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Police Reform Act 2002

Section 10: General functions of the Commission

50.This section sets out the elements of the system for dealing with complaints and other conduct matters, the functions of the Commission in relation to those elements and the duties relating to the carrying out of its functions.

51.Subsection (1) sets out the functions of the Commission in regards to the elements of the system. Operation of the elements of the system will be undertaken, as set out in this Part, by the Commission, the authorities with responsibility for maintaining police forces and the police (including NCIS and NCS). However, it is intended that the Commission will be the guardian of the system and, therefore, it will be the function of the Commission to:

  • secure effective and efficient arrangements for the operation of the elements in compliance with the provisions of this Part, and ensure that the parts of the arrangements which fall to the Commission are demonstrably independent;

  • keep those arrangements under review, making recommendations and giving advice both on the modification of those arrangements and on police practice in relation to other matters seen by the Commission to be necessary or desirable; and

  • establish and maintain public confidence in those arrangements.

52.Subsection (1)(e) extends the function of the Commission into making recommendations and giving advice on police practice in relation to any other matters which the Commission comes across as a result of carrying out its other functions, including its functions in relation to dealing with individual complaints.

53.Subsection (1)(f) allows for the extension of functions in relation to NCIS, NCS and other bodies of constables (such as the MDP and BTP) by regulations.

54.Subsection (2) sets out the elements of the system. They are:

  • the handling of complaints against persons serving with the police;

  • the handling of other conduct matters which may constitute a criminal offence or behaviour justifying disciplinary proceedings; and

  • the manner in which such complaints or other conduct matters are investigated or otherwise dealt with.

55.Subsection (3) explains additional functions conferred on the Commission in respect of any arrangements made under regulations or under an agreement for dealing with complaints or conduct matters about members of NCIS and NCS or other bodies of constables; for example, the MDP or the BTP. The Commission will have any functions conferred on it in relation to contracted-out staff under section 39 of this Act. The Commission will also have any functions conferred upon it by regulations or by an order in relation to disciplinary or similar proceedings against any person serving with a police force, with NCIS or NCS or serving with another body of constables.

56.Subsection (4)(b) places a duty on the Commission to ensure that the system is conducive to the reporting of misconduct committed by those who come within its remit. Section 37 also makes provision for affording protection to police officers who report wrongdoing by other officers.

57.Subsection (5) provides for the Commission to enter into arrangements, assist and co-operate with inspectors of constabulary; there is an amendment to the 1996 Act (see paragraph 15 of Schedule 7) to impose a corresponding requirement on inspectors of constabulary to co-operate with the Commission.

58.Subsection (7) enables the Commission to charge any person for anything it might do in regards to the function (set out in subsection (1)(e)) of making recommendations and giving advice both on the arrangements for the operation of the system and on police practice in relation to other matters. For example, the Commission may invite practitioners to thematic seminars and may charge a fee for this.

59.Subsection (8) excludes the Commission from having any role in relation to a complaint or conduct matter that has to do with the direction and control of a police force.

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