25 October 2019
Post-Incident Procedure is a vital part of giving officers the support the require, says Federation
Post-Incident Procedures are a vital part of supporting officers in the aftermath of traumatic incidents, says Leicestershire Police Federation.
Speaking at this year’s PFEW PIP seminar in Warwickshire, Leicestershire Police Federation Vice Chairman Adam Commons said following laid out procedures and being there for officers ‘at the beginning’ means they can receive the specific support they need.
“When a PIP is called a Federation Rep gets called out. We’re part of the process to ensure that the APP (procedure) is followed and we’re in the room to make sure that welfare provisions on the day are in place,” he said.
“Things from getting them some food, a change of clothes if they need it, making calls home. We’ll help facilitate things like that and then afterwards there are things like the welfare support programme that we can refer people through to if we think it’s necessary.
“Correct support means better evidence for the officers. It means that the Federation lawyers maintain the correct contact with them through the process and obviously we can then offer support that’s specific to them.”
Following the PIP process also means officers have a chance to make a more detailed statement about the incident later on, rather than talking about it in-depth in the immediate aftermath.
It means their heads are clearer, says Adam.
“It’s about getting the best evidence, obviously on behalf of the organisation that’s calling it, in my case it’s Leicestershire Police, but also the best support for the officer.
“Going through the PIP process gives us the stage Three and Four benefits of the statements. The first one [given] is a very short one to say what their honestly held belief on the night or day was.
“Then [there is] a more detailed one. It gives them that protection that officers are already taught through their officer protection courses of ‘red mist, tunnel vision’. That can affect your statement, so by giving a very short one initially it means we can go back when their heads are clearer and do a more in-depth one.”
This year’s seminar focused the length of IOPC investigations into officers and the impact they can have on cops and their families is of real concern for the Federation - which is backing calls for set time limits to be imposed.
“A recent case for a Nottinghamshire Police officer that’s taken seven years was highlighted at the seminar and these are investigations that when you see the breakdown of them you struggle to see why they’ve taken that amount of time,” Adam said.
“They’ve been heavily criticised when those investigations have finished with no findings against the officers. These are some officers who have been suspended from duty. The impact on their mental health is not something I think you can appreciate unless you go through it yourself. It is massive.
“The feeling of going through that investigation, being out there on your own, cut off from your colleagues and, in some cases, they are put out through the press to be put under investigation. We can’t let that continue and that’s why we need time limits.”
The Federation wants officers to ask questions should they be involved in a PIP.
“I’ve been trained in it for a while now and it’s a fantastic process,” he said.
“It is there to look after officers. There are no silly questions. If you’re involved in a PIP ask your lawyer, ask your Fed Rep that’s there. If you think it’s daft, it's probably not.
“We can allay your fears, talk you through it, and just make sure that you’re looked after.”