Met Police chief Sir Mark Rowley claims the CPS treats police officers differently when deciding whether to press charges, ‘dragging innocent officers through years of stress’
- Sir Mark said the CPS is too eager to press charges against police officers
- He said the ‘unfair’ oversight is discouraging officers from doing their jobs
Britain’s top police officer said the CPS has failed to ‘follow the same charging standards for police officers that they do for the public,’ when prosecuting officers for dangerous driving.
In a speech at the Police Exchange in central London, the Met Police Commissioner said the prosecution service’s fervour is ‘dragging innocent officers through years of stress’.
He claimed ‘dispiriting and unfair’ oversight from the CPS and Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is making officers more hesitant to follow suspects and discouraging them from carrying out their jobs.
The police chief said Britain is unique for investigating officers for ‘safely pursuing criminals,’ as he asked: ‘Why should we discourage officers from pursuing offenders?’
Scotland Yard Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley (pictured) revealed that officers were using the technology to identify ‘unknown suspects’, saying the results were ‘beyond what I expected’
‘I think you would be hard pushed to find anywhere else in the world where police officers get investigated for safely pursuing criminals,’ Sir Mark said according to The Telegraph.
‘The IOPC and CPS in my view, fail to follow the same charging standards for police officers that they do for the public, dragging innocent officers through years of stress,’ he said.
His comments come after a jury cleared Met Police officer PC Edward Welch of causing death by dangerous driving, after two people were killed when a car he was pursuing crashed in Penge, south-east London in 2016.
Sir Mark also predicted yesterday that facial recognition technology will be as significant as DNA in transforming criminal investigations.
The Scotland Yard Commissioner revealed that officers were using the technology to identify ‘unknown suspects’, saying the results were ‘beyond what I expected’.
In an apparent reference to the capture of fugitive terror suspect Daniel Khalife, Sir Mark said: ‘We’ve also shown recently that live facial recognition is massively effective at picking out wanted offenders from crowds of people.’
He also told the Policy Exchange think tank: ‘The next step is more exciting: retroactively using facial recognition to identify unknown suspects from CCTV images is showing immense potential.
‘The results are beyond what I expected and are going to transform investigative work, potentially, in the way that DNA transformed investigative work 30 years ago.’
Live facial recognition uses cameras to scan faces in a specific area and streams images to a database of people the police are looking for (stock image)
Live facial recognition uses cameras to scan faces in a specific area and streams images to a database of people the police are looking for.
Now the force is using retrospective facial recognition (RFT) after a crime to help officers establish who the suspect is and if their image matches other media on databases.
Yesterday Katy Watts, lawyer for campaign group Liberty, warned the ‘dystopian’ RFT technology could mean ‘intrusive surveillance’ for protesters or those caught on CCTV.
At the event marking his first year in post, Sir Mark called for reforms to stop the police being tied up in bureaucracy.
He also criticised watchdogs for launching criminal cases against some officers while acknowledging there were still ‘hundred’ of police who should have been sacked for wrongdoing.
The force chief told event host Sir Trevor Phillips that officers’ confidence in pursuing criminals is undermined by possible prosecution if a suspect was killed or hurt.
Tom Whiting, acting director general at the Independent Office for Police Conduct, called the comments ‘disappointing’ saying the watchdog follows ‘legislation and evidence’ when deciding on cases.