Oct 24, 2014

SSLP welcomes prosecution of officer for serious misconduct during stop & search

A police officer has been senetenced to six months in prison for viscioulsy assaulting a member of the public during a stop and search.

For this to happen the victim's complaint had to be taken serioulsy, investigated by DPS (Directorate of Professional Standards) passed to the IPCC, who felt it was worthy of prosecution and passed its findings to the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service), who decided there was enough evidence and it was in the public interest to prosecute.

The guilty verdict is of course in the hands of a jury, but the stiff sentence shows the judge took the matter seriously too.

While we would hope such serious abuses of power are not the norm, there are plenty of cases of police misconduct that merit investigation and prosecution, but are not taken seriously or are ignored.

Complaints are usually dealt with by the local police force, so officers investigate one another. Sometimes the complaint is not even recorded, let alone investigated. Where an investigation is carried out they are usually found not to merit any further action and an apology is made or the case dismissed.

Occasionally, particularly with more serious matters such as this, the matter is investigated by the IPCC. But rarely are they passed to the CPS and prosecuted leaving victims and the public frustrated and angry that there is one set of standards for the them and another for the police.

Past high-profile prosecutions against the police have often only happened after the victim has gone to the media.

SSLP is hopeful that the revelations of serious police misconduct over the last few years - from the Hillsborough cover-ups to spycops - and the acceptance that misuse of stop and search is unacceptable and counter-productive marks a step change in the way legitimate complaints are handled.

SSLP calls on the Met to continue educating frontline and senior officers on how to behave, for the monitoring process to be strengthened, and for officers that fall short of the expected standards to be disciplined and prosecuted where appropriate.

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