This blog is mainly about the governance and future of policing and crime services. (Police & Crime Commissioners feature quite a lot.) But there are also posts about the wider justice system. And because I am town councillor and political activist, local & national issues are covered a little, as well.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Dashed hopes

A while back, my attention was drawn to this new initiative by the Thames Valley PCC: their new Complaints, Integrity and Ethics Panel.
The purpose of the Panel is to provide an independent forum that monitors and encourages constructive challenge over the way complaints and integrity and ethics issues are handled by the Force and overseen by the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), In so doing, this will help ensure that Thames Valley Police has clear ethical standards and aspires to, and achieves, the highest levels of integrity and professional standards of service delivery
And I note that they have held their first meeting, where they talked about:
  • Terms of Reference
  • Introduction to Complaints Handling which included a summary of the complaints process and procedures followed by the Force’s Professional Standards Department (PSD). Reference was also made to the role of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and the programme of  training for police officers and staff around the Code of Ethics. Members will be attending an Integrity and Ethics Training course in June.
  • A brief introduction to the new Code of Ethics
  • A summary of the PSD Complaints and Misconduct Monitoring Report from April 2013 to the end of March 2014
So when I first noticed this panel happening (with these terms of reference), I thought I would like to know more about where each of the panel members was coming from. So I wrote this FoI inquiry:

I note that the PCC has established this panel. I look forward to hearing more as their work proceeds. This is a bold innovation and one that I support. 

You may have clocked my recent small piece of research into ethical practice and Thames Valley was one of only two (the other being Cleveland) police forces that were making any substantive progress on developing ethical practice in officers and staff.

In the meantime whilst I note their biographies on the website, please may I have a copy of the full Register / declaration of Interests of each of these people. I imagine this will have been one of their earliest tasks given the ethical leadership role that they are fulfilling.

Many thanks

I received this reply back a few days ago:
Thank you for your FOI request “please may I have a copy of the full Register / declaration of Interests of each of these people” 
ANSWER: The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley holds no relevant information with regards to this request.
So, the TV PCC has established a new body to bolster the ethical governance of the police service, but apart from some selective mini bios about each person, we have almost no transparency about their interests? 

Does this seem right or indeed ethical to you?

The PCC does have an opportunity to correct this. Maybe he is doing so as I write. I await to see...

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