Many of you will be aware from media coverage that Avon and Somerset Police will feature in a
three-part documentary series on Channel 4, due to be aired on 29 January, that looks behind the
scenes at how their Professional Standards Department investigates police misconduct cases. I fully
support the Chief Constable Sarah Crew’s decision to invite the Channel 4 team into the Professional Standards Department and Counter Corruption Unit to follow the important work they do.
The challenges around trust and confidence in the police nationally have been well documented and Avon and Somerset Police is showing that, to bring about long-term culture change, transparency and openness are vital.
While the documentary may be hard, uncomfortable and upsetting viewing focusing on cases
relating to mental health, race and sexual misconduct, I see it as fundamental to bringing about
whole system, sustainable, change in policing culture and leadership. Police officers need to be able
to operate within a supportive and reflective practice culture where illegal actions are rightly investigated. However, this must not be to the detriment of growth and continuous development for the majority of officers who work hard every day to uphold high standards while doing a difficult and complex job.
One of my key responsibilities is to be the voice of local people and our communities and to hold the Chief Constable to account. I do this in collaboration with members of the public through scrutiny boards and panels which independently review all aspects of policing.
As part of my commitment to scrutinise the work of Avon and Somerset Police I will be questioning
Sarah Crew on the cultural and leadership learnings from this documentary and resulting commitments to change in my next Public Accountability Board (PAB) on 13 February and broadcast live to the public via our Facebook page.
I would like to thank and acknowledge the courage of everyone from the Professional Standards and Counter Corruption teams who took part in this documentary series. Their work is critical in identifying and removing people from our ranks who do not uphold, live and represent the cultural values I expect from everyone working in policing. Avon and Somerset Police leaders are showing they are not afraid to be open about the challenges faced by every UK police force.
I firmly believe that it is only through shining a light on modern policing, understanding the experiences of members of the public and being mindful of challenges faced in our communities that we can be confident of an efficient and effective police service.