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Avon & Somerset Police Federation

Officers are still being subjected to lengthy investigations, despite the policing watchdog claiming to have improved time limits, Avon and Somerset Police Federation has said

15 December 2021

The Independent Office for Police Conduct told the Police Federation of England and Wales in June that the organisation must do better on time limits.

Director General Michael Lockwood told the Federation’s annual conference: “We don’t want a police officer under a cloud longer than they need to be… We’re setting targets to get investigations finished in nine and six months rather than 12.”

However, speaking this week, Mark Loker, Chair of Avon and Somerset Police Federation, said: “The IOPC claim that they have improved in their 12-month limits, yet we are still seeing cases extending past that time frame and the IOPC failing further by not notifying the officer involved of the reasons, ironically they fail to comply with their obligations under the 2020 conduct regulations without any recourse to their investigators.”

“We are still concerned by the standard the IOPC apply to matters of alleged criminal investigation where all they need to consider ‘is there an indication that the officer may have committed a criminal offence’. Bearing in mind the Police are experts in criminal law and they don’t apply the same standard as the Police would where we would need reasonable grounds to suspect a person has committed a criminal offence. To compound this further they then refer all matters to the CPS for discontinuation or charge. This is seriously compounding the time investigations take and to add insult further we are not seeing charges in matters that start criminally, there is very little credibility or ability in the IOPC conducting criminal investigations.”

Mark also warned that the IOPC is using the Police and Criminal Act 1984 to invade police officers’ privacy.

He added: “The consideration of our membership is that Professional Standards Departments and IOPC claim criminality just to use PACE powers to seize personal devices, which in turn then lend to further allegations of historic, presumed private, matters. PACE should not be a backdoor to invasions of privacy.”