New IPCC? Police Federation calling for more than a name change
The Independent Police Complaints Commission has become the Independent Office for Police Conduct - but the Police Federation is calling for more than a name change.
“This is a rebranding, this is a restructuring to make people believe that it’s all singing and all dancing,” said Metropolitan Police Federation Chairman Ken Marsh. “I don’t think there’s going to be any change whatsoever.
“I would hope that the IPCC or the IOPC start to understand that we as police officers are not against, in any way, shape or form, investigation. We’re not against transparency at all. But there needs to be fairness within what’s happening, and I don’t want to see my colleagues languishing, being suspended or moved from work requirement for years on end.
“It’s not fair and it’s not acceptable.”
The IPCC has been plagued by delays, sub-standard investigations and poor service – often leaving officers and others in limbo for months, if not years – before enquiries were completed or dropped.
Ken added: “I have had huge issues with the IPCC. One of their mantras of employment this years is that they can’t employ ex-police officers. I would have thought that is exactly the people you need to be employing so that you have some knowledge, some skill, some understanding of what police officers do because, without being disrespectful, when you’re bringing butchers in to do a greengrocer’s job it doesn’t work.
Phill Matthews, conduct and performance lead for the Police Federation of England and Wales, said the new IOPC had a chance to put things right and improve the way the whole organisation went about its business, after case upon case of bungled enquiries.
He said: “It is absolutely right and proper that where there are cases to answer, officers are investigated and any appropriate action taken. But what is not right is that people’s lives are left in limbo and their careers in tatters for months and months on end.
“We have dealt with countless cases where delays for one reason or another have happened, with cases not being finalised for months, sometimes years. The stress this puts on the officers concerned is unacceptable – particularly when after all of that cases are dropped because it is clear officers where just doing their job, or no evidence to the contrary has been presented.
“The new Director General of the IOPC has a chance to put things right and set out their stall from the off and I sincerely hope that the failings of the past are recognised and that they will listen to advice as this cannot simply be a name change – radical improvement has to be made for them to have any credibility.”
The IPCC became the Independent Office for Police Conduct on 8 January. It said it had “reviewed our ways of working, recruited more investigators and increased the number of investigations we do.”