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Can We Trust the Police?

In light of recent scandals, the Tonight programme investigates public attitudes and speaks to Policing Minister, Damian Green

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Police officer charged with distributing illegal images

The Crown Prosecution Service has charged a police officer with distributing illegal images on his phone. In a statement, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor Jenny Hopkins said:

We have been asked to review a file of evidence submitted by the Metropolitan Police Service’s Department of Professional Standards concerning alleged offences under the Obscene Publications Act. Following a review of the evidence, we have concluded that James Addison, a police constable in the Diplomatic Protection Group, should be charged with 11 offences.

It is alleged that between 17 February 2013 and 6 June 2013, PC Addison distributed moving images via his mobile telephone, contrary to section 2(1) of the Obscene Publications Act 1959.

Public confidence in police 'severely shaken'

Officers from the Metropolitan Police on the streets of London Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Public confidence in the police has been "severely shaken" by a series of controversies, an annual report into the service has said.

Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary. Tom Winsor, said cases such as the Stephen Lawrence investigation and the 'plebgate' scandal involving former Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell had all damaged the police's reputation.

Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Tom Winsor Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/Press Association Images

"Controversies and revelations of a serious and negative nature in relation to the conduct of some police officers, both past and present, have hurt public confidence in the police," his report says.


Recruiting outsiders 'will open up policing culture'

The future success of the police is dependent on attracting the best and brightest to careers in the force, the Policing Minister has said, as a move to fast-track officers into senior roles come into force.

Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice Damian Green Credit: PA

Damian Green added: "This is the first time that chief constables will be able to recruit talented and motivated leaders from other walks of life, who can bring a wide range of experience and expertise.

"They will receive world class training from the College of Policing and will bring a fresh perspective and approach, opening up policing culture which will benefit their colleagues and the public."

Cameron: Fast-track move a fresh approach to policing

Police forces should reflect the communities which they serve, the Prime Minister said, as a move to fast-track officers into senior roles come into force. David Cameron said:

Schemes like these will enable talented and experienced people from a range of backgrounds to bring new ideas and a fresh approach to policing.

We have already slashed red tape and cut bureaucratic targets, this is about opening up policing culture by making the workforce more diverse. I want to see all forces in England and Wales rolling out these schemes.

Read: Fast-track police officers into senior roles launched

Fast-track police officers into senior roles launched

Nearly two centuries of policing tradition will be swept aside from Tuesday when moves to fast-track officers into senior roles come into force.

Previously the only way to enter the police, since Robert Peel founded the Metropolitan in 1829, had been to join as a constable.

Police seek outsiders for top ranks Credit: PA

The College of Policing has today launched two new recruitment programmes to bring people with more diverse backgrounds and new perspectives into policing - offering direct entry and fast-track into top positions.

It means the traditional route of entry-level officers spending time as a bobby on the beat will be replaced with a three-year fast-track to inspector scheme and direct entry at superintendent level, while the rank of chief constable will be opened up to overseas applicants.


Domestic violence victims 'failed by police response'

A damning report into how police deal with domestic violence has found there are "alarming and unacceptable" failures.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) found only 8 of 43 forces in England and Wales were currently providing a substantial service.

Read: Domestic abuse victims 'at unnecessary and avoidable risk

Thousands of domestic violence victims are being failed due to poor attitudes, ineffective training and inadequate evidence gathering, HMIC said, as it called for an urgent shake-up of the response.

UK Editor Lucy Manning reports.

Watch: Domestic violence victim says police response was 'too casual'

Victim: Officers need more domestic abuse training

A domestic abuse victim has told ITV News that frontline police need more training.

Kimberley (not her real name) said that after being repeatedly abused by her partner she eventually went to police but felt their initial response was too "casual".

She claimed the officer who initially took her statement refused to take certain details and only took pictures of her severe injuries after she prompted him.

She added: "He was very casual. I think he did believe me but he didn't take it for the seriousness that it was."

Kimberley says her case was not handled properly at the outset, although the situation improved when it was passed to more senior officers.

She said more training was needed: "The first line of response has got to be stronger more sensitive, more training is required for these people."

Four police forces 'failing domestic abuse victims'

Just eight of 43 police forces responded well to domestic abuse and the most vulnerable victims faced a "lottery" in the way their complaints were handled, inspectors said.

The forces singled out by inspectors as being of particularly serious concern were:

  • Greater Manchester
  • Bedfordshire
  • Cambridgeshire
  • Gloucestershire

Lancashire Police was hailed as having the best response to domestic abuse.

Read more: Police 'failing' domestic violence victims

Among the forces found to be of serious concern, Bedfordshire had one officer working in its domestic violence unit, and in a case in Greater Manchester, the 13-year-old daughter of a victim was asked to act as a language interpreter for officers investigating allegations against her father.

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