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It is becoming increasingly clear from reading numerous stories in the media and responses to such stories on social media platforms, that there is dissatisfaction from the general public regarding the lack of action from police forces after a crime has been reported. It is also apparent from social media that when police forces do act, they do so inefficiently or demonstrate corruption by committing acts of crime themselves or acting favourably towards an abuser over the victim.
Complaints regarding police action or inaction are usually dealt with by The Professional Standards Department who are also members of the police force, themselves. They, like the police, have guidelines to follow (PACE) but consistently don’t. I have had cases where the PSD stall responses and exasperate the complainant in the hope they will ‘give in’.
When with the police occur, the police do not pay for their legal representation and are paid to respond to you. In difference, the majority of the public are not even entitled to legal aid and have to find time, money and resources to respond to the catalogue of police correspondence they receive which often contains pointless information that is either unrelated or avoids the issues completely. The police also have the capacity to simply refuse to investigate a case, regardless if this does or does not adhere to the PACE guidelines.
Police rarely report themselves to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and every case I have ever sent to the IPCC has then been referred back to the Professional Standards Department. Now renamed the IOPC it still does not address the problems within the PSD and it again is not truely independent nor has civilian oversight and again is only for the most serious crimes. The police complaints system is not fit for purpose.
I propose the following: every county needs to have its own board that investigates complaints from people regarding the police. The board would be fully independent and should consist of a police misconduct solicitor who only works on the side of the victim; a barrister; a social worker; a medical profession; and a member of the public. Each member would need to have zero connection to the police and would only serve the board for a maximum of 3 years.
Currently, the only way to hold the police accountable for inaction or insufficient action is to take your own case to judicial review. This is exhausting, stressful and impossible without the costly help of a barrister which is an impossibility for most.
Many have lost faith in the police; gone are the days where the local Bobby was the most highly respected and trusted member of any community. We must force the government to change and ensure an independent investigating panel that the police are answerable to regardless of the size of the case, regardless of how badly it might damage the reputation of the force and regardless of however irrelevant the police deem it to be. If complaints are not investigated in conjunction with the PACE guidelines, the panel could be drafted to hold the police accountable, corruption and inefficiency free.
We must act now for victims of crime who have been let down by the police as well as for future victims of crime. Sign this petition, no matter what your circumstance; the outcome of this very petition could affect you in the future and it is time we live in a fairer country where justice is done. Thank you for reading and sign now!