FULL LETTER from Anne Owers to Hillsborough families over damning MPs report into IPCC
Anne Owers, the chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, has written to Hillsborough families to offer reassurance on the back of a damning report by the Home Affairs Select Committee.
Below is her letter:
You may know that the Home Affairs Select Committee is publishing its report into the IPCC tomorrow. It will focus on the fact that the IPCC does not have sufficient resources to carry out the role that the public needs and expects. We endorse that, and will be saying so publicly. The report also calls for us to employ a lower proportion of ex-police officers.
I anticipate that in press interviews I will be asked questions about how this affects our ability to carry out a robust and timely investigation into the Hillsborough tragedy. I will respond in the same way that I have when you have asked me those questions.
I have said from the beginning of my time here that we do not have the resources, or the powers, to do what the public expect us and need us to do on a daily basis. That's why we've already asked the Home Office for more funding for our work in current investigations and appeals . Hillsborough is a separate matter. The Home Secretary has assured us that we will have all the resources we seek and need for such a complex, large and important task -and we have also been given some of the additional powers we've been asking for for years. That will give us the chance to demonstrate what a properly-resourced, properly-empowered IPCC can do.
As the Committee recognises, ex-police officers bring important and valuable skills and expertise, and they have been instrumental in bringing a lot of serving police officers to justice. But we do need to ensure that out investigators come from a range of backgrounds, and that's why we're undertaking a recruitment campaign, for Hillsborough and for our other work, which has already attracted over 4,000 applications for investigators and trainee investigators.
Given the past history, it's very understandable that you and those you represent have little confidence in official bodies and investigations. We know that we need to prove to you that we are both robust and independent. We're pleased that we've been given new powers to require officers to attend interviews as witnesses. But we are also ensuring that we use all our existing powers effectively, and interview under caution those who are suspected of misconduct or criminality. You can be sure that we will use those powers in the Hillsborough investigation.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact either Amanda Rowe or me.