Northamptonshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Adam Simmonds says he feels “unreasonably treated” by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
The IPCC announced today it was investigating allegations that Mr Simmonds breached the Data Protection Act by disclosing information relating to a criminal investigation to third parties and committed an offence of misconduct in public office.
In response, Mr Simmonds has released a lengthy statement in which he says he has “little confidence in the functionality of the IPCC”
Mr Simmonds said he found out about the allegations against him after being told by a member of his media team, who had been informed by a member of the IPCC’s media team.
He said: “At the time I had yet to receive any formal notification of an investigation, any explanation for it or any information as to the what or why of the investigation or indeed the complaint that lay behind it.
“It is extraordinary I should learn of an investigation in which I am a component, through third parties and not directly.
“It seems to be a given these days that anyone holding public office will have complaints made about them. Allegations of wrongdoing are expected and accepted. But what is often difficult to cope with is the way allegations are ‘announced’.
In the case of the IPCC they style and title their investigations with powerful sounding wrongdoing potential. With little sense of proportionality, the world can only think the worst.”
Mr Simmonds said it was “absolutely right” that anyone holding a public office is accountable but said the IPCC also had a duty to ensure any investigation or examination into a complaint or an individual(s) is “fair, transparent, proportionate, considered and reasonable.”
The crime commissioner said he felt he had been “unreasonably treated”, thus far, by the IPCC.
He said: “I have yet to be interviewed or questioned by the IPCC so I cannot yet fully respond to the specifics of their announcement today.
“A week or so ago I announced the conclusion of a three-year IPCC investigation into the Chief Constable. I concluded, after legal opinion, there is and was no case to answer. I now learn I am subject to an investigation by the same organisation.
“I have to be candid here: I have had little confidence in the functionality of the IPCC in dealing with the previous investigations in which I have been the referrer, so I will have to summon up considerable resolve to trust them in this new matter.”
Mr Simmonds said he was fully committed to his role as police and crime commissioner and hoped that before too long “everything would be clear” and he would be able to focus his efforts on making Northamptonshire the ‘Safest Place in England’.