Select Committee on Home Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 260 - 262)



Angela Watkinson

  260. Referring to paragraph 11 in the Police Federation memorandum, which relates to seeking more protection "for officers who have been subject to complaints which are shown to be malicious or which have been fabricated for the purpose of affecting the outcome of a criminal investigation". What would you like to see? This is the other side of the complaints coin.
  (Mrs Berry) I think it was referred to earlier on. I know that when the Police Federation gave evidence before we asked that in cases where a malicious and frivolous complaint has been made against a police officer then that should be an offence in its own right. I know that did not find favour with the Home Affairs Select Committee previously but we think that there is an opportunity here. It is about balance, it is about fairness. Where officers do have malicious complaints made against them the stress levels are horrendous. We feel that it is only natural justice that an offence should be put there to deter people from making malicious complaints. In no way should it deter people who have legitimate complaints to be made from making those, but people who are using the system for their own ends and as part of their defence tactics, and if it is made in a malicious and frivolous way, we believe there should be an offence to counter that.

  261. If they did it knowing it to be false?
  (Mrs Berry) Absolutely, yes.


  262. Finally, is there anything that you would like to say to us that you have not had an opportunity to say during the course of the afternoon?
  (Mr Elliott) It has been a long afternoon. I cannot think of anything off the top of my head, Chairman.
  (Mrs Berry) I would just like to close by saying that I think the Police Federation from time to time has been said to be against reform but nothing could be further from the truth. It has got be the right type of reform. A quick win sometimes can be very advantageous but sometimes quick wins can result in taking a lot longer to resolve than they took to put in in the first place. The Police Federation are very much in support of an improving Police Service, a more professional Police Service, one that has got joined-up IT and works in partnership with the community.

  Chairman: Thank you very much for that. I am sure that we would all subscribe to that. Thank you very much for your attendance this afternoon.

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Prepared 7 May 2002