Sunday, 30 June 2013

Undercover Policing and Whistleblowing

Whilst the latest tranche of police whistleblowers come forward and the IPSG are contacted for advice we do have some concerns we would wish to raise.

The IPSG supports genuine police whistleblowers who have raised issues at the time to try and right a wrong.

A number of whistleblowers are coming forward having left the police service and raising matters which took place many years ago.

Had the matters been raised at the time, many years of suffering by both members of the public and police officer colleagues could have been avoided.

Whilst employees in private business may have genuine concerns about losing their jobs and thus remain silent, police officers have a unique status as a holder of an office and cannot ignore crime or the oath they have taken.

If police officers turn a blind eye to colleagues conduct of whatever rank or fail to challenge, one has to wonder whether they have the qualities required of a police officer and are in the right job.

When investigating crimes against the public are those officers also susceptible to being intimidated by criminals and failing to carry out their duties to protect and serve the public.

With regards to the recent activities concerning under cover officers involved in gathering intelligence concerning public order and campaign groups, we do not recognise these as professional and properly trained under cover police officers.

These officers appear to be inexperienced and if they were dealing with high level criminality would most likely have been exposed and eliminated one way or another.

There appears to have been a total lack of proper supervision of these officers and it is well known that undercover officers do not take drugs or have sex whilst on undercover operations.

The experts in under cover policing and training at that time were the Met Police SO10 branch who do not appear to have been involved and the unit the officers were attached to appears to be a product of another ACPO initiative to justify its existence.

Whilst we continue to support police whistleblowers, those who did not have the courage and moral fibre to raise issues at the time which, may have prevented the suffering of others over many years will most likely been shown the door.


Thursday, 23 May 2013

Inspectors' Excessive Working Hours

Inspectors' hours: Recording app is developed

Inspectors' hours: Recording app is developed
New facility will be available amid ongoing concerns that officers are working over the odds.
Date - 23rd May 2013
By - Cliff Caswell - Police Oracle
A new mobile app for inspectors to record the hours they are working should provide a more accurate picture of workloads in forces, the Police Federation has claimed.
The staff association has confirmed that the app is being developed for smartphones and will enable members of the inspecting ranks to input information on the move before uploading it to force systems.
Alan Ogg, Chairman of the Fed Inspectors’ Central Committee, told that the professional burdens being shouldered by officers were not fully understood.
He added: “We are looking to develop this app to make the recording process easier. When officers are busy, recording hours is something that can easily be forgotten.
“When we recently put in freedom of information requests to forces requesting details on the numbers of hours worked by inspectors, quite a few did not have accurate records.”
The Federation has warned that actual working time must be set down, pointing out that innacurate records could lead to senior officers believing working practices were manageable, when they were not.
As previously reported, the Inspectors’ committee has been engaging with officers across all eight regions of England and Wales following the publication of the Time for Justice report by the Cardiff Business School in 2012, which examined working patterns.
Despite claims of inhibiting workloads, the research found that fewer than half of forces in England and Wales were able to provide the figures on working hours within a one-week time span.
A series of workshops have since been debating the issue with the aim of formulating a solution that will be accepted by all key organisations within the Police Service.
It has been suggested the situation with inspectors’ hours has been compounded as members of the inspecting ranks are not eligible for overtime – which was “bought out” some years ago
But Mr Ogg said: “It should be helpful that we now have Tom Winsor’s Unsocial Hours Allowance – and forces need to have a system so that this is recorded accurately.
“The app will allow you to record and upload your hours when you are able to do so.”

IPSG Comment

We welcome any measure that will assist force's acknowledging and trying to deal with the increasing pressures placed on Inspecting ranks.

There have been similar measures taken previously in the Metropolitan Police but it not known what action was taken as a result of the survey.

We have been involved recently in Humberside Police which is apparent from recent blogs and this is one of the reasons we originally became involved.

The performance culture appears partly to blame for a number of Inspectors becoming ill.

There was also a situation where a Uniform Inspector was thrown in at the deep end having been made a Detective Inspector without any previous detective experience.

We hope the police federation are able to have some positive impact on addressing the present difficult situation.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Latest research from PCAW

Whistleblowing: the inside story

We are pleased to announce the publication of Whistleblowing: the inside story which analyses the experiences of 1,000 whistleblowers. The report looks at the lesser known but far more common experience of whistleblowing. The report follows the whistleblower’s journey, starting with nature of the wrongdoing that was witnessed, the reactions whistleblowers expect and experience from colleagues and managers, through to when they call for advice. This journey is often fraught with threats, fears and contradictions, and can be incredibly stressful for the individual involved.
Headlines from the research:
  • 83% of workers blow the whistle up to two times, usually internally
  • 15% of whistleblowers raise a concern externally
  • 74% of whistleblowers say nothing is done about the wrongdoing
  • 60% of whistleblowers receive no response from management, either negative or positive
  • The most likely response is formal action (disciplinary or demotion) (19%)
  • 15% of whistleblowers are dismissed
  • Senior whistleblowers are more likely to be dismissed 
  • Newer employees are most likely to blow the whistle (39% have less than two years' service)
Cathy James, Chief Executive of Public Concern at Work commented:
"Media attention on whistleblowing makes for contradictory reading: ministers and employers say whistleblowing is vital for an open and transparent workplace culture, but ask the whistleblowers and the story is starkly different: they are gagged in the NHS, arrested in our police forces and blacklisted in many industries.
"The combination of the findings in our report demonstrate why speaking up in the workplace may seem futile or dangerous to many individuals. While organisations may be getting better at addressing wrongdoing, they are still shooting the messenger and overlooking crucial opportunities to address concerns quickly and effectively.
"Too many workers still suffer reprisal which will not only impact negatively on the whistleblower, but will deter others from speaking up and allow a culture of silence to pervade. We must learn from past mistakes and make sure that whistleblowing protects individuals, organisations and society as a whole."

Tuesday, 21 May 2013


The IPSG has trained mediators and a volunteer has recently trained with TCM in mediating with persons who have mental health difficulties.

We have been involved in mediating some very difficult cases and steps are underway to mediate another case with a force in the Midlands.

Our own view is that internal mediation does not generally work in police forces because of the perceived lack of independence of those allocated to mediate cases.

There is a mediation bandwagon at present where companies are being paid to train up mediators within police forces.

One of the problems apparent is that the courses are often allocated to senior officers and not fairly distributed.

Perhaps mediators could be utilised from other police forces however; a barrier to this is a reluctance for those outside a police force to be made aware of internal problems.

Mediation is a good tool but more work needs to be carried out on this subject to make it work for police forces.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Learning Lessons - Humberside Employment Tribunal Case

The IPSG assisted an officer in a recent case at Leeds Employment Tribunal.
This case was about bullying in the driver training unit, whistleblowing and an abuse of power where a decision was made to transfer a long serving police officer and trainer out of the driver training department with no notice and failed to deal with the officer in accordance with the Police (Conduct) Regulations which would have provided him with the necessary safeguards.

The driver training superviser stated that he did not believe that neither he or a Superintendent  had taken any notes when dealing with the officer who had been transferred.

There was no aftercare for the officer who ultimately became ill and the force bullied him into returning early againt the medical advice of his GP.

Additionally, when the officer made a formal grievance the force failed to follow the force grievance procedure known as RADAW or use the correct forms. The officer was also unaware that he had a right of appeal.

There was an issue concerning the safety of motorcycle tyres used by the force for high speed training which had resulted in the tyres being stripped to the chords. The force had failed to ensure that independent examination of the tyres were undertaken to establish whether they were suitable for the type of use to which the tyre was being put. With this type of tyre there is no tread in the centre so is difficult to measure.

The driver training department had also been involved in purchasing a number of second hand stinger devices from South Yorkshire Police for £4000 but unfortunately they were not supplied with the safety caps for the spikes. Despite concerns being raise at the time, it was not until an officer was injured and the IPSG reporting the matter to the HSE before remedial action was taken to order the safety caps.

There was a series of accidents during TPAC training which is a technique used to stop vehicles travelling at speed on motorways. It also became apparent that  other members of the force had been permitted to travel in the vehicles as a 'jolly' during this training and there had been several accisents during this training.

The IPSG has since discovered that a civil claim is being made against the force regarding an injury sustained in one of the TPAC training exercises.

It was also apparent that there were no relevant standard policies and procedures for the operation of the driver training unit.

Evidence which would have supported the officer and contained in Performance Development Review's "PDR's" could not be produced by the force.

In what appeared to be an attempt to mislead teh Tribunal,:the force informed the Employment Tribunal that no one in the force received a PDR during the years 2010 and 2011 which was not correct.

For the public, this would be of interest because effectively this would mean that officer's conduct would not be monitored and areas for improvement are recorded in these documents.

It was apparent from the circumstances of this case that the conduct officers in failing to deal with offences in accordance with the proper and appropriate misconduct procedures could be seen to fit the definition of  misconduct in public office.

Members of the public may be wondering why a police officer can ride on a defective tyre twice and not be dealt with in the normal way where he would receive 6 points and up to £5000 in fines. Before deciding not to take any formal action in these matters; a supervising officer sought advice from the force Professional Standrads Branch (PSB).
Humberside Professional Standards Branch had previously been inspected by the HMIC as part of a national baseline inspection and was one of only two forces out of 43 to receive a "poor" grading.

Our recent dealings with Humberside PSB have not inspired confidence or given any indication of significant improvement.

The IPSG on behalf of an officer are seeking answers to why a senior officer has not been disciplined for attempting to avoid a speeding ticket by falsely claiming he was on duty at the time.

Whilst there is a shortage of police officers; the IPSG raised with the Judge at the tribunal that there were officers sitting at the back of the Tribunal who were not giving evidence that day, the force legal services department stated that they were there to listen to the evidence. This was considered to be unethical.

The Judge stated that it was for the Chief Constable to decide who would attend the Tribunal.

Unusually; but it is accepted practice at the Tribunal that witnesses can sit in and listen to others giving evidence before giving their own evidence.

Senior officers attended in uniform which appeared to be designed to influence the Tribunal panel as it is common practice that officers where civilian clothes to such hearings.

We will in the future submit a post specifically relating to police employment tribunals to provide useful information for those considering embarking down that route.

Learning lessons

For officers and staff wishing to raise concerns, you need to make sure that this is documented. In this case there was a lack of documentation to corroborate that protected disclosures were being made.

If it is not recorded, the force will strenuously deny any such conversation took place if questioned at a later stage.

Humberside Police Federation failed to seek legal advice on behalf of the officer who ultimately had to submit his own employment tribunal claim.

If a federation representative is not prepared to properly support an officer, we would recommend looking for another federation representative in the first instance; they are out there but officers should establish exactly what they will and won't do for you in advance so that their case is not prejudiced.

The usual issues that arise are a reluctance to take witness statements, delay in seeking legal advice which can result in claims being out of time and Equality Act Questionnaire's not been submitted in time resulting in Claimant's bering unable to ask the Tribunal to draw an inference from a force failing to respond to a questionnaire or providing evasive answers.
As ususal we will provide feedback to the force and any other relevant organisations such as the HMIC and the IPCC.

Hampshire Constabulary - Internally networked corruption

The latest attempt to deal with the treatment of police  whistleblowers in the force and aattempt mediate has been rebuffed by Chief Constable Andy Marsh; the new Chief Constable of the force.

The matter was raised by a Hampshire Police Federation representative on behalf of a police whistleblower who has been victimised over a number of years by the force wasting considerable public funds in targeting  whistleblowers whilst; at the same time ignoring their allegations of corruption within Hampshire Professional Standards Department "PSD".

One of the allegations concerned former PSD officers attempting to cover up a Paedophila matter on the Isle of Wight.
Hampshire Police Authority also acquiesced in what was seen to be corruption in failing to investigate  a former Deputy Chief Constable regardinf teh abopve and other connected matters.
Two members of Hampshire Police and Crime Panel subsequently assisted a former Chief Constable in dismissing the police whistleblower on spurious charges of assisting his wife in a catering business in contravention of an order directly from the Chief Constable. This was the first time that a serving police officer has ever been dismissed from a police service without a police disciplinary hearing.

During this case, two police federation representaives were also victimised by the force to such an extent that they became ill, self harming and contemplating suicide.

The IPSG has seen no improvement in the treatment of police federation representatives by senior officers.The IPSG will be forwarding an allegation of recordeable conduct  concerning the conduct of a senior officer Chief Constable towards a police federation representative.

Two former police federation representatives who challenged corruption within PSD were victimised to such an extent that they became suicidal.

A previous chair of Hampshire police federation  had also been intimidated by the head of PSD at that time for also challenging the conduct of Hampshire PSD.

Unusually in Hampshire, police federation reprsentatives had not been given permission to attend an employment tribunal to support an officer, the force had a policy which did not allow police federation reprseentatives from attending employment tribunals unless they were actually giving evidence. By contrast this did not apply to civilian union representatives.

In a recent empolyment tribunal case allegations were made of the force and a senior PSD officer destroying/concealing relevantr policy files in the case.

In common with some other forces, Hampshire PSD appear to act above the law breaching PACE and failing to adhere to the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2008.

What is interesting to note is that whilst officers and staff may be investigated by the PSD and the sanctions can be often inconsistent, what is fairly consistent is that no matter how serious the allegations are concerning PSD officers, the same minimum sanction appears to be given of 'management advice'.

Whilst Hampshire Police Federation no doubt continue to do the best for their members; in reality they have very little power to tackle such issues of corruption withou ultimately sacrificing their own careers.

The IPSG will continue to raise issues of public interest so long as criminal activity remains unchallenged and there is evidence of misconduct in public office directly affecting officers, members of the public and victims of crime.

In relation to the above matters, no further details will be released at this stage as there is now a High Court Claim against the force.

Saturday, 18 May 2013



Making public interest disclosures is an area that the IPSG deals with regularly. The IPSG has accumulated considerable experience over several years.

"Shooting the messenger" has been developed to help you understand what may be happening to you if you are in this situation. The process can be typical of larger organisations however; clients who are a member of a police service can be at a greater disadvantage due to the additional powers and resources available to the employer.

We can help you and urge you to make contact at the earliest opportunity should you be experiencing any of the following behaviour.

Shooting the Messenger

While one should try to be positive about the subject of accountability and the various policies, procedures and agencies that exist to encourage the reporting of wrongdoing, in reality your disclosures will not be welcomed.

This assertion is corroborated by the lack of support from forces and the IPCC when the chips are down.

It is important for a police officer or member of police staff to be aware of what they might expect in the worst scenario.

If you are thinking of whistle-blowing we would ask you to contact us so that we can ensure any such disclosures are covered by the Public interest Disclosure Act.

Police officers and staff are at a distinct disadvantage as they are unable to make a ‘complaint' against a colleague in the police service and do not have the same rights as a member of the public who can appeal to the IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission).

It is a worthwhile exercise when thinking about reforms to ask why police forces respond in the specific non-accountable ways that they sometimes do.
 One could roughly arrange these by the degree of defensiveness to which a force/employer feels driven.

Hot air

The force will appear at first to share your concern. Many fine words will be generated, insubstantial memoranda may fly about, a meeting may be convened, and promises will be made. No action will be taken, except perhaps the most trivial. At a later date any conversation not recorded on paper may be strenuously denied.

Send to Coventry

A change of mood comes over certain managers and colleagues. Initially this is quite subtle. Greetings, smiles and friendly banter are less frequent. At first you brush it off. Then it becomes more pronounced. Eyebrows are raised, you are avoided and left out of events and decisions, sarcastic
comments are made. If you mention it you may find that your mental health is questioned.

Close ranks

It is clear that what you said to one colleague or manager has been passed on, and possibly distorted, to his or her peers. When you approach a manager further up the line it is clear that they have been forewarned. Your concern has somehow created an anti-you group. You are identified as a
'trouble-maker' by most people with any authority, and any attempt to raise your concern is now pre-empted and prejudged. Some of your colleagues feel that your complaint demeans them by implication.


When you raise your concerns formally you find that your letters are unanswered, the manager is never available, promises to 'get back to you' are broken, you are passed on to someone who eventually sends you a letter thanking you for raising the concerns and the matter has been investigated. You may be told directly not to send any more reports or letters.

Biomedical diagnosis

It is suggested that you have been under a 'lot of stress lately' and that you ought to visit the occupational health department, seek counselling or visit your GP. You are asked if you are 'coping'. It emerges, unknown to you, that you have been informally diagnosed as anxious, depressed, paranoid, having a personality disorder, or as being 'neurotic'.


A colleague is passing on information about you (and has, perhaps, been asked to do so). You are the object of close observation, fault-finding, and perhaps your e-mail and telephone conversations are being monitored. Some of your work goes wrong or astray and you wonder about sabotage. If you mention this it is taken as further evidence that you are unable to cope or 'paranoid'.

Grind down

Work becomes more difficult. Your workload increases, you get the unpopular cases or incidents. Your attempts at promotion are made difficult and your appraisals are unfairly written and do not accurately reflect you performance. You may be transferred to another station or department and your request for leave and time off are refused without valid reasons

Sticks and carrots

An intermediary, usually a non-independent person is chosen to act as a facilitator and will call you aside for 'a chat' and you may feel that at last youare getting somewhere. Your career prospects may be discussed, the suggestion being that you drop your complaints. Alternatively, or if you refuse to accept the carrot, veiled threats will be made such as 'Are you sure you wouldn't be happier working elsewhere?' These become overt threats such as 'You are jeopardizing your future' and 'you won't be working here much longer'. If you raised concerns about colleagues, you may find that you become a victim of harassment.

Character assassination

Aspersions will be cast on your character, your personal conduct, your personal past, your political views, your class or ethnic origin, or your sexual orientation. These may progress to accusations of your own misconduct including criminal, theft of documents, lying, disloyalty, breach of confidentiality, and the like.

First strike

Official counter-complaints may be formulated against you in a disciplinary hearing before your own concerns are addressed or instead of addressing them. You may be made a scapegoat. Disciplinary or grievance procedures may be used and abused as a pre-emptive or retaliatory measure. The force
will attempt to get their revenge in first.

Second strike

If you manage to get through the first strike, your force may abuse their powers and decide to maliciously investigate you on suspicion of a criminal offence, your home may be searched and you will be interviewed in a custody suite to cause you the maximum amount of distress.

You may be charged and relevant evidence is witheld from the crown prosecution service.
You may be wrongly convicted and spend many years trying to clear your name and obtain evidence which has been destroyed.


If you remain in the force; your presence is no longer tolerable. You may be wrongly suspended and then dismissed or there may be a reorganisation in which your post is made redundant.

Forces are also able to  use A19 of police Pension Regulations to legitimately remove officers who have completed 30 years service.

Cosmetic reshuffle

If your concerns were of a serious nature, especially if an inquiry took place, then there will be some changes at your workplace of a cosmetic nature. Some posts may be reshuffled, but it is unlikely that policies will be revised or that managerial heads will roll. Certainly no acknowledgement will be made that there is any connection between your raising a concern and the changes which followed.

Bullying in Humberside Police

The IPSG have been supporting several police officers in Humberside Police, this is one of several smaller police forces where we have experienced similar difficulties.

Unusually, the majority of cases concerned bullying towards Inspectors which appears to be linked to a culture of performance where officers are working excessive hours often breaching the working time regulations.

We are aware of at least 5 Inspectors having similar difficulties and being made ill resulting in sickness absence. We make no apologies for raising such matters as one of our aims is to prevent the number of police suicides.

We have also raised concerns regarding officers being forced back to work early ignoring the medical advice of officer's own GPs.

The IPSG has been involved in supporting officers in three employment tribunal cases and raising concerns with the new Chief Constable with regards to the extent of the bullying and associated criminal and conduct matters which appear to have been designed to cover up the conduct of senior officers.

What was apparent from interviewing several officers was that there is a culture of fear and bul;lying in the force.

The new Chief Constable has failed so far to acknowledge our communication and we will monitor the situation closely.

We have sent a Freedom of Information request to ACPO to chase up previous concerns which have been raised by the police federation and superintendents association regarding the hours being worked by inspecting ranks.

We will post any updates from ACPO.