Gloucestershire Police Federation are on hand to help officers through what can be ‘traumatic’ Post-Incident Procedures.
PIPs are triggered when a death or serious injury occurs following police contact and can understandably have an impact on officer welfare.
They are in place to ensure best evidence following the incident is garnered but also to ensure officers get the support they need.
Speaking at the PFEW PIP Seminar, Gloucestershire Police Federation Conduct Lead Tom Ford said: “It’s important as a Federation we’re there to support officers through an experience which they may never have been through before.
“So, on a basic level, they wouldn’t know the process. As a Federation Rep, I would talk them through the process, I’d ensure they get the correct legal advice and then explain the process to them.
“It’s going to be quite daunting for officers because they may have been through quite a traumatic experience by the very nature of there being a death or serious injury.
“We ensure they get legal advice from a solicitor. We’d also be there to provide any welfare support and depending on the nature of the event it might be that we can get counselling for them and peer-to-peer support.”
One of the hot topics at the seminar was the length of time it takes for IOPC investigations to be resolved – three year plus investigations are not uncommon while one high profile case involving Met officers took nearly 12 years to conclude.
“By the very nature of something taking longer it’s going to add extra stress, not only to the officers but also to their family as well,” Tom said.
“We’re seeing more mental health issues arising from the length of investigations and Phill Matthews, the PFEW Conduct Lead nationally, is trying to champion the time limits campaign which is looking at trying to hold the IOPC to account for 12 months’ time limits to try and mitigate the issues that are arising.
“It puts stress on the officers; there is uncertainty about keeping their jobs, losing their pensions or potentially there being criminal charges against thems in certain circumstances.”
Tom added: “So, what we need to do is try and minimise the length of time of these investigations to reduce the stress on our members and also families.
“To be honest it’s going to be a daunting process [for officers].
“However, the process is there to safeguard them against any accusation which might arise through officers colluding, things like that. It’s going to allow them to achieve or give the best evidence they can to hopefully minimise the length of time for an investigation.”