The Inspector behind HMIC’s latest report into integrity issues in the Police Service has stressed that the document should act as “a wake up call” to officers and staff of all ranks.
In an exclusive on-camera interview with PoliceOracle.com, Roger Baker re-iterated that more robust systems are required to monitor issues of integrity in all forces.
â€œIt is therefore important that the Service tackles the issues identified by HMI Baker and that is done swiftly and in a way that is long lasting.â€
And while he emphasised that the Without Fear of Favour report had not found any evidence of endemic corruption, he said that closer monitoring and better governance to probe the behaviour of officers and staff are needed.
In particular, he said that police relationships with the media, hospitality issues and additional employment roles not compatible for officers should be areas of universal focus. His report makes six recommendations focusing on integrity issues.
Mr Baker added: “While we found no evidence of endemic corruption, we did fund variations between forces and authorities in how they defined what is acceptable and what is not.
“This inconsistency made little sense to us. There are no geographic variables when it comes to integrity and there should not be local differences in standards.
“The public have told us they associate integrity with being treated fairly and police forces must be absolutely transparent in not only being fair but also in being seen to be fair.”
Mr Baker added: “The Service needs to identify the standards and values expected of its entire workforce and provide clarity for employees on where boundaries lie.”
Sir Denis O’Connor, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, also believed action was needed, and pointed out that the Inspectorate would be re-visiting the issue in October next year.
He added: “The British model of policing is grounded in legitimacy â€“ any real or perceived conflict of interest is problematic for the Police Service at it undermines public trust.
“It is therefore important that the Service tackles the issues identified by HMI Baker and that is done swiftly and in a way that is long lasting,” Sir Denis concluded.
Integrity Report ‘A Wake Up Call’
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Police officers should be banned from accepting free tickets to high-profile events such as Wimbledon, the FA Cup Final or pop concerts, inspectors said today.
Sir Denis O’Connor, the chief inspector of constabulary, said accepting such hospitality risked creating the perception that police officers had conflicts of interest, damaging the service’s reputation in the eyes of the public.
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â€œWe face an unprecedented level of structural changes including the introduction of Police and Crime Commissioners, whose priorities could be based upon populism and seeking re-election.â€