In the Media

Do we need a police ombudsman for England and Wales? Hugh Orde speaks to Radio 4?s Today programme on police integrity.

PUBLISHED October 16, 2013

"The Home Secretary is right; these sorts of events go to the heart of confidence in policing, which is why I'm here today to talk about that bigger picture and is there a long tail to these events that damage the public's confidence in our ability to do a day-to-day job.

"Evidence shows that currently confidence in policing is remarkably stable over the last five to 10 years, and I think that's not because of these individual cases - very worrying though they clearly are - it is because 130,000 police officers day in and day out are out there embedded in local policing delivering a good service, and that is what the public judge the service on.

"I think what's important is the service is seen to be transparent and recognise where we get things wrong, we have a history of doing that and being prepared to explain in the public forum why we made the decisions we made.

"It seems to me in this case there's no issue that the finding by the police service was the officers' behaviour fell below the standard, the question is the quantum of seriousness and I think that's why the Chief Constable is determined to explain that - the full investigation - to the Home Affairs Select Committee and be held to account and judged on that.

"When I took over service in Northern Ireland the key success factors for me were a completely independent policing board to hold me to account, we now have PCCs in this country who hold police to account, and I had a police ombudsman who would investigate every complaint from the public independently of me. I had absolute confidence in that system as did the public. I think it's a very good model, it is of course a very expensive model, so we have to ask some hard questions about how important this is. I see it as very important."

"It is a matter of record that this was a case which the service tried to have independently investigated by the IPCC who made a decision that it should be investigated by the service... I had (as Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland) the benefit of a completely independent police investigation system, I see that now as critical and I think the current decision by the Home Secretary to take money from the service to support the IPCC, maybe that would be better spent looking at the bigger picture and [ask] do we need a police ombudsman system in the rest of the UK."