Home AffairsWritten evidence submitted by Liam Silcocks [IPCC 29]

I understand that you are currently looking at Police investigations & the function/effectiveness of the IPCC.

I am a PCC candidate for the Wiltshire Police Force area. Prior to becoming a candidate I did some considerable research around the force and its senior management.

Historically, I campaigned for a truly independent Police complaints framework and the abolition of the former PCA (Police Complaints Authority). My campaign stopped in 2004 when the IPCC was born.

I was alarmed to discover that the Chief Constable of the Wiltshire Police Force was linked to a murder case that multiple institutions, including the courts & media, labelled rotten and corrupt. This is an old case from 1989 that has fallen through every net possible and remains unsolved with many Police officers and witnesses never being pursued for perverting the course of justice or perjury. The court of appeal overturned an original murder conviction of two men because it was simply unsafe—no real or thorough investigation has ever been undertaken. Allegations remain uninvestigated as to the Police investigation and indeed if the death or murder was as result of Police brutality.

Hensley Wiltshire, the murdered black male’s, case is more fundamentally disturbing than the Stephen Lawrence case.

I have discussed this case with the IPCC, HMIC, CPS and indeed have contacted my MP and the Home Secretary. It would appear that nobody has the stomach to open this can of worms, with the Home Office simply advising me of the upcoming PCC elections and the fact that the IPCC existed. Somewhat ludicrous given my PCC candidature and my former work around Police Complaints. I await a response from my own MP, Dr Andrew Murrison.

I do not believe that Parliament ever intended to create an independent framework for complaints (i.e. IPCC) where that commission simply refuses to progress your inquiry or concerns beyond its first line of call handlers. It simply is not working.

As a PCC candidate I have met numerous people who have had issues and concerns but whom have chosen not to make a complaints after getting advice from the IPCC. The overwhelming feedback I have received is that the IPCC front line call handlers are poorly trained and have poor knowledge around the complaints framework. I am also hearing the same complaints I did 20 years ago—the Police initiating investigations against themselves—it’s still being abused.

As a PCC candidate, I have committed to set up a review of former complaints against Wiltshire Police to establish if they have been handled correctly or abused. I have no doubt this will highlight failings by both the former PCA and the current IPCC.

I have also published an intention to remove the function of recording and handling complaints out of the Police force and into the voluntary sector, e.g. Citizens Advice Bureau.

I will also have to consider if the people of Wiltshire require a more thorough appeals process and, under public consultation, will consider the need to circumvent the IPCC with a local fully independent body to truly handle complaints—where the IPCC appears to fall short.

I cannot expect the HASC to take on individual cases—however given the frustrations of the people I have met, and my own frustration around this disturbing case, I believe this must be a national issue.

It is quite feasible that if elected and if the above is implemented, that other PCC’s will consider a similar route as each Police Force area will have a point of contact and will no doubt be inundated with similar issues.

Liam Silcocks

November 2012

Prepared 1st February 2013