A new campaign aimed at regulating the length of time it takes for police discipline allegations to be resolved is under way.
The Police Federation wants a statutory time limit to be in put in place on police allegations, just as there is for civil litigation or summary only offences.
And it hopes its Time Limits campaign, launched at the PFEW Conduct Seminar, will help address the stress and worry officers are placed under when investigations drag on without being concluded.
In the case involving Sean Rigg, who died in police custody, the Met officers concerned had allegations hanging over them for 11 years before they were cleared earlier this year.
PFEW Conduct Lead Phill Matthews said not having a time limit in place was simply ‘not on’.
He said: “We’ve started the ball rolling by asking ministers about why there isn’t a statutory limit on discipline allegations like there is in civil litigation or summary only offenses – there are various time limits that are out there.
“And we’ve been canvassing and pushing our viewpoint to the Home Office, the NPCC, and various MPs and gathering examples and cases of officers that we can exhibit.
“A bit like the [PFEW] driving [legislation] campaign, it’s going to take a long time but we are trying to push that out as much as possible because we don’t think that it’s particularly satisfactory that our members can have allegations hanging over them for, as in the Rigg case, nearly 11 years.
“The threat of potential prison, loss of job, public humiliation, trial by media, etc. That just can’t be right. It doesn’t happen in any other field of work or law, bar the sort of top-end, serious criminal allegations. So that’s just not on.”
Reforming the IOPC, which has been widely criticised for taking too long to resolve police misconduct cases and for its decision making around which cases should be pursued in the first place, is also key.
IOPC Director General Michael Lockwood, who joined the organisation during its transition from the IPCC, has led on several reforms and told the seminar this week that he spent the past year ‘walking in officers’ shoes’ to understand the pressures they face on the frontline.
Date posted: June 8, 2019