This week saw the publication of the Independent Office for Police Conduct Annual Report.
Fear not, I’m not going to subject you to a precis of all 152 pages, just some of them.
I made it all the way to Page 6 before I took exception to anything substantial.
Our mission, vision and values
Our mission is to improve policing by independent oversight of police complaints, holding police to account and ensuring learning effects change.
Our vision is that everyone is able to have trust and confidence in the police.
I’m not sure that is truly independent to prosecute officers when there is a lower than normal likelihood of a conviction. It smacks very much of “giving it a run”, a practice (allegedly) that died out with the arrival of PACE. I’m not sure that it’s truly independent, when the Independent Office for Police Conduct fails to comply with the obligatory principles around Disclosure. They have been criticised at Court more than once for that.
Our values, developed in consultation with our staff and external stakeholders, are:
• seeking truth
• being inclusive
• empowering people
• being tenacious
• making a difference
I don’t really have an issue with those values, but they could have included
- Being scrupulously fair to all parties
- Being truly independent
- Conducting our investigations in a timely fashion, without any undue delay.
Objective: the complaints system delivers evidence-based, fair outcomes which hold police to account.
Complete 85% of investigations within 12 months (excluding major investigations)
They achieved 89%
Complete 33% of investigations within 6 months (excluding major investigations)
They achieved 38%.
Using the ‘Search’ function in the document, I can find NO REFERENCE whatsoever to the multiple investigations that have taken 5, 6, 7 years, or more, to complete. I can think of no justification at all for taking that sort of time to complete any investigation when the identities of all parties are known to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
If a Police Officer/Squad/Team had taken so long the IOPC would take an exceedingly dim view of it, quite reasonably. It is unforgiveable that, as has occurred occasionally, an IOPC investigation drags on for years and ultimately the officer is not guilty of any disciplinary matters or found Not Guilty at Court.
They really don’t like it when an officer is acquitted at Court, they scurry around, scoop up thr whole bowl of cherries, and proceed to discipline.
Finally, I was particularly unimpressed by the insertion of the word ‘independent’ before just about every occasion that an investigation was referenced.
At that point you will glad to know that I gave up. You can check the next 140 pages yourself if you want to.