Derbyshire Police Federation

Call for police watchdog to take greater role in restoring trust in policing

9 August 2023

Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton has called on the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) to play a more positive role in improving public confidence in policing.

Tony said the IOPC had a part to play in balancing negative media headlines about policing by highlighting the hard work, dedication and positive work of officers up and down the country in fighting crime and protecting communities.

He was speaking following the publication of the 2023 IOPC Stakeholder Report. The report aims to understand perceptions and knowledge of the IOPC among stakeholders, to assess the IOPC’s performance on key measures and to explore the IOPC’s communication and engagement with stakeholders.

There were areas of the IOPC’s work that stakeholders praised, including: 

  • The IOPC’s shared learnings are consistently lauded for their robustness and quality. 
  • Stakeholders are extremely pleased with the engagement and communication they have with individual contacts at the IOPC. 
  • Stakeholders recognise that the IOPC is making considerable effort to improve issues such as timeliness despite limited resources. 

However, there were other aspects of the IOPC’s work where stakeholders have concerns: 

  • Stakeholders question the IOPC’s impact and effectiveness within the police accountability system. They feel in a time of growing mistrust in policing, the IOPC should take a greater leadership role in helping to restore trust and confidence in policing and accountability. 
  • Stakeholders are still unsatisfied with the length of time investigations take, referencing the negative impact this has on both members of the public and officers. 
  • Stakeholders highlight an information gap among the public around the IOPC and its role within police accountability.

Tony said: “It is true to say that we have seen some improvements in terms of timeliness of IOPC investigations, but there is still much work to do.

“The IOPC and the Police Federation, both locally and nationally, have worked hard over the past few years to build relationships, cooperation and trust between the organisations. 

“I certainly agree the IOPC need to play a much more positive role in terms of improving public confidence in policing.

“At a time when there is a seemingly incessant negative narrative in the press and media around policing, the IOPC could and should be balancing that by communicating their positive experience of police officers up and down the country working tirelessly fighting crime and protecting communities.

“The previous director general, Michael Lockwood, talked of how impressed he was with the officers he met while visiting forces.

“It would be really helpful to see the body charged with independently investigating allegations of misconduct and enforcing professional standards to be pointing out that the vast majority of officers are honest, dedicated and hard-working professionals who do their very best to keep the public safe.”

Read the report.


June 2024