West Yorkshire Police Federation is “absolutely disgusted” about comments make by the IOPC calling for greater scrutiny of Taser use.
Conduct and Performance Liaison Officer Aaron Horsfall said the comments mean officers cannot have any confidence that their cases will be fairly and independently investigated when conclusions appear to have already been drawn.
He was speaking after the IOPC released a statement calling for “greater scrutiny of Taser use following increasing concerns” about police use of the less-lethal weapon.
Aaron criticised the statement for failing to use words such as alleged when talking about supposed “disproportionate” use of force by officers.
He said: “I have never met a police officer that leaves home for work that day and thinks ‘I’m going to seriously hurt someone today’. We turn up ready to see what the job brings and we do our very best in difficult circumstances. I have seen and also have stood by my colleagues who work in difficult scenarios for nearly 20 years.
“The dedication, the drive, the sheer bloody mindedness to do what is right is extraordinary.
“That is why I joined the Federation: to showcase the good work that officers do and assist colleagues who might not always get the decisions right but try our very best.
“My role as CAPLO for West Yorkshire Police Federation means that I am in a privileged position where I can convey this message to our external stakeholders and attempt to change the hearts and minds of people that don’t like what we do or don’t understand what we do day, in day out.”
Talking directly about the IOPC statement, Aaron added: “I must say that I am absolutely disgusted in the stance that has been taken.
“We are all very much aware of the national press that has captured footage of officers involved in difficult situations recently.
“None of us are fully aware of the detailed circumstances of how they came to be, but to make this comment about the use of Taser by police officers is not appropriate, nor is it the correct time or place.
“I am also disgusted that the message is still the same despite being told that the IOPC is a different animal to the former IPCC.
“During my many meetings with the other CAPLOs around the country I often get the chance to listen to the Director General Michael Lockwood.
“Only last week I heard him speak about the importance of the new Conduct and Performance Regulations [designed to identify learning for both the officer and the organisation] and the opportunity to review his own organisation, about seeing where things can improve because he appreciates that policing in the 21st century is tough.
“I did genuinely think that this man would be the one who could force the change in culture and thinking of the police service in an attempt to turn it around.
“However, seeing statements of this nature only leads me to believe that regardless of the name the IOPC will never understand, will never be truly independent and will never be trusted by my colleagues holding the front line.”
See the IOPC statement here: https://policeconduct.gov.uk/news/iopc-calls-greater-scrutiny-taser-use-following-increasing-concerns
Date posted: May 14, 2020