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21 January 2021
The Federation will be giving evidence to a Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) inquiry into the role of the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) next week to highlight the devastating impact lengthy conduct investigations have on officers.
The Federation has been called to take part in the inquiry, which will consider the police complaints system and the time taken to resolve complaints, on Wednesday (27 January).
It will reveal the detrimental, and costly, impact of lengthy disciplinary investigations on police officers, their families and their colleagues as part of its Time Limits Campaign which calls for investigations to be concluded within 12 months of an allegation being made.
Hertfordshire Police Federation chair Geoff Bardell has welcomed the Federation’s involvement in the inquiry.
“As police officers, we have no issue with our conduct being reviewed when it is deemed necessary. However, the impact this can have on the mental health and wellbeing of officers when these inquiries go on for months and sometimes years, cannot be dismissed,” he said.
“It’s not just the impact this has on their mental health, but it can also have a knock-on effect on their families, their friends and often their colleagues.”
The Federation’s national conduct and performance lead, Phill Matthews, said: “We appreciate this opportunity to share the stark findings we gathered as part of our ‘Time Limits’ campaign with the Home Affairs Select Committee.
“Protracted disciplinary investigations have ruined the careers of multiple colleagues, left a mark on their mental health and placed pressure on their home lives and loved ones. It is clear the effects are devastating.
“Public trust in the system will erode if people do not think their complaints will be dealt with quickly. This issue is already something many complainants frequently express.
“We are encouraged that the IOPC is keen to work with us rather than against us. However, the issue of investigations rumbling on for more than a year still continues, and enough is enough,” he concluded.
The Federation is calling for:
• Improved IOPC investigator training, particularly in relation to post-incident procedures and disclosure
• A move towards a system where breaching the time limit has consequences on the ability to proceed.