Operation Kentia learning recommendations drive changes to search warrants
6 Mar 2020 10:23 AM
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) Operation Kentia investigation has resulted in better training for police officers who will have a greater understanding of the use of search powers and warrants, with improvements in train both nationally and by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).
Operation Kentia investigated police conduct around applications for search warrants made by the MPS as part of Operation Midland. The investigation found no evidence that police officers had deliberately misled a district court judge, but found gaps in processes and systems.
Operation Kentia made 16 recommendations to improve policing practice, which will result in national changes to the application and checking of search warrants, as well as significant changes to policy and practices within the MPS. Of the nine recommendations made to the MPS, all have been accepted.
Director General Michael Lockwood yesterday said:
“The public can have real confidence that the issues identified during Operation Kentia, and more broadly in Operation Midland, have been taken seriously.
“These will make tangible differences, with police officers now being better trained and having a better understanding of search powers and warrants, particularly around issues such as duty of disclosure, seizure of property, who attends the search and improved guidance.
“These changes will strengthen the way the MPS manages search warrant applications and it is encouraging they have taken prompt action to ensure mistakes are not repeated. The National Police Chiefs Council, College of Policing and the Criminal Procedure Rules Committee have been equally responsive and their work will have a national impact on policing practice.
“This highlights the importance of our work to identify learning and improvement in policing.”
The changes which have or are being implemented include:
- Two pieces of national policing policy have been updated by the College of Policing (CoP). One has been published and the other should be published shortly
- The CoP has updated professional investigator training to explicitly include outcomes relating to search powers and search warrants
- The MPS has carried out a range of activity to review guidance, provide refresher training, communicate with staff and update training materials
- The MPS is reviewing its process to improve communication with suspects who voluntarily attend for interview
- The Criminal Procedure Rules Committee has agreed to amend guidance notes in relation to applications for search warrants
- The CoP has developed clearer guidance to support chief officers in communicating the national position about the ‘culture of belief’ within their forces
- The CoP has worked closely with the NPCC and MPS to develop clearer communications on the position of policing on ‘belief’. Final discussions are taking place to ensure that the materials to go to forces give the clearest information possible
- The MPS has updated its media policy to fully incorporate the College of Policing policy on media relations
- The IOPC has also recommended the Ministry of Justice consider the costs and benefits of implementing audio recording of search warrant application hearings and whether this should form part of the hearing process.
On 4 October we issued 16 learning recommendations in relation to the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Midland investigation. Of the 16 recommendations made, 13 were accepted, two were not accepted and one was identified as needing to be redirected.
The action taken so far in response to our recommendations is available on the IOPC website https://www.policeconduct.gov.uk/recommendations/national-recommendations-and-recommendations-made-metropolitan-police-service