Investigators being paid a bonus for convictions in the Post Office Horizon scandal is deeply worrisome

11 January 2024, 08:55 | Updated: 11 January 2024, 10:00

Investigators being paid a bonus for convictions in the Post Office Horizon scandal is deeply worrisome
Investigators being paid a bonus for convictions in the Post Office Horizon scandal is deeply worrisome. Picture: Alamy/LBC
Tony Imossi

By Tony Imossi

  • Tony Imossi is the administrator of the Association of British Investigators which leads the way in compliance through a self-regulating regime and tirelessly lobbies for regulation and recognition for the legitimate professional investigator

The discovery that investigators were paid a bonus for successful outcomes in the Post Office fraud probes is deeply worrisome.

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Investigations must be performed impartially. The purpose should not be to find someone guilty, but rather to discover the facts and correctly identify what happened.

Investigators must approach each case with an open mind and acquire evidence honestly, free of biases or incentives to favour a specific decision.

One of the primary reasons why investigations must be unbiased is to maintain fairness. Every person has the right to a fair trial, and a fair investigation is an essential component of the process.

If investigators are motivated to find someone guilty, they may ignore or disregard information that could exonerate the accused, undermining the notion of fairness.

An unbiased investigation is also critical to preserving public trust and confidence in the legal system. When investigations are deemed to be biased or affected by external demands, the integrity and validity of the entire process are called into question, as is the case with the Post Office convictions currently discussed.

This has the potential to erode public trust in the larger law enforcement sector and the outcomes of investigations, resulting in a loss of faith in the entire judicial system.

Furthermore, unbiased investigations assist in gathering accurate and dependable facts. Investigators who approach the evidence without preconceived beliefs or motives are more likely to obtain all pertinent information, allowing them to reach the most accurate conclusion.

This is critical to ensuring that innocent people are not wrongfully condemned and that the guilty are held accountable for their crimes.

Furthermore, the significance of professional investigators being accountable to a self-regulatory professional body cannot be emphasised enough.

Investigators who are members of a professional body, such as the Association of British Investigators (ABI), are bound by a code of ethics and professional standards in their work.

This not only guarantees that investigations are done in an impartial manner, but it also helps to maintain high standards of professionalism and integrity in their industry.

Being answerable the ABI also aids in resolving any concerns or complaints regarding an investigator's actions.

If an investigator violates the code of ethics, the ABI may hold them accountable, resulting in disciplinary action or possibly loss of accreditation.


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