New police complaints body launched today

A new independent police complaints organisation has been launched today which is designed to "increase police and public confidence" in the accountability and integrity of the police service, the Home Office has said.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) was introduced under the Police Reform Act 2002 to replace the Police Complaints Authority and will have a range of powers "to ensure an effective new police complaints system".

Among other powers, the new commission will: have its own investigative teams; consider appeals from complainants against police decisions; encourage greater openness in the system; have a regional presence; and seek to speed up the complaints process.

Home Office Minister Hazel Blears said: "Maintaining public and officer confidence in the accountability and integrity of the police service is vital to successful policing.

"The government is committed to ensuring greater transparency and accountability through the new complaints system and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). We expect a great deal of our police service and we rightly subject their actions to intense scrutiny."

The IPCC's investigative resources will be focussed on specific cases where there is high public concern. For other cases the IPCC will operate a guardianship and oversight role, raising standards, developing and spreading existing good practice, the minister said.

She added: "I am optimistic about the opportunities presented by the new system and consider it an integral part of our agenda on Police Reform. I am confident that the police service and the IPCC will make a positive difference to the way in which complaints are handled and by so doing support the policing effort."

IPCC Chairman, Nick Hardwick said that the new system would cut delays, make the process more open and bring justice for both the complainant and the police officer or member of staff.


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