The IOPC needs a ‘clean sweep’ because officers have no faith in its investigations, the Chairman of West Yorkshire Police Federation has said.
Brian Booth was speaking after Home Secretary Priti Patel suggested time limiting their investigations.
Brian said: “It’s a breath of fresh air to hear a Home Secretary tackling the real issues that have stagnated policing over the past decade.
“To have these ineffective, untimely and wasteful investigations continuing, unchecked is no good for officers’ mental welfare and creates no confidence that fair investigations are taking place.
“But the picture also involves the waste of public money and the frustration caused to complainants who want a timely resolution to their concerns.
“The IOPC needs a clean sweep and I hope the Home Secretary brings a brush, because it is a mess.”
In her first major address to the service as Home Secretary at the Superintendents’ Association Conference this month, Priti Patel spoke about the “injustice” of lengthy investigations into the country’s cops, leaving them in limbo. She called for better, swifter processes to protect officers and the public.
She said: “We cannot have investigations that just go on and on and on. We need streamlined processes. We need more efficiency. We need more effectiveness. We need more accountability. But ultimately we need swift outcomes. We cannot have officers left in limbo.
“We cannot have officers having their professional careers basically suspended while investigations and enquiries take place. That does a huge disservice and an injustice to everyone in policing, I think. To the officers in particular.”
Ms Patel said investigations needed to be looked at on a case-by-case basis, and did concede that there was a lot of information and evidence to be gathered.
However, she added: “Police officers have a deadline effectively put on them to get their jobs done. We must have exactly the same approach when it comes to the IOPC.”
She added: “Too many cases have been going on for too long, and a lot of them are historic as well, which takes even longer in terms of getting evidence and information.
“So this is a process that absolutely has to be looked at.”
She said more needs to be done to support officers through these “really torrid experiences”.
Ms Patel has been working with IOPC Director General Michael Lockwood on the issue, after police representatives complained of the undue stress caused by lengthy investigations on officers and their families.
Det Supt Paul Fotheringham told the minister at the conference in Stratford-upon-Avon: “We fully understand the need for independent oversight of police officers, but we’re consistently seeing cases investigated by the IOPC that are taking a considerable amount of time; some years.
Officers and their families’ lives are wrecked while their careers are put on hold, and this has a significant impact on them.”
The Police Federation of England and Wales has called for time limits on IOPC investigations.
Date posted: October 16, 2019