[Dr William McCrea in the Chair] — Metropolitan Police

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:35 am on 19th March 2014.

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Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 10:35 am, 19th March 2014

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Dr McCrea. I apologise on behalf of the Minister for Policing, Criminal Justice and Victims, my right hon. Friend Damian Green, who is unfortunately unwell. If he could possibly be here, he would be, as I am sure you know.

I also congratulate my hon. Friend Tessa Munt on securing this debate and on setting out the facts of the case so clearly and comprehensively. She is a determined champion for her constituents, and she and my hon. Friend Richard Harrington have set out in their remarks the particular issues faced by their constituents. They have been the subject of a number of investigations and legal proceedings, some of which are not complete. Although I cannot comment on the facts of an individual case while proceedings are outstanding, this case, along with others recently disclosed—some going back many years—will undermine the public’s trust and confidence in policing in general and in the Met in particular.

I will ask my right hon. Friend the Minister for Policing, Criminal Justice and Victims to meet the three Members here today who represent the officers involved in the case, as their constituency MPs, and I know he will speak to them in more detail. My hon. Friend the Member for Wells raised three specific points that I will answer now. First, she asked about officers taking part in part 20 proceedings. That is an unusual step for the Met to take. Although I am unable to comment on the details of the case I will look into that matter with the Met. I agree with her that that should not become normal practice. We clearly do not want to require officers to insure themselves.

My hon. Friend raised the issue of the IPCC dealing with retired officers. She will be aware that on 6 March the Home Secretary announced that she would look at the disciplinary system. That matter is part of that work, along with the struck-off list already being compiled by the College of Policing to ensure that officers cannot retire to avoid justice.

My hon. Friend also asked about the IPCC power to direct misconduct proceedings. I understand her concerns about the outcome of the gross misconduct hearing for the DPS officers. The disciplinary system is also being reviewed as part of the work that the Home Secretary announced on 6 March, and this case provides evidence to support changes in that area.