The IPCC was established by the Police Reform Act 2002 and
became operational in April 2004. Our remit includes:
• Police officers and staff;
• Police and Crime Commissioners and their deputies;
• The London Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime and his
• The National Crime Agency (NCA);
• Certain non-Home Office police forces (including BTP);
• Serious matters relating to HMRC;
• Serious matters relating to staff who carry out border and
immigration functions who now work within the UK Border
Force and Home Office.
Our primary statutory purpose is to secure and maintain public
confidence in the police complaints system in England and
Wales. In addition to this our role is to:
• Independently oversee the police complaints system;
• Investigate the most serious issues, including deaths and
serious injuries, serious corruption, and serious criminal
• Decide whether allegations that a PCC or their deputy and the
Mayor of London and their deputy has committed a criminal
offence and should be investigated;
• Act as the appeal body for certain complaints;
• Identify and share best practice and lessons;
• Call in matters where there is serious public concern.
• Independent investigation
• Managed investigation
• Supervised investigation
[All of the above involve IPCC staff]
• Local investigation
• Local resolution
• Power to compel police officers to attend
• Power to allow the IPCC to investigate any
matters previously considered by the
Police Complaints Authority.
• Extending the IPCC remit to include private contractors;
• Giving the IPCC the power to recommend and direct
Unsatisfactory Performance Procedures (UPP) following a
death or serious injury;
• Giving the IPCC the power to acquire material from third
parties in relation to complaint and DSI investigations;
• Creating a statutory framework for IPCC recommendations;
• Removing the requirement for statutory review / oversight
from a police officer when IPCC investigators exercise
criminal investigative powers under PACE.
• Legal framework;
• Meeting demand for our services;
• Operating under a high level of public and
• Strengthening perception of our
• Delivering on changes already identified
whilst managing a period of expansion
following Home Secretary announcement;
• Changing landscape of the police.
• Developed in partnership with stakeholders. Launched
in 2010 and promoted across the police service.
• Sets out how we expect forces to use stop and search
• Based around the principles of fairness, effectiveness,
and public confidence.
• Referenced in investigations and appeals.
Our experience (1)
• Volume of complaints is not a good indicator of
how well or how effectively powers are being
• People who have negative experiences often have
lowest confidence in the complaints system;
• Few stop & search complaints meet the threshold
for referral, however some are handled as
• In some areas we have identified problems in the
way that complaints are handled.
Our experience (2)
• Most complaints relate to how people were
treated, and the behaviour of officers;
• Sometimes officers use the wrong powers and
provide people with incorrect information;
• Repeated unlawful use can often go unnoticed
because of weaknesses in supervision;
• Stories of negative experience perpetuate the
public perception that powers are used unfairly.
• Work locally with forces to raise awareness;
• Engagement with ACPO, College of Policing, Home Office,
HMIC, EHRC and other stakeholders (including StopWatch);
• Involvement in ACPO Police Public Encounters Board;
• Feeding into Legislation / Codes of Practice;
• Feeding into Authorised Professional Practice (APP);
• Feeding into HMIC inspections;
• Learning the Lessons Bulletins.
• Stakeholders expressed concerns - despite low levels of
complaints, the Commission decided it needed to know more.
• May 2011: all forces asked to refer any complaints or conduct
matters arising from the use of Schedule 7 powers with effect
from 01 July 2011.
• Each case now subject to a supervised investigation where
the complaint is about the lawfulness of the stop.
• Low level of complaints/referrals to date.
• Behaviour of officers, often described as
aggressive, threatening and intimidating.
• Unhappiness about the encounter taking place in
public view, leaving the person stopped feeling
humiliated and embarrassed.
• Failure of the officers to provide information about
why they stopped the person, the power being
used, the persons rights and responsibilities and
the next stages in the process.
• Failure or refusal of officers to identify themselves, to
provide their names, or show identification.
• Unhappiness about probing or personal nature of
questions and their perceived relevance.
• Failure to provide the person being stopped with a
written record of the stop.
• Failure to provide the person being stopped with any
assistance with their ongoing journey if questioning
leads to them missing flights etc.
• Perception that officers only stop people based on
their appearance and perceived ethnicity, rather
than because of intelligence.
• Perception that Schedule 7 is being used by
officers to gather intelligence, rather than to directly
prevent acts of terrorism.
• Belief that some people are repeatedly stopped
despite no evidence having being found, leading to
feelings of victimisation and discrimination.
What is the IPCC doing
• Supervision of cases.
• Engagement with National Coordinator for Protect &
• Feeding into Home Office review and other
• Engagement with Govt. Independent Reviewer of
Terrorism Legislation, EHRC and others.
• Study visits to ports.
• Engagement with other stakeholders.