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Police Reform Act 2002

Paragraph 23: Action by the Commission in response to an investigation report

116.Paragraph 23 is intended to achieve maximum openness with the complainant and other interested persons as defined by section 21 after a report on an investigation.

117.This paragraph sets out the procedures to be followed when a report on an investigation carried out or managed by the Commission is submitted to the Commission. The procedures cover the handling of possible criminal offences, proposals from the appropriate authority on disciplinary or other action and advising the complainant of the outcome of the investigation.

118.Sub-paragraphs (2) to (5) cover the handling of possible criminal offences. The Commission will have the responsibility for determining whether the report indicates that a criminal offence may have been committed and, if so, notifying the Director of Public Prosecutions, sending him a copy of the report and awaiting a response from him as to any action taken or not taken. The Commission will have responsibility for advising the appropriate authority of its determination. In the case of a complaint, the Commission will also be under a duty to advise the complainant and any other interested person as defined by section 21 of this Act of any referral to the Director of Public Prosecutions and the outcome of such a referral. The Commission must keep interested persons similarly informed in the case of a recordable conduct matter.

119.Sub-paragraphs (6) to (8) cover the handling of possible disciplinary or other action. If the Commission has determined that no criminal offence has been committed or that there had been but the Director of Public Prosecutions has decided not to bring criminal action or, if he has, the criminal action has been completed, the Commission will ask the appropriate authority to take a decision about what, if any, disciplinary or other action it proposes to bring. Disciplinary action refers to action that the appropriate authority may take under the existing formal discipline procedures which apply to regular police officers or under new discipline procedures for special constables or other procedures against support staff serving with the police. If the Commission is not satisfied with the proposed action by the appropriate authority, it can use the powers provided in paragraph 27 to recommend or, if necessary, direct another course of action.

120.Sub-paragraphs (9) to (11) cover information to be given to a complainant or an interested person as defined by section 21 on the outcome of an investigation. There will be a duty on the Commission to provide the information set out in sub-paragraph (10).

121.For the purpose of providing information about the investigation, sub-paragraph (12) gives the Commission the power to provide the complainant and other interested persons as defined by section 21 with a copy of the investigation report subject to the sensitivity test provided under section 20(6) and (7). This test, set out in regulations made by the Secretary of State, will be able to exclude disclosure where it would adversely affect national security, prevention and detection of crime, prosecution or apprehension of offenders, or the public interest. It will be possible to remove any part of the report that does not pass the sensitivity test from the copy that is disclosed. As well as these matters, the test will ensure a fair balance between the need for openness to the complainant and the need for respect for the privacy of other persons such as the person complained against.

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