7 Scrutiny in the new landscape of
96. The Home Office stated in its evidence that
"the IPCC is [...] set up to investigate complaints against
the police and those exercising police-like powers".
However, we are concerned that, at the moment, the Commission
has only limited powers to scrutinise private contractors employed
to deliver policing services.
97. The Government has already widened the remit
of the Commission to include new bodies. In April 2006 the IPCC's
supervisory role was expanded to include HM Revenue and Customs
and the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). This oversight
will now be extended to the National Crime Agency. In April 2008
this role was expanded further to cover the UK Border Agency and
now also the Border Force.
98. The Police Reform and Social Responsibility
Act 2011 has extended the IPCC's remit further. Since January
2012, the IPCC has been responsible for deciding whether any criminal
allegations relating to the occupant of the Mayor's Office for
Policing and Crime (MOPAC) or his Deputy should be investigated.
The IPCC will have a similar remit over Police and Crime Commissioners
(PCCs) and their deputies following their election in November
2012. Several witnesses believed that a change in name would be
helpful, especially now that the Commission's remit included UKBA
99. The Government should be aware of the potential
crossover between the role of the IPCC and other institutions
in the new landscape of policing. The Police Superintendents'
Association believed that the Commission would benefit from being
involved in the training exercises of operational staff in specialist
areas such as the police use of firearms and the management of
critical incidents, which would naturally dovetail with the work
of the new College of Policing.
However, the Police Superintendents' Association believed that
if the Commission were given a strengthened remit for improving
policing there could be a blurring of the lines between the role
of the Police and Crime Commissioner, HMIC and that of the Commission.
This could compromise the Commission's independence in future
investigations where those practices were challenged.
100. The Police Federation considered that the
improvement of police services should remain under the HMIC and
potentially the College of Policing.
The Association suggested that a requirement could be created
for the Professional Policing Body to take account of any recommendation
by the Commission to change police policies or require Chief Officers
and/or Police and Crime Commissioners to implement such changes
in their police forces.
101. The National Policing Improvement Agency
(NPIA) said that "it is important that, in the new policing
landscape, following the close-down of the NPIA, the work of the
Learning the Lessons Committee continues and a constructive
relationship is built between the IPCC and the new policing professional
body that will be responsible for setting standards across policing
as well as developing the evidence-base and professional practice".
102. We note that although the
IPCC is allowed to hear complaints about the Serious Organised
Crime Agency (SOCA), the position regarding the new National Crime
Agency (NCA) is less clear. We recommend that the NCA be subject
to IPCC procedures in the same way as police forces generally.
103. Private firms contracted by the police are
not necessarily within the remit of the Commission, yet firms
such as G4S, Serco, Mitie and Capita are increasingly being called
upon to deliver services that would once have been performed by
the police themselves.
104. Last year, forces such as Cleveland and
Lincolnshire were front runners in their consideration of large-scale
contracts with private firms for the delivery of policing services,
though several negotiations contracts have since been terminated.
We requested information from the Mayor's Office of Policing and
Crime showing a list of contracts with private firms (over a variety
of terms from several months to a number of years), which amounted
105. Commission powers are limited to supervision
of those designated as detention officers or escort officers under
the Police Reform Act 2002. Contracted-out staff performing other
roles do not fall directly within its remit.
The Commission was concerned that this gap in oversight
could damage public confidence and affect its ability to carry
out thorough investigations. Given the likelihood of a growth
in the use of contracting out arrangements, our witnesses argued
that there was a "clear and urgent" need to extend the
Commission's remit to include these staff in relation to all types
106. We heard that recent investigations had
raised questions about the role of private contractors in:
a) The provision of police custody suites
(e.g., the serious injury of Gary Reynolds in March 2008 in Brighton
Police Custody Centre where Reliance provided custody assistants;
the death in May 2010 of Sharon McLaughlin in the Reliance-run
Worthing Custody Centre; the March 2012 inquest into the death
of Bogdan Wilk following his detention in Preston Police Custody
Centre, where care was provided by Medacs); 
b) Forensic analysis by privately contracted
Scene of Crime Officers; and
c) UK Border Agency escorting services (for example,
the October 2010 death of Jimmy Mubenga whilst being escorted
by G4S staff, an issue we highlighted in out report on Rules governing
enforced removals from the UK).
107. The Commission has investigated incidents
in which private staff worked alongside police officers, but cannot
collate complaints about private firms. At the moment the Commission
has no power to discipline private staff, even if misconduct or
failures contribute to a death. There is no statutory requirement
for contracted staff to co-operate with any investigation being
conducted by the police or Commission other than when asked to
assist in a criminal investigation.
For the Commission to investigate such staff on corruption
matters under the current legislative regime there would need
to be an Commission criminal investigation already underway in
relation to police officers or staff and any investigation could
apply only to criminal allegations, not wider complaints or conduct
108. G4S said that it had informed the Commission
in 2010 that its employees would be subject to checks. However,
other private providers were not subject to scrutiny.
The CPS said it would welcome clarification of the IPCC's powers
to deal with third parties because this would make investigations
involving non-police suspects easier to handle.
As Natasha Sivanandan pointed out, such contractors carry out
functions of a public nature for the purposes of the Human Rights
Act 1998 and the Equality Act 2010.
Nick Hardwick was of the opinion that "in terms of
the public, if it looks like a police officer, talks like a police
officer, walks like a police officer, the IPCC should investigate
109. The landscape of policing
is changing and the IPCC must change with it. Increasingly, companies
like G4S, Capita, Mitie and Serco are involved in delivering services
that would once have fallen solely to the police (we described
the involvement of G4S in the Jimmy Mubenga case in our report
on Rules governing enforced removals from the UK),
yet the public cannot call on the IPCC to investigate their delivery
of those services.
110. The Commission's jurisdiction
should be extended to cover private sector contractors in their
delivery of policing services and appropriate funding should be
available for it to undertake all the functions which we consider
it should have responsibility for.
111. The Commission should be
renamed to reflect its broader remit and functions, covering appeals
and complaints for police, UKBA, HMRC and the NCA. "The Independent
Policing Standards Authority" is one possibility.
88 Ev 72 [Home Office], para 7 Back
Ev 76 [PSAEW], para 3.2 Back
Ev 75 [PSAEW], para 2.6 Back
Ev 77 [PSAEW], para 5.5 Back
Ev 90 [PFEW] Back
Ev 77 [PSAEW], paras 5.5-5.7 Back
Ev w53 [NPIA], para 9 Back
Letter from Stephen Greenhalgh, 24 October 2012 [HC 560-i, Policing
IPCC, Corruption in the Police Service in England and Wales,
Report 2, 24 May 2012; Q 75 [Dame Anne Owers] Back
Ev 88 [IPCC], para 72; Ev 78 [PSAEW], para 8.2; Ev 117 [Inquest],
para 70; Q 18 [Shamik Dutta] Back
For full details see www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/a-force-for-good-the-rise-of-private-police-7561646.html.
Ev 117 [Inquest], para 68
Home Affairs Select Committee, Rules
governing enforced removals from the UK, Eighteenth Report
of Session 2010-12, 17 January 2012 Back
Ev w1 [G4S] Back
Ev 79 [IPCC] Back
Ev w1 [G4S] Back
Ev 122 [CPS] Back
Ev w70 [Natasha Sivanandan], para 20 Back
Q 272 Back