“IOPC Investigations must see some scrutiny”

HAMPSHIRE Police Federation is backing calls for investigations into police officers to be time limited to 12 months.

Currently, there is no limit on the length of investigations by the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

Now the Police Federation of England and Wales has launched its ‘Time Limits’ campaign, aiming to impose a 12 month maximum term on IOPC investigations.

In Hampshire one investigation lasted five years, and local Federation Chairman Alex Charge said: “It’s about common standards.

“Police officers are expected to do investigations – and they’re supposed to be timely and they’re supposed to be transparent. It seems to be that investigations into police officers, often things that are quite simple, just seem to go on forever.

“We’ve got the example of five years in Hampshire; there are over 10 years in other parts of the country.

“It’s just a crazy situation where there don’t seem to be any checks and balances whatsoever other than the IOPC saying, ‘We’re doing investigations and we’ll send you a letter every 28 days to say so’. That can’t be acceptable.

“What people don’t see is the police officer who’s put on directed duties or suspended from work, so that has personal implications on them in that they might not be in the role they want to be or should be doing. They might be taken away from frontline policing. That has an impact on their family, on how they feel about themselves.

“There needs to be some sort of scrutiny and oversight, and working to some sort of time limit. If you are asked to work to a time limit then you will get those inquiries done nice and quickly.”

Alex also said an investigatory time limit would benefit people who have made complaints against officers.

He explained: ““There’s also the flip side of it, the families of people who make complaints want a timely, quick investigation. They want to understand if the officer’s done anything wrong or not and whether there’s going to be any punishment.

“Five or six years is just crazy. They must have absolutely no confidence in the system and if you’ve got no confidence in the system how can you have confidence in making any complaints or anything in the future?

“So we’re asking that there should be a time limit for IOPC investigations and that should be 12 months.”

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