Yes, Mr Jay. These are some considerations in developing the right relationship, and I think that's probably the best one can say about them, but they're based on the idea that you put some kind of framework of integrity in place and then you support it in a number of ways, which I'll return to in a moment.
Three considerations in that would be: in their interactions with the media, there must be a legitimate policing purpose, whether it's a constable or a chief constable, and it should be more than relationship-building and relate to the core values and standards of policing. That's why I think it's important to establish those values, standards.
Now, there's a -- part of the challenge is there are several sets around from the attestation, which I think, if you are familiar with it, you know, is quite moving, all the way through to -- covers professional conduct to a statement of professional values. My instinct is that they're all worthy and as long as they crystallise what we hope from the police, they're a reference point in whether you actually have a legitimate policing purpose, which is likely to prevent crime and help people and help the investigation, than not. But that's currently the subject for discussion with ACPO and others, and I'm hopeful that there will be something forthcoming. I know it's of concern.
The second consideration is how this relationship -- if you like, that's the what. The second consideration is how; the manner in which the relationship is conducted. In essence, I think it should operate without favouritism and with integrity, and I say this is about integrity of the mission policing.
So that kind of questions exclusive contact. It doesn't eliminate it, but it questions it. So it has real bite in that sense, and it also accepts that because of the police mission to investigate, you will consider what's presented to you, as it were, even if the media are presenting it to you as a real prospect.
Now, what will need to happen underneath that is some very practical things for people who perhaps won't have all the time to watch this Inquiry or read all of these papers. That can be converted -- "without favourite, with integrity" -- to something a police force does about the range of contact it thinks is acceptable, about records, about briefing, authorisation -- I think you follow the drift -- so it establishing some boundaries. That's what's hinted at in the main report, but now I'm getting more specific around this particular issue for this Inquiry.
And then the third consideration is the police handle information and access to it. They must seek to avoid a conflict of interest, given their obligations around confidentiality in particular but unexclusively.
I think that those three points will help. If developed, can help. I'm quite prepared to accept -- and there is a dialogue going on with people in the Police Service and elsewhere -- that this actually may be a prompt for a better set of ideas, but they're designed to be specific, although they may appear at first blush rather general.
Then what I would say is that the degree of application and support will depend on whether, as it were, you're in the eye of the storm or you're in the busiest part, which is -- frankly is the Metropolitan Police, global city and all of that, with all of the range of activities and opportunities and so on that exist there, compared to somewhere else. But I think they should bounce off the same broad framework.
The work on police reform, risky business that often -- too often, in my own experience, falls short of expectation, and I make that point because it will need support from those in governance role. The governance support for legitimacy, as well as other things, has to be there, otherwise nobody's probing. This reduces the challenge.
There has to be something too about regulators looking to see whether they can do better. We're certainly willing to do, that, and clearly operators need to implement.
The one piece I haven't sort of elaborated on out of where I started that's perhaps useful -- and I can develop the rest of it if you wish -- is this: this public interest issue is around us all the time. It is a difficult one to crack, this. PCC had a set of public interest considerations which, at first look, looked reasonable in many respects but didn't quite survive the contact at battle.
What I do know is this, though: in order to prevent, as it were, the likelihood of an officer who feels something is going wrong ever feeling they can have contact because we've set up such an austere set of arrangements that they can never go and speak to somebody else -- whistle-blow if you want to use one word, or have a conversation -- we should be prepared to consider, depending on what they're revealing, whether there is a public interest issue in it, maybe within the police.
I could extend that, but in practical terms it would also mean for me that if you're dealing with -- and I alluded to this earlier, with the inquiry into leaks in government. At the top end, if you're dealing with something that's going to generate lots of debate about conflict of interest, for whatever reason, maybe you need some kind of review group to help challenge your operators as to whether what they're really doing is in the public interest, just in case they're very busy or they're very preoccupied and they might lose their way on the public interest.
Now, there is a process at the moment called gold- grouping. This is not the same as what I have in mind. Gold group is a bunch of other officers, some of whom may be working on the thing, the project, and maybe some brought in from outside. I'm talking about bringing into that, to help inform that, to challenge it, to test it, some authoritative people from outside. You wouldn't be doing this every day of the week, but then you're not doing these cases every day of week. So we have to be prepared to think of ways of not freezing down the public interest in, as it were, the truth emerging or whatever words one wants to use.
I think I should pause there, because I've been talking at you for a while.