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14 November 2018
Draft guidelines have been published by the police watchdog which outline what will happen when a member of the public dies or is seriously injured following contact with the police.
But Police Federation representatives have voiced their concerns over the interpretation of new guidelines - published by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) – which will apply across all fatalities or serious incidents arising from road traffic incidents, firearms operations, incidents in custody or other police contact.
If ratified by the Home Secretary, it will compel all 43 forces in England and Wales to follow the set procedures.
But the Federation is concerned about the way investigators might interpret some clauses, especially across three key areas, most notably:
George McDonnell, discipline lead at West Midlands Police Federation, said: “Some consensus appears to have been reached on the separation of officers, but the IOPC still maintains it is its ‘preference to separate key policing witnesses’. This is an emotive issue for our members, who may have been through an extremely traumatic event where a member of the public has died.
‘It is an area that we will be watching closely to ensure that officers are treated fairly and not made to feel like suspects rather than the witnesses they invariably are.”
He continued: “Our representatives will continue to use and apply the College of Policing Authorised Professional Practice when dealing with Post-Incident Procedures - as this is the only statutory, approved guidance to follow at this time.”