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Ethical Issues Facing the City of London Police When Considering the Need to Form a Professional Standards Unit (From Policing in Central and Eastern Europe: Ethics, Integrity, and Human Rights, P 679-687, 2000, Milan Pagon, ed. -- See NCJ-206270)

NCJ Number
John Notton
Date Published
9 pages
This paper presents information relevant to research into the feasibility and advisability of the London Metropolitan Police's creation of a Professional Standards Unit within the existing Complaints and Discipline Department to seek out and deal with corruption and other unethical practices that may exist within the police agency.
In November 1999 the City of London Police were inspected by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC). Following this inspection, the HMIC produced a report that included the recommendation that the force consider the establishment of a Professional Standards Unit within the current Complaints and Discipline Department. It became clear that several important ethical and strategic issues needed to be addressed by the force if such a unit was to be formed and have the support of the officers. Many of the ethical and strategic issues involved were examined in four documents published by the task force of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) in April 2000. These documents were composed to assist chief officers of police in combating corruption in their individual forces. These documents became the basis for the City of London Police's assessment of the issues relevant to forming a Professional Standards Unit. The first of these documents is a corruption prevention strategy entitled Professional Standards in Policing. Each of the five strands of the strategy provide statements of good practice for identifying and addressing corruption. This paper briefly discusses this strategy under the following topics: promoting knowledge and understanding, prevention, intelligence, detection, and mutual assistance. A second document was published to assist chief officers of police in assessing the vulnerability of a force to corruption. It incorporates its guidance in a checklist with the following broad headings: organizational systems to prevent and detect problems, gathering intelligence, managing informants and minimizing risk, and other systems to detect corruption. A third document incorporates guiding principles for compiling a policy, along with suggested mechanisms for staff to report matters of concern and make arrangements for their support. The fourth publication of the task force is a guide for investigators who are involved in corruption inquiries. At the core of the HMIC report and the documents produced by the ACPO Task Force is the view that any anticorruption strategy should emphasize ethical policing. The formation of a Professional Standards Unit is one way of supporting and reinforcing this ethical style of policing; however, the human resources required to staff this unit and the financial resources needed to fund it in the current economic climate are important considerations. 4 references