Federation Conduct Lead: IOPC must do more to improve, but initial meetings a step in the right direction

THE Independent Office for Police Conduct has more to do to improve despite ‘positive’ meetings aimed at thrashing out how they can get better according to Hampshire Police Federation.

PFEW leaders and IOPC representatives got around the table in July.

The PFEW argued that IOPC investigators need better knowledge about post-incident procedures, that there was a ‘lack of empowerment’ with IOPC investigators slow in making decisions on whether an officer is a witness or a suspect, and if cases should be referred to the force or IOPC.

Time taken to resolve cases were also up for discussion.

Hampshire Police Federation Chair Zoe Wakefield said the Fed’s Conduct Lead Moray Anderson fed back that the meetings had been positive. However, concerns remain about whether new IOPC commitments to change go far enough.

“Moray said the meeting with the IOPC was really productive and a positive sign that they are willing to have a conversation about where things need to improve,” she said.

“That has been an encouraging theme under [IOPC Director General] Michael Lockwood, but whilst change takes time, we are worried that the commitments so far don’t go far enough.

“Moray and I are not sure that three months [amount of time it can take to decide whether officers are witnesses or suspects] could be described as efficient.

“We also share the concerns about inflammatory or inaccurate media releases as these have the potential to be damaging.”

On that latter point, Zoe and Moray want to see the IOPC engage with the Federation more closely on communications and media.

“The force often engages with us at an early stage with the media and this is something we’d like to see with the IOPC,” Zoe said.

“It doesn’t mean they would lose independence, but what it might mean is they have considered the communications more thoroughly having had the chance to reflect on the officer’s view.”

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