Who Will Guard the Guardians?

‘Who Will Guard the Guardians’, Sara Waseem, ISBN 1-903718-37-6, December 2005, 43 pages

The full report can be downloaded without charge here, or at the end of the page. 

‘Who Will Guard the Guardians’, is a critical examination of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) in the United Kingdom and answers the question ‘Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?’ with little hope in the new body IPCC.

On 1 April 2004, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) came into being with the aim of creating greater public confidence in the police complaints system. It was then and still is now trumpeted by the government and the metropolitan police as a new reformed institution that operates independently and is not hampered down with the inherent prejudices and racism of the previous system. Yet in reality very little has changed. Using the case of Babar Ahmad as a special study, Sara Waseem examines in depth the mechanics of the IPCC and questions whether it truly operates as an independent body.

The Foreword of the report reads:

Based on the investigation into the raid on the home of Babar Ahmad and his subsequent complaint of serious police misconduct, this report takes a look at how the new police complaint system – changed in the wake of the McPherson Inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence – is already failing minority victims.
It is with great sadness that IHRC has published this report. Having campaigned with many other organisations and groups for a proper and fair inquiry into the allegations made by Babar Ahmad, we found ourselves in the position of watching those charged with holding the police to account on behalf of the taxpayer, simply pandering to the sensitivities raised by the case and allowing the police authorities to dictate its agenda to it.  

We hope that by highlighting these concerns, the Independent Police Complaints Commission is able to reflect on why it already has a poor reputation amongst those it should serve and maybe find ways of addressing these issues so as to prevent it too becoming a compliant instrument of authority to be used against the weak, vulnerable and marginalised in society.

We end in the hope that the IPCC’s long-awaited and promised report into the Babar Ahmad complaint will allay the concerns expressed herein.