Greater Manchester is to be one of the first areas in the country to have an independent committee to scrutinise ethical standards in policing.
The Ethics Committee has been set up by the region’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Tony Lloyd, and Greater Manchester Police’s Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy.
Now Tony and Sir Peter are calling on people to apply to be on the committee.
The committee will focus on the challenges and issues faced by police from an ethical perspective, to help build trust and public confidence, encourage public debate in the complex area of police ethics, and encourage greater public scrutiny of police operations.
Tony has stressed that the independent committee will be looking to attract individuals not necessarily drawn from the police but who have a good understanding of the local communities within Greater Manchester, and who are able to demonstrate significant experience of working alongside individuals such as Tony and Sir Peter in the public good.
Speaking about his expectations for the committee, Tony said: “Fostering the public’s trust in the police has been one of my main priorities since taking office in 2012. By having an ethics committee, myself and the Chief Constable are making an explicit and public commitment to transparent, ethical policing in Greater Manchester that will be subjected to rigorous independent scrutiny.
“We’ll be looking to recruit the highest possible calibre of individuals drawn from across Greater Manchester with a deep-understanding of the issues facing the police and local people, in order to continue to develop greater transparency and trust in the police within the community. If you think you can make a difference and have something to offer, then I would encourage you to get your application in.
“We have the best police service in the world, and I believe GMP is the best police service in the country. But public confidence in policing has been damaged by issues which include Metropolitan Police’s mishandling of the Stephen Lawrence murder inquiry, undercover officers going rogue and the police response in the aftermath of the Hillsborough tragedy.
“By having effective and rigorous debate and scrutiny in the field of ethics, it means that here in Greater Manchester the public can have the confidence to know that the police service will face difficult issues head on – and we can make the best even better.”
Sir Peter added: “I totally support this development. For too long policing has been prepared to operate in a grey area on the argument that the end justifies the means. Things have happened in the past where officers carried out activity in the political or social environment at the time which are now being robustly challenged.
“An ethics committee will give those working in policing an independent forum where they can bring issues of policy or practise which cause them ethical dilemmas and where they believe what they are being asked to do is not ‘the right thing’.
The establishment of the committee is part of a programme of measures to improve confidence in policing in Greater Manchester. They include:
- An independent panel to scrutinise GMP’s approach to policing demonstrations and protests.
- Significant improvements to GMP’s complaints process, making it much easier for members of the public to raise concerns and speeding up the resolution complaints, in particular less serious complaints which in the past have taken a disproportionately long time to resolve. GMP introduced this new, streamlined process in 2012 and it is already reaping benefits as minor complaints can be dealt with in a much more effective way than the overly bureaucratic and complicated process imposed by central government.
- Later this year an independent complaints ombudsman will be recruited to oversee complaints in Greater Manchester. All of these measures aim to be of benefit to both individual police officers, members of police staff and complainants themselves – and the wider police service and public in Greater Manchester.
Applications for the Ethics Committee open on March 25th, and will close one month later on 25th April. The committee is expected to be operational by June.
Candidates are requested to send a CV, along with a covering letter outlining their suitability for the role, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information, including details of how often the committee will meet, the application process and remuneration, is available at www.gmpcc.org.uk/ethicscommittee.