Independent Office of Police Conduct investigations into police officers should have a time limit to reduce the ‘immense stress’ placed on officers.

The police watchdog currently takes an average 233 working days to resolve cases, time which must be reduced says Gloucestershire Police Federation.

Federation Chair Sarah Johnson said officers deserve better.

“The stress attached to an incident when officers are being investigated is absolutely immense – it matters not whether you have actually done something wrong, whether it’s deliberate, whether it’s accidental or whether the complaint is completely malicious, and you haven’t put a foot wrong,” she said.

“There is a massive impact on the individual, on those who are near to them, their friends and family, as well as their colleagues.

“Often officers are not as productive because of the worry and you see quite frequently that because of it officers are absent.

“They physically cannot come to work because of the immense amount of pressure. It makes them unwell and the length of time that it takes to resolve is far too long.”

She wants to see proper time limits and checks and measures put in place to reduce investigation times.

“I know the IOPC are working hard to reduce this time, but like other criminal offences there should be a time limit on how long somebody can be under investigation for.

“It’s almost as if there’s double standards in terms of the investigation of officers. I appreciate that there is a need to investigate if there’s a complaint made or if something goes wrong, it’s wholly right that that gets looked at properly so that the individual can either be dealt with appropriately or can be completely vindicated.

“It’s right for individuals to actually have an outcome after somebody has questioned what they’ve done. But it should take a lot less time than it currently does.”