Call for cops to increase policing of procurement

14 December 2011

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14 December 2011 | Adam Leach

Police authorities and watchdogs should take a more top down approach to overseeing procurement and contractual matters, according to independent assessors Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).

Without fear or favour: A review of police relationships, published yesterday by HMIC, found that the overall governance and scrutiny of procurement by the 44 police forces in England and Wales is inconsistent.

The report said only 15 police service departments (PSD), which oversee the administrative conduct of forces, provided HMIC with details on how they ensured probity and integrity in procurement. It also found that the PSD of 11 forces had no engagement whatsoever in overseeing procurement processes.

HMIC evaluated previous action taken by PSDs and found there have been 67 investigations into procurement since 2006. It concluded that these tended to be response-led rather than as a result of proactive investigations. The report said: “Where PSDs do engage, their involvement is mainly reactive as a result of complaints made to respective departments or, less frequently, from confidential reporting mechanisms, rather than as a result of planned prevention or proactivity.”

HMIC recommended that PSDs and police authorities work together, along with chief officers, to bring about a more co-ordinated and proactive approach to monitoring the purchasing activities of forces, including overseeing use of procurement cards. It said: “There needs to be effective monitoring at all financial levels and this also requires scrutiny of force credit cards and procurement cards where they are used.”

In September, a report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) revealed that Operation Cosperville, which looked into misuse of procurement cards by Metropolitan police officers, had resulted in six officers being convicted and 35 facing disciplinary action. The two most severe cases involved sums of £93,000 and £82,000.

Former detective constable Daren Pooley was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud in October 2010 and sentenced to a three-year custodial sentence, having allegedly made a profit of more than £93,000. Confiscation proceedings are currently underway to retrieve the money. Pooley’s wife was also convicted for the same offence. And former detective sergeant Richard De Cadenet pleaded guilty and was sentenced in 2008 to 10 months’ imprisonment over improper spending of £82,000, which has not been recovered.


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