90 days from today is Sat, 24 April 2021
28 October 2019
Post-Incident Procedures can provide ‘wraparound’ support for officers should they be involved in a death or serious injury following police contact.
Officers should trust in the system, says Wiltshire Police Federation, as PIPs are in place to ensure they provide the best possible account of the incident and to protect them legally and from a welfare point of view.
Speaking at the PFEW PIP Seminar in Warwickshire, Wiltshire Police Federation Secretary Gary Treherne said being involved in a PIP can be traumatic for officers but that the Federation was there to support them.
“The PIP looks after our officers and provides that welfare wraparound to make sure that when they’ve gone through a traumatic situation that they’re able to digest what’s happened and get the legal protection,” he said.
“When they’re giving their accounts, it’s a traumatic experience, and it takes a few days for them to analyse what’s gone on and be able to provide those accounts. With the process and how it’s evolved over the years it gives the best protection for our officers to recall the incident and give their best evidence.”
A Fed Rep will be on hand to help officers - from getting them something to eat to ensuring legal protection is provided, Gary added.
“We provide a Rep at the scene to look after the welfare of the officers. Liaise with the post-incident manager around refreshments, if clothing’s needed, that type of thing, and to provide them with legal advice; that’s contacting a local solicitor and they can either come to the post-incident suite, or they can do it by phone, it depends on the circumstances. Sometimes it’s in the middle of the night.
“Just providing that all-round [support], and it carries on from there with the Stage 4 accounts and, if it ends up being a coroner’s inquest or if there are conduct issues arising from it, then we support them through all those stages.
“It can sometimes go on for some time.”
That time can be three years or more while one high profile case took 11 and a half years to resolve.
It’s prompted the PFEW to call for time limits to be imposed in IOPC investigations.
“We’re very fortunate in Wiltshire; we’ve never had an issue with the IOPC with time length,” Gary said.
“They’re usually pretty good and pretty rapid. However, I’ve seen what’s gone on, and I’m aware that it has a massive impact on officers’ wellbeing. It’s the not knowing, that constantly hanging over your head, that plays out at home and at work.
“Officers just need to partake in the process. Trust your Fed Rep and your legal advice. It’s there to protect you; it’s there to look after you, and to make sure that you provide the best account possible of the incident that you’ve been involved in.”