5 A second home for police officers
71. In those cases where the IPCC is able to
run an independent investigation, there is an enduring impression
that this is still tantamount to the police investigating themselves
because of the significant number of former officers employed
by the Commission.
72. One of the most significant challenges faced
by the Commission has been its ability to demonstrate independence
from the police service.
Under the Police Reform Act 2002, the Commission is required
to maintain an "appropriate degree of independence",
but that level of independence is not defined.
Nick Harwick, former Chair of the IPCC, told us that in the case
of Jean Charles de Menezes the then Commissioner of the Metropolitan
Police had sought to intervene to prevent the Stockwell investigation
from taking place.
This level of interference is clearly unacceptable.
73. The number of former officers employed by
the Commission was a continuing source of concern.
About 11% of all staff and 33% of investigators are former police
officers. As a result,
several witnesses believed that the police thought that they were
A number of organisations raised concerns that the Commission
was biased in favour of the police;
or that it was perceived by complainants to be so.
74. Under Dame Anne Owers, the Commission has
begun to respond to these criticisms. In 2011, it established
a training scheme to help candidates from a range of backgrounds
become Commission investigators. Five trainee investigators were
initially recruited and the scheme has recently been extended
further. Dame Anne told the Committee that the Commission "would
like to bring in more people from outside, and that is why we
are doing a recruitment drive in the autumn and why also we are
training up some of our own case workers, who come from non-police
backgrounds, to be investigators".
75. We appreciate that former
officers bring investigative skills and can improve the effectiveness
of the Commission. It is natural that an organisation whose principal
role is to investigate the police should recruit former officers,
both for their investigative skills and their familiarity with
police practices and procedures, but it must make every effort
to cultivate its own investigative capabilities and to avoid becoming
too dependent on former police officers to fill these roles.
76. There may be other sources of independent
expertise where the IPCC and police forces could turn. For example,
there is already some overlap between the role of the IPCC and
the role of HM Inspectorate of Constabulary. If a Police and Crime
Commissioner decides to instigate gross misconduct proceedings
against a Chief Constable, one of Her Majesty's Inspectors (HMIs)
must be present at the ensuing hearing. Similarly, if an officer
above the rank of Chief Superintendent decides to appeal against
the outcome of a misconduct hearing, the appeal is referred to
the Police Appeals Tribunal where an HMI may sit on the panel
if asked by the Secretary of State.
77. As part of HMIC's role in assessing police
force efficiency and effectiveness, it also has a statutory duty
to keep itself informed of how police forces handle complaints
78. If the Commission's primary
statutory purpose is to increase public confidence, then it must
act to rectify the impression that the police are investigating
the police. The Commission must improve its in-house investigative
resources and move to a target of 20% of investigators who have
moved directly from a career as a police officer, or fewer, so
that the number of former officers investigating the police is
79. Her Majesty's Inspectorate
of Constabulary must play a more prominent role in investigations
of the most serious cases. In cases involving serious police corruption,
for example, one of Her Majesty's Inspectors should review the
IPCC's findings and be tasked with ensuring the implementation
of any IPCC recommendations. HMIC's responsibility for forces'
effectiveness make it a natural candidate for involvement in the
"complaints competency investigation" described above
and the inspectorate should ensure that any findings for a particular
force are taken up by other forces where necessary.
65 Ev w7 [Women Against Rape] Back
See Police Reform Act 2002, section 10 Back
Q 263 Back
Ev w18 [Newham Monitoring Project], section 6; Ev w20 [StopWatch],
para 2 Back
Ev 80 [IPCC], para 5 Back
Ev w51 [Anton Venter]; Ev w24 [Charles C Kirk], para 8 Back
Ev w14 [Newham Monitoring Project]; Ev 116 [Inquest], para 57 Back
Ev w13 [Netpol]; Ev w23 [Charles C Kirk]; Ev w25 [Sara Jane Loughran];
Ev 92 [BMH UK] Back
Q 57 [Dame Anne Owers] Back
Ev 122 [Crown Prosecution Service] Back