Establish an independent board that investigates complaints against the police.
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In some ways complaints against the police are no different from other complaints by consumers of public services. Complaints are unresolved problems where redress is needed, and effective mechanisms for dealing with them are an essential aspect of the accountability of that service. However, accountability mechanisms have an added dimension for the police service, as the police are in a very different position to other providers of public services. They are the gatekeepers of the criminal justice system, and this role means that they have a range of powers and equipment to enable them to carry out their law enforcement function. For example, they have powers of arrest, they can deprive citizens of their liberty, and they can question and detain. They can impose upon personal and community freedom in a way that no other body of persons can.
Police misconduct thus presents a particular threat to the rights and liberties of
individual citizens. Moreover, it can also undermine the credibility of the criminal
justice system, the effectiveness of policing, and the legitimacy of government (see Bayley 1995: 93). Tackling police misconduct is difficult because of the
organisational culture of policing, where group loyalty militates against officers
testifying against each other. Pressures on the police to secure convictions,
particularly in high profile cases, also leads to ‘noble cause’ corruption, where police
officers, convinced of the guilt of suspects, “routinely” deviate from rules and
regulations in order to secure convictions (Punch 2003: 187).
As a result of this, it is of major importance that there is some external control over
police powers, and adequate systems of accountability.
When a complaint is made to the Police it is handled by The Professional Standards Department which are members of the Police force. I have had cases where they have not followed the P.A.C.E guidelines and/or obstructed complainants in the hope the complainant will just give in. The Police do not have to pay for their legal representatives and are paid to respond to you, where as the majority of public are not entitled to legal aid and have to find the time and resources to respond to the catalogue of Police correspondence they receive, either skirting around the issue or the content in the letters is not related to the complaint. The Police can point blank refuse to investigate your case, regardless of if this adheres to the P.A.C.E guidelines. Police will rarely report themselves to the I.O.P.C and every case I have sent to the I.P.C.C they have sent it back to the Professional Standards Department. They seem only to be interested in high profile cases.
Every county has to have it's own independent board that investigates complaints if people are not happy with either: the way the Professional Standards Department handle their complaint or the outcome. The board will be fully independent for e.g made up of a Police misconduct solicitor, a Barrister, a social worker, medical professional and a member of the public. (Obviously this is just a suggestion and how the board and who it would be made up of would be looked into thoroughly for the most positive and unassailable outcome) Possibly allowing victims of crime on the panel would allow for there to be the least chance of corruption, to reinforce the chance of corruption, posts could be say only held for a maximum of 3 years. On no account would anyone who had any involvement with the Police or had ever worked for them would be allowed on the board.
The only way at the moment if the Police will not do what they are paid to do and investigate thoroughly is to take your own case to Judicial Review, this is exhausting, stressful and usually out of the financial reach of most. The law at that level is so complicated the majority of people without legal training would be unable to do this without a Barrister. An immense amount of the general public have lost complete faith in the Police, gone are the days when the local Bobby was a highly respected and trusted member of the community. That's why we must force the Government to change and have a truly Independent investigating panel that the Police are answerable too. This is for any complaint how ever small or irrelevant the Police may believe it is, or how ever much it will damage the reputation of the force if it were to come out in the public. If the Police do not investigate a complaint in conjunction with P.A.C.E guidelines, the complaint can be given to the panel to investigate and the Police made accountable for their actions.
We have to act now for all victims of crime who have been let down by the Police and future victims of crime, please make sure you sign what ever your circumstances, sign for a fairer country where justice is done, because who ever you are one day the outcome may just effect you! Thanks for reading and sign now!
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