A message from the IPCC Chair, Dame Anne Owers
The Independent Police Complaints Commission is a vital part of ensuring public confidence in policing in England and Wales. In discharging its responsibilities for investigating death, serious injury, corruption and other serious complaints against the police, the Commission plays a key role in ensuring that the British way of policing by consent works effectively. As citizens we allow the police significant powers to intervene in our lives to protect both ourselves and others from harm and to prevent and detect crime. In certain circumstances it is even lawful for the police to take a life.
It is therefore vital, when there are allegations or serious concerns about the way the police have carried out their responsibilities, that there is an independent investigation to establish the facts and identify if anything went wrong, that those who have made mistakes are brought publicly to account, and that lessons are learned for the future. The IPCC has established itself effectively in this role over the past eight years.
We are now seeking to appoint two new Commissioners, to join the seven Commissioners and Deputy Chair, who have operational responsibilities for oversight of investigations and the complaints system. One will be based in Wales, and responsible, among other things, for all the Welsh police forces. This is an important and high profile national role, which will involve establishing good and appropriate relationships with key individuals, structures and stakeholders in Wales, including the Welsh Assembly and Ministers and the newly elected Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) as well as having oversight of investigations. The other Commissioner will be based in the north of England. Like other Commissioners, he or she will have responsibility for overseeing investigations and relationships with assigned forces and their PCCs and key community stakeholder groups.
You will be taking on this role at an exciting time. The IPCC will need to adapt to the new policing landscape, and establish relationships with the PCCs that ensure an effective system of public accountability. The Act also makes the IPCC responsible for investigating allegations of criminality against PCCs. At the same time, we are carrying out well over a hundred independent investigations at any one time, into serious allegations, including alleged corruption, deaths and serious injuries. Added to that is the huge investigation into the tragic events at Hillsborough in 1989.
The IPCC performs a role which is central to our democracy. It exercises its powers on behalf of society as a whole, not necessarily in a way that the individual complainant or police officer would want. It operates in a highly adversarial and emotionally charged context, subject to intense and often critical public and media scrutiny. We are seeking truly exceptional people who will relish these challenges, demonstrate independence and lead the IPCC through the next phase of its life.
I wish you well in your application.
Dame Anne Owers