Away from the House of Commons I am also a member of the Justice Select Committee. These committees delve deep into government policy and scrutinise the running of the country. Sometimes we focus on extremely detailed and technical matters and this week we turned our attention to the National Disclosure Improvement Plan.
This plan has been designed to ensure that there are safeguards in place to ensure that the police follow all reasonable lines of enquiry, whether they point towards or away from a suspect. Prosecutors must provide the defence with any material that undermines the case for the prosecution or assists the case for the accused. Proper disclosure is vital for a fair trail to take place.
Disclosure problems with police forces have been identified by Richard Horwell QC in a recent report and I wanted to know what the Policing Minister will be doing to monitor this situation.
One particular question I had for the minister was if in six months time he would be able to tell me how many of the 120,000 police officers have completed the non-mandatory training created by the college of policing. I pointed out my worries that this training was not mandatory and that the Home Office may be reluctant to provide figures – as they usually do.