The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation into allegations that individuals within the Metropolitan Police Service’s (MPS) Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) abused their position to affect ongoing investigations has found no to case to answer.
The Directorate of Professional Standards is the internal MPS body responsible for investigating complaints against the conduct of its officers.
Talking about the outcome of the investigation, IOPC Director of Major Investigations Steve Noonan said:
“This has been a very detailed and complex investigation which found the allegations were either not corroborated or were disproved by the evidence.
“We initially received a total of 38 allegations relating to 15 officers and one member of police staff.
“Following an extensive scoping exercise and review of the evidence, our investigation focused on 21 allegations involving eight officers and one member of police staff.
“Our investigation examined if there were systemic issues within processes, culture, leadership and internal communication within the DPS.
“We looked at why the allegations had been made, the context at the relevant time and the systemic issues that may be involved.
“We did establish that the Directorate’s working practices at the time leant themselves to the possibility of perceptions of prejudice through a lack of communication between officers and a lack of understanding of and adherence to misconduct regulations.
“Internal process changes in who should act as the Appropriate Authority for certain types of cases were not communicated well and brought about confusion to the wider team of officers.
“Since our investigation the DPS has changed its internal processes and now allocates an officer from a dedicated unit rather than from within the team to conduct an investigation and is also working to improve communication between officers.”
The allegations related to more than 25 internal investigations and included:
- interference in investigations to downgrade the severity of charges laid against an officer
- interference to assist an officer accused of wrong-doing ignoring, a potential conflict of interest, failing to properly engage with evidence presented and abuses of process while conducting an investigation into an allegation of racist behaviour being dropped to protect the reputation of MPS.
The matter was referred to the IOPC in November 2017, and their investigation concluded in July 2020.
The IOPC has not released details concerning the origin of the referrals which were made to them.
“We have improved communication within the DPS by making changes to our structure.
“This includes how we appoint an ‘appropriate authority’, a more senior officer who makes decisions on misconduct investigations, and the creation of a dedicated team to liaise directly with the IOPC.
“We have also improved our record keeping and trained officers and staff around the importance of this and how to use new IT systems now in place.
“These measures allow us to be far clearer on correct processes to follow, clarify roles and responsibilities and avoid any confusion and misunderstanding by colleagues.
“Our aim is to encourage a culture of openness, transparency and accountability in all our decision making.”