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Other Reports

Reports published in this section are in addition to those in the main reports section and the normal publication scheme.


2013 Armstrong Review into cases relating to the Sensitive Policing Unit

Following publication of the 2006/7 Management Review of the Sensitive Policing Unit on 16 January, Staffordshire Police has today (6 February) published a second, separate report, from 2013, by the (then) head of professional standards at Cheshire Constabulary, Supt John Armstrong, who examined the arrangements for managing protected witnesses in the cases of both the murder of Floyd Dodson in Pendeford in 1999, and the RBS cash handling depot robbery in Tamworth in 2006. Both cases resulted in successful convictions.

The Armstrong Review [2MB] was commissioned following complaints made to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) in 2012, by a former officer, about the Sensitive Policing Unit, and in particular the arrangement for managing protected witnesses in the two cases above. The IPCC referred the officer's complaints back to Staffordshire Police to investigate.

Given the seriousness of the complaints, and the ongoing investigation by the IPCC into the Nunes investigation, Staffordshire Police voluntarily asked Cheshire Constabulary to carry out an independent review of the allegations.

The review took place in 2013, and included an examination of all relevant evidence gathered by the IPCC into Operation Kalmia, their interviews with officers within the Sensitive Policing Unit, the contents of the Management Review from 2006/7 (below), and other relevant documentation.

Armstrong's findings were very clear. Despite the complaints, there was no evidence that there were any 'improper' payments to witnesses, tampered documentation or any criminal or professional shortcomings.

As Armstrong says in the report: '...there are no grounds to consider either Operation Pendeford or Sanctio [the RBS robbery] to have led to any miscarriage of justice; there is no evidence of any criminal conduct on the part of any officer; nor is there any prospect of a case to answer for any breech of standard of professional behaviour on the part of any officer...'. There has never been an attempt by any of the defendants to reopen the cases and, as the Armstrong review says, absolutely no grounds on which Staffordshire Police or the Crown Prosecution Service might wish to reconsider any aspect of them.

This Review was supplied to the IPCC and the Office of Staffordshire's Police & Crime Commissioner in 2013; it is now being published following agreement with the IPCC and confirmation by them that they will be publishing the Kalmia report in due course, and the decision last year that no further action is required against any serving officer in relation the Kalmia investigation.

You can read the redacted Review below.


2006/7 Management Review of the Sensitive Policing Unit

Following Freedom of Information requests, Staffordshire Police has today published a report that reviews aspects of the work of the force's Sensitive Policing Unit, which was, up until 2007, responsible for the management of Covert Human Intelligence Sources and protected witnesses. (This version of the Costello Report updated 3 May 2017).

The document was provided to the IPCC as part of Operation Kalmia, which investigated the actions of officers following the quashing of convictions, in 2010, of five men for the murder of Kevin Nunes in 2002.

The 2006/7 Management Review of the Sensitive Policing Unit was a detailed examination undertaken by a highly experienced senior officer within Staffordshire Police.

The Review was commissioned following an informal meeting between the head of the unit and the head of professional standards at Staffordshire Police, over alleged incidents involving officers working in the Unit and in particular the handling of protected witnesses in the investigation into the murder of Kevin Nunes.

The content of the report shows that the actions of some of those in the Unit ten years ago is not one that now, or at the time, met the high standards we expect of officers and staff working for Staffordshire Police.

Any mistakes or misconduct were of a professional, not criminal nature, and tackled according to the force's disciplinary process, as set out in the Review.

Since 2012, the management of protected people by individual forces has passed to a national agency known as the UK Protected Persons Service, and with the creation of this national body there is now much clearer and stricter rules governing this very sensitive and specialist area of police work.

This Review is now being published following agreement by the IPCC and an indication by them that they will be publishing the Kalmia report in due course, and their decision last year that no further action is required against any serving officer in relation to this review or the wider Kalmia investigation.

Nick Baker, Deputy Chief Constable