Fed branch detective lead hopes #SimplifyDG6 campaign is bearing fruits


PUBLISHED 01 Dec 2023

IN News

Cambridgeshire Police Federation’s detective lead hopes support from MPs in Westminster will be “a game changer” for the #SimplifyDG6 campaign.

Stu Taylor welcomed recommendations from the Home Affairs Committee following its review of disclosure and redaction guidelines.

He said: “The current guidance around disclosure and redaction has created a huge amount of work for our members.

“It’s had a huge impact on detectives and their investigations, and many are struggling to cope under the weight of their workload.

“So it’s pleasing to see that the influential Home Affairs Committee has made a series of recommendations in its report, which I hope will be a game-changer for members.

“The recommendations include for the Home Office to cut the red tape around redaction, and to consult stakeholders as part of a review of the implementation and impact of DG6.

“It’s all common sense and hopefully, along with the improvements to Athena, will make the life of investigators somewhat better compared to the last few years.

“It’s pleasing that our #SimplfyDG6 campaign is bearing fruits and we stand ready to work with the Home Office on these issues.”

Ben Hudson, chair of the Police Federation National Detectives’ Forum and Suffolk Police Federation secretary, echoed Stu’s comments.

Ben, who is spearheading the #SimplifyDG6 campaign, said: “We have taken big steps forward since the launch of our #SimplifyDG6 campaign, and we are pleased to see it gather more momentum through being raised at the Home Affairs Committee.

“I urge the Government to adopt our amendment into the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill.

“The proposed clause would have no obvious disadvantages. Security of the personal data would not be compromised.

“The redactions, which are needed to protect our personal data would still be undertaken, however this would be done at the appropriate stage.

“Most importantly unnecessary redaction would be avoided; which is everything we have been looking to achieve.

“Adopting this approach enables the Government to demonstrate they are supporting policing and freeing up thousands upon thousands of policing hours nationally for our members to dedicate their services to front line policing.

“For chief constables this would mean their officers are back within their communities rather than being stuck at computers, and our members would be able to do what they joined up for; serve the public, keep them same safe and prevent and detect crime.”

Changes by the CPS to disclosure rules resulted in investigating officers spending more than four extra hours per case on redaction, PFEW said. In some instances the delays have resulted in victims withdrawing.

PFEW provided evidence on disclosure and redaction – and a range of other issues – to the Home Affairs Committee for its inquiry on policing priorities.

The committee, which also took evidence from academics and policing bodies, was looking at topics including culture change, balancing demand, retention, funding, training, community policing and improving national conviction rates.

Much of PFEW’s evidence has been incorporated into the final publication of the findings and recommendations, including asks from its #SimplifyDG6 campaign.

Now, thanks to the campaign, and support from the National Police Chiefs’ Council, the Home Affairs Committee has recommended the Home Office speed up its work with the Attorney General’s Office and CPS to identify potential solutions, including considering necessary changes to data protection regulations.

PFEW has a feasible, legally-approved, drafted clause ready to be adopted into the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill, with the support of Jane Hunt MP, who sits on the Bill’s committee.

Ms Hunt has spoken about the amendment during the Committee Stage and has given Ministers time to bring in the necessary reforms.