Today I tweeted that I believe it’s time for PSD/DPS departments to be disbanded. I said they rarely support the public in a positive way and that they frequently damage officer’s touched by their ‘investigations’. They are not trusted from within or without the organisation and frankly they are very poor value for money. It amazes me that the press in particular have not picked up on the broken bridge that is Professional Standards. Steve Evans, from the Police Federation rightly called me put on my sweeping statement. He asked what I suggested should replace PSD. So, not being one for empty words, this is my reply to you Steve.
Currently, PSD investigate individual wrongdoing. They actively look for misdemeanours and corruption. They are a conduit for Police Discipline. Everything about them is negative. Much of what the public complain about – or want to complain about but don’t – is not due to individual wrongdoing. It is due to skewed practices or unintended consequences. Disciplining an individual officer changes nothing but frequently reinforces negativity in other officers.
What is needed now is a department that looks at good practice and poor practice. It reports back ways to improve poor procedures, thereby better protecting the public as well as Officers and it communicates findings of good practice so others can learn and improve on the back of current successes. Officers communicate with a flexible, positive department which aims to support and improve their work rather than merely punish their mistakes.
The public would be able to report good and bad experiences to one department. The emphasis on communication rather then complaint. I believe that a reinvigoration with more positive actions and a wider view to making improvements rather than simply punishing or preventing
individual issues would be a change worth making and would be far more cost effective than current arrangements.
What do you think? Please start a conversation in the comments. It’s a hugely important area and I think it’s overlooked.