'First in police complaints training'

Published Date: 26.09.2003

In what is believed to be the first project of its kind in the United Kingdom, the Police Ombudsman's Office for Northern Ireland and the University of Portsmouth have joined forces to develop a training course and qualification for people who investigate public complaints against the police. 

The Police Ombudsman's Executive Director, David Wood, who himself has almost thirty years of experience as a police officer and investigator, says that this new branch of investigation is fast becoming an important new profession in public life.

"The Police Ombudsman investigators brought with them a wealth of experience from their different backgrounds and during the three years we have been in existence have added considerably to it.

"This Office felt it important to formalise all that experience in a training course accredited at university level which would allow our investigators to achieve academic recognition for the skills they have developed.

It will also mean that the training of our new recruits can be carried out in a more formalised way to the highest academic standards," he said.

The University's Institute of Criminal Justice Studies is regarded as one of the United Kingdom's foremost providers of training in the criminal investigation arena. Senior police officers, including John Grieve, the former Head of the Metropolitan Police Anti Terrorist Squad now work for the University and will participate in the programme. The Course Leader is Dr Tom Williamson:

"When it came to the concept of investigators independently looking at public complaints, the Police Ombudsman's Office in Northern Ireland is probably the most advanced of its kind, which makes this a very exciting project.

It is very interesting that the Police Ombudsman's Office have decided to take such an innovative approach.  I am not aware of any other organisation which investigates complaints on behalf of the public which has decided to take such an approach and open up its training to independent academic scrutiny," he said.

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