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GMP Federation

Federation: Scrutiny of Police Officers must be far more proportionate and balanced

29 November 2023

Officers are starting to think twice before acting, as they fear their actions are under too much scrutiny,” the Chair of Greater Manchester Police Federation has said. 

Mike Peake was speaking after the Metropolitan Poloice Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley called for urgent reforms to investigations into officers. Currently the IOPC (Independent Office for Police Conduct) can take years to scrutinise officers’ handling of life and death incidents. 

 Sir Mark said that armed police officers had told him they would rather face terrorists than other criminals, as there was less risk of a legal backlash.  

 Mike agreed with the Commissioner, saying that the way the IOPC dealt with complaints against officers had “damaged confidence in policing”.  

Mike continued: “When assessing and dealing with complaints made against police officers, the so-called Independent Office for Police Conduct does not appear to be truly independent.  

“True independence starts in the middle, obtaining information in a balanced way, and when in possession of all the facts makes a balanced decision with a balanced outcome. Yet all too often we see politically motivated decision-making. In today’s policing, officers are starting to think twice before acting, as they fear that their actions are under too much scrutiny.” 

 It was easy to harshly judge officers’ split-second decisions with the benefit of hindsight, Mike said, adding that investigations were dragging on for too long. 

 He said: “Our officers are trained to make use of the College of Policing’s National Decision Model (NDM), which recognises that officers cannot always apply the full model during fast-moving incidents. As you can imagine, this is an extremely regular occurrence in the life of an officer.  

“Yet the IOPC forensically reviews those split-second decisions in slow time from the warmth and safety of their offices, often failing to recognise the risk and threat perception that the officer faced at that moment in time. 

“For simply doing their job, officers now face an increased threat of dismissal or even being dragged through a criminal prosecution at court. Of course, the police should always be under scrutiny for their actions, but that scrutiny must be far more proportionate and balanced. 

“It must be recognised that the vast majority of police officers are good people doing a really good job. Police officers in Greater Manchester want to make a difference and protect the public, but we should not have to police with fear, or be asking for much-needed greater backing and support to enable us to police to the standard the public expects.  

“Officers who face lengthy IOPC investigations, often while being restricted from working front line duties, which then conclude with no or little criticism, will certainly think twice before acting again in the future, and that is not good for the public.” 

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March 2024
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