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IOPC ‘Needs A Culture Change’

West Yorkshire Police Federation
Photography by Jason Bye
t: 07966 173 930

The Independent Office for Police Conduct needs a culture change so it stops treating the country’s cops as guilty unless they can prove their innocence, MPs have heard.

Phill Matthews, Chair of the PFEW’s Conduct and Performance Sub-Committee, gave evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee. MPs were told the main issues with the IOPC were timeliness, accountability and quality of investigations.

Phill said: “The system is overly bureaucratic, it’s lengthy and we see a staggering lack of knowledge at the IOPC. They don’t have the right depth and breadth of knowledge, they don’t have the right training and they are absolutely unaccountable. They have the same powers as a Police Constable and yet they are shrouded in secrecy.”

He told MPs that members feel they are being treated as though they are guilty unless they can prove their innocence, saying: “They need to change that culture.”

The IOPC themselves have a huge number of complaints made against them, Phill said. “They had 450 in 2017/18. But they only deal with about 500-600 investigations. That’s an absolutely horrific level of complaint.”

The police service in England and Wales, on the other hand, is one of the “most accountable in the world”, Phill added.

He told MPs: “The delays don’t come from our members. Our members expect scrutiny and they want to help. A lot of the allegations investigated are actually really simple investigations. There is no reason for them to drag on and on.

“There are more hearings than are necessary, hence why we win so many of them. Because our members haven’t done anything wrong.

“There was a seven-year delay in one investigation. We asked what they were doing during that time period. They couldn’t answer. There was no rational reason given. You cannot get disclosure from the IOPC.”

Date posted: January 27, 2021

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