22 January 2021
The devastating impact of long-drawn-out conduct investigations on officers will be revealed when the Federation gives evidence to a Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) inquiry into the role of the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) next week.
The Federation has been invited to give evidence to the inquiry on Wednesday (27 January) when it will consider the police complaints system and the time taken to resolve complaints.
As part of its Time Limits campaign, which calls for investigations to be concluded within 12 months of the time of an allegation being made, it will highlight the detrimental and costly impact of lengthy disciplinary investigations on not only the police officers themselves, but also their families and their colleagues.
The secretary of Dyfed Powys Police Federation, Roger Webb, says the Federation evidence should be crucial to the inquiry.
‘The Federation is in the ideal situation to be able to spell out the impact these lengthy investigations can have on officers and how that can then have a knock-on effect for their families. They have to live with these cases hanging over them for such a long period sometimes and that is not acceptable for anyone involved in the process, including the complainants or victims in some instances,” says Roger.
“Officers recognise the need for their actions to be scrutinised but we need to see an end to investigations that go on for more than a year. They have to be efficient and comprehensive but they also need to timely. We have seen some improvements and we have a good relationship locally with the IOPC but I am aware that colleagues in other parts of the country are not having the same experience as us.”
The Federation’s national conduct and performance lead, Phill Matthews, said: “We appreciate this opportunity to share the stark findings we gathered as part of our ‘Time Limits’ campaign with the Home Affairs Select Committee.
“Protracted disciplinary investigations have ruined the careers of multiple colleagues, left a mark on their mental health and placed pressure on their home lives and loved ones. It is clear the effects are devastating.
“Public trust in the system will erode if people do not think their complaints will be dealt with quickly. This issue is already something many complainants frequently express.
“We are encouraged the IOPC is keen to work with us rather than against us. However, the issue of investigations rumbling on for more than a year still continues, and enough is enough,” he concluded.
The Federation is calling for:
• Improved IOPC investigator training, particularly in relation to post-incident procedures and disclosure
• A move towards a system where breaching the time limit has consequences on the ability to proceed.