Long Inquiries Causing Stress And Anxiety

INVESTIGATIONS into officer conduct are still taking too long to resolve, as new figures show that enquiries are quicker when carried out at a local level than under IOPC supervision.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) found that from April 2019 to January 2020, internal investigations into complaints against officers supervised by the IOPC took an average of more than two years to complete, compared to just over five months for unsupervised ones.

However, these are the last statistics before the police complaints and disciplinary systems were reformed in February 2020. The changes aim to resolve more complaints at a local level.
The IOPC’s 2019/20 Annual Report showed that 35% of their investigations were completed within six months, and 83% within 12 months.

Hampshire Police Federation Chair Zoë Wakefield said that while this was “good news”, most cases were still taking too long to complete.

She explained: “But there are still many cases which take far too long to investigate and resolve. Those cases that the IOPC have highlighted that were resolved within a year, I wonder how many should have been resolved a lot quicker?

“A year is a very long time to be under investigation. It causes officers a great deal of stress and anxiety. If we were investigating a crime, we would be criticised for the investigation taking that long.”

Zoë added that she would like to see more detail about the cases that were resolved within a year, saying: “Is that good news, or are they actually very simple cases that should have been resolved within six months?”

The IOPC said the new changes that were brought in during 2020 aim to “simplify the complaints system, making it easier to navigate and putting a greater emphasis on handling complaints in a reasonable and proportionate manner”.

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