The outcomes of the His Majesty Inspectorate of Constabulary Fire and Rescue Service (HMICFRS) report into ‘How effective is the National Crime Agency at dealing with corruption’, have now been published.
This report will not come as a surprise to the NCOA Members, Representatives and Officials who contributed to it. As far back as 2018, the NCOA raised concerns into how matters of professional standards were being treated by the Agency. On behalf of members, we have been consistent in seeking a review over the last 5 years. In 2019 an internal NCA review of professional standards made 40 separate recommendations. Still the Agency vacillated, when it was clear to all parties that change was needed. It is no coincidence that in the last two weeks the Agency has eventually provided the NCOA with its position on these earlier recommendations.
This HMICFRS report ought to be a deeply reflective experience for those senior leaders who have consistently ignored the need for change in the Agency. This HMICFRS report lays bare the lived experience of NCOA members who have been ill-treated and suffered discrimination and harassment.
The NCOA will continue to work with the Agency in delivering a measured response to the 19 HMICFRS recommendations. Apologies by the Agency now will not heal the hurts caused to those NCOA members we have supported through informal and formal grievance and misconduct processes, as well as employment tribunal cases where we have supported members whilst the Agency has failed to acknowledge wrongdoing or engage in mediation.
In bringing about the changes mandated by the HMICFRS report, the NCA must remove the culture of protectionism amongst some senior leaders. Whilst accepting there is a difference between wrongdoing and mistakes, the Agency should act swiftly to establish the facts and then deliver fair, consistent, and proportionate responses.
The NCOA will keep its members updated on developments. The full HMICFRS report can be found at https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/publications/national-crime-agency-vetting-and-anti-corruption-part-1/.