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Norfolk Police Federation

Federation Chair: Long investigations have as much of an impact on officers’ psychological welfare as assaults do

30 November 2020

“Long investigations have as much of an impact on officers’ psychological welfare as assaults do.”

This is what Norfolk Police Federation Chairman Andy Symonds has said, as the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) submits evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee highlighting the detrimental impact of lengthy disciplinary investigations.

The evidence is part of a formal enquiry into the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and its handling of complaints. The Federation’s ‘Time Limits’ campaign is urging for investigations to be concluded within 12 months from the time an allegation is made.

Andy said: “This enquiry is a direct result of the Federation campaign. Also my colleagues and I have spoken to MPs and raised local issues and I think that all helps produce that lobbying pressure.

“It’s really good that this is being talked about in a public forum because it gets the IOPC thinking about what they’re doing; it’s a good bit of scrutiny.

“Things have improved, but we need to keep the pressure up on the Time Limits campaign – these long investigations have as much of an impact on officers’ psychological welfare as assaults do. Some of these cops have been suspended for a long period of time and are under pressure that they might lose their job.”

Andy said that Norfolk Police Federation was lucky to have a good relationship with a regional ops manager for the IOPC, who it meets with every three months. He said: “He’s helped speed up and smooth over some of the obstacles that are in the way of these investigations, so there have been improvements.”

PFEW Conduct and Performance Lead Phill Matthews said: “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.”

He added: “The issue of investigations rumbling on for more than a year still continues, and enough is enough.”