The Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) said on Wednesday that it deeply appreciates the participation and contribution of experts to a study on the city's unrest, adding that the council will consider their advice thoroughly while finalising its first interim report.
The report is expected to be submitted to the Chief Executive before the end of this year. But in a severe blow to the panel, the overseas experts invited to join the study said they have decided to "formally stand aside from its role", as the IPCC needs more powers to conduct a meaningful probe.
In a statement issued soon after the expert's decision, the IPCC said it is pleased that the overseas veterans expressed their desire to remain engaged.
The statement also said that after the publication of the first interim report, it will review the way forward and liaise with the experts.
"After publishing the first interim report, depending on the development of events and needs, the IPCC will review the way forward and liaise with the IEP [International Experts Panel] members on appropriate arrangements going forward," the statement said.
IPCC chairman Anthony Neoh noted that the council didn't have investigative powers, but it had solicited the support of the Chief Executive and police commissioner for the study.
He said any changes will require consensus from the community and stakeholders and would have to be pursued in accordance with statutory procedures.
The five-member expert panel is headed by Sir Denis O’Connor who served as a top official in the British police until 2012.
Other members are Colin Doherty, who headed the police watchdog in New Zealand; Michael Adams QC from Australia; Prof Clifford Stott, a social psychology academic from Keele University in the UK; as well as Gerry McNeilly, a former head of a civilian watchdog that monitors police in Canada.