13 March 2018
I am delighted to report that an independent panel, convened to rule on a series of gross Misconduct Allegations against former Sgt Rogers, yesterday concluded that there was absolutely no evidence to support these allegations and dismissed all allegations against the former Sergeant. This case has, once again, highlighted the utter incompetence and lack of realism, sadly, too frequently associated with the IOPC (Formerly IPCC). The allegations were made in May 2015 and were assessed as “ not complex” by the panel, yet the IOPC have taken almost 3 years to conclude this matter .These timescales are an utter disgrace and were found to be on the very cusp of acceptability which may have led to a stay of proceedings in their own right.
Mr Rogers has been left under the dark cloud of Gross Misconduct proceedings for the last 2 ½ years of his career .The health of both he and his family has been significantly affected but is completely ignored. This simply put, cannot be right and the IOPC have to make changes to severity assessments and the timescales they employ to investigate matters of alleged misconduct.
Whilst it is openly accepted that allegations should be scrutinised in order for Public Confidence to remain in the Officers of Cumbria Constabulary, there is a clear requisite that investigators cannot just take as long as they like and have numerous bites at the same cherry simply because some of the investigators employed are deemed incompetent by their own managers. This approach to investigations does nothing to build confidence in the Police , a feeling of fairness and expeditiousness from officers nor, and probably most importantly, the expectations of the complainant.
The quota system of having to conduct a particular number of investigations to meet their obligation to the Home Office has to stop. It is not right that an investigation is launched in order to tick quota boxes and should be launched only in a proportional and expedited manner. A former IPCC commissioner openly accepted that cases were taken simply to meet these quotas and is an appalling indictment on the IOPC. If this was to cease then resources could rightly be targeted towards the most serious matters. Staffed appropriately the investigations would be shorter, more thorough and reach the required outcome in a much shorter timescale which may then lead to a building of trust from all sides in the equation.
It is worth highlighting that this Hearing was a “directed” hearing as the Constabulary never felt there was justification for bringing this case. This means that all costs associated with the hearing itself, legal counsel, solicitors fees, room hire costs, panel costs and cover for abstraction of officers concerned due to sickness/depression all have to be met by a Constabulary whose budgets are stretched to breaking point as it is. How can this be right?
I would like to put on formal record my thanks to the Chief Officers of Cumbria Constabulary whose support for Mr Rogers has been unwavering throughout, Mr Matthew Butt ( Counsel for Mr Rogers) and Mr Richard Black ( Solicitor Slater and Gordon) whose considerable assistance has led to the correct, albeit untimely conclusion of these matters.
I would finally like to commend Mr Rogers for his courage and professionalism whilst under enormous pressure and his family/friends for their unwavering support. He has been to hell and back due to a bloodlusting for an Officer`s scalp, where the evidence available appears to have been considered secondary to the IOPC`s wish to sack a Police Officer.
We at the Federation wish him all the very best in retirement and good health to him and his family.
For our part , we will continue to represent Officers in their time of need and will continue to try and shape an IOPC which is fit for purpose but, frustratingly ,is a long way from that point.