous disloyal conduct have been too many and too visible to ignore. The Coalition merely tolerated them. The Conservative Shadow cabinet under David Camerons direction accused ACPO of giving “political cover to the Labour Government repeatedly and consistently” and engaging in “gratuitous photocalls” with Gordon Brown and other ministers. It went on to say it “showed almost no criticism of the current Government”. 
If ACPO had been allowed to continue, despite their weak protestations to the contrary, the "Us and Them" culture would pervade and decimate the service. Many times this has been evidenced in the private sector, where powerful Governing bodies have been able to "divide and conquer" opposing views from organisations. The police service is no different. Whilst ACPO played the political game, (yet all the time insisting they want to rid the service of politicisation), every Government used the division between the ranks as a lever to extract what THEY want from the situation. Only when the division no longer exists and the service is once again united, will it regain its strength and bargaining power. 

It is totally right that the combined experience of police leadership should be utilised to add value and optimise the service provided to the public and the rank and file. However, any ACPO MkII must look to proactively avoid the horrendous historical mistakes of the past.
Will they resist the temptation to make those mistakes again? We won't hold our breath.

Some of our most popular ACPO articles:






Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Bob Jones, Police and crime commissioner for the West Midlands dies

Tributes pour in for elected official for West Midlands Police, who passed away in his sleep.

Courtesy of http://www.policeoracle.com/news/Police-and-crime-commissioner-dies_84205.html

The police and crime commissioner (PCC) for West Midlands Police died in his sleep last night (June 30), it has been confirmed.

PCC Bob Jones (59 and pictured) passed away at his home in Wolverhampton, his office said in a statement.

Deputy PCC Yvonne Mosquito said: "This is a huge loss to the West Midlands and to policing. Bob was a dear friend and a deeply committed public servant. All our thoughts are with Bob's wife Sarah and his family at this sad time."

West Midlands Police Chief Constable Chris Sims added: "Bob was a brilliant police and crime commissioner who brought great knowledge and empathy to the role.

"It was a pleasure to work with Bob over so many years. His public life was dedicated to always trying to get the best out of the Police Service which he did with vigour."

Under the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act, the legislation underpinning police and crime commissioners, a by-election for the post should be held in the next 35 days.

Mr Jones, who was elected as PCC in November 2012, started his distinguished career in public service as a Labour councillor for Blakenhall in Wolverhampton in 1980 after completing a degree in public administration.

He became a member of the force's police authority in 1986 through to its demise ahead of the PCC elections in 2012. He was chairman of the authority from 1995-2000 and was chairman of the Association of Police Authorities from 2005-2009.

He was also a member of several law enforcement organisations including the National Policing Board and the National Criminal Justice Squad. He was also chairman of the Employer Side of the Police Staff Council.

He was made CBE in 2010 for services to policing.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said: "Bob was a very kind and intelligent man who cared deeply about the communities he represented. He served with great distinction as police and crime commissioner for the West Midlands, and before that leading West Midlands Police Authority, always championing neighbourhood policing and victims' rights. I have benefited from his advice and wisdom over the years and he was rightly awarded a CBE.

"He will be badly missed in the Labour Party and in the West Midlands as a caring public servant and a friend."

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