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Police complaints will be assessed with panel made up of the public
COMPLAINTS against the police are to be scrutinised by members of the public in a move to increase confidence.
Thames Valley police and crime commissioner Anthony Stansfeld has pledged to set up the independent committee in the wake of high-profile police scandals nationwide.
The force is now advertising for volunteers to sit on the panel.
Mr Stansfeld said: “Due to the national concerns over police integrity there is an accepted need for the development of a robust, independent and transparent system to be established.
“I have decided to set up this panel to ensure that integrity and ethical issues are prioritised in order to maintain public confidence in policing.
“I think there has been a little bit of disquiet publicly about various things that have happened in the police. They haven’t been happening in the Thames Valley but nevertheless there is concern.”
Complaints against officers are investigated by Thames Valley Police’s professional standards department, which has the power to set up misconduct hearings and discipline officers.
Thames Valley Police has seen a drop in complaints filed against its officers, with 2,313 in 2010, 1,823 in 2011, 1,777 in 2012, and 728 by August last year.
The PCC said the new panel would not have the power to discipline officers but would review handling of complaints and refer them to him or the Chief Constable Sara Thornton.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission sets the guidelines forces have to follow when investigating complaints and the national body also considers any appeals made by the complainants. It also investigates more serious cases involving police forces.
Mr Stansfeld said the force would be advertising for members of the Complaints, Integrity and Ethics Panel which he hoped to see established over the next two months.
His pledge comes after the “Plebgate” scandal which saw Metropolitan Police officers accused of lying.
Police integrity has also been questioned in the light of allegations officers took bribes from tabloid journalists for information.
Mr Stansfeld said the panel was an example of attempts to increase public accountability within the police, although it will meet behind closed doors.
- To apply, visit thamesvalley-pcc.gov.uk or call 01865 846782. The deadline for applications is Friday, January 31.
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