Cleveland Police have announced changes to the way the force investigates complaints, misconduct allegations and wrongdoing by those who work for the organisation.

It follows concerns raised from recent hearings about the way the Professional Standards Department is run at Cleveland Police.

Today it was announced that the Professional Standards Department of Cleveland Police will be replaced with a new body.

This new body will be shaped through research into current best practice in policing and other public and private sector organisations.

The review will be led by John Armstrong QPM, an appointee from outside Cleveland Police who has experience in modernising professional standards.

An external renowned specialist in the field will help us with our review. John Armstrong QPM is considered an expert on police integrity and was an advisor on the national programme on integrity. Whilst we would not wish to pre-empt the findings, I would expect that the review will result in significant, possibly ground-breaking change.

Iain Spittal

Police and Crime Commissioner Coppinger said:

A key commitment of my Police and Crime Plan was for Cleveland Police to become a national lead in terms of professional standards.

Barry Coppinger

Chief Constable Spittal said:

We have good staff working within the teams that make up the department, however many of the approaches are old fashioned and could harbour an environment where mistakes can be made. These structures constrain their skills and abilities.

Iain Spittal

It was also announced that an independent review would be carried out following a recent hearing which found that the Force had acted unlawfully in using powers intended to investigate terrorism to monitor the mobile phones of former officers and journalists.

The Chief Constable confirmed that, on behalf of the organisation, he has written to the individuals concerned with the 2012 case to offer a personal apology.

A formal scrutiny meeting has also been arranged by the PCC for later this month for the Force to provide assurances that the systems and practices currently in place for surveillance authorisation are lawful and appropriate.

Summary of key changes announced today:

  • Professional Standards Department to be replaced.

  • National expert recruited to draw up blueprint for replacement body.

  • Lead role of new body to be open to non-police applicants.

  • Force apologises for unlawful use of RIPA investigatory powers.

  • Independent study will review all RIPA use over past six years.

  • Scrutiny session to assure PCC regarding current use of RIPA.