The independent Committee on Standards in Public Life (“CSPL”) has today published details of its Inquiry into the accountability structures of the police. The Committee has, as part of its Inquiry, published a paper that sets out a series of issues and questions that relate to the central governance question of:
“…how ethical standards are being addressed in the police accountability landscape”
(page 2 of the ‘issues and questions’ paper)
The Committee has set out an open invitation to respond to these (and related) questions by midday on Sunday 30th November. It’s worth noting that the Committee’s Seven Principles of Public Life (so-called “Nolan Principles”) – which would be expected to feature heavily in this examination – are:
- Honesty, and
CoPaCC – the organisation for which I am Chief Executive – welcomes this Inquiry by the Committee, and plans to submit detailed evidence during the coming two months. We are particularly pleased to see that several of the questions raised by the Committee have already been examined by CoPaCC:
- in CoPaCC’s Thematic reports – particularly those relating to “PCCs and Public Engagement”, and “PCCs’ Transparency”;
- in our monthly, subscriber-only CoPaCC Report – a sample copy is available on the CoPaCC website.
The changes to the policing governance landscape are not universally well understood, even by some of those who form a part of that very landscape (see, for example, my Police Oracle article on HMIC’s so-called ‘postcode lottery’ inspection). The list of interested parties is long (going well beyond HMIC, IPCC, PCCs and their Offices, police forces, Police and Crime Panels, the College of Policing and – let’s not forget – the public). And – going beyond the bodies themselves – there are many further elements to consider, including:
- the “oath of impartiality” taken by PCCs on accepting their office;
- the Code of Ethics recently published by the College of Policing
- the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011
- the Policing Protocol Order 2011
This CSPL Inquiry should in due course help to provide a much clearer understanding of how the various pieces of the jigsaw fit together (or – maybe – do not). It should also provide more information on how policing governance meets the seven “Nolan Principles”. CoPaCC and I will do what we can to support and inform that work.