A report into the death of former Assistant Chief Constable David Ainsworth has severely criticised Wiltshire's police authority and its culture.
Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary found key failings in the authority's decision making, communication and welfare strategies, describing it as a 'close-knit community'. A coroner had previously cleared Wiltshire Police of any failure in caring for Mr Ainsworth's welfare.
The 'lessons learned' review published by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, and carried out at the invitation of Wiltshire Police and Wiltshire Police Authority, has highlighted a number of clear failings on the part of both organisations to effectively and appropriately commission and manage the misconduct investigation that ended in the suicide of David Ainsworth in March 2011. Here are some of the key 'lessons to be learned':
- When dealing with complex welfare issues, the strategic governance and leadership role of the Police Authority should be clarified at the earliest opportunity.
- Although a detailed understanding of the relevant legal framework is necessary, the Police Authority should adopt a people-orientated approach by recognising the distress that an incident of this nature causes to those inside and outside the Force.
- A dedicated ‘whistle-blowing’ policy should be developed.
- A distinctive and practical delivery plan addressing equality and diversity issues across the force would promote trust and confidence.
- ACPO should consider developing guidance on the welfare arrangements for chief officers.
- Force vetting procedures should be reviewed.
You can access the full report here.
Wiltshire Police and Wiltshire Police Authority have issued the following statement in response to the findings.