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Police Integrity Reform

Volume 603: debated on Tuesday 15 December 2015

The Government take policing integrity very seriously. It is at the heart of public confidence in the police and underpins the model of policing by consent. It is what gives rank and file officers the legitimacy to do their jobs effectively. The Home Office has responded to public confidence in police integrity by introducing a programme of measures to improve standards of conduct in the police. This follows various high-profile cases on police failures both current and historic, as well as numerous HMIC inspections and IPCC reports relating to corruption.

We are already expanding the IPCC to deal with all sensitive and serious cases involving the police. We have introduced legislation to prevent officers from escaping dismissal by retiring or resigning; we have introduced the holding of disciplinary hearings in public; and we are introducing legally qualified chairs in disciplinary hearings. The college has produced the code of ethics; laid in Parliament (July 2014) as a statutory code of practice.

In 2016 we will go further with an important programme of reform including primary legislation in the upcoming Bill. We will make the police complaints system more independent of the police through an expanded role for PCCs. We will change the definition of a complaint and simplify the system, making it easier for the public. We will introduce a system of super-complaints to enable systemic issues to be raised.

The “Improving police integrity” consultation, and the previous Government’s response to it in March 2015, set out several proposals to strengthen the IPCC. We will bring forward legislation to implement these proposals. They include the following measures: ending managed and supervised investigations; providing the IPCC with the power of initiative to instigate investigations; clarifying the ability of the IPCC to make determinations; giving the IPCC the power of remedy; and ensuring the IPCC can present its case at disciplinary hearings following an IPCC investigation.

The measures the Government have implemented and the further reforms announced will ensure that local communities continue to trust the police to uphold the highest standards of integrity—but that where they do not, the public are able to hold the police to account.