Financial Assistance

Reference code: 
PCD 31
Date signed: 
19 August 2016
Authorisation name: 
Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor, Policing and Crime

Executive summary

The Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime (DMPC) is asked to consider an application for financial of £21,000 (plus VAT) for a serving police officer in respect of separate representation in a forthcoming inquest.

The DMPC has power to grant the application if £21,000 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 4.10 of the MOPAC Scheme of Delegation and Consent, to consider the current application for financial assistance.

Recommendation

The DMPC is asked to approve the application for financial assistance made by the Applicant for the sum of £21,000 for the reasons set out in Part 2

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

 

Introduction and background

Part 2 of this Report is exempt because it falls within an exemption specified in para 2(2) of the Elected Local Policing Bodies (Specified Information) Order 2011 and/or under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, e.g. because the information amounts to personal data, is confidential or commercially sensitive.

On 10th February 2015, Mr Amrani was arrested for affray. On arrest he became unwell and was taken to hospital. The doctor recommended that he remain in hospital to be monitored for 48 hours.

At 1.45am on the 11th February, Mr Amrani was given street bail while at the hospital, to return to a police station on 18th February. Mr Amrani discharged himself from hospital at about 03.00am.

On 13th February 2015 Mr Amrani’s body was found near his home address. A visit to his home address the next day discovered the bodies of his parents.

The matter was referred to the IPCC the same day, and in independent investigation was commenced. The investigation looked at the Sergeant’s decision to street bail Mr Amrani which resulted in the officer attending a misconduct meeting, which has now concluded. That sergeant is the officer subject to this application.

Inquest proceedings start on 1st August 2016. The officer concerned has been accorded the status of an Interested Person.

The Applicant is not subject to further misconduct proceedings so there is no reason to withhold funding.

The Commissioner’s position in relation to the Applicant’s representations for financial assistance is set out in the Exempt Report.

There is a clear conflict of interests between the position of the Commissioner and the Applicant and accordingly the Applicant requires separate legal representation and financial assistance. This is supported by MPS Directorate for Legal Services (DLS).

There is no doubt that the officer acted in good faith. At no point in the IPCC investigation was there any suggestion that the officer acted dishonestly, or in bad faith, and this was borne out by the conclusion of the misconduct meeting which concluded the matter as error of judgement with no element of bad faith.

 

Issues for consideration

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

The DMPC has power to grant the application if she 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. 

The Applicant is not subject to further misconduct proceedings so there is no reason to withhold funding.

 

Financial Comments

The solicitors acting for the officer applicants have submitted an estimate of the total costs of the separate representation in support of the application for financial assistance in the sum of £21,000 plus VAT.

The costs will be met from the 1996 Police Act Expenditure budget held within DLS. 

 

Legal Comments

The DMPC has 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 the maintenance of an efficient and effective police force, R -v- DPP ex parte Duckenfield (2000) 1 WLR 55.  The Deputy Mayor has delegated authority, under para. 2.20 of the Scheme of Delegation, to consider the current application for financial assistance.

A conflict of interests arises between the Commissioner and Applicant which gives rise to the need for separate representation and financial assistance for the reasons set out above. 

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”.  

 

Equality Comments

There will be media and family/community interest in this case and the MPS cannot discount the inferences and potential for disquiet and distrust that can be brought about by any related activity such as stated above.  Unless the community concerns associated with this case are managed effectively there is the potential for the family/community to distrust the police.  To continue policing with the consent of the population it serves, the police will always seek to be open and transparent in the decisions we make.