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Do we need an FBI in Britian?


6:58am 29th July 2011

Speaking in the debate in the House of Commons on Public Confidence in the Media and Police, York Central MP, Hugh Bayley, called on the Prime Minister to introduce an FBI-style anti-corruption police force to police the police.

The Prime Minister responded by agreeing that the Police Complaints Commission must have the resources that it needs to investigate the police, and that in some instances an outside police force may be called in to investigate when there is evidence of wrongdoing.

The full exchange is as follows:

Hugh Bayley (York Central) (Lab): Public confidence in the police has obviously been affected by the allegations of the bribery and corruption of police officers. Will the Prime Minister look at whether there is a need for us to establish, as in the United States, an independent police force that can police the police? Will he give the House a guarantee that the Bribery Act 2010 will not be amended while all these investigations and inquiries are going on?

The Prime Minister: On the first point, we have the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is independent of the police. There are two questions, both of which my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has addressed. First, we must ensure that it has the resources and ability to investigate the police, and secondly, we must look at whether we call in an outside police force swiftly enough when there is evidence, or allegations, of wrongdoing so that people can see that the process is being carried out effectively.

Hugh Bayley MP says:

"I am very concerned about the allegations of bribery and corruption of  police officers.  The public need to be reassured that these allegations are being thoroughly investigated and in cases where there is evidence that the police have acted illegally that action is taken to prosecute the officer concerned. 

"If newspapers are able to obtain favours by paying bribes to the police, it raises a real concern that others, including serious criminals, are doing the same.  If the public suspect that a police officer is breaking the law they need to be able to report it without any possibility that the police officer concerned will be tipped off by a colleague."

Mr. Bayley is not satisfied that the Independent Police Complaints Commission has the resources or power to investigate allegations of police corruption or bribery. 

After the Prime Minister responded to this proposal in the House, Mr. Bayley tabled a question to the Home Secretary to ask her how many cases have been considered by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, and how many of those investigations led to criminal charges against a police officer or other police employee.  His question is as follows:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Oral Answer by the Prime Minister to the hon. Member for York Central of 20 July 2011, in how many cases the Indpendent Police Complaints Authority has

(a) had referred to it,

(b) investigated and

(c) upheld in full or in part a complaint made against the police since its establishment; and how many such cases resulted in

(i) police disciplinary action,

(ii) dismissal of a police officer or employee,

(iii) criminal charges against a police officer or employee and

(iv) conviction of a police officer or employee for

(A) bribery or corruption and

(B) other offences.

Mr. Bayley adds:

"I do not believe the Independent Police Complaints Commission has the resources or power to investigate allegations of bribery or corruption of police officers so I have asked the Home Secretary to clarify whether they have a track record of dealing with these kinds of crimes. 

"If the answer shows that the IPCC doesn't do this successfully I shall ask the Prime Minister to consider my proposal again."

Mr. Bayley has considerable experience of pressing successfully in Parliament for changes in the law on bribery. 

In 2001 he secured legislation to make transnational bribery an offence. 

In 2007 he published a report on corruption which prompted the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to appoint a government Anti-Corruption Champion - a post currently held by the Secretary of State for Justice, Ken Clarke. 

He pressed for the adoption of the 2010 Bribery Act, which came into force on 1st July.

Chandu Krishnan, the Executive Director of the anti bribery pressure group, Transparency International, wrote to Mr Bayley on that day :

"Thank you so much for your unstinting support for bribery law reform over so many years".

  As a member of the International Development Committee, Mr Bayley pressed for an enquiry into the conviction last year of British Aerospace for a criminal offence in relation to the supply of a grossly over-priced air traffic control system to Tanzania.

On Minster FM hear the argument from the Police Federation against Mr Bayley's plans.

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