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,
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
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
'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
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.