Memorandum submitted by Her Majesty's
Inspectorate of Constabulary
1.1 Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary
supports the government's drive to improve and modernise the police
service. Members of the Inspectorate have had opportunities to
comment on, and contribute towards, many of the elements of the
Bill and Police Reform White Paper throughout the process. The
notes below represent comment on areas of particular relevance
to HMIC or where prior comment has not been made.
2. GREATER CENTRAL
2.1 Despite the sensitivities of some proposals
relating to the balance of the tri-partite arrangement, HMIC welcomes
the clarity promised by the introduction of the three distinct
levels of direction (namely regulatory, guidance and advice).
2.2 There is particular support for the
widening of the powers of the Secretary of State to require specific
inspections. This fits comfortably with HMIC's current practice
under risk assessment of targeting our efforts rather than scrutinising
the whole of a force.
3. NATIONAL POLICING
3.1 Part 1, 1(1) & (2). The principle
of a high level national statement of priorities is supported,
but the following issues will require consideration:
The content must remain strategic
and avoid short-term volatility and last minute changes to address
The "final" content should
be made known to forces by late summer if the priorities are to
be truly integrated into local planning and appropriately consulted
with, and owned by, local communities.
There is a strong need for some consistency
within the 1-year national plans if they are to effectively dovetail
with the 3-year crime & disorder strategies and the proposed
3-year force strategies. There is clearly an argument for a 3-year
national strategy to ensure this consistency.
It is felt appropriate for HMIC to
be involved in the consultative process for the National Policing
3.2 HMIC has been consistently encouraging
forces to cost policing plans, thereby showing how operational
planning is linked to resources. Any national plan should take
a lead in establishing a link between resources, priorities and
4.1 Part 2 of the Reform Bill enacts the
long-awaited changes around complaints and misconduct. The introduction
of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has been
well rehearsed and subject of wide consultation. Part 3 is far
more contentious and aims to tighten significantly the powers
of Secretary of State around removal, suspension and disciplining
of police officers, including Chief Officers. These new powers
are broadly supported by HMIC.
4.2 Clauses 2832. Clarity is required
as to the definition of "chief officer" in the disciplinary
code. There now exist "support staff" in Forces with
titles such as "Assistant Chief Officer" who have associated
ACPO status, and their status within the disciplinary code is
4.3 Clause 29. Power of police authorities
to suspend chief officers. This should also involve consultation
with HMIC who will have a wealth of professional experience they
can bring to bear in such situations. An attempt has been made
by Home Office to draft a suspension protocol which would seems
a sensible way forward.
4.4 Clause 25 essentially provides an opt-out
clause negating the effect of the Complaints and Misconduct regulations
on IPCC staff. This could have the effect of undermining the value
of the regulations, and creating resentment amongst those subjected
to any misconduct on the part of IPCC staff. There appears to
be no compelling reason why IPCC staff should not be bound by
the same regulations.
5. EXTENDED POWERS
5.1 Clause 33 and Schedule 4. HMIC support
the powers given to civilian support staff enabling them to function
as Detention Officers and Escort Officersthis clarifies
and strengthens existing good practice. However clarity is needed
with regard to the provision of such services by private companiesthe
Bill appears to restrict such post-holders to being employees
of the police authority.
5.2 Schedule 4. HMIC supports the introduction
of Community Support Officers as a further weapon in the armoury
of the police service and local authorities in tackling crime
and the fear of crime. There are already successful schemes nationally
and these have been shown to support visibility and public reassurance.
5.3 Should the government introduce Community
Support Officers, the following points will need to be addressed:
Schedule 5 and Clause 34: Community
Safety Accreditation schemes. These schemes will require co-ordination
and HMIC would suggest that Statutory Crime and Disorder Partnerships
should play a lead role in this, and be held to account for their
Clause 40 (1) and Schedule 6, paragraph
22: Assaults on Designated and Accredited persons. It might be
thought appropriate to add assault on designated and accredited
persons as an arrestable offence. By carrying out many of the
functions of a police officer they will be putting themselves
at potential risk, and should be accorded the same protection.
6. POLICE STANDARDS
6.1 The element of the Police Reform Bill
which has most direct impact on HMIC as an organisation is the
introduction of the PSU. Prior to the reform programme HMIC has
achieved hard-fought progress in police performance and service
delivery largely through the weight of professional credibility
and persuasive argument. The inspection protocols and recommendations
from thematic inspections have been increasingly used as surrogate
national standards against which to measure police forces' progress.
However there has been an absence of statutory or mandatory direction
to support HMIC's work.
6.2 HMIC welcomes the introduction of the
PSU to bridge this gap and to provide the more formalised codes
and standards against which HMIC will continue to carry out inspections.
It will be important to the functioning of the PSU and HMIC, and
to remove any confusion at force level, that the respective roles
of the two organisations are clear. HMIC is committed to working
with the PSU to establish working protocols.
7. FURTHER CLARITY
7.1 The issues listed below are considered
in need of further clarification:
White Paper6.81. The role
of the Police authority in the appraisal of chief officers.
White Paper15. Guidance on
the application of payments to particular posts (to avoid inconsistency).
Clause 40. Whether accreditated/designated
persons will be able to prosecute offenders.
Schedule 4: Police powers exercisable
by police support staff.
8. OTHER ISSUES
8.1 Clause 52 and 53: Removal and Retention
of vehicles. There should be explicit recognition that the role
of removal and storage can be undertaken by an "approved"
garage operating under a contracted or similar scheme for the
police. Such garages should be permitted to charge a set fee for
the service to the registered owner of the vehicle. This will
negate the requirement for the police to store vehicles and administer
the scheme. There are valid reasons why the police should not
perform this role, including cost, health and safety and the requirement
for specialist secure storage facilities.
8.2 Clause 68: Crime and Disorder Reduction
Partnerships. The merging of DATs with CDRPs is sensible and welcome.
The arguments extended in favour of this apply equally to Youth
Offending Teams (YOTs). It might be helpful therefore if the Government
would consider including YOTs as a statutory member of CDRPs,
in addition to DATs. In all cases, the various plans and strategies
should be closely aligned and co-ordinated. In the fullness of
time, the local Crime and Disorder Plan should contain sections
relating to youth and drugs, thus removing the need for different
8.3 Clause 70PITO.
The opportunity should be taken to
remove a VAT anomaly that has cost the service dearly. In simple
terms Police Authorities can recover their VAT if they buy computer
systems (as they are local authorities). If PITO buys the systems
(eg Airwave) then VAT cannot be reclaimed. With the likely increase
in centrally provided IT this anomaly needs to be removed. A possible
solution could be to provide the framework in legislation for
all 43 Police Forces (the same position does not apply to BTP,
NIPS, etc) to form a Joint Committee (which would be a local authority
body) to purchase on behalf of the service with PITO appointed
as their agent.
This Clause is an attempt to enact
reserve powers so that in the future the Secretary of State may
adjust, alter or widen the roles and responsibilities in virtually
any way he/she may see fit. In itself the clause is not contentious
and given the ACPO and APA declaration to the `new deal' on national
IT solutions and central procurement contained within the final
report of the IT Review it seems a prudent step to take.
8.4 "Good practice" is a phrase
which occurs repeatedly thoughout the White Paper. There must
be an objective set of criteria against which proposals for "good
practice" are measured. This is work for the Standards Unit
to do in conjunction with CPTDA, and its responsibilities through
8.5 The Bill allows the Secretary of State
to require that HMIC inspects a force. In the light of the creation
of the CPTDA and the new provisions, under CJPA 2001, for inspection
by HMIC, it is felt that this new power should extend also to
CPTDA ( perhaps an addition to Clause 3 which covers NCS and NCIS?).
This will be particularly relevant in light of NCPE and the Secretary
of State's powers under Clause 2.
Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary