Without Fear or Favour-HMIC report

Police officer
Published on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 13:41
Posted by Vicki Mitchem

Police forces have made some progress in how they identify, manage and monitor integrity issues: but more remains to be done.

A report published today finds that the police service has responded to the recommendations in HMIC's 2011 report, Without Fear or Favour: but more needs to be done, and with a greater sense of urgency.

In 2011, the Home Secretary asked Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) to examine and consider "instances of undue influence, inappropriate contractual arrangements and other abuses of power in police relationships with the media and other parties".

While the resulting report, Without Fear or Favour (published 13 December 2011), found no evidence that corruption was endemic in police relationships with the media and others, it did not issue a clean bill of health. In particular, HMIC was concerned that few forces provided any policy or guidance in relation to key integrity issues, such as how the police should interact with the media, the acceptance of gifts and hospitality, what second jobs officers and staff should be allowed to do, and the use of corporate credit cards. The report made several recommendations to help the service tackle these issues.

In 2012, HMIC revisited all forces to assess progress against these recommendations. The thematic report published today, Revisiting Police Relationships: A progress report, contains the principal findings of this further work.

Without Fear or Favour provided police forces and authorities with specific recommendations in relation to the identification, monitoring and management of potential concerns and vulnerabilities in matters of integrity. While some progress has been made, particularly by putting in place processes and policies to manage threats to integrity, more needs to be done. The pace of change also needs to increase, not least to demonstrate to the public that the police service is serious about managing integrity issues.

In particular, HMIC's findings show that more needs to be done by the police service to establish and intensify high degrees of conscious self-management of integrity issues.

Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) should assure themselves that they have effective governance structures in place to hold forces to account for their progress in making sound arrangements in connection with matters of integrity.

The report makes the following key recommendations:

The evidence shows that progress is inconsistent across forces and more needs to be done with a greater sense of urgency if the public is to have confidence that the service takes integrity matters seriously and is gripping them effectively. Therefore, in addition to scrutiny of chief officers by PCCs, there continues to be a need for independent external scrutiny by HMIC, including unannounced inspections.There was little evidence of force professional standards departments checking and challenging chief officers in connection with issues of integrity. A more transparent and challenging environment needs to be created. PCCs may wish to assure themselves that their forces are nurturing such environments with effective internal scrutiny and challenge.More robust and auditable corporate governance arrangements are required if the new accountability arrangements are to work effectively. These need to differentiate clearly the roles and responsibilities of chief officers and PCCs.The College of Policing should quickly develop sound professional standards for training and development in connection with issues of integrity.

HM Inspector of Constabulary, Roger Baker, said:

"HMIC found that the police service is responding to our 2011 report, Without Fear or Favour, by making improvements to how it identifies, monitors and manages integrity issues; but we are concerned that this progress is inconsistent, and lacks a uniform sense of urgency.

Integrity is fundamental to the core values of the police and what it means to be a police officer. As such it must be at the heart of every action carried out and word spoken by police officers and staff. HMIC will therefore continue to monitor and inspect the service‟s progress in order to provide the public with confidence that all forces are adhering to high standards in these respects."

Source: ©HMIC

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