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Norfolk Police Federation

IOPC must drive down investigation delays to avoid causing issues for officers’ mental wellbeing

20 July 2021

Norfolk Police Federation is looking for the Independent Office for Police Conduct to continue to drive down delays to its investigations “which cause issues for officers’ mental wellbeing”.

Chairman Andy Symonds said the IOPC “have locally in the cases we deal with on behalf of our members improved their timeliness which is a positive for our members.”

However Andy said his “current frustration is the time it takes the IOPC to make decisions on appeals made to them.”

Speaking at the Police Federation of England and Wales Conference in June Independent Office for Police Conduct Director-General Michael Lockwood admitted the organisation must do better on the time it takes to complete investigations.

“We don’t want a police officer under a cloud longer than they need to,” he told the first ever Virtual Annual Conference.

Speaking after the event, Andy said: “We’ve built good solid working relationships with the local managers within the IOPC so if we have a problem then I have a contact I can go to get things sped up and a detailed explanation of the delay.

“My current frustration is the time it takes the IOPC to make decisions on appeals made to them. For example a public complaint comes in to the IOPC they direct the force to investigate which they duly do. Generally the outcome is that there is no case to answer. The complainant uses their right to appeal back to the IOPC. At this point I have had cases which have taken months and months for the IOPC to decide that after reviewing the investigation that they agree with the finding of the force’s investigation. This is a poor state of affairs for both the officer and the complainant.

“The investigation has been completed, all lines of enquiry bottomed out, witnesses spoke to, statements taken and the officer providing an account to the complaint. However it still takes the IOPC months and months to review this?

“So I’m pleased that Mr Lockwood still has this timeliness issue firmly on his radar and expect him to continue to drive down these delays which only serve to cause further issues for the officers own mental wellbeing.”

Andy added: “I continue to raise this area as a standing agenda item when I meet with Norfolk MPs and where appropriate will be asking those officers who’ve been under investigation for unacceptably long periods to come with me when I meet the MPs so they can tell their story directly to those who make the law and can change it to make it fit for purpose.”