News story

Home Secretary announces reforms to IPCC

Organisation to have new governance model and name.

The vast majority of police discharge their duties with integrity and professionalism
The vast majority of police discharge their duties with integrity and professionalism

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) will be reformed and renamed to improve efficiency, drive more effective governance and make it more responsive to the public, the Home Secretary announced today.

Home Secretary Theresa May has concluded that the IPCC’s existing governance model is no longer suitable for the expanding organisation and in light of its enhanced role in the reformed police disciplinary and complaints systems, which will be overhauled as a result of measures in the Policing and Crime Bill.

Today (Monday 7 March) the Home Secretary announced her intention to bring forward amendments to the Bill to create a new governance model for the police complaints body.

The reformed organisation will be headed by a director general instead of a large number of commissioners. The director general will be appointed by Her Majesty The Queen and be ultimately accountable for individual casework decisions, including in respect of the investigation of the most serious and sensitive allegations involving the police. Corporate governance will be provided by a board comprising a majority of non-executive directors appointed by the Home Secretary to challenge and have oversight of the overall running of the organisation.

Capable and resilient

These changes will deliver a more capable and resilient IPCC with clear lines of accountability and decision-making, which is of particular importance as it takes on all serious and sensitive cases.

The organisation will also be renamed the “Office for Police Conduct” to reflect its expanded role investigating serious and sensitive matters and the fact there will be no commissioners under the new governance model.

Home Secretary Theresa May said:

The vast majority of police officers and police staff discharge their duties with integrity and professionalism, upholding the best traditions of policing in this country.

But where the actions of a minority fall short of the high standards the public is entitled to expect, there need to be arrangements in place so that the conduct in question can be properly looked into and the matter resolved in a timely and proportionate manner.

The Policing and Crime Bill will build on reforms we have already introduced and make the police complaints and discipline systems simpler, more transparent and more robust. It also includes provisions to increase the powers and independence of the IPCC.

At a time when the IPCC is growing as an organisation to take on all serious and sensitive cases, it needs to be more streamlined, more responsive to the public, and better able to cope with the cases it is taking on.

The IPCC is supportive of the need for reform and I am grateful for the input and co-operation of the current chair and chief executive during the development of these proposals.

Increased powers

The reforms in the Policing and Crime Bill increase the IPCC’s powers, including initiating its own investigations and recommending remedies.

Today’s announcement follows an independent review by Sheila Drew Smith and the Home Office’s recent consultation on changes to the governance of the IPCC.

The government’s response to the consultation was published today. It sets out the plans to reform the governance arrangements of the IPCC to ensure they are fit for purpose now and in the future.

Published 7 March 2016