19 January 2021
The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) has been called to give evidence on January 27 to the Home Affairs Select Committee on its inquiry into the remit of the Independent Office for Police Conduct, the police complaints system and the time taken to resolve complaints.
PFEW will be highlighting the detrimental and costly impact of lengthy disciplinary investigations on police officers, their families and their colleagues as part of its Time Limits campaign.
The campaign, which launched in 2019, evidences the urgent need for investigations to be concluded within 12 months from the time an allegation is made.
Hard-hitting case studies shared with MPs for its inquiry includes the powerful personal testimony of PC Richard Allen-Zoarder from West Midlands Police who feels his mental health and enthusiasm for policing has been destroyed after a prolonged investigation left him bedridden for two years with depression.
MPS firearms officer Adrian Daly, who was falsely accused of assault, worked for almost three years to clear his name in a case full of errors. PFEW also shared the distressing experience of his wife to demonstrate the devastating impact on loved ones.
The Federation is additionally calling for:
• Improvements to the quality of IOPC investigator training, particularly in relation to post incident procedures and disclosure
• The Committee to consider the idea of moving towards a system where breaching the time limit has consequences on the ability to proceed
PFEW Conduct and Performance Lead Phill Matthews commented: “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 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.