Speed of IOPC growth is impacting on staff says report
Complaints against police officers took longer to resolve over the past year according to the latest Annual Report from the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
The 2016/17 IOPC report reveals investigations were completed on average in 239 working days, up from 226 days in 2015/16.
However, overall the figures show an average improvement of three months compared to 2014/15.
The organisation admits that the speed of its recent growth has impacted on the ‘number and skill’ of frontline investigation staff.
Formerly the Independent Police Complaints Commission, the IOPC is in its last year of expansion which has seen an increase in staff levels in a bid to increase the range and number of investigations it can carry out.
“This is the third year of the ambitious expansion programme, during which we have doubled our staff numbers,” IOPC Chair Dame Owers writes in the report.
“It’s allowed us to broaden the range of people we employ, particularly in investigations, and to take on nearly six times as many independent investigations.
“However, there are challenges in such a swift expansion and we are examining and refining our internal processes.”
Those processes include developing quality performance measures and staff training.
“We are completing investigations more quickly than two years ago, and we know that we can improve still further,” Dame Owers added.
“During next year, now that the major expansion has ceased, the IOPC will be able to consolidate and build on those changes and improvements.”
Officers are also being asked to ensure they are ‘fully accountable’ as part of investigations into deaths and incidents in police care, while mental health issues among detainees have become a common thread in investigations.
“Many of our investigations, particularly into deaths, highlight the vulnerability of those who die or are seriously injured following police contact,” Dame Owers added.
“Mental health continues to be a tragic thread running through too many of our investigations, and we have called for better healthcare support as well as improved training for the police service.”
- IOPC 2016/17 FACTS AND FIGURES
- More than 4,000 complaints about how police handled public concerns from the public and 3,880 from forces were considered by the IOPC in 2016/17.
- Investigations were completed on average in 239 working days - up from 226 days in 2015/16
- 40% of the 590 most serious and sensitive cases were upheld