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Securing and maintaining a high standard of integrity is essential if ...
Securing and maintaining a high standard of integrity is essential if

public confidence in the police service is to be restored said a

report issued by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).

In one of the most wide ranging inspections ever carried out by HMIC,

the inspectorate found that the vast majority of men and women

working in the 44 forces across England, Wales and Northern Ireland,

were honest, industrious and dedicated, delivering policing services

with a high degree of integrity.

However they identified a number of areas of concern or at potential

risk which could diminish public confidence in the police. These


- Examples of poor, rude or discriminatory behaviour shown by

officers towards members of the public

- Lack of robust systems for recruiting and vetting new officers

- Unclear guidance concerning acceptance of 'perks' and 'gratuities'

- Invisible and inaccessible top leadership

- Inadequate training provided for handlers and controllers of


- Evidence of 'trawling the margins' for elusive detections to

improve performance figures

Commending the report to the home secretary Jack Straw, her majesty's

chief inspector of constabulary David O'Dowd said:

'The report has clearly highlighted areas of concern which we

recommend should be addressed by chief officers as a matter of


'However we must not lose sight of the fact that this Inspection has

confirmed that the overwhelming majority of individual police

officers, civilian support staff and members of the special

constabulary are dedicated, hardworking, compassionate, and have the

integrity needed for the job.

'By accepting and welcoming this report the police service will

demonstrate that it is not defensive but rather that it is open to

justified criticism and is willing to change.

'The challenge ahead is to build on the findings of the report to

help secure and maintain public confidence in the police service at

all times.'

Her majesty's inspector, Colin Smith, who led the inspection team said:

'The approach in the inspection was to examine integrity in its

broadest sense. The report therefore encompasses fairness,

behaviour, probity and equal treatment, as well as a range of

operational and management issues. It offers the opportunity to

increase and maintain public confidence in the police service.'

The inspection was carried out in recognition of a growing public

concern about levels of integrity in the police service and a related

decline in public confidence in policing.

The reports, one by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC)

entitled 'Police Integrity: securing and maintaining public

confidence' and the other published by the home office entitled

'Understanding and Preventing Police Corruption: lessons from the

literature', represent one of the widest ranging studies ever on the


Commending both reports to chief police officers, Mr Straw said:

'I am clear that the vast majority of police staff are thoroughly

honest and reliable which is obviously essential if we are to meet

the deservedly high standards the public demand.

'However in places these reports will make uncomfortable reading and

rightly so.

'Low standards of integrity are not acceptable in a society where we

rely on the public's goodwill to help the police fight crime and

disorder. Where evidence points to lapses of integrity in the police

service, there is a clear link with a loss of public confidence.

'The practical guidance offered by the HMIC report and the research

provided by the home office report, give us a framework in which

chief officers can tackle integrity problems and ensure corrupt and

unacceptable practices are rooted out.'

The inspection, initiated by HMIC because of a recognition that

public confidence was being affected by a small minority of police

staff, makes 11 recommendations in areas such as training,

recruitment, vetting, management and financial accounting.

The home office report focuses more closely on assumptions about

police corruption and methods of prevention in the current literature

and will form the basis of further longer-term research into crime

prevention strategies.


1. The HMIC inspection was carried out between July 1998 and January

1999 by Colin Smith CVO, CBE, QPM, BSocSc, Her Majesty's Inspector of

Constabulary, supported by a team of police officers, home office

civil servants and civilian support staff.

2. This inspection is part of a rolling programme of inspections

being carried out by HMIC, providing the police service with an

extremely focused, often hard-hitting examination of areas of their


3. Copies of the HMIC report 'Police Integrity: securing

and maintaining public confidence' can be obtained by faxing: 0171

273 3370. Copies of the study 'Understanding and Preventing Police Corruption: lessons from the literature' can be obtained by faxing: 0171 273 4001.

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