Application for financial assistance

Reference code: 
DMPCD 2015 143
Date signed: 
30 November 2015
Authorisation name: 
Stephen Greenhalgh (past staff), Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime

Executive summary

The Directorate of Professional Standards Is requesting that the Deputy Mayor of Policing and Crime considers an application for financial assistance in the sum of £45,600 (provisional estimate) for the legal representation of (now) an application by 11 persons for separate representation in a forthcoming inquiry. The Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime (the ‘DMPC’) has power to grant the application if he is satisfied that funding the Applicant’s legal expenses in the proceedings Is likely to secure an efficient and effective police force. The DMPC has delegated authority, under 4.9 of the MOPAC Scheme of Delegation and consent to consider the current application for fInancial assistance.

Recommendation

The DMPC consider the views of the MPS summarised in this report and supporting documents and decide whether to grant funding to the 11 officers detailed In the associated Exempt report. DI’S recommends the provision of funding for separate representation for two but not all of the Applicants at the inquiry for the sum of £45,600 . The detail of the recommendatons is set out on the attached Exempt Report.

Non-confidential facts and advice to the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime (DMPC)

1. Introduction and background

1.1 The Exempt Report is exempt because it falls within an exemption specified In para 2(2) of the Elected Local Policing Bodies (Specified information) Order 2011, the Data Protection Act 1998 and/or the Freedom of Information Act 2000 e.g. because the information amounts to personal data, is confidential or commercially sensitive.

1.2 On 12 March 2015 the Home Secretary announced the appointment of Sir Christopher Pitchford to conduct an inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005 to “review practices in the use of undercover polic.ng, establishing justice for the families and victims and making recommendations for future operations and police practice” (“the inquiry”).

1.3 Following a preliminary hearing on 9 October 2015, the Inquiry Chairman designated a number of persons to have Core Participant (‘CP”) status at the Inquiry under the category of “Police Officers”.

1.4 16 CPs designated In this category have applied via Messrs Slater and Gordon for MP5 to fund their separate representation at the Inquiry. Following correspondence between DPS/DLS and Messrs Slater and Gordon, a number of these applications are no longer pursued and these reports therefore relate to 11 Cl’s.

1 .5 These Applicants represent that they satisfy the criteria for entitlement to financial assistance namely: that they were performing official duties; that they were acting in good faith and that they exercised reasonable judgment.

1.6 The situation of each applicant is considered separately in the attached Exempt Report.

2. issues for consideration

2.1 For the DMPC to consider whether there was a conflict of interest requiring separate representation and financial assistance and whether the financial assistance will secure an efficient and effective force

2.2 The DMPC has power to grant the application If he is satisfied that funding the Applicant’s legal expenses in the proceedings is likely to secure the maintenance of an efficient and effective police force.

3. Financial Comments

3.1 The funding estimate is provisional seeking a sum of £45,600 for the representation of some of the Applicants. This estimate Is in relation to the solicitor and counsel costs to conclusion of preliminary hearings and production of evidence, it will be necessary to make a further application to cover the hearing of the oral evidence and the preparation thereof.

3.2 The cost will be met from existing resources namely the 1996 Police Act Expenditure which is held within the MPS budget.

4. Legal Comments

4.1 The DMPC has a discretion under Section 3(6) and para. 7 of Schedule 3 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 to fund police officers’ legal expenses in proceedings If they consider that providing the funding secures an efficient and effective police force, (5ee also R -v- DPP ex parte Duckenfield (2000)1 WLR 55). The DMPC has delegated authority under part 2.20 of the MOPAC Scheme of Delegation, to consider the current application for financial assistance.

4.2 Conflicts of interest and potential conflicts of Interest as they arise between the NIPS and the applicants (considered individually) are set out in the attached exempt report.

4.3 Home Office Circular 43/2001 provides guidance which applies to MOPAC. Para. 12 states police officers must be confident that Police Authorities (now Police and Crime Commissioners) will provide financial support for officers in legal proceedings where they have acted in good faith and have exercised their judgement reasonably. Police Authorities will need to decide each case on its merits, but subject to that, there should be a strong presumption in favour of payment where these criteria are met”.

5. Equality Comments

5.1 None

6. Risk (including Health and Safety) Implications

There is a risk to the safety and welfare of the applicants should their identities and the fact that they were undercover officers reach the public domain.