Warwickshire police commissioner wants greater scrutiny of “macho-type” departments in the force

Philip Seccombe’s comments came during a discussion around police vetting by the county’s Police & Crime Panel
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The man who oversees Warwickshire Police has suggested the culture of “macho-type” departments should come under greater scrutiny during the push to banish the bad apples.

Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe’s comments came during a discussion around police vetting by the county’s Police & Crime Panel – the team of county, district and borough councillors and independent members that Mr Seccombe reports to – on Thursday.

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Last month, Baroness Louise Casey’s report on behavioural standards and culture in the Metropolitan Police was scathing, leading to widespread discussion about standards in policing nationally.

Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe.Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe.
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe.

That followed on from the rape and murder of Sarah Everard at the hands of serving police officer Wayne Couzens and another, David Carrick, being unmasked as a serial rapist.

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Andy Davis, one of two independent members of the panel who is not a councillor, asked Mr Seccombe what he was doing to check on the culture within Warwickshire Police.

“The Casey Review highlighted issues around culture within the Met force in particular," he said.

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"Have you given any thought to how you could build that into your holding to account discussions with the chief constable?

“You have set out the list of topic areas over the next year but that does not really include organisational culture as such.

"There are issues around that wider cultural holding to account.”

Mr Seccombe replied: “We’re recruiting from society so we are probably recruiting a certain state of culture that is in our residents.

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“It is interesting to note Couzens and Carrick, one was a protection officer and one was a firearms officer, and I think it is those sorts of macho-type jobs in the force where you might want to look slightly deeper into cultural questions, have a good look and hopefully have others in those groups who would be prepared to whistleblow if there was something out of order.

“I think a lot of it is about leadership from the top, all of the senior officers need to set a good example, they need to get the impression across that anyone who does step out of line will be severely dealt with and quickly.

“As I sit here at the moment, I think that is being done.

"We are never going to do everything perfectly but I mention it every week to the chief constable.”

Mr Davis added: “It’s whether there would be an opportunity to put something more visible in that holding to account discussion.

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“It is helpful for the public to see there is a real seriousness about this as an issue.”

Mr Seccombe said notes of his meetings with Chief Constable Debbie Tedds are published on his website.

“I think it is a worry that there are residents who have decided to become police officers in our country that have abused that position.

“It is beholden on anyone, whether we are recruiting, retaining or promoting people, to really understand that the person has the required integrity.

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"With human nature, things don’t always go right, we have to keep on top of it and if there’s anyone in Warwickshire who is misogynistic, coercive or engaging in any other sort of unreasonable behaviour, they need to be rooted out.”