THE MORRIS INQUIRY
Transcript of public session: Mr Ken Jones (called)
23 February 2004
Sir William Morris: Chief Constable, good afternoon.
A. Good afternoon.
Sir William Morris: Thank you very much indeed for accepting our invitation to attend the Inquiry, and indeed for giving evidence. Thank you also for letting us have your written submission, which we found extremely helpful.
I do appreciate that for some, and I perhaps think there is an exception in this case, but for some people, a process of this nature is rather daunting, so I thought it would be helpful if I could set out briefly how we propose to conduct the hearing this afternoon.
But first, let me introduce myself and my colleagues. My name is Sir Bill Morris, recently retired General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union, a position I held for some 12 years, and I have been asked to chair the Inquiry.
As you can see, I have supporting me two other members of the Panel. First of all there is, on my right, Sir Anthony Burden, perhaps a face you have seen before somewhere. Sir Anthony has recently retired as Chief Constable of the South Wales Constabulary, after a long and distinguished career in the police service.
On my left is Anesta Weekes QC, who is an eminent barrister. Anesta sits as a Recorder and as a part-time chairperson of the employment tribunals. She was, of course, counsel to the Lawrence Inquiry.
Mr Jones, as you know, we have been asked by the Metropolitan Police Authority to conduct an independent inquiry into professional standards and employment matters in the Metropolitan Police Service. Let me say straight away that our focus is the MPC as an organisation, and not the individuals who make up that organisation. The inquiry we are conducting is inquisitorial and not adversarial in nature. We are extremely keen to enquire into the issues raised by our terms of reference, so we can make appropriate recommendations for further good practice, rather than concentrating and making criticisms of the MPS as an organisation, or particular individuals within the MPS.
To help us in our task, we are keen to hear from all our witnesses not only what is wrong with the Metropolitan Police Service, if they conclude that there is something wrong, but also what is right with the Met, but more importantly, we are extremely keen to hear suggestions as to how things can be put right.
Can I just for the record say that a transcript is being taken, so that we have a proper record of the evidence given by our witnesses. This will be posted on our website later today.
At the end of these introductory remarks, I will lead on the questions to you, followed by my colleagues, firstly Sir Anthony Burden; next followed by Miss Weekes, if she has any questions, and any supplementary questions that I might find necessary, at the conclusion of which I will offer you the opportunity for a brief closing comment.
In your written submission which will be posted on our website, you have highlighted a number of issues and offer us the following information: first, the aim of the Association of Chief Police Officers; the impact of the Lancet report; the establishing of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, the IPCC; the shortfalls in the current complaint and disciplinary system, including disproportionality and overregulation; and finally, examples of best practice and your views on the relative merits of constables and employee status within the police service.
We would like to ask you some questions about the materials in your submission and seek your views on a range of matters which are of interest to us under those headings and others, but before we raise these issues, however, for the benefit of the transcript, I wonder if you would not mind formally introducing yourself to the Inquiry.
A. Yes, my name is Ken Jones, I am the Chief Constable of Sussex and I lead for the Association of Chief Police Officers on misconduct matters.
Questions by Sir William Morris
Sir William Morris: Thank you very much. Mr Jones, I would like to start, if I may, by quoting from your written submission, in your stated paragraph 21:
My question, shared by my colleagues, is this: we are interested to hear what kind of framework, other than a statutory regulation and guidance, do you think the issues of misconduct would be better managed by?
A. I think, Sir William, what we need is an element of proportionality, whereby proper protections are put around those who have to enforce the law, particularly those who are involved in coercion and doing things which people do not want to happen, right through to the other end of the spectrum, where we need a more flexible, less bureaucratic, probably unregulated approach to issues of incivility. I have a colleague here today – we have a couple of examples, just to reveal the impact of the current approach, where we have a file, I think it is for somebody for a crime who was convicted – forgive me, if my colleague has just produced these. You will see quite a slim file, despite the fact that that is too bureaucratic as well, but I have another file with me which concerns an allegation of incivility, which is about four times as thick.
So I think we can make the point quite graphically here. This is a guilty plea for a burglar, who has taken a vehicle and breached bail, so the Panel are at liberty to look at that, but I would ask that that not be published because it has named individuals within it.
But here we have a complaint against an officer of incivility, from someone who he dealt with on a parking offence. The allegation was that he exceeded his powers by having the complainant's car towed away. Now I am afraid, Sir William, that is not untypical. There is something wrong there surely, and what I am arguing for is that we need a sort of continuum where you have a graduated approach, where you have at the one end these people who are disappointed with us, and there will be those people, to be dealt with in a much swifter, less bureaucratic way, but clearly the other end, where allegations can be quite serious, allegations of crime, clearly calls for a completely different treatment.
As I think I said somewhere else in my submission, the sledgehammer of regulations and guidance is often used to crack the incivility nut, so that is what I would be looking for, some more flexibility, and the IPCC offers us opportunities to actually bring that about.
Sir William Morris: I can see the logic which leads to your conclusion, but I am also very mindful that no two situations are the same.
Sir William Morris: When one talks about proportionality, in the context of resource, time, all those considerations, you are into an element of subjectivity, if I may say so. The only other sort of framework which I can think of, and you have talked about a graduated step, is, in fact, a sort of protocol, perhaps, which would give guidance to the deciding officer as to what would be reasonable in all the circumstances as a resource to be expended.
But I am not even satisfying myself that that is in itself a conclusive test, because you know better than I what starts off as a small oak tree or a small sapling, an acorn, so to speak, in crime prevention, and in other spheres of life, generally grows into oak trees.
So I am not sure whether or not, you know, the graduation as a step in terms of expending the resource appropriately, in terms of what has been investigated, would lead to justice all round, and I can understand very clearly the disadvantages particularly for those who are at the very sharp end, being accused or having to defend their decisions or position.
But taking my point about subjectivity and the uncertainty of the proportionate resource to be allocated, and the pursuance of justice in that context, do you want to add any further comments about that?
A. Yes, I think that the new arrangements, where we talk about local resolution, and a stronger emphasis on local investigation, gives us an opportunity – providing we can have guidance issued by the IPCC that creates flexibility – it gives us a great opportunity to empower leaders and managers to actually grip these situations much earlier on, remove some of the fear, and get them to manage the risk and not try to avoid it.
So I think there is an opportunity within the IPCC world which is emerging over the next six months, and we are going to do what we can to strongly and positively influence that. I strongly believe that if we can get that guidance right, we can see a diminution of this sort of thing – and as a taxpayer, I just find that quite difficult – but also to concentrate proportionately those resources at the more serious end, so as I say, I think the current guidance is a one size fits all; it does not allow the degree of flexibility that I think we need.
I took the liberty of looking at Sir Alistair's evidence, and he was hinting at the same thing; that there is an opportunity within it but it needs us to be open enough to grip this, because the temptation is to immediately retreat into the bureaucracy of the system, whilst not confronting the allegation and the poor behaviour at the point of service delivery. That is what we need to get back to, and that is what most organisations do, after all. This is three or four years old, this one; it took a couple of years for someone to be told something, "Oh, this is not substantiated"; they all thought that this is just what the police service do, refuse to face up to my complaint. So nobody was satisfied by that, and it has cost us all an awful lot of money.
So despite the reservations, and they are absolutely right, the ones that you have, there are great opportunities around currently to move forward on this, and I think we need to grip them.
Sir William Morris: Yes.
A. That is something you could help with, if you could come towards the same conclusions; I think that is one of the ways forward. There is much more we can and should be doing.
Sir William Morris: Well, perhaps you can help us, and you are, but is there any other aspect of crime prevention or detection where there is a sort of graduated model of proportionality, in terms of resource expended, which you can point us to?
A. I think as leaders within the police service, we are quite adept at proportionality when it comes to investigating criminal complaints, and some of us can cost fairly accurately, for example, the cost of a stranger homicide or a burglary investigation, but when it comes to these issues there is a complete lack of consistency. It is that inconsistency which we need to address. So the model may be that we seem to be more adept and quite good at deciding what resource to put into a particular allegation or an offence in the criminal world, if you like, but we need to transfer some of that thinking and that learning into this activity.
But the other thing we have to do is to get our supervisors and our leaders, police staff and police officers, to take more responsibility, and we need to protect them as well, we need to encourage them to confront these issues at the time they happen, because that is what we – justice delayed is justice denied, and there is a lot of fear around this currently. I think we have bureaucratised and regulated it to the point where people do not feel comfortable to manage risk, they feel more comfortable to avoid risk.
Nobody can be criticised for that, but we have to change that, we have to give more encouragement to our leaders, to actually take more responsibility at the point of delivery and not retreat into these processes and procedures.
I have some understanding and some sympathy for that behaviour, because the criticisms can be quite severe of getting it wrong.
Sir William Morris: So how do we instil confidence in our risk managers not to become victims?
A. I said, and it was around, perhaps, more sensitive issues, that one of the issues for the police service is that it has to restate its public service ethos. We have to rediscover what it is we joined to do, and we have to sort of move away from overly technocratic approaches to leadership and management, and actually restate what our values are, and then those who confront and challenge our values need to be picked out at the point it happens, not to hide behind some tortuous bureaucratic process months and months and years and years down the piece. That is what we need to do, and I need to be empowered to do that, but I also need to provide the support for people to get into that era.
The other thing the service has to do is to, in my view, and I heard Steve Allen say something the other day which perhaps I was not fully supportive of: we have to rediscover what we once had as our strength, which was leadership training delivered at a national level.
I think any attempt to break that up and to deliver it locally, the core courses, I think we should resist because what the police staff college did for people years ago, and is beginning to do so again, is to inculcate core values of leadership, core values of policing, some public service, around which forces like the Met could then develop their leaders in a particular way, but we all had a common set of values which we believed in. That started to be eroded; it was never an intention, but the new era of police training sort of undermined that somewhat, and I am keen to get that back on track.
Sir William Morris: Yes.
A. I will just finish off, Sir William, because that will give us consistency. There is no question about it, that when something happens which disappoints people when it gets national media attention, we are seen as a national police service, so any attempt that sort of waters that down I think we want to resist.
Sir William Morris: I think that you will be pushing at a very open door, or you are pushing at an open door, when you talk about public service ethos, but there is a price tag that goes with that. It is accountability, it is consent, and you have made reference in your written submissions to policing by consent.
How do you set about building a constituency of public support, as part of the accountability, to get the consent which would then enable you to put a model in which is trusted, given the fact that it will never be scientific, but it is trusted because it is built on a public service ethos?
A. Well, I will offer a personal view here, that we have to get policing back into localities. Policing is a local, relatively uncomplicated business, and we need to get back to that. There is a level of policing which goes on above that, which is about organised criminality, terrorism, drug crime, but below that level the things that bother ordinary men and women have always bothered ordinary men and women. I think the way back – and it is happening in a lot of forces, I know the MPS are now speaking of this – is to route policing back into local communities.
That sort of public service has – you know, to use a horrible bit of jargon – diseconomies of scale. It means opening up more small police stations, it means having less attachment to quantitative performance outcomes and more attachment to qualitative, and I think that begins to recover some of the ground we lost.
My intuition, and it is no more than that, is when – people understood us very well when I was a younger officer and I understood them. The expectations on either side were very realistic. I think they are unrealistic now, and I think that leads to some of the things we are here to talk about today.
So it is a long answer, but I think it begins with restating our public service values, it begins by us rooting ourselves in communities once more, and asserting our independence, because through independence, I think, comes trust.
Sir William Morris: Right. Chief Constable, a recurring theme in your submission is the opportunity that the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints Commission brings, and you welcome the added independence that the IPCC will have relative to its predecessor.
Do you believe the framework within which the IPCC will operate will address the failings that have been identified in the current system?
A. Only if, Sir William, we get the necessary development and more progressive guidance. The regulations are one thing; it is the statutory guidance which underpins them which is so, so important for police and public alike. So if we get that right, yes, I do.
If we do not get it right, we will not make the best of this new era, but what we will have, even if we do not get it right, is the IPCC's authority to behave independently in the way the PCA was never able to.
What we are talking about today is very important, because what that means is that they will be able to say to complainants of the police service, "Our view on the scope of this investigation is this, or that", but it will have much more authority.
Up until now, I think the PCA – I cannot speak for them, but I can speak for forces – have been very uncomfortable to constrain and bound inquiries, and we have seen the consequences of that and Lancet is probably the best and worst example of that. So I think even if we cannot grip the opportunity of guidance, and I am determined that we will, we will still have great opportunities if the IPCC develops the independence and credibility which the statute gives it.
As I say, the PCA were never given that headroom, and I have sat with the PCA with very, very difficult complaints, and I have sensed their difficulty too, in actually having an authority view to say to a complainant, "Well, this is as far as this ought to go", and we have gone off into unproductive cul-de-sacs often for no real benefit, so even so there will be benefit.
Sir William Morris: Yes, okay, so we have the IPCC, and a new piece of legislation, and we all have very high hopes, but as an attachment to your written submission, you kindly submitted for us the conduct regulation which came with your written submission.
Are you saying that hand in hand with the new regulation for the IPCC, the new statutory provision, there is some amendment maybe necessary in terms of the police regulation itself, in order that the two can, if you like, coalesce together? Not mutually exclusive, but somewhat complementary.
A. I do think it is –
Sir William Morris: Or have I read that –
A. No, I think that is absolutely right, Sir William. I do think the time has come for us to exploit, in the proper sense of the word, this inquiry; to actually call into question the need to regulate on this conduct in the way that we do. As I say, I think it is right and proper that some of the protections which the regulations offer – they go along with the office of constable, they go along with the use of coercion; I think it is right and proper, but it is not right and proper in my view – and this is my own personal view, this is not an ACPO position – to actually look at, stepping back from some of that and having that graduated approach that I mentioned earlier, and this sort of thinking can now develop, I hope, from the fact of this Inquiry, so we can influence and evolve our approach in the time ahead.
Now that is going to be a very difficult message, I think, for some of the people that work with me, but I do sense that if they were truly exposed to the cost, in terms of the pain and misery that causes, as well as the monetary cost, they could not ignore the fact that something needs to be done, we need to look at this, but I am not in favour of moving away entirely to a deregulated employee status.
So I think that, as I said, the sledgehammer of regulations and statutory guidance should not be applied to the incivility nut in future, but in the interim we will have to live with this but with a more progressive guidance, I would hope, that we could militate against the worst effects of this.
Sir William Morris: How do you answer the charge that one person's sledgehammer is another person's feather duster?
A. Yes, absolutely, because if you are a person on the end of this incivility, you might take the view that that is right and proper, but I would say you approach that with a particular interest, and somebody else has to look at the broader canvas and take a different view.
That is where I think, getting back to the point you asked me earlier, about the PCA, they have never had the authority – they were not always perceived to be independent of government or the police service – to say to a complainant, "No, I am sorry, this is proportionate, this is the right and proper degree of results to allocate to this. We have come to an impasse and we are going no further", whereas we have pursued perfection, in the past, with things like this. That might be a hard message to deliver but I think provided the IPCC develops authority and credibility, it will be accepted. Nobody is going to be happy – I think Sir Alistair said that there will always be complainants who are going to be unhappy because they are not going to hear the answer that they decided they wanted to hear right at the beginning. Now why should we spend thousands and thousands of hours arriving there when we knew we were going to get there in the first place?
Sir William Morris: Could I, Chief Constable, move you on to another theme: best practice? Of course, people like Sir Anthony tell us about ACPO's work in leading and setting procedures, processes, systems of best practice, and that is extremely commendable.
But let me say that we are also grateful for your comments, which were set out in your submission, about best practice within individual forces. We would be interested to hear more in terms of some concrete examples where best practice has been implemented, and improving either operational or managerial processes, if you can share your experience with us in terms of best practice.
A. Okay. There are opportunities within the existing system for innovation and best practice, but they are limited because of the statutory effect of the guidance. People can be judicially reviewed if they do not actually conform to them, but having said that, there have been pilots that I was engaged with setting up when I was in Avon and Somerset, so, for example, in Thames Valley, looking at a restorative mediative approach, that has been tried.
Quite a few forces, and I will have to get back to you with the actual details, have gone in for case conferencing on the back of one of the recommendations in Lancet. Other forces have experimented with dealing with complainants in a much more timely way, and a less bureaucratic way, so there has been a deal of innovation, but it has not had the impact. My view is that the current regulations and guidance actually constrain what it is you can actually do.
We did have some good ideas for innovation when I was down in Bristol, doing the job as a deputy Chief Constable, but they were ruled out by the then guidance, so it does not really – all it calls for is more efficient approaches to the bureaucracy.
The analogy is that it is a bit like polishing the penny farthing. We are not actually attacking the real problem, we are making the penny farthing work a bit better when we ought to get rid of it altogether. So there has been a lot of that going on.
Sir William Morris: Especially when you have the penny farthing in a jet propelled age.
A. Yes, absolutely.
Sir William Morris: We are very keen on hearing as much as we can about best practice, and practices generally, and processes and systems and procedure, but we wondered whether – wondering aloud – there ought to be a more systematic approach, because following it from the touchline, the margins of the touchline, like some of us did, it would appear that the whole concept of the development of good practice, managerial as well as operational but we will take managerial, has been led by your association, by ACPO.
Could you share with us whether there is any case for a national academy for the police service to develop and test best practice so that there is a uniformity of understanding? It seems to be sort of left to the initiative of each chief constable working through and with ACPO.
A. Once again, I am going to offer a personal view here. The Association needs more resources at the centre.
Sir William Morris: I am a trade unionist, by the way.
A. I know you are, Sir William. I used to be one of your members, but anyway. I think the Association needs to be differently resourced at the centre, so it can develop more of this policy and practice in a less distributive way than it currently does. I think then it would command more authority, and its ability to professionally advise forces and government would be enhanced, but we are moving towards that; we now have a full time president and he, Chris Fox, has more staff than his predecessors, and Sir Anthony was one of them, so we are moving into that, and perhaps we need to move into that era a bit more assertively.
I am of the view that it needs a significant secretariat, and I am sure that your good self, as General Secretary of the TUC, would be quite surprised at the resource that is around our president in terms of developing positions on things like this. But we seem to be moving in that direction; maybe we ought to move a bit quicker.
Sir William Morris: Yes.
A. I will just tag on, if I may, that the police staff college is shortly to go under new leadership; that represents to me another opportunity for us to put a stake in the ground and say, "This is where we will develop our national doctrine, this is where we will develop our national processes and procedures". Out of the police staff college, for example, came the homicide manual, came some of the best practice that is now in use right round the country, and in consequence, we have been able to win justice for people, we have been able to reduce crime and disorder, so there is an opportunity now, with new leadership there, for that to reclaim its position.
And there used to beat the heart of British policing, and long may that be the case, so, yes, I think ACPO needs to be resourced differently, but also our central staff college needs to get its head round these sorts of things and I think we could punch our weight then.
Sir William Morris: Yes, I raised the point because I can see where the different centres of excellence are emerging. What I cannot see is what I referred to last week as a sort of golden thread running through the process, because at the one end you have ACPO, you have the staff college, a lot of resource, a lot of creative ideas emerging, meeting the challenge of prevention and detection; but in isolation, glorious or otherwise, you have regulations and procedures like what we have here, appended to your submission, looking at the perspective through a totally different set of lenses.
You know, I think I am picking up a feel that in some way they might even be cancelling out each other. How do you make the link and get this golden thread running through the regulations which are statutory, and the practice which are – well, necessary, but complementary; how do we get that golden thread?
A. This is an unusual element of police activity, in that it is so heavily regulated and it is subject to so much statute. For example, our doctrine around homicide investigation has only recently become a code, and more or less become mandatory, so this is unusual in that it has remained in this particular vein.
A few witnesses, I think, have referred to its evolution in that it may or may not – I am not sure, I think it has – got echoes in our 19th century militaristic evolution, in the language of charges and regulations. My father would have found some relevance having served in the army, but when I joined I did not, I was quite baffled by it.
In the last few years we are definitely beginning to move away from this. The code of conduct now is much more about the proper way to behave, as opposed to, "These are the things you cannot do", but this is somewhat out of sync to it. And as I say, it is in my view, and it is a personal view, used inappropriately at both ends of the spectrum of an issue, for example, where an officer may be called upon to exercise extreme force in pursuit of enforcing the law, right to the other end, this one, where a constable has ordered that somebody's car be taken off the street, and we finish up with this. And there are worse ones than this, there really are.
Sir William Morris: Yes. Can I move you on to one or two employment issues? We have looked at your own experience in terms of Fulbright and all the other things that you have done, and the contribution you make elsewhere in the world as part of good police practice. If I have read you wrong in your submission, then please correct me, but what I am reading in your submission, the impression that it has left me with is that you are not persuaded by the current debate in police circles and other circles which suggests that police officers perhaps ought to enjoy, if that is the right relationship, employment legislation for whatever it provides.
It has been suggested to us that there should almost be a sweeping away of some of the past sort of practices which surround the employment of police officers; and the sort of culture or notion of the constable in the traditional form, the form that we know it, is perhaps an anachronism which has seen better days.
But my reading of your submission does not share that view; perhaps you could tell us your view, so we do not misunderstand you or misquote you.
A. I think we have to look at the broadest possible canvas here. We do not have a written constitution in this country, and the independence of the judiciary and law enforcement is guaranteed more by precedents and respect for certain boundaries; we do not have recourse to a constitution.
So my argument here is that the office of constable is directly linked to that, and what is linked to him or her being independent, and being a constable, an office holder, is the independence of law enforcement itself, and it is my ability to make operationally independent decisions, and so guarantee our independence from the political process, and I think that is so important to consent.
If anybody needs to doubt that, we are seeing – because our democracy is developing in different ways – we are seeing the election of politicians of extreme persuasion. It is not beyond the bounds of possibility to see a police authority, for example, with some sort of BNP representation on it. Now I would not want to serve in a structure like that if I was not operationally independent and my constables were not officeholders under the law, and I think we need to bear in mind the worst case scenario, and to say in the absence of constitutional protections why we need to hang on to the office of constable.
In terms of employment law, we have seen over the last few years that employment law has been elaborated to give officers protections, for example on discrimination, race issues, and recently under public interest disclosure, so they have access now to tribunals – I agree in a limited way, but nevertheless, there are ways of probably meeting some of the people who want to see that constable status changed, there are ways of meeting that without throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but I think there are some unintended consequences that lie in wait for us if we are not too careful on this one.
Sir William Morris: Well, in your response, you have raised some pretty important issues there, starting with the constitution, but I will not perhaps pursue that, because that is probably more appropriate for other forums. We all rest on the fundamental principle about policing with consent; we all rest on the principle that we live in a democracy, and the people should decide, they are mature enough to determine who they elect, and who they elect will determine how we live our lives, and the laws that govern our lives.
But let me just move on from that very interesting area of liberty, freedom, democracy, and all that, and be a bit more specific in saying that there are other aspects of our national life, national governance, and service providers, who are independent, without any consideration whatsoever that they could be in any way tarnished, tainted, whatever, whose status in terms of legal protection gives them the right, as others enjoy, without their independence and practices being compromised as they do their work.
So I am not persuaded yet that there is no sort of recognition to be provided for in the context of employment legislation –
A. And I would agree with you. I would say there are ways of extending and elaborating employment legislation, and that has already happened, where some of the protections are afforded, but without losing our status as officeholders, and without us becoming attached to the executive in a way that would happen, in my view, if I was an employee, and the people that worked for me were employees in the ordinary sense of the word.
Because I think once our independence is even perceived to be qualified, and we are at the other end of some dictat or some political group or other, I think we are on the road to ruin, I really do, and I think the strength of British policing lies in our ability to be independent and to be seen to be independent, so we need to – we can move down the road that you are suggesting, but we need to bear in mind and protect what is good about the current structure. There will be unintended consequences if ...
Sir William Morris: If you give someone the right to go to an industrial tribunal and pursue a grievance of possible unfair dismissal, that is not putting that individual under political direction, is it?
A. No, it is not.
Sir William Morris: That is giving personal rights.
A. And these are the things I think we need to have some discussions about. The easy way would be to remove the office.
Sir William Morris: You see, when you talk about the office, there are two arguments here; whether the office, as it is defined, is the culture and the ethos, or whether the office is a very practical, almost tangible set of experiences that he or she must deploy.
I think it has been suggested that the ethos of the office of constable could still be maintained, and from a practical point of view, where you respond on an order, and then ask the questions afterwards, could be incorporated in a properly drawn contract, so you would increase and enhance the rights of the individual without detracting from any ethos, because that is instilled in you, you are a police officer because there is something in you which is extra special; you maintain that ethos, and you maintain the culture of responding, but you get the protection as an individual.
A. As I say, I think that is a debate that we could and should be having. I mean, I tried to get into my evidence something from the States, because as far as I am aware, and I have worked in the States, people maintain the difference between the sworn and the unsworn elements of police staff, and I have been trying to find something other than some stated cases as to why that survived so strongly; and it has, it is a common thread throughout policing in the States, and there may lie some light into the argument that you are developing.
Sir William Morris: Yes. Just let me explore with you, if you like, the managerial dimension of your role as Chief Constable of Sussex, and I would come to it in the knowledge of your experience, looking at police services elsewhere, the Fulbright scholarship and others, and the time that you spent in the United States, the Los Angeles Police and all that sort of stuff.
That said, as, if you like, architecture to my comments. I think it is very common ground that the office of the Chief Constable is an extremely challenging policing post; no debate needs to be had around that, that is a paradigm that we share. Because he or she has to deliver strategic executive management and leadership for large forces, small forces, but the principles are the same: responsible for officers, uniformed officers, responsible for staff, significant budget, huge resource which has to be comprehensively managed strategically for the proper reasons that they were allocated. So that is on the one hand.
On the other hand, the Chief Constable has to give equally strategic executive leadership in crime detection and prevention, operational issues in a world which is changing, evolving – the concept of crime knows no boundaries now, it is very much internationalised in that sense – and new demands every day.
In your view, is there a competing principle here? Are these two priorities competing against each other?
A. Not at all, Sir William, because I can remember – it is not long ago that government and conventional wisdom was saying to us that we need to align operational and financial responsibilities; indeed, the Audit Commission nationally issued a report called "Checks and Balances", which criticised the police service for having a division of labour, if you will, along the lines you were sort of drawing out there, so we were all encouraged to move towards the position that we have now.
It does not give me a conflict, because I have sitting alongside me at director level a director of resources, effectively, and he manages all the big ticket items, and has a fairly large staff himself, but he also manages a devolved structure, so professional expertise in terms of finance, procurement of kit, management of all my estate, fleet; he handles that for me.
So he sits alongside me, he is at the same level as an assistant chief officer, chief constable; he handles all that for me and gives me strategic advice but handles it in a day-to-day fashion, but he is under my direction and control, so the overall direction I give – so about 18 months ago, we went in a strategic direction, and you will not be surprised to hear about re-opening police stations, et cetera, et cetera, and I gave him the commission to get on with that and he has delivered that.
But he is, as I say, my director of resources, and most, if not all, forces, because of the strong drive in the 1990s, now have this similar structure, so there is a parallel very senior structure, senior police staff, managing the resource side, if you like, of the business, and I am giving that operational strong message and strong leadership, but I need the help and support of specialists like my director.
Sir William Morris: So, like me, you do not take the popular view then; every police officer is a good manager and every good manager is a good police officer.
A. No. The other thing, of course, is I have the strategic oversight of the Police Authority, so, if you like, there is a separation there too, and their primary focus is on value for money.
I mean, our budget is about £230 million, that is revenue, and that is a significant responsibility for me, and it is discharged, as I say, through the director, but also the oversight of the Police Authority. Most forces, including the MPS, have an identical structure, and I know Mr Luck's people are replicated right through down to the OCU level in a way that they were not perhaps some years ago.
Sir William Morris: Well, I am pleased to hear that there is a recognition that certain skills are needed in certain areas.
A. Sir William, you will remember from your time at the TUC that leadership is a team sport, and I possibly could not have all the expertise to run the IT architecture we have, you know, the estates management, we have 700 vehicles, for example, so I need the skills and expertise to manage that effectively on behalf of the taxpayer, and that is in.
Sir William Morris: What I am searching for is an understanding as to how much the model that you have just articulated – how widespread it is; has it grown up like Topsy, on the basis that there is a lot to do, operationally, so we will devolve?
Or is there anywhere, any place, whether ACPO or the college or Whitehall or whatever, where there is a strategic recognition and development of this person or office which would give the quality of excellence of managing the resource, minding the shop, as I call it, which would enable the Chief Constable to be much more proactive in the operational end of life, visiting the troops and smelling the sawdust, as I put it. I just want to understand –
A. I would like to think that that actually happens. I mean, I am out and about at least once a week, in either division or department; I spend most of my time wrestling with the operational issues and strategies, and I spend very little time around the resourcing issues, because as I say, they are handled by a different part of the operation.
As I said before, leadership is a team sport, and things such as IT, such as estates, such as the resources, are best handled by those with the best skills to do them, providing it is within the framework and direction that I have given them; you know, the tail must not wag the dog.
But I think through the latter end of the 1990s this structure began to evolve, not in an ad hoc way, but in a learned best practice way, and it is now very, very common throughout the police service, and I think it has added an awful lot of value. I think we have got value for money, but we have also got more time for chief officers to devote time to operational issues.
The other thing it has done, it has brought a degree – and it needs to go further – of standardisation in the way that police services are run and operated, so we have more common procurement of uniforms, vehicles and what have you; we need to do more of that, but that would not have happened without this development of this director of resource role, director of finance they are called in various forces. So the sort of thing you were hinting at, I think, is there.
Sir William Morris: So from what you have said, you would be opposed to a model which leaves the Chief Constable in place, as he or she stands, operationally and whatever, but with a support in the context of chief operating officer or chief executive or whatever for the strategic managerial leadership, running alongside the Chief Constable and delivering, because within the overall scheme of this Inquiry, I would be amazed if we did not encompass some evidence of weak strategic management, where resource needs to be better managed and expended.
A. It can always be better.
Sir William Morris: If it is that the mission is to be fulfilled, which is detection and prevention, then the resource implication and the resource dimension cannot be overlooked in any inquiry or in any consideration.
A. No, and I would agree with that. I think, actually, we are not that far apart. I think if you had more time I could perhaps demonstrate to you, you know, if you were able to, just to see how this actually does operate, because I think, from what I hear you say – I am only speaking personally – we are not far away from that.
We have a very, very strong director who looks after those issues on behalf of the force and the Police Authority, has a network of staff across the organisation, but not to the point where we disengage financial from operational responsibility, because everything has a cost, and at the end of the day, you know, in policing, we have to prioritise our decisions about whether to perform certain operations or not, and I think my leaders need to be held to account for those judgments, and not to be hiding behind some bureaucracy that is there primarily to look after resources but is not sort of working towards the common good, so I think we have the balance about right.
But I can see where you are coming from: if this structure did not exist, where my time is unnecessarily distracted by things about which I am not qualified to pronounce, and at the same time, I am not looking after the business; well, if that was the case, it certainly is not the case now, and as I say, I feel my time is properly divided. I give the strategic direction in terms of resources, in terms of how we are going to invest our funds, in terms of buildings and what have you, but then other people get on with that. Believe me, I spend most of my time poring over our operational performance, and that is another change in the police service in the last five years.
Sir William Morris: And ACPO is alive to this critical question, is it?
A. Absolutely, and it needs to continue to develop and grow. That expertise and that competence which is in our police staff, you know, we need to get more out of it, we need to push that much harder.
Sir William Morris: Just as a point of interest, it has no material value at all, but your director who manages the resources, is he or she a police officer or a civilian?
A. No, he is a member of – we call them police staff. Civilian is another interesting echo, I think, of our militaristic upbringing, but he is a professional, he has held senior management and accountancy posts throughout the private and public sector, an outstanding individual, and most forces have a similar person sitting at the board. It is a very effective model. He has had nothing to do with the police service. My fear is people are trying to poach him all the time, you know, I am desperate to hang on to him.
Sir William Morris: I must come and meet him sometime.
Anyway, thank you very much, Chief Constable. I am sure Sir Anthony has one or two points he wants to explore with you.
Questions by Sir Anthony Burden
Sir Anthony Burden: Thank you for all your comments about the IPCC, and of course, in our deliberations, we are resting great store on what the IPCC will deliver. Many of the matters, high-profile cases, as we are calling them, will probably in the future be classed as independent investigations for the IPCC to actually handle themselves.
The issue for us, and we will ask them but I would welcome ACPO's perception, is are they going to be able to cope; what is the critical mass for them to reach where they say, "That is it, we are at saturation point, we cannot cope with any more"?
A. Well, I have been from the beginning a strong advocate of this: we have to get it right, not get it quick. I hope the IPCC are going to be around for many, many years; I mean, the PCA – 1984 they came into being, so if you imagine at least a 20-year lifespan, I would rather get it right than get it quick.
So my view is we need to develop competence, capability, particularly through this next 12 months, so they take on some high-profile investigations and actually deliver, and actually deliver on behalf of the complainants and the service, and I think then we can start to grow and expand their capability.
Alongside that, the police service will be very flexible in terms of resourcing and supporting the investigations that they would probably take on in a few years time, but currently, I think the need to bite off only that which they can digest – my fear is that they will be pressured into taking on more than they can actually handle, and cause some question marks to be raised from disadvantaged members of our society about their independence and capability, and I think that would be a disaster that they would take a long time to recover from. So I say get it right, not get it quick.
Sir Anthony Burden: From a service viewpoint, do you see them as an organisation which will be properly staffed and properly financed from the outset?
A. I think the resources are proper for the phased implementation that we are looking at. This is my own personal view again: had they been resourced at a different level and had a huge number of staff, I think that would have been undoable.
I think they would have had as many problems in using those people effectively and developing competence; I think it is so complicated, the world they are moving into, in terms of disclosure and investigation, that even if they had had a few hundred more people, the risks would have been higher, for different reasons.
If I was sitting where Nick Hardwick is, I would want to do it the way he is doing it, but in time, the resources, I think, will shift, and they may shift out of various centres, so we can learn as we move along, but the key thing is they must not qualify their independence and their reputation, particularly amongst the public, because once that has happened it is going to be hard to get it back, it really is.
Sir Anthony Burden: Okay, thank you. A lot of mention has been made of the Lancet review, and the IPCC in their submission have quite helpfully said that they intend to embrace Lancet wholesale.
Because this is a matter of public record, could you just enlighten us briefly as to the main recommendations of Lancet as they will affect the management of high-profile cases?
A. Well, as you know, nine recommendations emerged from Lancet, and perhaps before I sort of go into that, I will just indicate the timetable. We thought we would have regulations emerge last spring, and then we would have the three month consultation. We thought by last summer we would be sitting down with the IPCC as it emerged to agree the all important guidance that supports it. As you know, that has been delayed.
I did not mention it in my submission, but it is a fact, so movement on this, although it has been delayed, is in view.
The main recommendations, I think, are about scope and scale of a complaint investigation, that is recommendation 2; similar to the framework applied in a murder investigation. Now I mentioned earlier on the national ops faculty, the police staff college developed the homicide manual.
The other recommendations – well, they are all important, but recommendation 7, identifying the proper skilled senior investigators; I assisted Sir Keith Povey with this some time ago, and we have now developed a cadre of chief officers who have conducted investigations and are able to undertake this very difficult work.
I would say the last two that I would pick out of the nine are recommendation 8, about the case conference, which is now happening in many forces anyway, which actually gets the key stakeholders around the table, because the costs are absolutely unbelievable of some of these inquiries; and recommendation 9, review procedure, because they are all – those few I have highlighted are ones which at least have a potential to get proportionality into an inquiry.
As I said before, the PCA are not to be blamed, in my view, for not having the right statutory authority to try to constrain and bound an inquiry and chief officers alike, but the IPCC will indeed have that authority.
As I say, the main opportunities for Lancet lie within the statutory guidance. Nick Hardwick is absolutely open to that suggestion, and we can bring in a lot of the things I said earlier, providing we are prepared to grip it and take some risks, and that will require some work on the part of our staff associations as well.
Sir Anthony Burden: Can I just make that perfectly clear: the recommendations of Lancet that the IPCC say they will endorse will actually form part of statutory guidance?
Sir Anthony Burden: So even outside of the independent investigations, where they are left to police forces to manage, they will be expected to work within that statutory framework?
A. I hope, Sir Anthony, in the spirit of co-operation, that Nick and his team are going to work with the police service to get us there. I would have liked to have sat here today and said, "Yes, the regulations came out last spring, here is the new statutory guidance, it is Lancet-compliant", as I say.
It is a huge opportunity; make no question about it, and lawyers in and around misconduct will tell you, the regulations are really the battleground over which these issues are fought, it is the guidance, and it is fairly bureaucratic and tortuous.
But as I say, Nick is determined that local investigation, local resolution will have more impact; now to do that we are going to need a different approach than the guidance that we have got now. At the moment, we appear to be pulling on the same end of the rope, and I am confident we can get it there.
We have got until the autumn now to develop the new version of statutory guidance; we have got interim guidance to carry us through the summer, so we are actually totally onside with that.
As I say, I had hoped – and had it not been for the delays, we could sit here today and say, "Look, here is Lancet, and here is our response to it", but unfortunately that is not the case.
Sir Anthony Burden: The reason I ask it is a point that Sir Bill made earlier, about the pace at which different organisations travel. You are very conscious, two commissioners, 40-odd chief constables, all may have a will to comply with Lancet, but it will move at a different pace.
Sir Anthony Burden: Of course that will not happen if it is statutorily bound.
A. It needs to be enshrined in the statutory guidance, so there is an advantage, if you like, in the current system which has its flaws, in that it will bind all players to actually perform to, you know, the philosophy of Lancet. We cannot possibly ever have one of these again, we really cannot.
If you look at the costs in the back of that document, 7 million or so? You know, as a taxpayer, I find that very difficult. But there are a lot of other costly inquiries going on around the country, just the same, although on a much smaller scale, but just as questionable.
Sir Anthony Burden: Just dealing with one issue on delays, the PCA in their submission and their evidence before us – their understanding was that ACPO are undertaking work to design a future format for investigating officers' reports. Is that work underway?
A. Yes, and it is around the issue of disclosure, because clearly the current strain of investigating officers' reports will need to be modified, because there will be a presumption of disclosure in the new arrangements, from 1st April, subject to a harm test; well, that calls for a different approach, and we are actually working on that now with the IPCC.
Sir Anthony Burden: Thank you.
A. But I also have all the professional standards around the country, as we speak, fully engaged with this; they have got hold of the training material only today, so there is an awful lot of activity, very intense, happening around the country.
It is unfortunate that the activities are so compressed, because as I say, we ought to have been where we are now last summer, but nevertheless, there is a strong will within the police service and the IPCC and the Home Office that we are going to make this work, but it is going to be a bumpy summer. I am sure it will be.
Sir Anthony Burden: Thank you. Can I just deal with a few of the people issues coming from investigations? Because we are being supplied with submissions from individuals, and I am not making any judgment about the reasons why they were under investigation, why they would have been arrested, why they would have been suspended, but the fact remains that many of these individuals have remained suspended for three and possibly four years.
There have been indications about how they have been managed, or they have not been managed, during the period of suspension; having been served with charges, the delay that then ensues in getting them before a discipline board, or misconduct hearing as it is now known, and then when the matter has been finalised, and if they return from suspension to normal duties, the lack of support that has actually been given to the individuals to integrate them back into the organisation.
Would you just like to comment, please, on how you see those processes working as they should do, and the framework that should exist around those sort of processes?
A. I think, Sir Anthony, it gets back to my point that we are using the sledgehammer of regulations and guidance to crack some of the smaller nuts.
Now there is a finite resource that can be devoted to misconduct and professional standards with forces, and I think the jam is now spread so thinly across so many different investigations like this one, even though they are thankfully declining, that if we could free up, if you like, the bottom end and put more emphasis on risk management by leaders and managers at the local level, it would free up the capacity to briskly investigate more thoroughly and more adequately some of the more serious allegations, although we are in the hands, to an extent, of the Crown Prosecution Service at times, and pending criminal proceedings.
So there will always be those over which we have very little control, but even then, three or four years, you have to ask yourself, you know, that does not bear water, does it, when you look at the practice and guidance directions about people on bail charged with – you know, my burglar, six to eight weeks, and here we are talking about three or four years, so even within that, we are really going to have to root about in that and find out what went wrong, but I think it is a resourcing issue, it is about bureaucracy and it is about making sure that the players too get some energy and oomph into this process.
We have agreed with the IPCC that the new statutory guidance will contain timeliness targets as well, so there is yet another opportunity there, and we have been in discussion with them about that. We did agree together that regulations were not the right place for it, but nevertheless guidance will be, and that will be hopefully policed a little bit more assertively than it was in the PCA era.
The PCA, of course, I think were underresourced and had huge backlogs, and they in turn unwittingly contributed to some of those delays, but I do think we have to stop giving ourselves excuses to fail on this and get this right, because it sounds awfully weak, as I am sitting here, sort of giving you my explanations, and some people might say no, it is excuses.
One of the reasons I took this on was I was determined to actually move this on and do something with the opportunities provided by Lancet and the Police (Reform) Act, and that still remains my intention.
Sir Anthony Burden: Just moving on to the sort of people issues, is there guidance or is there any intended guidance around the way that officers are treated going through this very traumatic process of being suspended, maybe even arrested, and then this immense delay, and then possibly hopefully returning to work without, as many would see, the proper structures in place, the proper guidance, the proper reintroduction into the workplace; is there some guidance currently that says to forces, "This is how it should be done"?
A. There is guidance in and around forces; there is no national guidance. I think there is something in the mists of time, but for me to attach any weight to that I think would be wrong, and I think it is yet something else we need to look at, as we move into the new era, that we need to look at the rights and responsibilities of officers and police staff against whom complaints have been made, but some of the ones that you and I are aware of, you know, are just frankly not defensible, they really are not, and absorbing people back into the team after they have been out is almost impossible, it damages people, there is no question in my mind.
Sir Anthony Burden: Okay. Can I just move on to legal advice within forces? A comment has been made to us by the Metropolitan Police Authority in respect of the Met that says there is a widely held view that decision-making is driven by legal advice, and that the legal advice tends to be overly defensive and insensitive to wider issues of community relations.
Could you just give us your views on what you feel should be the correct role of legal advice in the management of misconduct processes?
A. I think that advice – whenever I ask for advice, I ask for views and positions. I do not want someone to tell me what decision I need to make, I need some advice and guidance on various positions.
Sorry, could you just repeat the last part of your question?
Sir Anthony Burden: Yes: what should be the role of legal advice in the correct management of misconduct processes?
A. Does this not go back to something I said earlier on, where the process has become more important than the values which underpin police service and leadership, to the point where people feel inhibited to grip a situation, and are more comfortable with resorting to the bureaucracy and getting legal advice? So I think it somehow goes back to that as well.
The proper role of legal advice is to support decision-makers, not to make decisions for them. I think the Virdi report also made a similar comment, and how fair or otherwise that is, I cannot comment. I am trying to think of decisions that I might have made – I certainly, as Deputy Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset, resorted only to legal advice when there was a legal point at issue that I could not resolve on my own, and it was very, very rare.
Most of the decisions I made were about management decisions. I can remember very, very rarely recounting to legal advice, and it would be often on the back of a challenge from an officer or a member of staff around a legal issue, around employment law.
Sir Anthony Burden: That is very helpful, thank you. And finally from me, you were very helpful in the report in directing us towards best practice in UK forces. Can I just ask whether you are able to advise us on a worldwide basis whether there is best practice to be learned from anywhere else? We have had an indication that there is a model in Canada that perhaps is a good model for managing police discipline; are you able to help us at all with that?
A. If it is the one I am thinking about, I went to another conference, I think it was the anniversary of the formation of the ombudsman office over in Northern Ireland, I went over to hear, and somebody did present from Canada.
I thought it was a very confrontational model, if it is the one that you are referring to, which pitted groups of staff against the organisation, and I think there was some pain around that. If that is the one, I did not feel that comfortable about it.
Having been involved in a jurisdiction where, you know – in the ICAC in Hong Kong, where they had Draconian powers, I think that would be very, very uncomfortable for this country, for people to have that degree of intrusion, and be able to impose that sort of legal might on staff issues, I think that would be very difficult for us.
In terms of best practice elsewhere, I have tried in the last few weeks looking at other jurisdictions, and I cannot find any sort of like for like comparators. There are some lessons we can learn and we are learning from what happened in Northern Ireland, but beyond that it is very difficult; as I say, I am desperately trying to get some material for you on the sworn versus unsworn in the States. I will probably get it in the fullness of time, but I was not able to get it in time for this.
There must be learning for us to pick up elsewhere, but we would have to, I think, look very carefully about where we have come from, in terms of the militaristic sort of flavour that it has. It is getting better. The 1999 changes which were reviewed by the Home Office that came out in October tell us that we did not move it far enough on then, and people thought that was a major strategic leap forward, and we now know it probably was not.
Sir Anthony Burden: If anything else does come to mind or come to your notice, then perhaps if you would be kind enough to let us know?
A. I will.
Sir Anthony Burden: Thank you very much.
Sir William Morris: We are looking after the workers' interests here, but they have indicated they are okay. I was going to suggest we had a short break, but Miss Weeks does not have that many questions, so I will invite her to put her questions.
Questions by Miss Weekes
Miss Weekes: Thank you. Chief Constable, can I take you back to one or two of the comments you have made about the regulations, and I am now referring to the new regulations which will be in force by the time we come to consider our recommendations? So it would be very helpful, I think, to bear in mind some of your comments, because the regulations would not have been in place for very long by the time we come to consider our recommendations, so we are in a difficult moment in a sense.
I am looking at paragraph 44 of your submission; it is what you say about the 1999 regulations:
You clearly very sensibly identify that the service needs a mechanism to rid itself of certain officers at the earliest opportunity:
Now I want to come to deal with the rights of officers in that situation in a moment, but can we just remind ourselves of what the draft new regulations say? You have given them to us – and they are draft at the moment, because they have not yet been implemented, so I have emphasised that they are draft.
I think if we go to schedule 2 of what you call the Police Conduct Regulation 2004, we will see there what is called "Special procedure". There are page numbers to it, I will be able to help you; 16 is a page number I have.
A. I have it.
Miss Weekes: Good, schedule 2, "Special cases":
Now 45 is on page 14, just so that – it says "Special cases".
So there is a fast track case put in; the conditions are quite lengthy, I will not read them all, but it is really where on the balance of probabilities someone, and we do not know yet who that someone is going to be, or whether it is two people, or whether it is a summary panel, can make a decision based upon the balance of probabilities to deal with the officer by providing a certificate first, and thereafter undoubtedly he can be suspended, or other decisions made. So something is in place.
A. Yes, and it mirrors very closely the current fast track procedures.
Miss Weekes: It does, but it does not quite deal with dismissal, does it? Because it does not say so.
A. No, it does not.
Miss Weekes: If you are right and we should consider for our recommendations, my colleagues and I, the situation of further amendment and improvement to these regulations, what about the rights of an officer? How would this practically work? I mean, it is quite a thing to take away a man's job, even in the face of what looks to be gross misconduct.
A. Well, the section of the submission you refer to, these are the consensus views of police forces around the country, so from about, I do not know, page whatever – I am actually there trying to sum up what the general mood is, so you are absolutely right, but nevertheless, officers, and I spent a good many years out there as well, do not want to serve alongside officers who let us down, who behave badly, to the point where they call into question why they should be a police officer in the first place.
This is where you do get into ordinary employment issues; for things such as gross misconduct, people are entitled to lose their likelihood, and yet within the police service, it is very difficult to operate fast track procedures, so we can actually part company with somebody in the speed that it would need to happen.
As I say, we need to think that through, but my reading of the new arrangements is that they are not a great step forward from the previous arrangements, and that the fast track procedure – some forces have found tremendous difficulty trying to operate it, because as you say, the rights of individuals do come into play, and arguably, they are not properly catered to in the regulations anyway.
Miss Weekes: There seems, to put it bluntly, no point in having a new statute or regulation if it is not even workable with the discussion of officers at your level, so let us understand how we deal with it.
First of all, what is wrong with it, and why is it difficult to implement, and what is your recommendation – that is three things, I am sorry, but if you can help with all of those?
A. The first thing is – I think the difficulty is that there is an involvement – if we are talking about an imprisonable offence here, there is an involvement of the Crown Prosecution Service. In some areas, that can cause delay and has caused difficulties. That is the first thing.
The other thing I would say is there are issues here around the police service sometimes not making the best of the tools they have got. No question in my mind about that either, so there is an issue around awareness and around the capabilities, if you like, within forces to exploit the opportunity they have. Because some forces have managed to operate this, albeit in a very, very small way.
The other thing is, and it probably goes back to what Sir William was saying, we perhaps need to look at what the unintended effects of these statements are, and they actually may have other consequences that we do not intend, in which case, we need to deal with them now, and I think that the 1999 and maybe even the 2004 do not properly address the ECHR issue from the officers' perspective, but it is not difficult to envisage situations where behaviour is so bad, and it is often that we are alerted to this by fellow officers, it does not come from a public complaint, where you can see that this individual really does not need to be in the police service a moment longer.
It does go to public confidence or lack of in the police service when they see that things do not happen which they would expect, from the ordinary person's perspective, to be happening, so it is something we have just got to get a grip of.
Maybe it goes back to what I said before, about managing the risk and not trying to avoid it, because the risk management way forward – the risk averse way forward on this is just to get tangled up in the bureaucracy, and no one is going to criticise me for diverting things in a certain way, but they probably will for doing the right thing.
Miss Weekes: In fact, I think you are familiar or would be – a man or woman does not have to go to a tribunal in order to have had a fair hearing, provided the structure and procedure that you adopt is fair.
A. Yes, article 2 can be satisfied in –
Miss Weekes: Absolutely, so someone could come up with a suggestion of what I might call a summary panel, where the man or woman is allowed to have their say, and they are represented.
A. Yes, absolutely.
Miss Weekes: But it can all be dealt with with a smaller panel, which is not a tribunal, which is not necessarily under regulation and procedure.
A. Absolutely. My position – the other thing about the regulations, they sort of take chief constables out of the chain to a degree. My involvement in the process is as reviewer; in other words, was the original tribunal held fairly, and was the outcome proportionate? So I do not have – I cannot rehear the thing.
So what I have said in force, if one of these incidents, God forbid, happens in my force, I will then take on the responsibility for that particular misconduct issue, knowing that I am then disqualified from the next stages, and I had in mind to do exactly what you just said, that we will put in place a fair, just and proportionate but fairly quick procedure to give an individual the chance to give an account of themselves.
Miss Weekes: Is my suggestion – it is only a suggestion, but is it happening already?
A. No, it is not. The current procedures are fairly constrained, and we would like you to have a look at the current fast track procedures and compare them with the ones that are proposed. There is not a great deal of difference. I think people feel constrained by them, and as I said before, they are not necessarily as constrained as perhaps they think they are, but certainly it is part of the system that does need to be reviewed.
Miss Weekes: Is it going to be possible to have some wide consultation and comment on the suggestion of what I call –
A. Yes, I could.
Miss Weekes: – that sort of summary procedure, if that is what the force want?
Final point: the distinction between senior officers and non-senior officers appears to be kept in the 2004 –
A. Well, it is actually – we are now all dealt with in the same way, other than the recording authority for my misconduct is the Police Authority, but other than that, we are all caught by the same conduct code, so that separation has now gone.
Miss Weekes: All the same, right. I briefly looked at –
A. Until we get the guidance finalised, it probably is not as apparent –
Miss Weekes: No, I did not think it was apparent. I am glad it was not just me rather stupidly reading it –
A. No, you are quite understandable to take that view, from looking at the draft regs.
Miss Weekes: And the guidance is due when?
A. Well, we have suggested interim guidance takes up to the autumn, but I am now working with the IPCC, and we have a team on it to develop the next version of statutory guidance which will go to the Home Secretary, I hope, in September/October this year. This is, as I say, our Lancet opportunity too, but also for other things along the lines you have discussed.
Miss Weekes: We might not be here in September, but it is useful to know that is when it is coming out. Thank you very much.
A. Thanks very much.
Sir William Morris: Chief Constable, can I first of all thank you very much indeed for your help, and for your response to our questions and your contribution to the Inquiry? We have finished the questions we wanted to ask you, but you will recall that in my opening statement, I said that I would offer you the opportunity for a brief closing comment, should you wish. If you do wish, now is your time.
A. Okay. There is one thing I would like to say, and I think that it has not come out in my session, but it has in others, so I am going to say something about diversity, and about the service approach to difference.
I think we need to now move on diversity training within the service, because I think it has become somehow detached from our values, to the point where it is confusing people massively; it is creating nervousness and tension where it should not exist, and I think we need to get to a point where we are as unequivocal about how we treat people who hate as we do people who are corrupt and dishonest, and I think we need to move away from there – not from an approach which tends to overcomplicate and overstrategise and philosophise for me what are issues of right and wrong, and I think that has led us in part to where we are with some of the major sort of case failures which have been discussed. I think that is an important question.
In preparing for this, I looked back to some of the people who had been very active in civil rights in this country and in other countries in the 1960s and 1970s, and I think they would actually find we have squandered their legacy. I do not look back to the writings and speeches of Kennedy or Dr King – and I find some of the stuff that I see in our diversity bureaucracy, I think they would be absolutely aghast at it, because they spoke about this, that this is an issue of the heart.
It is an issue about what we believe in, it is an issue about what we stand for, and the police service, like many organisations, has lost that connection, and we need to sort of rebuild that connection to make the awareness training that we give to our people mean something. I think it has lost some of its meaning, and I think that has led us, in part, to where we are today. I wanted to say that.
Sir William Morris: Yes. Thank you very much. I would love to have a conversation about King and Kennedy, but all I would say in passing is that a few years have rolled by.
Sir William Morris: But there we are, I will not share my thoughts on Kennedy with you. Can I just take the opportunity to say once again thanks, but as with all our witnesses, it may be necessary that once we have heard others, we may want to ask a few more questions, either in writing or ask you to come back and share further thoughts with us.
If we do need to ask you to say more, either in writing, on paper, or indeed orally, then we will try and do so in a manner which causes you the least inconvenience, but for the moment all that I need to say on behalf of my colleagues and myself is thank you very much for coming and thank you for your contribution to our work. Thanks very much.
A. Thank you.
Sir William Morris: It is my intention to adjourn the Inquiry now until tomorrow at 2.00, but can I ask the members of the public to remain seated whilst our witness and ourselves as members leave the room. Thank you.