Police Corruption – IPCC and the Police Service

A new report has shone a light on police corruption allegations and investigations around the country.

In the last three years, it has been stated, there were 8.542 complaints against officers in this period.

The watchdog only had the resources or powers to independently investigate 21 of the most serious cases.

Why have they said ‘only had the resources or powers?’

What the implication is that the rest weren’t because there weren’t enough resources or powers in the IPCC to deal with the rest.  Surely if they deemed it serious enough then they would have investigated it rather than leaving it within their own force to deal with the issue. They would have looked at the whole 8.452 complaints and decided which they would deal with independently.

They have also stated that the increase in corruption complaints have gone from 9-14% in the 2008-2011 period.  It makes it sound like there is an increase in the amount of corruption.

Might it just be that we are under more scrutiny than we have ever been?

In total, 18 officers were charged and prosecuted following independent or “managed” IPCC investigations; 13 were found guilty. These allegations included rape and sexual assault, the fraudulent use of corporate credit cards, perverting the course of justice, the provision of false statements, and the misuse of police databases. Eleven of those found guilty were constables, one was a sergeant and the other a commander.

A larger number of cases were dealt with internally, with 87 police officers facing misconduct hearings within their forces – in 87% of those cases, the allegations of corruption were upheld. However, the most common punishment was a “written warning”. The next most likely sanction was involved placing the officers under supervision or providing them with more training.

Only 14 officers – 18% of the total found guilty at misconduct hearings – were dismissed from the police or required to resign.

The reason why 18% of those found guilty at misconduct hearings is because the other 82% have been given warnings or fines or both, and whatever their misconduct issues were, they were dealt with expeditiously and in line with the law and the guidelines in relation to ‘Honesty and impartiality’.

So why is it such an issue when Police Officers are dealt with alleged criminal activity?

Well because we are supposed to be completely transparent, but there will always be officers who, for whatever reasons, will commit offences, just the same as the people we deal with.  I am sure that the statistics don’t compare how much of a percentage for each Force crime figures are as a whole, just concentrating on officers.

Lets think about it, 8542 officers in a period of three years is 2833 per year, which with numbers of 126,000 officers is equal to 0.02 allegations per officer.  Of course when Winsor, May et al have had their way the percentage will of course go up once they have got rid of the 20% front line officers.  Does that mean that more officers will be corrupt?  No, it just means that the percentages will naturally go up.

Officers are human, and with anyone, there are pressures on some, and idiocy in others which will cause them to commit these offences, they risk everything, their career, their pension, their family and their colleagues and friends, and those that do commit crimes deserve to be found out, and I do know of officers who have been absolutely stupid and lost everything.

Is Professional Standards looking at the important issues?

I do know that there are officers who have been spoken to for minor ‘issues’ including ‘Facebook’ use or ‘Twitter’ as well as the major offences which have led to a prison sentence and losing everything. I do wonder  whether Professional Standards are just pushing everything just ‘too far’.  An example is the use of the ‘Confidential reporting’ line, in which you can log on to the computer, and then ‘confidentially’ email the department.  Now I am cynical in thinking that they have logged in and then it is ‘confidential’, a bit like the ‘amnesties’ they have with officers in training.  As you work your way through the years, the more you are faced with the realisation that it is neither an ‘amnesty’ nor ‘confidential’, you also realise that there are those who have nothing better to do than ‘confidentially’ write emails for no more than spite or wanting to cause grief for those they are reporting.  It does happen.

The examples of pettiness I have heard of are ‘Phoning family/friends during worktime’, Updating Facebook whilst in the station, and putting up ‘joke pictures’ on the noticeboard.  I did hear of another issue relating to *cough* favours for free food.  It’s mad.

Now I agree that it is neither professional or acceptable for officers to be using their mobiles when they are supposed to be working, but if they are on a break I do not see any issues with this, nor do I really see any issues with Facebook or Twitter as long as it isn’t ‘detrimental’ to the job.  I don’t have a problem with people ringing their family in downtime or in a break to keep in touch, but obviously there are those who don’t agree, which is why they have the ideal opportunity to ‘confidentially’ report issues which they believe are wrong, However – if officers and civilians are reporting others out of spite, then perhaps they are the ones who are wasting their time rather than concentrating on their own jobs?

It’s a hard judgement call, and I do agree that we need to keep in mind our ‘honesty and integrity’ and our ‘professionalism’, however, I think you need to give officers a bit of a break.  We are currently being walked over by the Government and we rely on our colleagues for support.  I don’t like the idea that we have to wear our stab proof in the station as well as outside.  It makes for a ‘wary’ attitude between officers and colleagues.

Today’s report on corruption has just made things worse for the Police Service.  It would be nice to be given a bit of a break and support from the media and stand up against those who are berating us, but of course if they do that then they will be on the ‘wrong side’ too and we can’t have that can we? Of course the Media are squeaky clean, and no issues have been brought up from the Leveson enquiry have they? Not.

All I am saying is that before you do something illegal or stupid, just think about what you are doing, not just to yourself, but your colleagues, friends and family.

For those who are reporting the petty and stupid stuff, just remember that whilst you are writing about them, they might be just writing about you.  Lets support each other and concentrate on why we are all there and what we stand for.

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