The Department of Home Affairs is ‘making progress’ on new legislation which would see improvements being made to its police complaints system.

This comes after an inspection report was published by His Majesty’s Inspectorate (HMI) in November 2022, which made a number of recommendations related to how complaints are dealt with throughout the police force.

The change in legislation would see the island’s ‘Police Complaints Commissioner’ have more independence in dealing with received complaints - compared to their current ‘supervisory’ role.

Providing an update on these changes during Tuesday’s House of Keys sitting, the Minister for Justice and Home Affairs, Jane Poole-Wilson, confirmed that there has been a delay in the process.

She said: ‘The recommendations in the report relate to police complaints matters, specifically around the independence of the process, self-referral by the Chief Constable to the Police Complaints Commissioner, initial assessment in the case of misconduct by a senior officer, guidance on escalation from informal to formal complaints and guidance on the investigation of complaints.

‘All of these recommendations were to be addressed through legislative changes that would require consideration, consultation and due process, so these were originally expected to be delivered by the end of December 2023.

‘However, this review has identified that there are significant gaps or constraints that need to be addressed before we can progress these recommendations and deliver the model that can best suit the island. These gaps must be addressed properly.’ In a supplementary question, MHK for Douglas Central Chris Thomas asked the Minister whether she had confidence in her administration delivering the proposed changes, citing a lack of progress on the matter in previous years.

She replied: ‘I do have confidence because I know the underlying sets of regulations have already been drafted, although they will need to be amended further. It is also my intention to soon publish a high-level roadmap to try and give people an indication of how we are going to progress with it.’

Mrs Poole-Wilson also clarified that the current system used for policing complaints does already have independent oversight, but that the proposed changes look to ‘enhance that independence’.

‘The Police Complaints Commissioner is independent of the Isle of Man Constabulary and the Department [of Home Affairs] at the moment,’ the Minister said.

‘What we are going to do is create the ability for that independent person to independently investigate, rather than supervise, if they deem it appropriate.

‘I would like to reassure people that there is independence in the process today, but it is limited to a supervisory function unless it relates to the conduct of the Chief Constable.

‘The complaints system in the island should be lawful, fair, suitably independent, clear, transparent, proportionate, expedient and cost effective.’