Dorset PCC Welcomes Government Public Consultation on Police Complaints System
After months of campaigning for an independent channel for police complaints, Dorset PCC Martyn Underhill welcomes a new Government consultation on proposals to reform the police complaints system.
Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill, has welcomed the Home Secretary Theresa May’s announcement that there will be a consultation on proposals to reform the police complaints system.
The proposals include giving Police and Crime Commissioners powers to handle complaints against the police, including allowing PCCs to deal with low level complaints themselves. This would end the situation in which police forces automatically handle complaints made against their own officers.
In response to today’s announcement, Dorset PCC Martyn Underhill said “The public of Dorset, and I overwhelmingly believe that the police should not investigate themselves. Wherever you go, people cannot understand a teacher marking their own homework. Police complaints needs full independence and at the moment only the most serious allegations receive that through the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). A partnership between the IPCC and PCC would enable complete transparency and due governance.”
“At our engagement events, I ask people ‘Do you think it is appropriate for the police to investigate their own complaints? We asked over 300 people in 8 locations in Dorset in the last year and 90% said ‘NO’. In Bournemouth, we had 70 in the audience and 100% voted ‘NO’. It is a clear message from the people in Dorset. I know that most people do not want to see police officers investigating themselves. It just isn’t right”.
In addition, the key reform proposals include providing the IPCC with additional powers and to introduce police disciplinary hearings in public with independent, legally qualified chairs.