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UNCORRECTED TRANSCRIPT OF ORAL EVIDENCE
To be published as HC 756- ii
House of commons
TAKEN BEFORE THE
HOME AFFAIRS Committee
Leadership and standards in the police service: follow-up
TUESday 29 october 2013
Professor Shirley Pearce CBE and Alex Marshall
Evidence heard in Private Questions 518 - 614
USE OF THE TRANSCRIPT
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Taken before the Home Affairs Committee
on Tuesday 29 October 2013
Keith Vaz (Chair)
Mr James Clappison
Dr Julian Huppert
Mr David Winnick
Examination of Witnesses
Witnesses: Professor Shirley Pearce CBE, Chair, College of Policing, and Alex Marshall, Chief Executive Officer, College of Policing, gave evidence.
Q518 Chair: I call the Committee to order and ask all members present to declare any items that they wish to declare that are not on the Register of Members’ Interests, and I welcome Professor Shirley Pearce, the Chair of the College of Policing, and Alex Marshall, the Chief Executive Officer of the College of Policing, as part of our ongoing inquiry into leadership and standards of the police.
I should say at the start that we will be looking at the work of the College of Policing and will produce a report to coincide with your first anniversary, so this is part of the evidence gathering for that.
Mr Marshall, you offered to give evidence to the Committee last week but we were not able to take you because of our busy schedule. I am sure you want to specifically give us your views on the evidence that was given to this Committee last week. Sir Hugh Orde, the President of ACPO, was on television at the weekend and said that the session last week on the Andrew Mitchell affair was not a very good day for policing. Do you agree with him?
Alex Marshall: Yes, I do.
Q519 Chair: Why?
Alex Marshall: I think the term "unedifying" was used by one of those who attended. I would agree with that, and I do not think the police service looked as professional as it should in dealing with the serious matter that it was dealing with.
Q520 Chair: I am sure you have taken an interest in these matters. What do you think ought to have been done that was not done? We know that the three chief constables have apologised to this Committee and to Mr Mitchell. Mr Mitchell has accepted the apologies, which we welcomed, but do you think there should have been a redetermination of the cases against these three officers?
Alex Marshall: It is clear that the behaviour of the officers concerned fell below the standard that would be expected of police officers. I think it is absolutely right that the chief constables apologised and I think the officers concerned should apologise as well.
Q521 Chair: Do you think that they should go that step further-which has been authorised by David Shaw in one case-that they should face misconduct hearings? This is the view of the Home Secretary, the Prime Minister and, indeed, some members of this Committee.
Alex Marshall: Each case has to be judged on the full facts relevant to each of the three officers, each one from a different force, each must be judged by the appropriate authority, the chief constable or the person they delegate. They had access to all the information and all the facts and came to their conclusions. Certainly, in the case of Chief Constable Shaw, I support his action in looking to take that forward.
Q522 Chair: So the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary are wrong? They have made it very clear that there should be an apology but that there should also be misconduct hearings. So they are wrong?
Alex Marshall: I am equally clear there should be an apology but I am not in possession of all the facts of these cases to know about each individual officer and what level of sanction, if any sanction should be applied to them. In the case of Chief Constable Shaw, I note that it was his officer who made the public declaration after the meeting and that Mr Shaw has referred to an irregularity in the procedure and has, therefore, referred it to another chief constable to investigate.
Q523 Chair: Yes, but you seem to know a lot about one case and not the others, even though the same information has been in the public domain. I understand that you are in charge of ethics now, a code has been produced has it not? Do you not think that it would be in the public interest? Bearing in mind the fact that you think the officers should make an apology, which they have refused to do, to Mr Mitchell or to this Committee, I cannot see why they should be treated any differently. Is that not in the best interests of everybody to put this matter at rest, that everyone should be facing a misconduct hearing?
Alex Marshall: The chief constables have to make a decision on each of the people in their own force based on the detail of those circumstances. I do not have access to the full detail of these cases. I have not sat in their positions listening to the detailed briefings and the full history of these cases.
Q524 Chair: But you have just told us that you thought David Shaw was right. I find this a very odd position to be in. You seem to be backing the chief constables, none of whom had management of this case. This was not managed by them. If you watched the evidence, which you claim to have done-and I am sure you have done, and you said it was a bad day for policing and it was an unedifying experience-why is it not in the public interest, since you are now the guardian of this code of ethics, that this matter should go to someone independently to consider it? Surely that is the right course of action, otherwise why on earth should the officers apologise? What should they apologise for?
Alex Marshall: They should apologise, as I understand the facts based on reading the transcripts. I saw some of the hearing but I was doing other work on the day. I couldn’t watch all of the hearing, so I read the transcripts. It is clear that the conduct of the officers fell below the standard that was expected and they misrepresented what had been said by Mr Mitchell, and therefore they should apologise for that.
Q525 Chair: Mr Marshall, unless I am on a different page here, if they have fallen below the standards expected of a police officer and therefore would fall foul of your code of ethics, and if they have misrepresented Mr Mitchell to the public, surely therefore they have to face misconduct hearings? If you are basically finding them guilty of those two issues, is that not the next step?
Alex Marshall: I am not finding them guilty. Their own chief officers have said the standard of their behaviour fell below what was expected. Based on all the facts available in the case, they have to judge what is the appropriate sanction to take or what action should be taken against each of those officers individually.
Q526 Chair: As the Chair of the College of Policing, this is a very odd position to be in, is it not, Mrs Pearce, that your Chief Executive Officer, who has control of the ethics, wants to always back the chief constable? Did you see what the IPCC said about this and did you see what the Deputy Chair of the IPCC said about this?
Professor Pearce: Yes, I have. Where I think we are is it is a difficult position looking backwards. What the whole process has done over the last couple of weeks-from the position of a member of the public and now very concerned about standards in policing-is raise questions about the process and the way in which issues of this seriousness are investigated by the police. I would be supportive of the view that issues of this nature should be dealt with independently by the IPCC and the move that is happening there.
At the time that all of these things were happening we had not produced this code of ethics. We were in the process of producing it. We are now going out to public consultation about it.
Q527 Chair: We will come to the code of ethics in a second. I asked you your views because two of the people who have been publicly quoted are sitting on your board. Bob Jones, who defended the West Midlands Police and severely criticised the IPCC, is sitting on your board, and Sir Hugh Orde, who on Sunday said that there ought to be an apology given by the police officers. I find it very odd. You are now the keeper of this code of ethics, so you need to know and need to tell the Committee whether you think the officers should apologise and should face misconduct hearings. Because if you like the IPCC as an independent body, they have suggested in evidence to this Committee that the officers should have a hearing for gross misconduct not even misconduct.
Professor Pearce: Where we are is that it is very, very clear that some wrongdoing has taken place. I am not sure about the process that we have in place. We have a process in place and this is what has happened and this is the outcome of it. What we are talking about now is changing the process and I simply-
Q528 Chair: I understand that. But from the public’s point of view, since the public interest is very important, if the college does not exist for anything it must exist in order to reassure the public that something is being done. Is it not best done as suggested by the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary, members of this Committee and others, that basically these three officers should all face misconduct hearings? Mr Marshall is saying that the other two shouldn’t, only Inspector Mackaill should because he made a statement.
Professor Pearce: I do not think this is the College of Policing’s responsibility. The College of Policing-
Q529 Chair: No, I know that. I am asking for your views on it, as the Chairman of the College of Policing, since you said that there has been wrongdoing.
Professor Pearce: My views are that the process by which we have arrived at these outcomes seems to be very flawed. I would want that to change so that we would not be in this position in the future, and I would like to see apologies. But I would just-
Chair: That is very helpful. We will come on to the code of ethics.
Professor Pearce: Sure.
Q530 Dr Huppert: I do not know about other members of the Committee, but after our sessions last week I was struck by the number of police officers who wanted to come up to me and talk about it, who expressed great concern about what they saw. One of them said that he was ashamed to be wearing the same uniform as the people who had come to see us. There have been a range of comments. As individuals, they made suggestions that if the three officers involved had any decency they would resign. But that is obviously a matter for them. If the outcome of this, after the wrongdoing-which, Professor Pearce, you just accept has happened-is that no action is taken what message do you think that would give to the public? What message do you think it would give to the vast majority of decent, honest police officers who are trying to do their jobs and feel tarnished by this whole episode?
Professor Pearce: This is one of a number of areas where we would like to see change in order to be able to deliver the kind of professional standards that the public expect to see. We do not want to build everything that we do around one particular case. What we are talking about here is creating a culture where best behaviour is delivered at all times, where we have a culture that is open to questioning and open to discussion about what is best. What we do see is a great willingness across the police-probably many of the people who spoke to you last week-for some significant changes in the way that professional standards are assessed and measured and in which continuous professional development is delivered. I think that is the mission for the college. It is something that we are getting a lot of support for within the police and from the public at the moment.
Q531 Dr Huppert: Perhaps this is a question for you, Mr Marshall; I do not really mind. If one of the first things that happens after you have set up is a case where the message could get across that the consequences for saying things that are untrue as a police officer is that there is a complex procedure and nothing happens, does that not make your job almost impossible if that is how it starts? Wouldn’t it be helpful for you if it were made very clear at this stage that there were consequences for telling untruths as a police officer? That is what most police officers would expect.
Alex Marshall: Absolutely. If anyone knowingly tells an untruth you would expect them to be held to account for that. The code of ethics is very clear indeed on that. I would also say that in a case of serious misconduct or a serious allegation, where there is a level of public interest, that should be investigated by an independent body with the powers and resources to conduct that investigation away from the police.
Q532 Dr Huppert: Has the Taylor report done enough?
Alex Marshall: I think the Taylor report moved things forward. I think the code of ethics sets out for policing a very clear picture of what is expected, a mechanism for making decisions in difficult circumstances and absolute clarity around what is unacceptable.
Q533 Dr Huppert: If the code of ethics were fully in place and an incident like this happened, there would definitely be consequences?
Alex Marshall: There would be consequences. It would be a breach of the code of ethics.
Q534 Dr Huppert: And what would happen?
Alex Marshall: It would depend on the level of the breach, the seriousness and the intent behind it, and it could range from management advice or it could move into formal regulations and misconduct or gross misconduct.
Q535 Dr Huppert: In this particular context, will all of your work have made any difference?
Professor Pearce: Absolutely, it will have made a difference. Let’s just come back to the code of ethics. A piece of paper saying these things on its own is no good. It has to be lived, it has to be embedded in everything that the police do. We have to see this code of ethics being something that is considered when people are recruited to the service, in all parts of the service, because let us not forget that we are concerned about this influencing the behaviour not just of warranted officers but of the whole police service. It needs to be there on recruitment. It needs to be there at progression. It needs to be discussed at PDRs on an annual basis.
We would like to see chief officers explaining to the public how they are embedding this code of ethics in their day-to-day work, how it influences the way in which they discuss operations they are going to conduct and how it influences how they conduct debriefs after operations. It has to be there in everything that they think about. If it isn’t there then it is not worth the paper it is written on. All of the good codes of ethics that one sees operating well in other professions are ones where it is worked at all of the time with everybody. That has not been the case. That has not happened. So I cannot say, hand on heart, it would never have happened had the code of ethics been well established for the last five years, but I think there is a very great chance it would be a lot less likely.
Q536 Mr Winnick: We have seen the draft code of ethics that is out for consultation and the consultation period ends on 29 November. Is this code necessary because of what has happened to the police in recent years? Honesty and integrity, standards of professional behaviour, equality, diversity and so on, is this because it is felt by the college that in some instances the police have not carried out their duties according to this proposed code?
Professor Pearce: Can I start?
Mr Winnick: If you could keep your voice up, please.
Professor Pearce: Yes. A very clear part of our mission is to raise professional standards and raise the professionalism in the police. That means setting educational standards, accrediting providers, creating the knowledge base and increasing partnerships, but also developing integrity and a code of ethics. It is not unusual in developing a respected profession to have a code of ethics.
Q537 Mr Winnick: Which has never happened before.
Professor Pearce: Which has not happened, but this is part of a number of things that we feel are important about raising professional standards and creating a respected profession.
Q538 Mr Winnick: At the moment before this draft code is improved and enforced, a police officer does what when he is recruited successfully into the police? He swears an oath or signs or whatever?
Alex Marshall: Yes, certainly on joining the police service an officer swears an oath. There are regulations covering misconduct and standards of behaviour. What the code of ethics does is it brings together a code for everybody who works in policing. There have been separate regulations and policies covering police officers and police staff. It sets out the requirements on chief officers and supervisors and everyone in policing in very clear terms, and it makes a positive obligation on everyone who works in policing to report wrongdoing should it occur.
On your earlier question about why should this be necessary, there have been failings in policing and there have been people in policing who have not lived up to this code. The vast majority of people who work in policing would live up to this code, do live up to this code, and I am sure will feel very comfortable in reading it and signing it and accepting it as the right way to do their work.
Q539 Mr Winnick: The cases that have occurred in the past, where the police have acted in a way that we know was totally unacceptable and have been the subject of endless inquiries and judicial cases-the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four, Hillsborough, of course, a more recent inquiry that has been totally accepted by the Government, the Lawrence case and all the mistakes that were made that led to another inquiry, and more recently Ian Tomlinson’s case-therefore, would you say that the chances of that occurring again would be less as a result of police officers agreeing to the code? It is a bit difficult to imagine, isn’t it?
Alex Marshall: If the code was properly understood, properly implemented, lived to by the people who work in policing, and tested at the point of being recruited, promoted, specialised, going into a specialist role, at the point at which they become chief officers, and it creates the right, positive atmosphere about working in an ethical way, even when making very difficult decisions, if it was being lived to in that way it should make a difference. It can never prevent individuals going against what they should do as police officers.
Q540 Mr Winnick: That is interesting because on honesty and integrity in the consultation document there is a reference in 1.4 about covert policing, "In policing it is sometimes necessary to use covert tactics. Covert tactics may be appropriately authorised and any deployment must be shown to be proportionate, lawful, necessary and ethical". We have had female witnesses before us who have said undercover police agents have started sexual relationships with them, in some cases children have been born, without any knowledge on the part of the women that they were entering into an intimate relationship with police officers. In their view-as I think one of them described it-it was a form of sexual deceit by the state itself. Do we take it from this proposed code that I have just quoted, that undercover police agents will not enter into such relationships?
Alex Marshall: They should not. I will not comment on the individual case because I understand it is still under investigation. They absolutely should not. They would be breaching the code if they did. With regards to the undercover world, since the College of Policing has started we have introduced a new training programme for the persons who authorise that undercover work. It will be a requirement of the next group of people to become chief officers that they have to pass that course before they can become chief officers. We explicitly include within that course that while undercover sexual activity is not allowed.
Q541 Mr Winnick: If I can put this to you: there are those who would argue otherwise within the police force-and there must be quite a number who do, very senior officers-and like other colleagues I do not deny there are circumstances where a certain course of action is appropriate. We may disagree which organisations should be the subject of such operations, but for myself I certainly accept that, when you are dealing with terrorism and the rest, and there is a great danger to the state and so on, it may be necessary to have such operations. Whether it has been so in the past is another matter. It could be argued that if undercover police officers make it clear in their disguises as fellow members of this particular group, which may well be criminal or not as the case may be, that they are not going to enter into any form of relationship, won’t those other members who are the actual members of the group be very suspicious and immediately say, "Oh, he’s a copper all right"?
Alex Marshall: There are both operational and legal difficulties for that individual working under cover. They have to be given clear guidance and the guidance should come from the authorising officer. The authorising officer should make it clear that sexual activity is not allowed while working under cover.
Q542 Mr Winnick: Totally banned?
Alex Marshall: Yes, and that should be made clear by the authorising officer.
Q543 Mark Reckless: In that case, would members of that group simply test the officer on that basis and would that not undermine the effectiveness of covert policing?
Alex Marshall: With regard to the legal and operational difficulties I described, perhaps there could be extreme circumstances where somebody might try to apply that test. But the advice given to those authorising the undercover operation is that they must not take part in sexual activity while working under cover.
Q544 Mark Reckless: But it could happen in extreme cases you are now saying?
Alex Marshall: There is a legal argument about the difficulty that somebody could face. But in the last few months what we have done, through the College of Policing, is introduce the authorising officer training, which states that when authorising this type of operation they must make it clear to the undercover officer that sexual activity is not allowed.
Q545 Mark Reckless: It is a legal argument, is it, not an argument about policing effectiveness?
Chair: It is not legal. It is operational, isn’t it? How could it be a legal argument?
Alex Marshall: It is an operational consideration and one around which legal advice is being sought.
Q546 Chair: You mean you have had legal advice from people who have told you that this cannot be done?
Alex Marshall: No. The legal position of the officer working under cover and whether or not, for example, you could legislate to prevent this happening is a legal consideration.
Q547 Chair: It does sound very confusing, Mr Marshall. Perhaps you should go away and look at it again, because the Commissioner and senior members of the Met said something different to us when they came to give evidence. Unless you are pronouncing on something new. Are you saying to Mr Reckless and Mr Winnick that, "No, they cannot engage in sexual activities at all," or are you saying there are exceptional cases and you have gone to some barrister to seek some legal advice as to whether it is allowed? Which is it?
Alex Marshall: I am restricting myself to the authorising officer.
Q548 Chair: No, which is it? Which of the two? Is it, "No, you are not allowed to do this" or, "Yes, you can in extreme circumstances because we have sought legal advice"? What is the answer to Mr Winnick and Mr Reckless?
Alex Marshall: I am not saying you can in extreme circumstances. I am saying it is activity that should not be allowed.
Q549 Chair: At all?
Alex Marshall: At all.
Q550 Chair: No justification?
Mr Winnick: As I said earlier on, definitely banned.
Alex Marshall: The authorising officer must make it clear that sexual activity should not happen while the officer is working under cover.
Chair: I think you probably need to tell the Commissioner that and also the Minister, because the last time the Minister gave evidence he said it was allowable in certain circumstances.
Q551 Lorraine Fullbrook: I would like to ask if the draft code of ethics is applicable to subcontractors who are commissioned to carry out duties on behalf of police forces?
Alex Marshall: Yes.
Q552 Lorraine Fullbrook: I see in section 5 of the draft code, Orders and Instructions, the top line says, "I will only give and carry out lawful orders and instructions. I will follow all reasonable instructions and abide by force policies". But at 5.3 it does not say very much about what those force policies are. Would a force’s policy override the code of ethics? If a force has a specific policy would that be of a higher level than the code of ethics as laid down here?
Alex Marshall: No.
Q553 Lorraine Fullbrook: So what exactly do you mean by this?
Alex Marshall: In terms of orders under section 5 it is reminding officers that, as well as national guidance and standards-
Lorraine Fullbrook: It says, "This standard also includes abiding by the provisions of all legislation, instructions, standards, guidance, policies and procedures relevant to policing".
Alex Marshall: Yes.
Q554 Lorraine Fullbrook: But if different forces have different policies, does the code of ethics override a police force’s policy or does the police force’s policy override the code of ethics?
Alex Marshall: The code of ethics will be laid as a code of practice and it will apply to all forces and it overrides local policies. There should not be a conflict between a local policy and the code of ethics, but there could well be local policies about local issues that an officer or member of staff should be aware of in addition to national guidance.
Q555 Lorraine Fullbrook: So the code of ethics will always take precedence over local police forces’ own policies?
Alex Marshall: Yes.
Professor Pearce: We intend it to be set as a code of practice, yes.
Q556 Lorraine Fullbrook: Where do you intend that to be set as a code of practice?
Alex Marshall: When?
Lorraine Fullbrook: Where, because it is not laid down here as a code of practice.
Alex Marshall: We intend that this will become a code of practice that all chief officers have to pay due regard to.
Q557 Lorraine Fullbrook: So it will override their local policies?
Alex Marshall: Yes, it will.
Q558 Mark Reckless: Will the code of ethics apply to officers and civilian staff working for the Police Federation?
Alex Marshall: Yes.
Q559 Mark Reckless: In exactly the same way as it would if they were engaged in the usual business of their force?
Alex Marshall: Yes.
Q560 Mark Reckless: What role will the Police and Crime Officers have with the college in the context of this code of ethics?
Professor Pearce: The Police and Crime Commissioners have been consulted in the preparation of this, and of course we have four Police and Crime Commissioners who sit on our board who have been involved in watching it develop. This will apply to all of their staff as well as the staff in the force.
Q561 Mark Reckless: Do you have a Police and Crime Commissioner who takes, say, a lead role in respect of this code of ethics?
Professor Pearce: We have had a group. Do you want to give the detail?
Alex Marshall: Yes. We have met with Police and Crime Commissioners and discussed the code of ethics with them. Then ACC Karen Daber-who is sitting directly behind me-consulted widely with a group of Police and Crime Commissioners to take their views as we were forming the draft document.
Q562 Mark Reckless: As they have been elected by the public, do you consider that they may have something to offer police officers and staff, in terms of developing and perhaps enforcing and overseeing a code that is acceptable to members of the public and brings the police and public together as we would like?
Professor Pearce: Absolutely. They have a very important role there, yes.
Q563 Lorraine Fullbrook: I would just like to go back to an answer that was given to me under the coverage of the code. Professor Pearce, you said that the code of ethics will become a code of practice. A code of ethics and a code of practice are two different things.
Professor Pearce: No, I am talking about a code of practice in police terms.
Q564 Lorraine Fullbrook: You said the code of ethics will become the code of practice.
Professor Pearce: Will be laid down as a code of practice.
Alex Marshall: We will be seeking that the Home Secretary lays the code of ethics as a code of practice in Parliament.
Professor Pearce: There are a number of codes of practice that are laid down in policing, which police officers have to deliver. It is a-
Q565 Lorraine Fullbrook: Yes, but what you actually said to me-and I am sure the record will show-is that this code of ethics will become a code of practice.
Professor Pearce: Yes.
Q566 Lorraine Fullbrook: That is not actually correct because they are two separate things. A code of ethics must underline all codes of practice, surely.
Professor Pearce: This will become a legal code of practice, not a code of practice for the police. It will be laid down as a legal code of practice.
Lorraine Fullbrook: Okay. That is fine.
Q567 Chair: Instead of the code of practice. Obviously it is important to have ethics. As Mr Winnick has pointed out, we already have some of these principles. You are pulling them all together in a code.
In an article on Saturday, the Minister for Policing and David Davis, a former Shadow Home Secretary, have suggested that police officers wear cameras and have recording equipment on them, that the best way to know what the truth is if we record everything. What do you feel about that, Professor Pearce?
Professor Pearce: There have been some interesting studies that have shown that body worn video does change everybody’s behaviour. When you are watched your behaviour changes. Generally speaking that is for the better, but there are risks about everybody wearing a video. It could be seen as intrusive and the real question is how it is then edited and used and how it stands up in a court of law. Since everything we are trying to lay down as advice to the service should be based in evidence, we are supporting trials of body worn video.
Q568 Chair: So you like the idea to pilot it?
Professor Pearce: We think the idea should be piloted. We think we should understand what the benefits and problems of it are and then we can make an informed recommendation. I do not think anybody should see it as a solution to all ills, but it is a very interesting development.
Q569 Chair: Mr Marshall, if the code is accepted and is part of the DNA of police officers in future, why do we need to put cameras and microphones on them?
Alex Marshall: The starting point for cameras or body worn video-as they tend to be called-was obtaining better evidence in cases where it is difficult to give evidence, particularly for the victim or witness who might be vulnerable. For example, I introduced them in Hampshire in 2008. Body worn videos have been used for many years in many forces, particularly to strengthen the evidence from vulnerable victims. So there has already been use of them. The most recent technology makes it an even better way of capturing what is going on when an officer is on duty. The trial that we are looking at is based on a trial I looked at in America where-
Q570 Chair: Is this Rialto?
Alex Marshall: In Rialto in California. I went over to see the chief, Chief Farrar, and he explained that the use of body worn video had seen a significant reduction in both the use of force by his officers and the number of complaints made about his officers during the year that he trialled it.
Q571 Chair: So you like the idea? You think it should be used?
Alex Marshall: I like the idea. As Professor Pearce says, I think there are issues about privacy, and there are issues about data storage and how we use that evidence in the criminal justice system but as a principle I like it.
Q572 Chair: You mentioned Hampshire. In your last year as chief constable how many people were dismissed for gross misconduct in Hampshire?
Alex Marshall: I know the number for the period I was chief constable, 20 people.
Q573 Chair: Twenty, and those done for misconduct?
Alex Marshall: A much higher number. I think about 84, sir.
Q574 Michael Ellis: If I could just move on to the Police Federation. The Police Federation have said some time ago that they want to review their role and their control mechanisms, as recent unedifying examples have shown them that their mechanisms are perhaps not what they would like. In that respect, have the College of Policing had any input into the review of the Police Federation’s controls? That is the first element of my question. Have you had any such input?
Alex Marshall: Yes, I have.
Q575 Michael Ellis: Could you tell us about that, what type of input have you had?
Alex Marshall: I am one of a number of people Sir David Normington has spoken to in conducting his review.
Q576 Michael Ellis: And Professor Pearce?
Professor Pearce: No.
Q577 Michael Ellis: It is felt by many that the conduct of certain Police Federation members has been reprehensible. For example, the event where the Home Secretary was invited to give a speech and was required to stand in front of hostile slogans at a Police Federation event. The most recent example was in Sutton Coldfield where one of the Police Federation members apparently referred to the Home Secretary as "that woman". This is at least a reflection of dysfunctionality in the Police Federation. Would you not agree, Mr Marshall?
Alex Marshall: There have been several examples-including the ones you quote-where the Federation has not acted in a professional way in the way that the code of ethics would expect them to do. They are police officers and must adhere to the rules of being police officers. The Federation do have a role in representing the views of their members, and police officers are not allowed to join a union, cannot go on strike and, therefore, their representatives should be able to express their views.
Q578 Michael Ellis: Would you not say that-to some people at least-the Police Federation may not legally be a union but it acts like a rather militant trade union movement? We have heard evidence on this Committee that the Police Federation engaged a public relations firm in respect of the Sutton Coldfield incident, and that the representative of that PR firm travelled with warranted serving police officers in the same vehicle, that press were at the scene at a supposedly private meeting and that arrangements were made with the media by mobile phone. Either it is an independent body or it is a pressure group. There is something to be said for the College of Policing having some real input, is there not, on the conduct of the Police Federation going forward?
Chair: Mr Marshall?
Alex Marshall: Yes, sir, I think that the Federation officials find themselves in a position where they need to represent the views of their members, but they must absolutely remember that they are police officers and if they are local officials they work to a Chief Constable. When I was a Chief Constable in a local force I would expect my Federation officials to act professionally, act honestly and refer to me should there be a difficulty that they needed to deal with in a public arena.
Q579 Michael Ellis: Professor Pearce, do you have anything to add to that?
Professor Pearce: Yes. Our business is about supporting the individual member’s professional development and professional standards. I would like to point out that this is for the whole of policing. So there are other unions that we should be concerned about if there are problems. I would hope that this could be seen in the round. But we have a responsibility to the individual members. We are not policing the bodies that support members of our college.
Q580 Michael Ellis: A final point from me on this. Is it not the case-I think this has been raised before in this Committee-that they receive taxpayers’ money to carry out what is effectively political campaigning, do they not, the members of the Police Federation? It is taxpayers’ money that is being expended on this, isn’t it? It is clearly a situation that has become untenable, isn’t it, Mr Marshall?
Alex Marshall: My experience of working with the Federation locally was that they performed a very useful role. They gave a voice to their members on important issues. They were able to assist with misconduct and discipline matters. They were a body to speak to about significant changes, the closing of police buildings or the change of shift patters, or other issues that were going on locally. It was a healthy relationship where they remembered that they were police officers and that they worked for a police force and to a Chief Constable. I think Sir David Normington’s review of the Police Federation needs to iron out some of the issues that you have raised, and quite rightly so.
Q581 Chair: Would your code of ethics cover Jon Gaunt, the advisers to the Police Federation and the Andrew Mitchell affair? Would it cover people like that or is it just for the police officers?
Alex Marshall: No. It would cover those police officers in their dealings with him or anyone else.
Q582 Chair: But not any third party who might have come into contact with them?
Alex Marshall: Not an adviser to them, no, sir.
Q583 Mr Winnick: To clarify matters, would the draft code of ethics in any way stop police officers carrying out their activities in the Police Federation?
Alex Marshall: No, it would not prevent them being members of the Federation.
Q584 Mr Winnick: Do you accept entirely-as far as the college is concerned, the two of you-that police officers are perfectly entitled not only to be members of the Police Federation but for the Police Federation to be able to conduct its business and campaign if it so wishes?
Alex Marshall: As I have said before, members of the Federation must be able to articulate the views of their members. There could be issues of pay and conditions, or the local issues that I have mentioned around where they work or their shift pattern, and they should be able to express them.
Q585 Mr Winnick: That is quite acceptable?
Alex Marshall: Yes.
Q586 Mr Winnick: Since we do not live in Leninist state, fortunately, if Police Federation officials who are off duty at that particular moment when they are conducting Federation business refer to somebody-which I myself would not wish to do, I would find other words if I disagreed politically with a person-as "that woman" should that be somewhat illegal or subject to some disciplinary code?
Alex Marshall: The code applies whether a police officer is on or off duty.
Q587 Lorraine Fullbrook: What training will be carried out by those who are required to sign up to the code of ethics?
Professor Pearce: We are looking at the training at the moment and working out exactly what we need to do, but we hope that everyone will sign up to the code of ethics. Clearly people with leadership responsibilities have a greater responsibility to see that there is a culture in which all of this is delivered, so they need particular support. But the details of the leadership training programme are being developed as we speak.
Q588 Lorraine Fullbrook: How do we train agents who are temporary staff, casual staff or consultants to any of the police forces to abide by the code of ethics? How will training be done for those people?
Alex Marshall: We would expect anyone coming into policing to sign that they have read and understood the code of ethics. The very minimum is a declaration by them that they have read and understood the content of it and the opportunity to discuss it with someone more familiar with it in the organisation. In terms of people joining policing, for example, new recruits, the code of ethics will form an important part of their initial training and for everyone in policing there will be a detailed programme of everyone gaining a full understanding of it and it being part of selection processes, promotion processes and continuous professional development in the future.
Q589 Lorraine Fullbrook: Will the training be overseen by, for example-and I am particularly thinking in terms of agents, casuals, temporary staff and so on-the professional standards department or would they just be serving police officers?
Alex Marshall: It could be any manager who has responsibility for that temporary member of staff or it could be the HR department. Although in my experience the professional standards departments are very good and professional parts of an organisation, the code of ethics is for everyone in policing. It is not a misconduct document. It is about how to behave and it includes a decision-making model for dealing with dilemmas in an operational situation. So it is not a document for professional standards departments. It is a document for everyone in policing.
Q590 Lorraine Fullbrook: Who would be the ultimate arbiter of ensuring that the training is carried out and to a professional standard? Would that be a chief constable or-
Professor Pearce: Yes, the chief constable. We will be asking chief constables to report openly to the public and to us about what they are doing on a day-to-day basis to support this. The induction is one part of it, but it is how it is used in day-to-day work that is probably the most important thing. So training is only one bit.
Q591 Dr Huppert: First, just to follow up on the earlier discussion to make sure that I understand, if a police force were to hire a media adviser they would be covered by this code, and if the Police Federation hired a media adviser that would not be covered. Is that correct?
Alex Marshall: It is for all police officers, police staff, volunteers, temporary staff, contracted staff working within policing.
Q592 Dr Huppert: Is that a yes or a no?
Alex Marshall: My understanding of the scenario you are describing it is an outside organisation advising the Federation, not working within policing in any way.
Q593 Dr Huppert: So it is a no then? Two yes/noes. One question. If a police force hired an adviser on the same contractual basis would that person be covered?
Professor Pearce: Yes.
Q594 Dr Huppert: If the Police Federation hired somebody on exactly the same contractual basis that person would not be covered. Is that correct?
Professor Pearce: Probably, yes. What we have to do is-
Q595 Chair: Sorry, "probably" or "yes"?
Professor Pearce: Yes, is the answer, because we have to make sure that we only lay down expectations that we can deliver. We can deliver this through the Chief Constable’s report. We do not have control over the Federation, so it would be unwise-
Q596 Dr Huppert: I am not necessarily disagreeing with you, I am just trying to make sure we know what the boundaries are.
Alex Marshall: Yes. It would be unwise for us to extend our risk where we couldn’t manage it.
Q597 Dr Huppert: It will be interesting to see what the final format of this is and presumably you will respond to the consultation. One issue that is often raised with me is police officers requiring information from people, where people are not legally required to provide that. Do you think that would count as a breach of the rules about orders and instructions if an officer demands a name or address when there is no requirement? Would you expect officers to make it clear when something is being given voluntarily and when something is being given compulsorily?
Professor Pearce: From my perspective I think I would, yes.
Alex Marshall: Yes. If an officer is using a power they should make it clear which power they are using and why.
Professor Pearce: That is sort of the essence of it.
Q598 Dr Huppert: Thank you, I am very pleased to hear that clarity. Once this is all in place how will you judge its success? What do you think the impact will be?
Professor Pearce: That is an interesting question and one that we have thought about a lot. It might mean in the first instance that there were more complaints, that there was more exposure, because there is a climate created where speaking out if you see something going wrong is more acceptable. So it might not mean that everything got better immediately. But one would hope if this is implemented-as we hope it will be implemented across all the forces-that the number of incidents that we see, which make us feel so unhappy about what happens in the police, would be reduced.
Chair: Mark Reckless.
Alex Marshall: Sorry, could I just add to that?
Alex Marshall: We will be conducting a baseline exercise in each force to see what the current position is in terms of misconduct, complaints and so on, plus we have the Independent Police Complaints Commission’s data. So over a period of time, in terms of data, we would hope to see a difference in the number of complaints and the number of issues of misconduct, as well as seeing the code of ethics becoming used in a day-to-day basis in operational decision-making and all those selection and promotion processes that I mentioned earlier.
Q599 Mark Reckless: A general question. Has the College of Policing taken up roles and activities that were previously undertaken by ACPO?
Alex Marshall: One significant area is the business areas that used to be ACPO business areas. People volunteering from around the country to take responsibility, for example, around crime or public order or particular issues in policing. Those business areas now report into the College of Policing’s professional committee.
Mark Reckless: I am glad to hear it. Thank you.
Q600 Chair: Let us just be clear if we may. Mr Marshall believes that if somebody breaches the code-in answer to questions put by Mr Winnick-that it should be under the current system where you go to your chief constable and the chief constable will discipline you. The Appropriate Authority will then do whatever is necessary. Professor Pearce, you seem to indicate that you would like these complaints to go to a fully well resourced IPCC. You want to take them out of the hands of the police. Is that right?
Professor Pearce: Serious misconduct cases?
Q601 Chair: Any breach of the code. Who should police the police? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who should do it? Are you in favour of the chief constables doing it or do you think this should just go outside, that professional standards departments should all be part of the beefed up IPCC? That is what the Home Secretary was talking about at your event last week.
Professor Pearce: Yes.
Chair: Give them more money, give them more powers. Let the IPCC do it.
Professor Pearce: I suspect it would be impractical to have every complaint dealt with outside of the force. Certainly serious misconduct, where there are sensitive or serious issues would be wise to be in the new enlarged IPCC.
Q602 Chair: The rest of it would then be held locally because some of the problems and some of the points that they make about the current system-and you have been a teacher, you have been a professor, you have run a university very successfully-if you look at the way in which people complain about professors and teachers, one of the complaints is it is handled locally. If somebody complained at Loughborough about a professor it would end up with you the Vice Chancellor, wouldn’t it? You would have a disciplinary process-
Professor Pearce: You would.
Chair:-but at the end of the day you would decide. It is not that different, is it, to what you are suggesting here. That if there is a breach of the code it is kept by the police, and the public perception is, "Well, this is just a club because the same people are going to look at the same problems".
Professor Pearce: No, I think with the IPCC we should look at the whole process. As I said, I think it is impractical for all of it to go to the IPCC. With minor things it is just not appropriate, and one would hope that a standards department would be well able to cope. One of the things is perhaps the transparency and openness about it. That has to be maximised because that is the way of keeping the highest quality in the smaller-
Q603 Chair: Yes. Mr Marshall, you want to keep it with the police. You want to keep it with the chief constable because, even though you have said to this Committee today, on the Andrew Mitchell affair, that you believe that the standards had fallen below what one would have expected, you accept the judgment of the chief constables in two of the cases. You do not think it should go outside.
Alex Marshall: My view is the same as Professor Pearce. We need a strong, well resourced, independent body to investigate complaints, and I think all complaints that are serious and sensitive and have public interest to that extent should go to that independent body. I said that earlier.
Q604 Chair: That is why I cannot understand the answer you gave me to the first question. When I put it to you that this really ought to go outside, you know that there is huge public interest in the Andrew Mitchell case but you still think the judgment of Chris Sims and Mr Parker is fine. That is what I find very puzzling.
Alex Marshall: The investigation should have gone to an outside organisation and should have been dealt with independently, and it would have been much better. It would have been better in the public eye and better for all concerned if it had gone outside to an independent investigator. I have always thought that and I have been consistent in saying that.
Q605 Chair: Yes, but given the current situation you do not think it should go any further. You think it all should rest, despite the fact that you think the three officers should apologise?
Alex Marshall: I am recognising that the process has come to an end in two of the places and that, therefore, as far as I understand it, the IPCC no longer has any power to take that investigation back. I think it would have been much better for the IPCC to have taken the entire investigation.
Q606 Chair: Professor Pearce, a couple of questions about your board. Have you now been able to chose any members of your board? Of course you inherited members of your board. Has the Home Secretary allowed you to choose any new members?
Professor Pearce: The board is developing in a very strong way. We have created a nominations and remuneration committee, which will be looking at the skills that are needed around the board for the next phase of our development. We have an agreement that that nominations and remuneration committee-which is chaired by Millie Banerjee, the chair of British Transport Police-will look at creating a matrix of skills and it is already doing so. We know that we have a need to bring greater educational expertise on to the board and we know we have a need to bring greater commercial expertise on to the board. That process is in place.
Q607 Chair: I am just counting the number of police professionals who are on the board. With the police and crime commissioners you have Anne Barnes, Katy Bourne and of course Bob Jones. You have four police officers, chief constables. You have a couple of professors. You have one member of the ethnic minority community, but you seem to have nobody from the public.
Alex Marshall: We have four people.
Q608 Chair: Who are your public people because-
Professor Pearce: Police and crime commissioners.
Q609 Chair: They are supposed to be the public?
Professor Pearce: Yes.
Q610 Chair: But the guys and people who walk around the streets, members of the public. I am thinking of the way that the Appointments Commission for judges is now done. You have lay members on there. You have professionals here, paid professionals. You have no members of the public on here.
Professor Pearce: The way the Home Secretary set it up was to have three independent members, and there are three independent members. We do not have a larger group, but they are independent so there is-
Q611 Chair: You are talking about the Police and Crime Commissioners?
Professor Pearce: No, I am talking about Louise Casey, Professor Sherman and Sir Denis O’Connor who are not in police roles.
Q612 Chair: Sir Denis O’Connor is a former Chief Inspector, so he is not a lay person.
Professor Pearce: Indeed.
Chair: Louise Casey is a Government employee.
Professor Pearce: Professor Sherman is quite an expert in criminology.
Chair: Professor Sherman meets all the Chief Constables, although a very distinguished professor from Cambridge University.
Mark Reckless: I should just say that I do know Larry Sherman well.
Chair: Yes, we all know Larry Sherman.
Professor Pearce: Yes.
Q613 Chair: I am talking about those outside, your average person walking around Walsall, for example, you wouldn’t get them on the board, would you?
Mr Winnick: Like myself.
Professor Pearce: Looking at the skills and experiences that we need round the board for the future, given as you say that this was a board that was already established. We are taking that into account, absolutely.
Q614 Chair: Good. Finally, I know you had your inaugural event last week. I do not think this Committee and Members of Parliament were invited. Please feel free to invite this Committee to all events. Treat us as your friends.
Professor Pearce: Thank you.
Chair: We are going to watch the development of the college very carefully. We support the concept of a college. We would like you to be a Royal College, and Parliament wants to support what you are doing but if we do not know what you are doing it is very difficult for us to suddenly find out. So please keep us informed.
Professor Pearce: Yes, thank you.
Chair: Mr Marshall, Professor Pearce, thank you very much for coming.