HAMPSHIRE Police Federation says it has “limited confidence” in the IOPC, which says it will now inform officers who are under investigation within three months if they will be served with a notice.
Chairman Alex Charge said the pledge is “meaningless” unless the IOPC actually sticks to its word.
IOPC Director General Michael Lockwood made the commitment during an online meeting with Police Federation conduct leads.
Alex said: “Words are cheap. From experience I have incredibly limited confidence in the ability of the IOPC to explain what they’ve done and why they’ve done it, and do it in a timely manner. That’s my personal experience as a misconduct rep, as the Federation Chair.
“I welcome what Mr Lockwood says, he’s made a lot of the right noises, and I do understand that we’re starting to see a reduction in timescales, but until those directions come down and people are getting those credible, valuable updates quickly, it’s meaningless.
“Police officers understand that if they do things like use force, there needs to be scrutiny and that’s fine. But it’s got to be proportionate and legitimate, and it’s exactly the same for the families who are making these complaints.
“They want it to be done in a timely and fair way because they don’t want to be left waiting and hanging on forever. I welcome the intent, but I would like to see it delivered.”
The PFEW’s Time Limits campaign has criticised the IOPC for cases that have gone on for five years or more. It is calling for investigations to conclude within 12 months as standard, from the point of an allegation being made.
Mr Lockwood told Police Federation conduct leads: “We know that, for police officers and staff involved in our investigations, this can be a time of considerable concern.
“To reduce this impact, we will introduce a new commitment that, when an investigation is not completed within three months, we will aim to confirm the status of all those involved – whether they are to be considered witnesses or to serve the appropriate misconduct notices.”
He added that the IOPC had closed 93% of investigations within 12 months to the end of October 2019.
However, he admitted: “We are not at the winning line yet. We need to make improvements that are sustainable by operating quicker, being proportionate and learning best practice from other organisations.”