Now that I am retired having been many years a magistrate with a long awareness of the declining freedoms enjoyed by the ordinary citizen and a corresponding fear of the big brother state`s ever increasing encroachment on civil liberties I hope that my personal observations within these general parameters will be of interest to those with an open mind. Having been blogging with this title for many years against the rules of the Ministry of Justice my new found freedom should allow me to be less inhibited in these observations.




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Thursday, 29 August 2013

POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY




Last January at my previous “home” for this blog I posted under the title “DO WE NEED A GENERAL POLICE COUNCIL”   I have reproduced that post below.

“At one time only members of relatively few professions or occupations were subject to having to uphold personal and professional high standards and be answerable to their institutional peers for any failings real or suspected. Law and medicine were the two ancient professions which for generations were alone in policing themselves. In the post war era there has been increasing government influence in the standards and operation of these professions` controlling bodies. Many more professions have been brought under similar umbrellas to increase the public`s confidence in the protection offered. Optometry, osteopathy and teaching are just three of the “newer” professions subject to control by regulatory councils. This oversight in addition to the aforementioned applies to professionals employed or self employed even although those in the former category are also subject to any controls agreed with their employers according to their contracts of employment. Police officers are exempt from this individual professional regulation.

The disturbing case reported in yesterday`s Telegraph and the even more disturbing results of an inquiry into the officers` conduct should encourage the government to set up a Policing Council. Considering the coalition is almost at war with the police another controversial action might be politically opportune and popular with many of its wavering supporters. As a matter of interest the South Wales Constabulary in 2010 dismissed 6 officers and had 8 officers who resigned prior to a hearing or during investigation. None was shown to have retired on medical grounds. The complement of this force is currently 3,012 police officers.”


Since then the reputation of police has hardly been said to have improved.  Indeed with revelations from Hillsborough to “cyclegate” via Leveson it could be said that the police`s reputation if not at an all time low is damn near rock bottom.  It now appears that the Police Federation is considering the possibility of establishing a system whereby individual officers would be responsible for their actions perhaps under the auspices of the Police College.  On the basis that this organisation stands rock steady until it`s pushed there is no doubt IMHO that somewhere in the Home Office there is under advanced discussion a plan  to establish a body with regulatory powers to oversee and rule on the actions of police in a fashion similar to that which operates for nurses, dentists etc.  Perhaps that body will be called the General Police Council?

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