MOSCOW, December 1 (Sputnik) — The Parliament of the UK has launched a probe into misconduct allegations against 23 out of 41 elected police commissioners, in line with measures to boost transparency and accountability of law enforcement.
The IPCC has also launched consultations in order to determine whether the misconduct hearings should be held in public, wholly or partly, in case there’s significant public interest for the case. The IPCC consultations will last until 10 December.
The institution of elected police chiefs in England and Wales was implemented in 2012 in accordance with the initiative of Theresa May, the Conservative Home Secretary. The aim of the initiative was to increase public awareness of police business, including some internal issues, thus contributing to public trust in law enforcement. According to the legislation, the PCCs, elected for 4-year terms, can be voted out of office. The Home Office initiative sparked some controversy back in 2012 with the low turnout at the ballot box, and today’s growing amount of misconduct allegations made against the elected officials has spurred another round of debate on the PCCs’ trustworthiness.
There is growing demand for reform in the nation’s policing, coming from the Labour shadow cabinet and some civil society organizations. The most prominent case of the alleged misconduct is the role of Shaun Wrightm, the PCC for South Yorkshire, in the highly-publicized Rotherham child sex exploitation controversy. The IPCC is now conducting an investigation aiming to determine whether Commissioner Wright was aware of the alleged child sexual abuse as a then-Rotherham metropolitan borough council.
Another prominent case, included in the ICSS and the parliamentary probes, was initiated after accusations of embezzlement were raised against Lancashire’s PCC Clive Grunshaw. The watchdog has investigated into his expenses as a county counselor of the Labour Party. Yet another IPCC file includes allegations of driving without a proper automobile insurance against PCC of Kent Ann Barnes.
Some of the PCCs earn up to 100,000 GBP a year.
Among the allegations the IPCC is investigating, are those including leaked personal data and other confidential information, as well as possible slander, meaning that the watchdog has to proceed with caution, particularly since the parliament is now involved. It is worth noting that most scandalous allegations made against some of the PCCs deal with matters that happened before they were elected police chiefs and therefore do not interfere directly with public trust in local police.