Northants Police Commissioner Investigated

30 March 2015, 15:10

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating allegations the Northamptonshire Police Commissioner, Adam Simmonds breached the Data Protection Act.

The IPCC investigation will look at allegations Adam Simmonds disclosed information relating to a criminal investigation to third parties and committed an offence of misconduct in public office.

The matter was referred to the IPCC by the Northamptonshire Police and Crime Panel last month.

The IPCC investigation will examine if Mr Simmonds inappropriately disclosed sensitive and confidential information relating to an investigation conducted by Northamptonshire Police in 2013.

Transparency and openness

In response to the IPCC investigation, Chief Constable Adrian Lee said:

"I am aware of the IPCC investigation into Adam Simmonds. We both value the transparency and openness that such investigations can provide and are appropriate for our important constitutional positions.

Mr Simmonds has set a direction in the Police and Crime Plan, which I and the force fully support. It is transformational and is enabling Northamptonshire Police to lead on a number of important national initiatives. Policing in Northamptonshire is improving in a very challenging financial climate.

Mr Simmonds and I have stated our commitment to vision, values and vocation in policing - integrity and authenticity are central to the way that I lead the force and the Commissioner holds me to account, shared values has ensured that the necessary tension of the chief constable - Commissioner relationship is always focused on what is best for policing in Northamptonshire. The Commissioner and I will continue to work hard to deliver the plan, working hard for the communities which we both have the privilege to serve."

Commissioner Hits Back "Little confidence in IPCC" 

"As appears to be the case with so much in modern life I simply 'found out' about an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation concerning myself not through direct communication, with me or to me, but rather from one media team (IPCC) to another (mine).

At the time I had yet to receive any formal notification of an investigation, any explanation for it or any information as to the what or why of the investigation or indeed the complaint that lay behind it.

It is extraordinary I should learn of an investigation in which I am a component, through third parties and not directly.

It seems to be a given these days that anyone holding public office will have complaints made about them. Allegations of wrongdoing are expected and accepted. But what is often difficult to cope with is the way allegations are 'announced'. In the case of the IPCC they style and title their investigations with powerful sounding wrongdoing potential. With little sense of proportionality, the world can only think the worst.

The IPCC is today the appropriate body, currently for examining and investigating complaints made against police officers and Police and Crime Commissioners. It is absolutely right that anyone holding a public office is accountable. The IPCC has a duty to ensure any investigation or examination into a complaint or an individual(s) is fair, transparent, proportionate, considered and -crucially- reasonable.  I feel personally that on the latter, thus far, to have been unreasonably treated.

I have yet to be interviewed or questioned by the IPCC so I cannot yet fully respond to the specifics of their announcement today.

A week or so ago I announced the conclusion of a three-year IPCC investigation into the Chief Constable. I concluded, after legal opinion, there is and was no case to answer. I now learn I am subject to an investigation by the same organisation. I have to be candid here: I have had little confidence in the functionality of the IPCC in dealing with the previous investigations in which I have been the referrer, so I will have to summon up considerable resolve to trust them in this new matter.

Being a Police and Crime Commissioner is a challenging, demanding and often controversial role, yet a privileged, exciting and honourable one carrying serious responsibility. I am committed to it totally and I hope before too long everything will be made clear and all my focus can go back on working to make Northamptonshire the Safest Place in England.  Until there is more to say I will make no further comment."

Other IPCC Investigations

Separately, the IPCC is investigating two deputy chief constables at Northamptonshire Police over potential gross misconduct.

On Thursday, the IPCC told Heart it's launching an investigation into Deputy Chief Constable Andrew Frost and the outgoing Deputy Chief, Martin Jelley over Mr Frost’s involvement in a Professional Standards Department inquiry and how appropriate it was.  The IPCC is also investigating Mr Jelley’s conduct in relation into a delay in referring Mr Frost to the IPCC.