An independent committee will continue its work in examining the ethical governance and actions of both Warwickshire and West Mercia Police Forces for at least a further two years, following a decision by the Police and Crime Commissioners for both forces.
Warwickshire PCC Philip Seccombe and his West Mercia counterpart John Campion have agreed to reappoint the Trust, Integrity and Ethics (TIE) Committee for a further two years, with an unchanged membership. The committee was one of the first of its kind when first established in 2014 and has since played a critical role in examining both forces’ work to ensure they meet the highest levels of integrity and standards of service delivery for local people.
The committee meets four times a year and is comprised of the following independent members from across the Warwickshire and West Mercia force areas, bringing a diverse wealth of experience to their roles:
- Chris Cade – Rugby Borough Councillor and Police Liaison Manager for the Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network
- Clive Parsons – former member of Warwickshire Police Authority
- Jane Spilsbury – Service Manager for Learning and Performance at Warwickshire County Council
- Lady Susanna McFarlane – former Deputy Lord-Lieutenant of Herefordshire and current chair of trustees for the YSS charity
- Colonel Tony Ward OBE – former member of West Mercia Police Authority.
Colonel Tony Ward, chair of the TIE Committee said: “I am delighted that we will be able to continue the important work of the committee for another two years. We are all lay members who arrived on the committee with differing levels of knowledge of policing, so it has been important to get detailed briefings about each of the subject areas we have been examining. I am pleased that we will be benefiting from continuity of membership so that the knowledge we have built up will be retained and we can continue our scrutiny of the two forces without delay.”
Among the work carried out in the past two years by the committee has been ‘dip sampling’ of complaint cases to ensure they are properly recorded and dealt with; regular monitoring of the impact of the implementation of the College of Policing Code of Ethics; and a review of the protocols around police use of aerial drones as well as examinations of other high-profile aspects of policing activity such as police integrity.
One of the most recent reviews has looked into how rape offences were recorded by the two forces, with a specific remit to examine cases that were ‘no crimed’, to ensure that this was appropriate and in line with recent changes to requirements for Additional Verifiable Information (AVI) to demonstrate that it would have been impossible for the rape to have occurred.
A total of 35 cases were reviewed, with 10 found to have been incorrectly classified as ‘no crime’ – although reasons for this included the crime having occurred outside the force area or being linked to another, similar correctly classified offence which was reported at the same time – with a further three not classified as rape. In the latter cases, the AVI was found to be inadequate or the case lacked the authorisation for ‘no crime’ at an appropriate level of seniority.
All of these cases were subsequently reviewed and appropriate remedial action taken by the forces, including significant work to further improve the recording of AVI. All of the TIE Committee’s recommendations for improvements have also been implemented by the forces. The committee members will continue to monitor progress over the next two years.
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said: “It is hugely important that the public has trust in the police and that they can be confident that police powers are used appropriately and fairly. The TIE Committee plays a vital role in helping me hold the Chief Constable to account to ensure this, so I am pleased to be able to benefit from their independent advice over the next two years.
“Their recent work examining the way in which rape offences are recorded only serves to underline the importance of having independent scrutiny and I am pleased that the committee’s recommendations have been implemented in full by both forces.”
Detective Chief Inspector Alison Davies is the alliance tactical lead for rape and serious sexual offences. She said: “We welcome the work undertaken by the Independent Trust, Integrity and Ethics (TIE) Committee, which focused on the status and classification of offences, and we value the importance of independent reviews to maintain the high standards expected of ourselves and the public we serve.
“All reports of rape and sexual assaults are taken very seriously and investigated thoroughly by Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police and a number of actions have been taken which encompass the committee’s recommendations. As always these will be monitored to ensure we continually improve our approach, understanding and handling of such cases.”
For more information about the work of the TIE Committee, visit: http://www.warwickshire-pcc.gov.uk/your-pcc/trust-integrity-and-ethics/