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Hampshire Police Federation

"Unnecessarily lengthy investigations come at a great cost to the public purse"

4 February 2021

“Unnecessarily lengthy investigations come at a great cost to the public purse as well as the mental health of officers,” Hampshire Police Federation has said, as new research shows that Independent Office for Police Conduct investigations cost taxpayers millions of pounds each year.

The report showed that the longer the investigation went on, costs rose exponentially.

The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) estimated that an IOPC investigation that lasts up to six months costs £15,101 per officer, which goes up to £302,012 when it drags on for five years or more – 20 times the amount.

The costs are even higher for suspended officers, where a six-to-12-month investigation costs approximately £67,968, and after five years it is an eye-watering £453,115 per officer. This is due to forces having to replace officers while they are suspended.

The findings have been shared with MPs on the Home Affairs Select Committee as part of its inquiry into the IOPC and the time taken to resolve complaints against police officers.

Hampshire Police Federation Chair Zoë Wakefield said: “This report shows that unnecessarily lengthy investigations come at a great cost to the public purse as well as the mental health of the officers concerned.

“More stringent parameters on lines of enquiry and a greater focus on expeditious investigations would not only save public money. They would also reduce the workload on the departments investigating these offences, reduce the mental health impact on officers and free up access to the legal services involved.”

The PFEW continues its Time Limits campaign, which launched in 2019 and pushes for investigations to be concluded within a year, highlighting the impact of long investigations on police officers, their families and colleagues, as well as public trust in policing.