The continuing issues around the length of time the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) takes to conclude conduct investigations is just one reason why a new inquiry into the police watchdog is necessary, according to West Midlands Police Federation.
The Federation conduct lead George McDonnell was commenting after Parliament’s Home Affairs Select Committee announced it would carry out an inquiry into the IOPC’s role and remit.
“The IOPC was launched at the start of 2018 and replaced the much-maligned Independent Police Complaints Commission. We had hoped to see a far more effective organisation with quicker decision-making and cases being concluded in a more timely manner and, to be fair, the director general Michael Lockwood has helped improve the way in which it works,” says George.
“However, we would have liked to have seen greater progress and we hope this inquiry will lead to a more effective way of handling police conduct investigations for the benefit of all concerned.”
In launching the inquiry, Yvette Cooper, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said the launch of the IOPC in January 2018 was heralded as bringing new powers, greater independence and faster decision-making to increase transparency and build trust in the police complaints and disciplinary process.
But she explained: “Nearly two years on we continue to hear concerns that the system is not working as it should. In this inquiry we expect to look at the IOPC’s powers and effectiveness but, given that most complaints are dealt with by local forces under the scrutiny of Police and Crime Commissioners, we shall also look at whether wider reforms are needed to build a system in which the public can have real confidence.”
Written submissions must be made to the committee by midnight on Sunday 8 December 2019.Find out more about the inquiry.