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Federation still delaying investigations, says IOPC

The IOPC has said it is "disappointing" that some investigations are delayed by "a lack of cooperation" from the Federation by up to four months.

The Home Affairs Committee meeting today (Wednesday 19 May) scrutinised the impact of recent reforms to the police conduct and complaints system since their implementation in February 2020.

On the panel quizzed by MPs was Michael Lockwood, IOPC Director General, Claire Bassett, IOPC Deputy Director General, Operations, Kathie Cashell, IOPC Director, Strategy and Impact.

Yvette Cooper put to the panel: “We've seen obviously the figures of big improvements in timeliness. We've also heard responses at different stages of the inquiry of people complaining about police forces, police officers or the police Federation, resisting or adding delays to the processes.

“Is that still an issue for you?”

Ms Bassett replied that while they have seen improvements, the Federation still cause delays, particularly around providing witness statements.

“It's really welcomed that the Fed for example, is going to be contributing to our investigator training about their role,” she said.

“However, we do still see delays caused by the time it takes to get witness statements where we have perhaps initial statements given in writing within the time required, but they're only a couple of lines long, so then we have to follow up. We do have processes for compiling that and following them up. They are quite lengthy in themselves."

She mentioned a recent example where the IOPC wrote to the Federation for the area asking them to speed that up.

“But it is disappointing when we have three, four months delays in investigations because of a lack of cooperation,” she added.

The Federation is, for the first time, to have a role in the training of new IOPC investigators.

It is hoped the ‘Meet the Fed’ sessions will lead to smoother relations between officers, their Federation reps and IOPC investigators.

The Federation said this should “in time, help to address concerns the Federation has raised around standards of investigation and the length of time taken to reach resolution”.

PFEW’s Conduct and Performance Chair, Phill Matthews, who will take part in the sessions, said: “This is an important and positive first step towards improving the relationship between IOPC investigators and Fed reps, which should in turn make the disciplinary system fairer for everyone.

“By breaking down barriers, we can open discussions with its investigators on how our reps operate to not just support officers but also assist their investigations from day one. We want to help them make the process as smooth as possible.”

The evidence given today completed the Committee's inquiry into police conduct and complaints.

At the end of an inquiry the Committee will often produce a report setting out its findings and making recommendations to the government. The government must respond to each of the report's recommendations within two months of publication.

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