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 policing, 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 The two ex-officers have applied for separate funding at the inquiry.
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 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.
3. Financial Comments
3.1 The solicitors acting for the Applicants have submitted an estimate of the costs of the separate representation in support of the application for financial assistance in the sum of £22,815.00. The funding application is for an estimate of £22,815.00. This estimate is in relation to the solicitors and counsels cost for undertakings to the conclusion of the inquiry.
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 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, (see also R -v- DPP ex parte Duckenfield (2000) 1 WLR 55). The DMPC has delegated authority under para. 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 MPS 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 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.
6. Risk (including Health and Safety) Implications
6.1 There is a risk to the safety and welfare of the Applicants should their identities and the fact that they were undercover officers reaches the public domain.