Let the public see complaints against the police

It’s been a while, but there are reasons that I won’t go in to, but needless to say, I am back in the blogging world.

I saw an article in the Guardian by a journalist, Fiona Murphy, who used the title of ‘Let the public see the complaints against the police like Simon Harwood’. (21st July 2012)  She went on to say:

“Simon Harwood’s apparent ability to launder his past and re-enter the Met in a front line public order role is as shocking as it is predictable. The more serious and credible the allegation, the more likely it usually is that a officer will opt to retire or resign and place himself beyond the reach of disciplinary sanction.

Police forces have very good reason to mistrust their own misconduct procedures. In 2010/11, the public recorded about 14,000 complaints against the Met’s 30,000 odd officers – but only six of them were dismissed or required to resign. Faced with a credible allegation of serious misconduct, senior officers might be forgiven for taking the view that the only pragmatic solution is to permit the officer’s retirement or resignation. But the approach carries significant risks for public confidence in policing, as we have seen this week: it means that the most credible and serious allegations are logged forever as “unsubstantiated”, and that the officer can achieve re-employment in civilian and policing roles, endorsing new responsibilities for which he or she may be entirely unsuitable. The amended vetting procedures issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers earlier this year may make a transfer between forces less likely, but the practice of permitting resignation in the face of disciplinary investigation continues to send the wrong message to rank and file officers – one of tolerance when faced with their misconduct.”

I have to beg to differ.  When there is a complaint against a police officer, for those who actually do the role of ‘Office of Constable’ know that complaints are often unsubstantiated and can be made against an officer for any laudable reason.  I know that I have dealt with ‘complaints’ in the past, and they have been on the whole unjustifiable and done because they weren’t happy with what we couldn’t do for them rather than anything else, but of course, there are those complaints that I do take seriously and on occasions there are complaints that are justifiable and I do deal with them expeditiously.

I disagree that the pragmatic view is to allow retirement or resignation.  The accountability is that officers are found having to retire on a low pension, or if they have resigned, pension contributions returned, but if they are taken through the judicial system, then they are dealt with more harshly, in my opinion, than a ‘normal member of the public’, because there was that expectation that they held the ‘Office of Constable’ and so their professionalism and accountability is higher than normal members of the public.

She went on to say that the officers previous allegations should be open to ascertain any patterns and histories.   My argument is that if they are going to insist on this for Police, then surely people who are standing trial should also have their previous convictions given before the start of a trial, as she says that we should be open any patterns and histories, then they should too.  If her argument is that tax payers pay our bills (never heard that one before), then surely as taxpayers ourselves, we should be able to have the ability to declare a persons previous history including both arrests and convictions to determine the history and patterns of that person.

The argument is that we should be transparent and open, and to a certain extent we should be open and say ‘we have nothing to hide’, however, I feel like one rule for one and one for the other.

If we had to declare every single complaint of officers, including those that aren’t substantiated, then this would not give a true reflection of that officer.  There are always those that who will be malicious against officers and to have to declare those complaints are just wrong.

So as ‘taxpayers’ ourselves then lets ask for all to be accountable, including any arrests, cautions, Restorative Justice, and any initial complaints against them.
She is asking for it to be done to show ‘where the truth lies’, well lets do it for all then.  Lets make every single person accountable for every single misdemeanor they have ever committed and be done with it.

Really?  That really would be interesting……..

IJB

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Comments
5 Responses to “Let the public see complaints against the police”
  1. Ijustmadeupaname says:

    Nice to see you back.

    Most of your “customers” are lazy, cowardly or simply thick (though you are not allowed to say so). And will try anything to cast doubt on the word of any witness, especially officers. They also seem to never have read the tale of The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

    If there is to be disclosure of past compliants, it should be bilateral. So that those with a history of making spurious complaints, are confronted with them. But I feel that nothing will change as the “customers” will have more to lose than officers if a wider disclosure of past allegations or convictions is allowed. And this story will wither away as the next bandwagon rolls into town.

    If the best evidenced examples of false accusations were procecuted, word would go round very quickly. And the number would drop dramatically. A very persuasive business case could be made for doing this, with a return on money spent being above tenfold. The same could be said for assault police.

    Even at this distance I can feel the professional hand wringers getting twitchy. “But, But” they will say, “what about those with a real complaint against the police?”. Well most of the public are more robust than is given credit, there is no shortage of shysters eager to have a go at the police on a pro bono basis, and we have the IPPC. Ok I was joking about the last one

    • lostinthesystemforever says:

      You have never been through the police complaints process I take it. I have and no one would voluntarily put themself up for that. So when your making comments some of us have done it and had our lives turned upside down by it.

      I stood by and watched as he walked away without it even going to the CPS.. police investigating police what a joke. Six months of my life turned upside down.. by the end of it my life was so uncomfortable, i could barely function let alone go to the IPCC.

      I would like to think that if another woman come forward that actually they would not just protect him they would be able to look at that record and say oh heck we got it wrong.

      Suppose he should give himself a clap on the back he actually said bring it on you dont take on an officer you take on a force and you know what that is exactly how it felt!!!

      • I have been through the system, and I am trying to highlight through my post that if they want to put us through the complaints system and want to make it transparent, then it should be the same for all people who are going through any judicial system.

        I know what turmoil people go through, and more than most know what happens when CPS won’t touch it and you feel like you are walking against the tide against not just your colleagues but the force as a whole. It feels like the mud sticks on you.

        The justification on the post is saying that it shouldn’t be one rule for one and one for the other, it should be transparent for all.

      • lostinthesystemforever says:

        my comment was more aimed at the person above than at your post. HIs comments towards Joe Bloggs or customers as he/she refers to them as were a little unfair.

        I don’t believe that transparency for all will ever be the case! It would be very hard for a jury to remain unbiased if they heard that a person had been convicted of crimes of a similar nature. It would open the door for flimsier evidence against a suspect.

        We do hold the police to a higher standard because you are policing us all. I know you think that is unfair but I think police policing the police is unfair too.

        Not a bad idea though to weed out false accusations against the force maybe holding people accountable if their allegations are ‘proven’ to be false/malicious.

      • I agree about police policing themselves, any offences which are criminal against police usually go to another force for investigation to stop the ‘bias’. The IPCC also get involved. I know officers who have been on bail for serious offences and they really do have a bad time while they are waiting for a decision to be made, just as those who aren’t in the Police do.
        I do think that it is an ‘ideal’ world where everyone would be accountable for all their actions, and of course, the public would know who has done what and when in order for protection against offenders, but we do have to protect those who have also committed offences and are trying not to reoffend.
        It’s a difficult one, I agree that we should be more professional and more upstanding than members of the public, and generally I see that officers who do commit offences are dealt with more expeditiously than members of the public. Hope that helps.

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