I watched tonight’s Panorama with interest. In it we had a Chief
Executive Constable of ACPO stating that we should recognise officers make mistakes which should be taken into account when dealing with complaints. Yet he seeks to state that the former Special Constable, also featured , somehow justified being sentenced to 3 years imprisonment. Former Special PC Lightfoot deals with a drunken buffoon ejected from a nightclub by bouncers who still have to call the police, abuses an ambulance crew preventing them dealing with a collapsed lady, throws another lady’s handbag into the street, who refuses to go home, falls over twice he is that p*ssed and tries to bite the legs of the attending officers. All Mr Lightfoot did was punch him six times using distraction blows to get him to release his arm or did I miss something? Oh and Mr Lightfoot, being a Special was not even being paid for the privilege. Good grief, I have known rapists and GBH assaults by stabbing get less of a sentence.
I also consider it easy for a closeted ACPO ranking official who last saw an angry man on a cctv camera to pick fault with those at the sharp end. I would also be pleasantly surprised if they chose to get their uPSD to investigate rather than prosecute. I would dearly love for the uPSD to not be allowed to consider any rumour, anecdotes, innuendo or reputation. However, for that to happen we would need to have proper and efficient investigators in our uPSD and we all know that in the majority of cases efficiency and uPSD do not go hand in hand. Unless of course, they have decided to sack you, then they are brilliantly efficient.
The main recipients of this summary uPSD justice are the lower ranks, the street cops. Those brave individuals who put themselves in the firing line day in and day out. They have no support from senior management who are just as likely to cold shoulder them when it suits. Woe betide you making a mistake if your face doesn’t fit. Just ask PC Consterdine from the Conspiracy of Bastards post. I felt that the Durham experiment was worthwhile. The member of the public still not happy at the arrest but understanding the reasons behind it. In my force, that would just be a two year prosecution of the officer for a criminal assault where it was a toss up if he was to face a misconduct panel.
I think I would welcome an independent investigative arm to police discipline but one which specific rules of engagement. Their remit would be to investigate and not prosecute. Their purpose would be to not decide guilt or innocence but to report the full facts to a judiciary or panel for them to make a decision. Being independent they would simply investigate the complaint with no ulterior motive or sinister crusade behind them. One thing it cannot be, though, is the IPCC. That bunch of former school teachers, insurance consultants and DWP clerks thrive on salacious and unwarranted headlines designed to promote and publicise themselves rather than a true reflection of the case facts.
Independent enquiry would do away with Noble Cause Corruption, so say I.