Manx Police Complaints: Coast Effective Argument Fatuous

Anyone thinking of pursuing a complaint against the police in the Isle of Man should think again as deficiencies in the existing complaints machinery are set to be compounded.

It has been reported that the Isle of Man Department of Home Affairs (DHA) have rejected the setting up of a full independent complaints process despite the recommendation of a select committee report that such a body should be
established.

It has been suggested a standalone complaints body would not be `cost effective’ and the DHA proposals will simply suggest an enhancement of the police complaints commissioner role with the `Commissioner’ title being changed to that of Ombudsman. The move is being `spun’ by the government as an improvement on the current position.

However by adopting this strategy the Island is setting itself against best practice in terms of both International standards as set by the UNHRC and also European standards set by the Council of Europe.

In effect it seems that the ineffectual procedures of the past will be continued, albeit in amended form.

The Manx police force is a comparatively small one serving an equally small population therefore at first glance the DHA cost efficiency argument seems persuasive. However there have been several scandals involving the Manx police
over the past three decades and in virtually all instances concerns have been quietly `swept under the carpet’.

With little effective political scrutiny and a timid media it seems that, in the absence of an independent and effective complaints procedure, police indiscretions will continue to lack scrutiny.

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League

14/05/10

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