Metropolitan Police

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 8th January 2001.

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Photo of Andrew MacKinlay Andrew MacKinlay Labour, Thurrock 12:00 am, 8th January 2001

If he will make a statement on the management and control of the complaints investigation branch of the Metropolitan police. [142654]

Photo of Jack Straw Jack Straw The Secretary of State for the Home Department

The complaints investigation branch of the Metropolitan police was restructured and renamed the directorate of professional standards in July last year, and operates with a much stronger management team than before.

I know that Sir John Stevens, the Commissioner, is determined to tackle corruption in the Metropolitan police, and I welcome his commitment to rid the police service of corruption. I fully support him in his efforts both to prevent corruption, and to seek out and eradicate it.

Photo of Andrew MacKinlay Andrew MacKinlay Labour, Thurrock

Does the Home Secretary not understand that there are grounds for widespread concern among both police officers and the public about the stewardship and conduct of the directorate, and about the fact that, when a complaint is made about the directorate's conduct, it is investigated by the directorate itself? Is there not a need for a full judicial inquiry into the conduct, stewardship and management of what was the complaints investigation branch of the Metropolitan police, in view of the considerable evidence that I gave the House on 31 October, extensive reports of corruption and unprofessional conduct among CIB3 officers in The Guardian and other newspapers throughout last year, and substantial and serious documentaries that have appeared on television during the year?

Photo of Jack Straw Jack Straw The Secretary of State for the Home Department

The House will know that I cannot refer to any specific complaint, and do not do so. I can tell my hon. Friend, however, that I have seen no evidence whatsoever either to justify his criticisms of the CIB or the Metropolitan police service's investigation of complaints of corruption, or remotely to justify the establishment of any judicial inquiry. What I do know is that officers who are corrupt are often extremely clever in seeking to disrupt investigations of that corruption, and frequently make great use of their own perverted detective skills in order to do so.