The City of London Police Anti-Corruption Unit falls short


City of London Police needs to boost its ability to look for corruption following an inspection.

Her Majesty’s Inspector of the Constabulary, Matt Parr, said the City force does not have enough staff in its anti-corruption unit to look for corruption, such as that fictionalised in the hit TV show Line of Duty.

He said: “The force has more to do to assure itself that it has the capacity and capability to root out corruption.”

His report states that the force cannot monitor IT systems fully, as software has a limited capability. It means officers have to instead rely on time-consuming audits of individual systems.

Police also have “out-of-date information” that does not include profiles of potentially corrupt officers or key locations for corrupt activity.

The counter corruption control strategy was noted to be of a “low standard” as it does not include communication with the workforce and partners, including charities working with vulnerable victims. However, the report noted that the anti-corruption unit is making progress to put its plans into action.

Inspectors also found that the force does not use its organisational information – such as email accounts and crime report logs – to proactively identify people who could be at risk of corruption.

“Some are identified through its vetting and performance review process and asked to attend an early intervention meeting,” the report said. There are then further checks after this.

In 2016 the Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services said every police force in the country should make links with organisations which help victims looking for information about police “abusing their position for a sexual purpose”. This has not been implemented, the report said.

However, it did state that City Police knows that abuse of position for a sexual purpose is serious corruption, which is reflected in its strategy.

Inspectors called for all officers and staff to receive the guidance and briefings given to recruits and transferees. Overall, the inspection rated the City of London force as “good” for effectiveness, which covers issues such as protecting vulnerable people, tackling serious and organised crime, and efficiency.

However, it was marked down in the legitimacy category, which covers fair treatment of the public, and ethical and lawful workforce behaviour.

Mr Parr said he was satisfied with “most aspects” of the force’s performance.

He said it was good at preventing and investigating crime and it “continues to uphold an ethical culture and promote standards of professional behaviour well.” A City of London Police spokesperson said “ethical and lawful behaviour is paramount” and senior officers promote its Code of Ethics.

They added: “We have an integrity standards board, which is chaired by our Assistant Commissioner, and our Professional Standards Department uses this board to publicise lessons learned from misconduct investigations and grievance complaints.

“We accept there are areas that urgently require improvement in regards to our anti-corruption unit which is making progress despite being understaffed.

“We are currently in the process of completing a new anti-corruption strategic assessment and hope this will address some of the issues identified by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services at their recent visit, such as the out-of-date information in the current assessment.”

The statement added that the new assessment will be shared widely across the force “to ensure all officers and staff have the correct knowledge and guidance, which is currently provided to recruits, transferees and supervisors, but should be rolled out further.”