31 October 2019
The role and remit of the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) will come under scrutiny during a new inquiry led by Parliament’s Home Affairs Select Committee.
The inquiry, announced this week by the committee’s chair, Yvette Cooper, has been welcomed by Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton.
Tony explained: “We have seen signs of improvements since Michael Lockwood took over as director general when the IPCC was re-launched as the IOPC at the start of last year but we still have concerns about some of the watchdog’s practices – particularly in relation to the length of time its investigations can take - so we are keen to support this root and branch review of its work.”
Phill Matthews, the Federation’s national conduct lead, speaking ahead of the Conduct and Performance Liaison Officers’ Seminar this week, has also backed the inquiry: “It is only right that the actions of police officers should be scrutinised but the current system is not working as it should and we feel there are significant areas where improvement can be made to make it quicker and more effective.”
He added: “I hope this inquiry will shine a light into all corners of the IOPC and its practices so that police officers and the public are able to have the confidence they need in such an important organisation.”
Ms Cooper, in launching the inquiry, explained that the launch of the IOPC in January 2018 was heralded as bringing new powers, greater independence and faster decision-making to increase transparency and build trust in the police complaints and disciplinary process.
But she explained: “Nearly two years on we continue to hear concerns that the system is not working as it should. In this inquiry we expect to look at the IOPC’s powers and effectiveness but, given that most complaints are dealt with by local forces under the scrutiny of Police and Crime Commissioners, we shall also look at whether wider reforms are needed to build a system in which the public can have real confidence.”
The terms of reference of the inquiry are:
Written submissions must be made to the committee by midnight on Sunday 8 December 2019.