Gloucestershire Police Federation wants to see a 12-month time limit imposed on IOPC investigations.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct has been under fire for the length of time investigations can take, while Home Secretary Priti Patel recently spoke about the ‘injustice’ of lengthy investigations and called for ‘better processes’ to protect officers and the public.
She told the Superintendents’ Association Annual Conference: “We cannot have investigations that just go on and on and on. We need streamlined processes. We need more efficiency. We need more effectiveness. We need more accountability. But ultimately, we need swift outcomes. We cannot have officers left in limbo.
“We cannot have officers having their professional careers basically suspended while investigations and enquiries take place.
It’s a stance backed by Gloucestershire Police Federation Chairman Mike Harrison who wants all complaints made against officers to be resolved within at least a year.
“I think that’s long enough,” he said. “Every case is different, and we understand that. There are very complex cases, and there are very straightforward cases. But I think if an officer has got a date to focus on, their wellbeing and their family’s wellbeing will be greatly improved just knowing that they will have a result, one way or another, within 12 months.
“Anything beyond that, I think is pushing the boundary too far.”
One high profile case involving Metropolitan Police officers took 11 years to resolve, highlighting how the IOPC has historically ‘moved at their own pace’ he said.
“I would totally agree with the Home Secretary’s stance, and it’s something as a Federation we’ve been pushing for a long time across the board with investigations.
“When you get officers under investigation for more than 12 months, it becomes unrealistic. If an officer has to investigate a member of the public they’re kept to strict guidelines, whereas the IOPC seem to be allowed to continue at their own pace and no one takes them to task over it,” he added.
“[The IOPC] needs to get better and speed up its processes, understand what the length of investigations does to officers. Understand the stresses and the strains it puts on individual officers and their families.”