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11 March 2020
A pledge by the police watchdog to work closer with the Federation to improve the timeliness of investigations has been welcomed by West Midlands Police Federation’s conduct lead, George McDonnell.
The pledge is included in a new report by Michael Lockwood, the director general of the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) on its efficiency, effectiveness and profile.
George said the director general’s comments were encouraging but the Federation would still continue with its Time Limits campaign which aims to bring in a 12-month time limit on investigations.
“We will, of course, work with Mr Lockwood and his team at the IOPC to maintain and build on our relationship so that we can ensure the best outcomes for Federation members,” says George.
“It is not in the interests of anyone - including the public, the police service, the Force or individual officers – for conduct cases to drag on and on as we have seen in recent years. These long-drawn-out investigations can have a huge impact on the officers involved and their families.
“I am pleased Mr Lockwood has acknowledged some of the IOPC’s investigations have taken too long and that he’s looking to address it. It would certainly be a major step forward for the watchdog to put some emphasis on training investigators, particularly around disclosure, and for all outstanding IPCC legacy cases, and other investigations that have been going on for a considerable time, to be reviewed as soon as possible.”
George added: “We also feel frustrated at the apparent lack of co-operation between the IOPC and our Appropriate Authority around the decision-making for officers being taken to hearings. There are too many cases where our Appropriate Authority does not support the IOPC’s decisions on these and this is another area that needs addressing.”
Mr Lockwood’s report was responding to a letter from Home Secretary Priti Patel asking for a comprehensive plan for delivering improvements in the timeliness and quality of IOPC investigations as well as better scrutiny around any decision-making.
Read more in our April/May magazine which will be circulated from the end of March.