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Plans for new Essex police complaints watchdog
8:40am Wednesday 23rd October 2013 in News
POLICE officers facing complaints about their work and professionalism could find themselves facing a new local watchdog.
Nick Alston, the Tory police and crime commissioner for Essex, has set up an ethics and integrity committee.
Although the committee will not get involved in serious complaints about misconduct – which will still be investigated, and in some cases prosecuted, by the national police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission – it will deal with less serious cases locally and help decide what disciplinary action, if any, should be taken.
The committee will be made up of members of the Police Complaints Commission’s office team as well as independent members of the public.
Essex Police’s professional standards department will still carry out investigations into allegations of misconduct.
Mr Alston said: “It only takes very few cases where police conduct is poor to seriously damage public confidence in policing.
That’s why I place great importance on this matter.
“It’s clear to me and my team that we need to develop a fresh approach to supporting the highest police standards in Essex – one that has the needs of the public and victims at its heart, and that is open and transparent to all.”
Currently, the Police Complaints Commission receives a quarterly report from the Chief Constable summarising complaints the force has received and the action taken by senior officers to deal with them.
Mr Alston added: “Looking to the future, I am confident the creation of the ethics and integrity committee will strengthen oversight of the police misconduct and discipline process and help inform the judgement of those responsible for deciding the appropriate sanctions for those found guilty of misconduct.
“By ensuring I and my team are fully involved in the oversight of police conduct and integrity issues, and by driving forward standards in partnership with the public and Essex Police, I believe we can avoid some of the problems that have been seen elsewhere in the country and continue to deliver excellent standards of policing across Essex.”
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