FORCES need to do more to challenge the Independent Office for Police Conduct and hold them to account, Hampshire Police Federation has said.
Zoë Wakefield, Federation Chair, said: “Forces need to challenge them more. Too many investigations just go on for months. There isn’t enough meaningful information put out for officers and the investigation can have a huge impact on them.
“There’s no reason why they can’t give meaningful updates or why the investigations can’t be more timely. I think forces need to do it. Obviously we’d love the government to do it, but federation also need to keep doing it.”
Last month, legal action by the Police Federation of England and Wales saw real success when six police officers who endured unfairly long misconduct investigations received substantial compensation and a formal letter of apology.
The IOPC agreed to the pay-outs in February this year after PFEW lawyers took legal action on behalf of the Metropolitan Police officers. All six were subjected to lengthy investigations which took between four and seven years, following three incidents in London on separate dates in 2011.
The cases were concluded in February, after the IOPC, formerly known as the Independent Police Complaints Commission, settled the cases in favour of the PFEW-supported claimant
Reflecting on the organisation’s shortcomings, Zoë said: “I don’t know if it’s the quality of the investigators. They keep saying about how they’re going to improve the timeliness of their investigations, and then nothing seems to change. Or they make a big issue of the fact that they’ve concluded a few investigations in under a year. Even a year, for some of these investigations, is ridiculous. That is somebody’s life that is being investigated for a year. That’s intense.
“Their whole life is on hold throughout that entire time. As police officers, if we took that long to investigate a similar allegation from a member of the public, we’d all probably be put under performance procedure. It’s clearly unacceptable to take that long to investigate something.’