19 March 2021
The chair of Derbyshire Police Federation has welcomed evidence given to MPs by Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) on the impact of lengthy conduct investigations on officers.
Tony Wetton urged the Home Affairs Select Committee to take on board the testimony of three PCCs, who echoed the Federation’s long-running Time Limits campaign in agreeing the length of investigations was a key issue for officers.
Tony said: “It’s in no one’s interests to have investigations dragging on. They have a huge impact on officers, their families and their colleagues and recent research from the Federation showed they’re a huge cost to the taxpayer.
“Of course officers should be held to account for their actions. They welcome that scrutiny but the system needs to be speeded up to ensure it’s fair for the public and officers alike.”
North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan was among the PCCs to give evidence in the latest sitting of the Home Affairs Select Committee.
She said: “The timeliness issue was causing all sorts of issues for individual officers. In fact, the impact of it was much wider, in terms of views of lack of competency on the part of the IOPC and lack of fairness to officers.”
Sue Mountstevens, Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset, acknowledged that progress had been made at the IOPC especially in restricting the time limit to 12 months before an explanation has to be given to the PCCs, but also mentioned that greater accountability was necessary, adding: “I wonder where the accountability is to the IOPC if they go longer than 12 months.”
Alun Michael, Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales, said: “We ought to look at the acceptable length of time being reduced from 12 months to something much shorter than that.”
Phill Matthews, the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) national conduct and performance lead, gave evidence to the committee in late January and described the deep and damaging effects long-term investigations can have.
After this latest evidence from the PCCs, he said: “It is really positive that all seem to agree that 12 months for an investigation is more than adequate and that PCCs would like that to see that reduced and have more ability to hold the IOPC to account for the time investigations take. PFEW will continue to campaign relentlessly to ensure fairness for our members.”