The IPCC have pronounced on several of the Met’s now former officers and continue to ferret away on John Yates’ involvement in a job for one of the girls. This is all a waste of money. There has obviously been a problem at the Met with officers getting involved in selling stories and frames. This looks much worse when various officers seem rather too close to the media bosses involved further up the chain. Officers involved in attempts to frame people to discredit them is really bad news. One hopes there is a real investigation going on into this, done by cops who know what they are doing. By the time the IPCC were doing their work, those who might have done something had had plenty of time to get rid of any evidence and get their stories right. The whole of Westminster seems into ‘unhealthy’ relations with media. No reason really to look at the Met over this. A ‘clean you act up now’ message should have been enough.
The IPCC is a dismal failure and the reasons generally given for this point to a management failure in our country. The same failures as in previous revisions of what to do about police corruption and bent cops were built into the IPCC – this reeks for the classic British management disease of repeating past mistakes in apparent change. The others involve the closed nature of the organisation, restricted remit, lack of power, bureaucracy in extremis, bias towards internal accounts (i.e. police accounts), timidity and with no influence on the kind of change that could make a real difference. After enough time to be making a real difference (8 years +) the IPCC’s website is not full of competent reports and successful prosecutions, but cluttered with failures like Stockwell and clown performance management.
Compare the costs of a Bill Bratton style “assault” on UK policing with those of the IPCC. I don’t expect you have these to hand, but the first obvious downer for the IPCC is that it saves no money and is always an added cost. You don’t need Bratton to ‘do Bratton’ – the management style essentially boots out the ‘LOMBARDS’ at the top, brings in a new top team, cuts our dross (BPR – whatever) and forces accountability (including testing for cheating through statistics) and sponsors action (broken windows is usually team action on genuine problems) rather than ‘cuffing’ on work. Bratton’s work has happened alongside far more serious arrests and convictions of bent cops than anything the IPCC has screwed up here. There may be more corruption in the USA, but if not you have to wonder what we are paying our lillywhites for. The IPCC look ripe to cut because of their success in being unable to find any!
They won’t find any if they keep looking where there is none and where the evidence has already been “routinely” destroyed or left in the hands of the potentially culpable to change or disappear. They could be cut to provide the running costs of setting up a Bratton type re-engineering of British policing. We could replace them with 10 regional teams under elected chiefs with a broader remit and more power to do management discipline and proactive anti-corruption work.
In terms of measuring police performance, we could establish a better understanding of why so many of the non-criminal public who come into contact with police are dissatisfied and work through the data for reasons. On the same theme, we also need reliable estimates on crime costs as well as numbers to enable a better gauge of whether crime is under control or just being diverted.
My guess on cost saving is that 15% could be targeted and that a major part of restructuring would be improving recruit quality and flattening supervision structures (less ranks, less in rank). The ‘overhead’ on a piece of police action is dire (some of my old research bids were at 60% – I’ve worked recently where they are at 24%). There are ways to beat this through more focused recruitment, part-timers and specialisation that doesn’t require the current uniform ‘plodding’. I’m not surprised Bratton says he would love the job. As a business re-engineering prize it looks as good as the Imperial Group back in the 80’s.