Society

Police and Criminal Evidence Act consultation; membership ballot results; Charter and Statute changes; and more
PACE – Identifying a problem The Home Office has published a summary of responses to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) Review consultation exercise, including the British Psychological Society submission. The response, prepared by Daniel B. Wright (University of Sussex), a member of the ‘Memory and the Law’ working party of the Society, focuses on the identification process and relevant memory research.

PACE – Identifying a problem

The Home Office has published a summary of responses to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) Review consultation exercise, including the British Psychological Society submission.
 The response, prepared by Daniel B. Wright (University
of Sussex), a member of the ‘Memory and the Law’ working party of the Society, focuses on the identification process and relevant memory research. The discussion of new technologies, and evidence that (at least in the US) errant eyewitness identifications are the leading cause of false incarcerations, led to suggestions for procedural changes and clarifications that could improve the parades. Dr Wright said: ‘This consultation exercise provided the opportunity to make at least two procedural changes that are widely agreed to be beneficial by researchers in the area. Neither of these changes should increase police work, but both will improve the reliability of identifications.’

Firstly, the submission recommended using ‘double blind’ video identifications where possible, so that the person directing the ‘parade’ is not aware of the identity of the suspect. Secondly, the response suggested that a witness’s confidence should be measured after they make an identification, but before the outcome is revealed. This is because research has shown that confidence is positively associated with correct identifications across a large number of tasks, but that it can be affected by post-identification feedback.

Other recommendations included videoing the identification procedure, and recording if witnesses spoke with other witnesses about the crime before the identification.

The next stage is for the Home Office to undertake a series of regional seminars. These events will take place round the country in the autumn culminating in a national conference in December 2007.

The submission is available via www.bps.org.uk/polpar, and the summary of responses via tinyurl.com/2s5yk6

 

Membership Ballot Results

Issued at SGM – 14 September 2007 – Leicester
Resolution 1: That Stature 20 be amended in order to allow the level of annual subscriptions from 2009 to be established by the Trustees subject to certain limitations, and in such other manner as Her Majesty’s Privy Council may require and the Trustees may agree. And that concomitant alterations be made to Rules 20 ,21 ,23, 24 and the Schedule of Subscriptions be deleted.

For = 3097 (55.9%) Against = 2443 (44.1%)
Result = Failed (2/3 majority required) Turnout = 5540 (15.7%)

Resolution 2: That the Schedule of Subscriptions be amended to increase subscriptions for 2008.
For = 2968 (53.3%) Against = 2602 (46.7%)
Result = Carried (Simple majority required) Turnout = 5570 (15.8%)

Resolution 3: That in future the Trustees of the Society be authorised to include on membership application/renewal forms the option for members to contribute to the separate UK registered charity, the

BPS Welfare Fund.
For = 4728 (81.5%) Against = 1070 (18.5%)
Result = Carried (Simple majority required) Turnout = 5798 (16.4%)

 

Policy Support Unit
www.bps.org.uk/consult

Responses to six consultations were submitted during August including one from the Welsh Assembly Government concerning child and adolescent mental health services in North Wales, another from the Office of Science and Innovation on wider implications of science and technology and a third from the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) on evidence regarding the mental well-being of children in primary education.

A consultation from the General Medical Council, Consent: Patients and Doctors Making Decisions Together, was broadly welcomed by the Society for its overall quality and its clarification of the shared responsibilities of patients and doctors in respect of consent. Suggestions were raised regarding the achievement of fully patient-centred care and the means of making the principles of consent work in practice where capacity is in question. The need to make more reference to good practice in wider professional teams was raised, together with that of sharing decision making with children and with those with communication difficulties.

By contrast, the NHS Workforce Review Team’s consultation on workforce risk assessment was less favourably received, with members of the Division of Clinical Psychology’s Professional Standards Unit and Workforce Planning Advisory Committee expressing disappointment at the lack of attention paid to mental health services in general, and to applied psychology in particular.
A number of specific concerns were raised, including:
the lack of acknowledgement of the weaknesses of Local Delivery Plans
as part of the workforce planning process;
the significant risks to the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) arising from the reduction in clinical psychology commissions and the potential impact of IAPT on both fully qualified therapists and those in new roles;
the need to stress, when addressing children’s services, the importance of psychological therapies and access to clinical psychologists.

The final consultation, from the Department for Health, sought views on the regulations by which EU Directive 2005/36/EC (concerning the temporary provision of services by migrant workers) is to be implemented in the UK for health and social care professions. The Society’s response emphasised issues of public protection and confirmed that migrant professionals wishing to provide services on a temporary or occasional basis, should be required to register with the host competent authority and provide the maximum information allowed by the Directive as to their legal and professional status. The importance of checks on the qualifications of those providing such services in any field of psychology (not just clinical) was emphasised. Concerns were raised about the lack of clarity over what constitutes ‘temporary’ or ‘occasional’ services; the uncertainty over the disciplinary sanctions to which a temporary migrant could be subject; and the fact that there is no requirement for temporary migrants to engage in continuing professional development, irrespective of the length or frequency of their temporary service provision. Contact the Policy Support Unit on 0116 252 9926, [email protected].

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