Section 55 and Schedule 2: Complaints and misconduct
152.Subsection (1) introduces Schedule 2 which amends Part 2 of the Police Reform Act 2002 in order to extend to SOCA the arrangements therein for the investigation of complaints and conduct matters. Such arrangements include oversight by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
153.Paragraph 8 of Schedule 2 inserts a new section 26A into Part 2 of the 2002 Act. This section places a duty on the IPCC and SOCA to enter into an agreement as to how the IPCC will operate in relation to SOCA staff and the procedures that will be put into practice. No changes may be made to this agreement without the Secretary of State's agreement, and it may not be terminated unless another agreement has been made to replace it. The IPCC will not have any jurisdiction over matters relating to the direction and control of SOCA. The provisions of Part 2 of the 2002 Act, as amended, will only apply in relation to complaints and conduct matters rising from SOCA's activities in England and Wales.
154.In accordance with the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 1998, the Police Ombudsman has jurisdiction in Northern Ireland. Subsection (2) inserts new section 60ZA into the 1998 Act. This provides that SOCA and the Ombudsman may enter into an agreement for the establishment of complaints procedures similar to those that apply in respect of the PSNI. There is a reserve power of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to establish complaints procedures in the event that SOCA and the Ombudsman fail to reach an agreement.
155.There is currently no independent police complaints mechanism in Scotland, but any criminal allegations are investigated by the Lord Advocate and Procurator Fiscal in the normal way. Allegations concerning non-criminal matters will be handled by SOCA's internal complaint process.