Home AffairsWritten evidence submitted by Taherali Gulamhussein [IPCC 11]

1. I am a law student and campaigner with a keen interest in ensuring the accountability of the police, with personal experience of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (the “Commission”). The views expressed herein are entirely my own and not of any organisation I have or am currently working or volunteering for.

2. The Commission has not improved the scrutiny of police practices to a level that commands sufficient public confidence.

3. There are two reasons that the Commission fails:

(1) The Commission has not used some of the powers it has been given effectively

(a) The Commission has been given the power to employ ex-police officers as well as police officers. However the Commission has chosen to employ a large number of ex-police officers, which severely compromises the statutory requirement for the Commission to be Independent.

(2) The Commission does not have all the right powers and resources to carry out its role effectively

1. The Commission has not been given the responsibility by Parliament to make the following decisions.

(a)Recording decisions

(i)The responsibility for deciding whether or not to record a complaint rests with the police force subject to the complaint.

(ii)It is unacceptable that the non-recording of legitimate complaints has been a persistent problem since the inception of the Commission and the accompanying new regulatory framework.

(iii)For the period 2010–11 over 50% of valid appeals against the recording decisions of police forces in England and Wales were upheld.1

(iv)More importantly, the responsibility for deciding whether or not to record conduct matters or death or serious injury matters rests with the police force concerned. It is conceivable that some death or serious injury matters will not be recorded by the police at all and there is insufficient oversight by the IPCC to prevent this.

(v)The Inquiry should propose statutory changes to transfer the responsibility for making recording decisions from the police (and other appropriate authorities) to the IPCC.

(b)Mode of Investigation decisions

(i)The responsibility for deciding the mode of investigation of a complaint rests with the police force subject to the complaint.

(ii)The responsibility is important because the modes of investigation afford different consequences for the police officers subject to a complaint. One of the modes of investigation, local resolution, is not in fact a mode of investigation at all. It is not an investigation as Taherali Gulamhussein.

(c)Decisions to take over formal police investigations when unacceptably lengthy

(i)The law does not require the police to meet deadlines in completing investigations.

(ii)On average a complainant will have to wait seven months for a conclusion to a complaint handled via a formal police investigation, which is unacceptably lengthy.2

(iii)The powers could be improved by legislative amendment.

(iv)This is a workable proposal. The law imposes deadlines on the police in other arguably analogous circumstances for example the police (and all relevant bodies) are required to respond to requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 ordinarily within 20 working days.

Taherali Gulamhussein

June 2012

1 Police complaint: statistics for England and Wales, 2010–11 page 4, IPCC, accessed on 28 June 2012

2 Ibid, page 7

Prepared 1st February 2013