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  1. Three Metropolitan Police officers face a misconduct hearing over breaching standards of "equality and diversity" after Team GB sprinter was stopped and searched 12 months ago. Team GB sprinter Bianca Williams Date - 2nd July 2021 By - Chloe Livadeas A number of Met officers are still under investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) one year since the social media storm stop search of GB athlete Bianca Williams. Ms Williams accused the force of “racially profiling” her, and her partner, Ricardo dos Santos, when they were handcuffed and separated from their baby last July. The three officers were already subject to a misconduct investigation for various potential breaches of police standards of professional behaviour relating to the use of force; duties and responsibilities; and authority, respect and courtesy. At the time of the furore the Met's PSD reviewed the incident twice and decided no action should be taken against the officers involved The Independent Office for Police Conduct said: “After reviewing a range of new evidence, they were informed they are now subject to an investigation for potential breaches of the police standards of professional behaviour relating to equality and diversity, which requires officers to act with fairness and impartiality and not to discriminate unlawfully or unfairly. “Two of those officers are also now being investigated for potential breaches of the standards relating to honesty and integrity, requiring them to be honest and act with integrity at all times. “Collectively, these alleged breaches amount to potential gross misconduct.” Three other police officers are also still being investigated over the incident a year ago. One is being investigated for potential breaches of the standards relating to “equality and diversity, and duties and responsibilities”. A further two officers also face an inquiry over behaviour relating to use of “force; duties and responsibilities; and authority, respect and courtesy”. The force said in a statement: "We are aware three MPS officers are subject to a gross misconduct investigation by the IOPC in relation to this matter. Another three officers are being investigated for misconduct for potential breaches of standards of professional standards. The MPS continues to fully co-operate with the IOPC investigation." No officer is suspended or subject to restricted duties, they added. Earlier this year, the Met made ten recommendations following a review into the use of handcuffs where an arrest has not been made. They have now amended the stop and search e-form to include any use and justification for handcuffs pre-arrest. Ms Williams said: “The handcuffs were painful and it was incredibly humiliating to be separated from my baby, in handcuffs outside my home with neighbours walking past. “While I welcome better training in the Met on the use of handcuffs, the trauma of the incident did not start or end with the handcuffing. It was racial stereotyping and prejudice. “I would like to see some effective bias training in the police as well as better training on the use of force and not just in relation to handcuffs.” View On Police Oracle
  2. Giving evidence to the Home Affairs Committee Phil Matthews, Federation Conduct and Performance lead, said they've seen a "staggering lack of knowledge" among IOPC investigators. Body worn video evidence is usually available for IOPC investigations Body worn video evidence is usually available for IOPC investigations Date - 27th January 2021 By - Chloe Livadeas "Really simple investigations" take far too long for the IOPC to investigate the government's inquiry into the role and remit of the independent police complaints body was told today. Federation conduct and performance lead Phil Matthews told the Home Affairs Select Committee that when the staff association asks the IOPC why investigations are so lengthy they do not get a response and this was even the case with “really simple investigations”. He said: “All the people involved are known, the data is there, all the police witnesses are known, available, have usually written statements, there’s usually CCTV or body-worn-video footage available. “There is absolutely no reason why they drag on and on as long as they do.” Mr Matthews said the IOPC was the size of a small shire force with a £72m budget and 1,000 staff. “That’s bigger than some county forces,” he told the committee, “There’s no problem with their resources, just how they use it.” Police Superintendents' Association Professional Standards Co-ordinator Victor Marshall agreed, and said: “Many of these cases are not complex. Justice delayed is justice denied.” Mr Matthews said: “We have some real issues to do with culture, knowledge, training and abilities. We don’t think they have the right depth and breadth of knowledge, or the right training and they’re absolutely unaccountable,” Mr Matthews said. “Some of them have the same powers as PCs but are shrouded in secrecy,” he added. Former police investigators work for the IOPC but there is a cap on how many ex-force personnel can work for the independent body set at around 23% of the total staff. Mr Mathews told MPs there was a need for urgent reform of the IOPC: “We want to see some teeth added to the legislation. There is absolutely no incentive for the IOPC or appropriate authority to deal with things promptly and properly because they don’t need to. If there was an incentive like there is for officers investigating a case to get it in front of a hearing within a set period then you’ll invest the time and money to do that.” He said the Federation would be happy with legally qualified chairs having more of a “case management role”. Mr Mathews also pointed out how the “vast majority” of dismissals came from within forces, and how cases dealt with by Professional Standards Departments resulted in sanctions at a much higher rate than those dealt with by the IOPC. In 2018/19 there were 31,097 public complaints covering 58,478 allegations, 40 per cent of which required investigation. This compares with approximately 4,000 internally raised conduct allegations. Of the 31,097 public complaints 492 (1.6 per cent) required some form of remedial action, 217 (0.7 per cent) required proceedings of which 92 (0.3 per cent) were assessed as gross misconduct. Only 33 (0.1 per cent) officers were dismissed. This compares with internally raised misconduct allegations of which 1,482 cases required some form of action - 821 (55 per cent) resulted in disciplinary proceedings of which 354 (23.8 per cent) were assessed as gross misconduct and 192 officers were dismissed (13 per cent). Responding to the Federation's concerns an IOPC spokesperson told Police Oracle: “The IOPC has made significant achievements in improving the timeliness of investigations and many of the delays which can occur are outside of our control. It is disappointing and misleading that the Police Federation has chosen not to reflect this in the information they have provided. “Since becoming the IOPC, we’ve completed more than 1,350 investigations and 90 per cent are now completed within 12 months.” They pointed out they do not determine dates for misconduct hearings which are arranged by police forces, or criminal proceedings which are set by the courts and Crown Prosecution Service. “The Federation are often party to these proceedings and will be aware that the IOPC does not determine these dates." They added: “Everyone in the police complaints system has a responsibility to work together to improve timeliness – including police forces, the Federation, the CPS and other parties.” The committee also heard evidence from the Police Action Lawyers Group, INQUEST, who spoke of the detrimental impact lengthy investigations have on complainants and their families. View On Police Oracle
  3. The IOPC has published its latest edition of 'Learning the Lessons' magazine, which focuses on roads policing. Date - 17th December 2020 By - Chloe Livadeas The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has today published the 38th edition of the publication 'Learning the Lessons'. Director General Michael Lockwood describes roads policing as a “key area of focus for our work”. Previous issues have covered police interactions with young people, missing persons and custody. The ten case studies of IOPC investigations cover high-speed pursuits, driving authorisation and the use of life hammers. One case study examines issues around joint working and authorisation of pursuits that cross force borders. Another gives clarity on best practise in relation to activating audio recording during a pursuit. The publication also features words from Anthony Bangham, the Chief Constable of West Mercia Police and the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) Lead for Roads Policing. He said: “Thousands of pursuits are concluded safely every year. This demonstrates the high level of training officers receive and the skill they apply in dealing with one of the most challenging operational activities we undertake." But he said the risks should be reduced and ultimately eradicated. In 2019/20, there were 24 fatal police-related road traffic incidents “When a pursuit does end in a collision that results in death or injury, it attracts widespread media coverage and of course proper scrutiny from independent investigations,” said CC Bangham. The issue references a study of the Metropolitan Police’s pursuits between 2016 – 2018. Published in September by a University College London professor of transport safety, it states that pursuits are one of the most risky activities the police undertake and research suggests it is not always a proportionate response. 3.7 per cent pursuits analysed resulted in an injury and only one per cent of pursuits involved an injury to a member of the public not involved in the pursuit. It said that “poor risk assessment, red mist and bravado were viewed as decreasing safety”. One of the case studies in the magazine involved an officer who twice rammed a suspect with a police car who had tried to escape on foot, giving him a fractured shoulder. The officer was charged with dangerous driving and later acquitted. He retired from the force ahead of a misconduct hearing which would have seen him dismissed. The officer gave “no comment” when he was asked by investigators if he was experiencing “red mist” during the incident. Interview data from the UCL study suggested pursuit safety could be improved by drivers giving clearer justification of why they decided to pursue, more training of operators to perform risk commentaries, more use of pre-emptive strategies, and continuing checks and balances provided by control room staff. Fear of personal repercussions (concerns of facing criminal investigation in the event of a crash, and public scrutiny) apparently made all staff involved in the management of pursuits risk averse. The study recommended refresher driver training in-line with other operations which can involve lethal force such as firearms, improving risk commentary training for operators and more widely available technologies that track or immobilise a vehicle and curtail a pursuit, such as drones. The next Learning the Lessons issue will focus on child sexual abuse and is due for publication in March 2021, the IOPC said. View On Police Oracle
  4. Allegations of misconduct against former Assistant Chief Constable, Steven Heywood, which began with an Independent Police Conduct Investigation (IOPC) in October 2017, were thrown out on the second day of the hearing. Steven Heywood Date - 2nd June 2020 By - Chloe Livadeas Greater Manchester Police, who offered no evidence against Mr Heywood, were accused by the panel’s chair of having “fundamental disregard” for everyone involved in the proceedings. It was alleged that Mr Heywood, while a serving officer, misled the Anthony Grainger Public Inquiry in 2017. Anthony Grainger was fatally shot by a GMP officer in March 2012. He was sat in a parked vehicle in Cheshire and was unarmed. In the weeks leading up to his death Mr Grainger had been the subject of a surveillance operation, approved by Mr Heywood. Mr Heywood’s log, which contained inaccurate information about Mr Grainger's previous convictions, was alleged to have been made to "retrospectively justify" his decision to authorise a firearms operation carried out in the days leading up to Mr Grainger's death. Mr Heywood admitted he did not initially tell the inquiry entries in his firearms log were made retrospectively. Gerry Boyle QC, representing GMP, said it would be "unfair" to continue as the hearing would not have access to redacted material, including evidence given during closed session at the public inquiry. Mr Boyle had initially asked for an adjournment in the case to see whether redactions could be lifted, something which the National Crime Agency had already refused to do. John Beggs QC, representing Mr Heywood, said it would not be possible for the redacted evidence to be heard and accused the force of an "omnishambles" for delays in the case. Mr Boyle said: "The appropriate authority has concluded that it cannot, in good conscience, seek to pursue these proceedings." Chair of the panel, Nahied Asjad, criticised the delay in the proceedings. She said: "We are deeply dissatisfied with what has been happening. "Mr Grainger's family, Mr Heywood and the public have been let down by the appropriate authority in this case and we note there was no contrition or apology to anyone in what was said on their behalf this morning." Mr Grainger's fiancé at the time of his death, Gail Hadfield Grainger, requested to make a submission to the hearing but was not allowed as she was not listed as an interested person. Speaking after the hearing, IOPC director of major investigations, Steve Noonan, said: "We are disappointed that, two years after our investigation concluded, GMP has decided to offer no evidence in this matter. "Anthony Grainger's family, and the wider public, deserved to hear the evidence and Mr Heywood account for his actions." View On Police Oracle
  5. PC acquitted at magistrates court over use of force against man in custody but misconduct proven at force hearing. Date - 1st May 2020 By - Chris Smith The Independent Office for Police Conduct revealed that the officer had been given the warning after misconduct was proven. Police Constable William Russell had already been acquitted following a trial at Brighton Magistrates’ Court in December last year. The IOPC investigation and court case followed an incident in February 2019. A man was arrested after assaulting a member of the public and three police officers as well as causing criminal damage. The man was waiting for treatment at a hospital in Margate after swallowing an unknown substance while in custody. PC Russell moved towards him, applied a spit hood, slapped his face three times and made a derogatory comment. During the IOPC investigation, which concluded in July 2019, there was a review of other officers’ body-worn video, witness statements and the relevant national and local police policies and guidelines were studied. The IOPC provided its report to the Crown Prosecution Service which found there was a case to answer for a criminal prosecution which ended with the officer being acquitted. After the case, Kent Police held PC Russell’s hearing for gross misconduct on 27 April by video-link. But ahead of the hearing, he had accepted his conduct fell below the standards of professional behaviour and it amounted to misconduct in relation to two of the slaps and the derogatory comment. Two other allegations of unjustified or excessive use of force for applying the spit hood and for the third slap were not proven. IOPC Regional Director for London and the South East, Sarah Green, said: “While there are occasions when the use of force is required, police officers are entrusted with the power to do so only if it is reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances. “We examined the other officers’ behaviour during this incident and felt they used reasonable force when dealing with a violent and aggressive detainee. While PC Russell was acquitted at the criminal trial, Kent Police agreed the officer should face a gross misconduct hearing, and their panel has come to its decision.” She added: “The community entrusts police to use the powers they have responsibly and appropriately. Most officers do so, but when this doesn’t occur, it’s important there is independent oversight and accountability, and any lessons to be learnt are identified.” View On Police Oracle
  6. New material from public inquiry forms basis of three new investigations including retired ACC, a superintendent and chief inspector. Date - 12th March 2020 By - Gary Mason The IOPC has announced the start of three new investigations of GMP officers involved in the operation which led to the death of Anthony Grainger who was shot dead by a firearms officer in March 2012. The new investigations involving retired and serving officers, including retired ACC Terry Sweeney, follows the conclusion of a public inquiry into the police operation which ended in July last year. That inquiry made specific recommendations into police use of unauthorised CS canister rounds. The former IPCC and IOPC has already completed investigations in relation to the operation in 2013 and 2018. GMP made referrals to the IOPC following the end of the public inquiry in relation to conduct matters arising from Mr Justice Teague QC’s report. The IOPC says “a substantial amount of material” from GMP has been under review, alongside the inquiry report, since October 2019. The new investigations did not form part of the original investigations, as the material was presented as live evidence during the public inquiry. The new investigations relate to the conduct of six officers, as follows: Investigation 1: Former Assistant Chief Constable Terry Sweeney, former Superintendent Mark Granby and a former Chief Inspector are under investigation regarding their command and control of the policing operation, on 2 and 3 March 2012. This will include the evidence they provided to the IOPC and to the public inquiry. All three former officers are retired. They have been informed that they are under investigation for gross misconduct. Investigation 2: This will look at GMP’s acquisition of a CS dispersal canister which was not approved by the Home Office and was used during the policing operation in which Mr Grainger died. It will look specifically at the actions of a former Chief Inspector and a former Inspector (both retired). They have been informed that they are under investigation for gross misconduct. Investigation 3: This will look at the conduct of a serving GMP officer regarding their management of two firearms officers’ training records. Both officers (known as X7 and Z15 during the public inquiry) were present during the police operation in which Mr Grainger was shot. The officer has been informed they are under investigation regarding allegations of misconduct. IOPC Regional Director Amanda Rowe: “The public inquiry raised further questions about the conduct of some GMP officers before, during, and after the death of Mr Grainger. “Having these serious matters brought to our attention meant we had to fully consider both Mr Justice Teague QC’s report, and these referrals, before deciding what further actions we may need to take. “The inquiry heard live evidence, some of it new, and therefore not available to us for our original investigations. It is therefore important that these matters should be scrutinised by way of independent and impartial investigations. “GMP has cooperated fully with this process. We will consider publication of the reports relating to the death of Mr Grainger when all our work is completed.” An IOPC investigation which began in October 2017 looked at the evidence given by former GMP Assistant Chief Constable Steven Heywood, at the public inquiry, while he was still a serving officer. That investigation found there was an indication that he may have committed a criminal offence. The report, along with supporting evidence, was shared with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in May 2018 who decided not to charge Mr Heywood with any offence. The investigation also found that Mr Heywood has a case to answer for gross misconduct. GMP agreed with this in November 2018, but they have not set a date for a gross misconduct hearing. A second investigation linked to the inquiry looked at the conduct of Detective Chief Inspector Robert Cousen, who gave evidence because of his role as the senior investigating officer. This investigation was completed in May 2018 and it was agreed that DCI Cousen’s actions did not amount to misconduct, and this was a performance matter that should be dealt with by management action. The 2013 investigation was completed by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which is now the IOPC. The 2018 investigation was started by the IPCC, and completed by the IOPC. View On Police Oracle
  7. Officer who helped stop prison break out attempt had IOPC disciplinary bid quashed by High Court ruling. Date - 12th February 2020 By - Police Oracle A public inquiry has been launched into a police shooting incident involving an escaping prisoner attempt despite a High Court ruling quashing an IOPC bid to have the firearms officer face disciplinary proceedings for excessive use of force. Home Secretary Priti Patel announced the decision to launch an inquiry into the death of Jermaine Baker, who was shot by a firearms officer as the Metropolitan Police halted a break-out attempt involving Izzet Eren near Wood Green Crown Court on December 11, 2015. She said the inquiry would be launched under the Inquiries Act 2005 to investigate the circumstances of the death and will be led by retired judge Clement Goldstone QC. The Crown Prosecution Service did not bring charges against the officer, known as W80, saying there was insufficient evidence. Last year the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) announced it had directed the force to launch disciplinary proceedings into the officer over alleged use of excessive force. But the IOPC’s decision was quashed by a High Court ruling in August which found it had applied the wrong legal tests to order the gross misconduct hearing so this did not go ahead. In her statement the Home Secretary said: "Establishing an inquiry is important to ensure that all of the relevant evidence can be properly considered as part of an effective investigation into Mr Baker's death. "It has been necessary to establish an inquiry so as to permit all relevant evidence to be heard." Baker was among a group of men trying to free Izzet Eren as he was transported from Wormwood Scrubs prison to be sentenced for a firearms offence. W80 claimed to be acting in self-defence, fearing Mr Baker was reaching for a gun. No firearm was found but police did recover an imitation Uzi machine gun in the rear of the car. The inquiry will have the same scope as the current inquest, which will be suspended after the establishment of the inquiry, the statement added. View On Police Oracle
  8. Force fined £234,500 in landmark conviction against office of the chief constable. Emergency Response Belt: Judge Julian Lambert ruled he could not be sure that the ERB, designed to restrain limbs, was a contributory factor in Thomas Orchard's death Date - 3rd May 2019 By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle 1 Comment Recruitment will be put “on hold” after a force was fined £234,500 for health and safety breaches in relation to an emergency response belt used around the face of a man before he collapsed in detention. The six-figure sum handed out at Bristol Crown Court meant around seven new officers would not be able to join the Devon and Cornwall force as a result of the financial penalty, it announced. Thomas Orchard, 32, died in hospital seven days after being arrested and taken to Heavitree Road police station in Exeter, Devon, in October 2012. While in custody, Mr Orchard, who had paranoid schizophrenia, was restrained and an ERB was placed across his face to prevent spitting or biting for five minutes and two seconds. The restraints were removed and the church caretaker was left in a locked cell, where he lay apparently motionless for 12 minutes before custody staff re-entered and started CPR. A post-mortem examination found he died from a severe hypoxic-ischemic brain injury. In a landmark conviction in 2018, the office of the chief constable of Devon and Cornwall Police admitted breaches under the Health and Safety at Work Act. The charge stated that the force failed to ensure non-employees, including Mr Orchard, were not exposed to risks in connection with the ERB. Last month, Judge Julian Lambert ruled he could not be sure that the ERB, designed to restrain limbs, was a contributory factor in Mr Orchard's death. On Friday, he fined the force £234,500 at a sentencing hearing, and said the force's approval of the belt for use about the face followed a "fundamentally flawed process". The force was also ordered to pay £20,515 in costs. Outside court, Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer said: "Today's sentence is clear in its judgment that the actions of Devon and Cornwall Police did not lead to the death of Thomas Orchard. And he said the fine was well short of the £6 million the prosecution had been seeking. Earlier, Jason Beer QC, representing the force, said any fine would have to be funded by a halt in recruitment. Every £100,000 fine would result in a reduction of three recruits for Devon and Cornwall Police, he said. "It took the occurrence of Mr Orchard's tragic death to reveal errors in the procurement, risk assessment and training procedures in the force," Mr Beer told the court. "The use of the device did not, on the evidence, cause actual harm to any person." Following the sentencing, the Independent Office for Police Conduct is expected to initiate misconduct proceedings against officers. Judge Lambert said use of the belt over the face "crept in" despite the force only approving it for use as a limb restraint in 2002. By 2003, force policy was changed to advocate the use of the ERB over the face. "This occurred without any risk assessment or any research being carried out on the effects of use of the emergency response belt as a hood," the judge said. "The prosecution properly characterises this as a fundamentally flawed process. This was accompanied with a lack of uniformity in training." In mitigation, the force said the belt had been used around 500 times about the head before Mr Orchard's death without reports of injury. The judge said: "I appreciate that there is a significant body of evidence that no one was, in fact, killed or very seriously injured because of the use of the belt as a spit or bite guard. "It is, however, my assessment that it was only a matter of time before someone was going to be. "The ERB didn't automatically restrict breathing when used as a hood but it had the capacity to do so in certain situations. "If breathing were restricted in an excited and possibly delirious detainee, perhaps not in good health, I considered it stood to reason that the predicate very serious consequences might ensure." The judge said that concerns were raised about the ERB used about the face in a report by Dr Graham Cook in 2001 – 11 years before Mr Orchard's death. "This report was available to the defendant in 2002 but its concerns were not properly appreciated," Judge Lambert said. "There was an alarming inadvertence to risk." During the hearing, Mark Heywood QC for the prosecution read an extract of a victim personal statement by Mr Orchard's mother Alison. She described the impact of the church caretaker's death on his family. "It has been painful to witness how an organisation which had a duty of care for Thomas was so casual, disorganised and sloppy in their approach to health and safety," she said. "Perhaps the hardest thing to hear was how Thomas's detention could have and should have been managed." She said the family's faith in Devon and Cornwall Police had been "tarnished" and they had been left "fearful" of how they would be treated by officers. Speaking outside court, Mr Orchard's father Ken Orchard said the family were leaving court with "no sense of real justice". "Investigations over the past six-and-a-half years have highlighted some criminally appalling health and safety practices which desperately needed changing," he said. "We hope more than anything that the residents of Devon and Cornwall will be at least a little safer today as a result of Thomas's death." Helen Stone, of Hickman and Rose, the Orchard family's solicitor, said: "Although Judge Lambert previously ruled that he cannot be sure that the emergency response belt caused Thomas's death, his comments in court today make it clear that he considers it was only a matter of time before someone was going to be killed or very seriously injured because of the use of the belt as a spit or bite guard. "But this case is also significant because it has exposed the worryingly haphazard way the UK's police forces obtain and use the specialist equipment they deploy on Britain's streets." IOPC regional director Sarah Green said: "Devon and Cornwall Police's guilty plea last year on health and safety charges represented a landmark conviction as the first ever from a police force in relation to a death in custody. "While there was a failure with the force's corporate decision making, we maintain that there is also a need for the actions of some individual officers involved in the detention and restraint of Mr Orchard prior to his death to be considered by a misconduct hearing panel." The IOPC said arrangements were being made for misconduct hearings to be held by Devon and Cornwall Police. CC Sawyer said the force responded quickly to matters arising as a result of Mr Orchard's death. "The court noted that there had been no recommendations from the IOPC or HSE, yet nevertheless the force acted proactively in response to this tragedy," he said. "Devon and Cornwall Police is a very different organisation six-and-a-half years on from Thomas Orchard's death in terms of the training delivered to staff, awareness of mental health crisis and our ability to identify and manage violent, vulnerable people coming into police contact," he added. View On Police Oracle
  9. But deputy chief argues 'both officers were responding to challenging situation involving rail staff safety fears'. British Transport Police: Investigation conducted by the IOPC Date - 25th April 2019 By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle 3 Comments Officers confronting “difficult judgments” over how much force to use when responding to people fearing for their safety is a continuing challenge to policing, a deputy chief believes. The argument comes in the wake of a split decision by a court that convicted one police constable of assaulting a man with a Taser while clearing a second involved in the same incident. British Transport Police PC Andrew Spiby had denied common assault after an incident at Derby railway station in May last year but was found guilty at Birmingham Magistrates' Court and will be sentenced on June 10. However, co-defendant PC John Severns was acquitted of a similar offence after a two-day trial. The court heard officers were called to reports of a disturbance involving a group of people on one of the station platforms. Two men were arrested at the scene and Derby-based PC Spiby deployed a Taser on one of the men, who also had incapacitant spray used on him twice by PC Severns. The Independent Office for Police Conduct said the case had been referred to them after the man involved complained about the level of force used on him, and the effect of the incident on other members of his family who were present at the scene. A report from their investigation found PC Spiby and PC Severns, from Nottingham station, had a case to answer for gross misconduct. IOPC regional director Derrick Campbell said: "This was a serious incident which was witnessed by onlookers, including several young people. "Police are entitled to use force but only if it is necessary, reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances. "The public have to have confidence that officers will conduct themselves appropriately and in this case the court took the view that Pc Spiby did not do so." But BTP Deputy Chief Constable Adrian Hanstock argued: "The use of force by police officers, including deploying a Taser device, can often be a difficult judgment and it is understandable that in some cases independent scrutiny is necessary. "However, it is important to remember that in this particular case, both officers were responding to a challenging situation where members of rail staff feared for their safety, and called officers to assist. “That said, clearly on this occasion the court felt that excessive force was used and found PC Spiby guilty of common assault. PC Spiby now faces an agonising wait on the court sentencing hearing and possible misconduct hearing. DCC Hanstock added: “We will now review the findings of the court, and any potential misconduct action will be proportionate to the full circumstances the officers encountered." View On Police Oracle
  10. IOPC investigated actions of chief inspector. A British Transport Police professional standards detective has been dismissed after misusing a rail pass to travel in first class when he was not entitled to do so. Detective Chief Inspector Iain Miller was dismissed without notice after a four day misconduct hearing held by BTP following an Independent Office for Police Conduct investigation. Det Chief Insp Miller, who was based in London, was found by the panel to have breached the terms and conditions under which the rail pass was issued, that he sat in a first class seat without purchasing an appropriate ticket and that when confronted about the misuse, failed to properly account for his actions. The tribunal added that his actions were aggravated by his senior position within BTP professional standards department at the time of the offence. The BTP referred the incident to the IOPC owing to the nature of the detective’s role. IOPC Regional Director Jonathan Green said: “DCI Miller was an experienced officer who was responsible for upholding standards of behaviour within BTP. “It is therefore very disappointing that he chose to misuse the rail pass and then failed to demonstrate the appropriate insight and remorse expected of a senior officer when asked to account for his actions. “I am pleased BTP agreed with the conclusions of our investigation and the panel has issued a clear message that such behaviour is not acceptable.” View On Police Oracle
  11. Chief inspector also accused of intimate liaison with domestic abuse victim. Sussex Police: Under scrutiny in recent years Date - 12th February 2019 By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle 2 Comments Officers and new recruits are being given specific training and guidance as a sex scandal-hit force faces renewed scrutiny over allegations of an on-duty intimate liaison between a chief inspector and a sergeant. Sussex Police is urging its workforce to adopt “appropriate professional boundaries” in the wake of a police watchdog confirming misconduct proceedings against Chief Inspector Rob Leet and Sergeant Sarah Porter will go ahead. The pair are said to have met for a romantic encounter on at least one occasion in 2017 while they were working. The chief inspector has also been accused of having sex with a victim of crime years earlier. The Independent Office for Police Conduct has just announced the findings of a two-year investigation. CI Leet was suspended from duty while the investigation continued. The married father-of-four previously said the claims regarding his liaison with Sgt Porter were unfounded. They are accused of travelling to meet each other while on duty when there was no work-related reason to do so and "repeatedly" using police systems to exchange personal messages, a police watchdog spokesman said. After the IOPC launched the investigation in March 2017 – and following publicity of the case – it is understood a victim of domestic violence came forward with the further allegations. This means CI Leet now also stands accused of being intimate with the victim in 2014 and 2016. Sgt Porter was unable to be contacted when a fatal crash happened while she was on duty and approached a witness in the IOPC investigation "inappropriately", it is also alleged. The IOPC said: "We concluded that if proven, the behaviour would be a breach of standards of authority, respect and courtesy and duties and responsibilities and could amount to gross misconduct. "Sussex Police agreed and a hearing will be scheduled in due course." The force has been embroiled in a large number of ignominious sex claims in recent years, including two that resulted in criminal convictions In October former Brighton-based PC Alexander Walsh was handed a community order for stalking and common assault after unleashing a barrage of sexual propositions on a colleague when she was held in a patrol car with him for more than an hour after dark. The former Met Police officer, who then joined the Sussex force, was spotted by fellow officers groping the woman on a work night out before badgering her with suggestive texts and taking pictures of her without her consent. That same month prosecutors dropped a case against Brighton-based Inspector Tony Lumb, who faced allegations he had sex with women he met while on duty. The former elected member of the local Police Federation branch's board was arrested on suspicion of misconduct in public office, interviewed under caution, released on bail and suspended from the force pending an IOPC investigation. The police watchdog said it found evidence to suggest a criminal offence may have been committed. The CPS has been asked to review its charging decision after one of the complainants, 52-year-old online abuse campaigner Nicola Brookes, called the news "shocking". Insp Lumb could still face disciplinary proceedings. In April a second officer was caught selling himself for sex while on sick leave. Detective Constable Richard Holder was sacked without notice for gross misconduct at a disciplinary hearing but had already resigned. This came after Hastings-based PC Daniel Moss was investigated and suspended from duty in December 2016 after he was caught advertising himself online as a male prostitute and offered to perform sex acts for cash. He had been on sick leave since that September for stress. He also failed to attend misconduct proceedings and was dismissed with immediate effect. In March sexual offences liaison officer and PC Martin Harris was jailed for two years for misconduct in public office, downloading and making indecent images of children. He said he found a rape victim in his care "attractive" and had hacked into her Facebook account to download pictures of her as a child. PC Mark Scruby was sacked from the force in 2017 after telling his sergeant she resembled a porn star. In 2015 Insp Lee Lyons was fired after admitting he contacted prostitutes while on duty. Officers and new recruits are now being given "specific training and guidance" so they are aware of "appropriate professional boundaries", the force said. A statement said: "Sussex Police takes any report of inappropriate behaviour extremely seriously. "We have adopted the National Police Chiefs' Council's national strategy to address the issues of police officers and staff who abuse their position for a sexual purpose or to pursue an improper emotional relationship. "The key principles are prevention, intelligence, enforcement and engagement. "We are ensuring that all staff are aware of appropriate professional boundaries and the serious consequences of any abuses of position. "Officers and staff across the organisation, including new recruits, have or are receiving specific training and guidance, enabling them to know the boundaries and stick to them, reporting any colleagues who fall short. "There is a positive duty under the College of Policing's code of ethics to challenge and to report. "Any reports will be fully investigated. "Those who are found to have committed misconduct could face dismissal and prosecution." View On Police Oracle
  12. Watchdog says there is a case to answer for the officer. File photo of South Wales Police Officers A police hate crime officer cleared by a court of repeatedly punching a 14-year-old boy in the face is still threatened with a gross misconduct hearing. PC Paul Evans was acquitted of assault by beating at Cardiff magistrates’ court after being told by a judge that while he may have acted as alleged, the evidence was insufficient to convict him. He denied the charge. The case against the 50-year-old South Wales Police officer went to trial after being referred to the Crown Prosecution Service by the Independent Office for Police Conduct. The IOPC investigation – which ended in June – considered the use of force by PC Evans during an incident at a Bridgend property at the beginning of the year. After the verdict, Wales IOPC director Catrin Evans said: “We have found that PC Evans has a case to answer for gross misconduct. “Disciplinary proceedings are currently under consideration between the force and the IOPC.” The force confirmed to Police Oracle that PC Evans has not been on restricted duties since being charged. View On Police Oracle
  13. Force threatened police watchdog with judicial review over directed misconduct hearing. Chief Constable Nick Ephgrave Date - 12th October 2018 By - Ian Weinfass at the Police Federation Detective Forum Conference, Manchester 3 Comments A senior officer threatened the police watchdog with judicial review over an attempt it made to put two officers through gross misconduct proceedings. Surrey Chief Constable Nick Ephgrave revealed this week that he warned the former IPCC that they would face a robust legal challenge if they continued in an attempt to take action against a detective inspector and detective sergeant. After a suspect in a domestic abuse case in east Surrey was bailed, he seriously assaulted his victim. CC Ephgrave said: “It was very serious, nearly a murder. Because of that, it’s a DSI [death or serious injury incident] so we have to inform the IPCC. They come in and do an investigation and they come to me and say you need to put these two blokes on a gross misconduct board because of their decision-making, so I […] went through all their rationale and thought, you know what, I’d have done exactly the same thing. “I wrote back to the IPCC and they said I don’t agree, I’m not doing it. Then the IPCC took a position where they said we’re directing gross misconduct.” The watchdog, now called the Independent Office for Police Conduct, has the power to tell forces to hold misconduct hearings. This has proved controversial at times, including a recent case where a Metropolitan Police detective sergeant faced a hearing over allegations he stole money during a search. There was no evidence in the case apart from the word of the alleged victim, who a panel chairman called “contradictory, evasive and inconsistent”. The Met and IOPC have also had a war of words over the watchdog’s direction to hold a misconduct hearing against "W80", the officer who shot Jermaine Baker during an operation near Wood Green Crown Court. CC Ephgrave said: “I had a little chat to my deputy and we decided we’d write back and say well we’re not going to accept the direction and if you’re going to really push it, we’ll take it to judicial review.” The chief constable, who was speaking at the Police Federation National Detective Forum Seminar in Manchester, said the watchdog then backed down. He said: “Our business - your business - is about making difficult decisions, sometimes life or death decisions, with an imperfect set of information in a changing environment so sooner or later something is going to go wrong isn’t it? It doesn’t mean to say you’ve done anything wrong. “I want to push this message with my people that as long as you record your rationale and as long as it’s not bonkers, and it never is in my view, if the worst were to happen, sometimes that’s policing, sometimes that happens. “We work really hard and do our best, sometimes that’s the business we’re in.” He said that getting the watchdog to see that’s how policing works is sometimes difficult, but he hopes that now the organisation has changed to become the Independent Office for Police Conduct, things may be different. Surrey Police Federation secretary Paul Campbell told Police Oracle after the speech: “If you make the wrong decision, but for the right reason, he will stand by you - as long as you’re honest. View On Police Oracle
  14. Michael Lockwood wants to move away from a 'treadmill' approach. Michael Lockwood IOPC director general Date - 13th September 2018 By - JJ Hutber- Police Oracle 6 Comments The leader of the police watchdog has admitted performance and misconduct issues are conflated “all too often”. Michael Lockwood, Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) Director General said the organisation is re-considering both its case to answer test and its definition of misconduct at the Police Superintendents’ Association (PSA) conference this week. Speaking during a workshop on the IOPC’s plans for the future he said: “We have, as you know, a case to answer test and the level of test is could the panel find it [the allegation] proven. “The problem is the threshold is very low. We end up dealing with things and investigators do not end up with a result. “The threshold is not helpful. “We’re looking for some new words that improve that threshold. “It’s not in anybody’s interest - hopes [of the alleged victim] are increased and then it doesn’t happen. “My other issue is the definition of misconduct is not tight enough. “I’m keen that misconduct is dealt with by misconduct. “If it’s a performance issue it should be dealt with by performance. They’re coming together too much so I’m looking at a clearer definition,” he said. “They’re smashed together in a big lump. We are pushing so hopefully the rules will change early next year.” Mr Lockwood says he wants to move the IOPC away from a “treadmill” numbers approach to investigations and towards a common sense outlook, taking the context of policing into consideration. The director general, who was formerly chief executive of Harrow Council, said he had suffered “demoralising” inspectors who treated investigations as a “tick box” exercise, always criticising with the benefit of hindsight. “I’ve got to look at the wider system - the link between local authorities, health and yourselves. “We can improve training, we can improve awareness but there’s a fundamental system issue and with austerity you’re left carrying the can. The last resort on the ground. “You’re left holding the baby. We’ve got to make that clear. “I’m hoping [for] a more grown up approach. It’s very easy to put something in a box and tick it.” Instead, Mr Lockwood wants to focus on learning. He says he is aiming to build a trusting relationship with police and encourage forces to highlight “near misses” so he can develop avian industry-style prevention work. “I do not find it satisfying every year dealing with the same problem, so I want to work with you stopping that problem. “We’ve got a lot of work to do internally identifying that learning from investigations,” he admitted. “Every year statistics say deaths in custody, deaths following police contact, a significant portion are with mental health. “I’m really keen to work together on this issue - is it about risk handling, is it about training, is it the system, is it about verbal de-escalation rather than restraint? “[On] many occasions have your colleagues been left holding the can when the service doesn’t turn up, something goes wrong and then they’re investigated “I’m really interested in pushing the boundaries in looking at the system. Officers in custody suites were telling me these people shouldn’t be here but they have to be because there’s no bed for them.” Mr Lockwood said his main worry is a timelag on legacy cases and has himself looked at cases and thought “how the hell have we got here?”. But he added while the Police Federation has complained the watchdog is slow and bureaucratic, the whole system contributes to the problem. Sometimes the federation takes three months to arrange a “no comment” interview and the Crown Prosecution Service and coroners take up to nine months to organise hearings, he said. “I’m just saying the system is a more complex one.” Mr Lockwood also said he is open to suggestions to help improve the welfare of officers under investigation. “It’s clear welfare is a big issue”, he said. View On Police Oracle
  15. Support for police pursuits amendment gathering pace. The police watchdog has released a statement backing planned changes to legislation which would offer roads policing officers better legal protection. In May the Police Federation for England and Wales “cautiously” welcomed a Home Office consultation on draft amendments to road traffic law. Under current law, the same legal test for careless and dangerous driving offences is applied to police officers and the general public. The government is consulting on legislation which would require police officers to drive to the standard of a careful and competent police driver of a similar level of training, skill and driving tactics, including any exemptions from road traffic legislation, are authorised appropriately and are both necessary and proportionate. It will also be made “clear in law” a suspect is responsible for their own decision to drive dangerously and blame should not be attached to the pursuing officer. The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) response to the consultation, released on Thursday, stated: “It is inappropriate for police drivers who are involved in authorised pursuits or emergency response driving, and who are trained and have the necessary experience to do so, to be held to the driving standard of a ‘careful and competent’ motorist “We believe that the expert training and experience of police drivers undertaking pursuits or responding to emergencies should be taken into account.” The IOPC wants the legislation to specifically refer to police drivers “trained to the relevant standard” to allow the Crown Prosecution Service to take account of an officer’s skills and reinforce the important of high quality training. IOPC deputy director general Ian Todd said: “Police drivers need to pursue suspects and respond quickly to emergency calls as part of their duty – and that’s what the public want them to do. So it’s right that their training and skills are properly recognised in law. “Deaths and injuries involving police drivers are thankfully rare. However, pursuing suspects and responding to emergencies carries risks not only for the police and the driver of any pursued vehicle, but for passengers, bystanders and other road users. “Our experience investigating fatal road incidents has given us considerable insight into the traumatic impact these have on injured parties, their families and the police officers involved. “While we broadly welcome the proposals, any change to legislation must not have unintended consequences for public safety, nor must it undermine the ability to hold the police to account for their decision-making and risk-assessment during pursuits or when driving at speed.” The IOPC also supports a proposed review, and any necessary amendment, of the emergency services’ exemptions from certain aspects of road safety law (speed limits and road signs for example) to provide greater clarity and consistency. There should be a “logical approach” that takes note of current road design, the IOPC statement said. It wants the reforms to apply to both police pursuits and emergency response driving. From 97 independent investigations completed between 1 April 2012 and 30 September 2017 two officers were prosecuted for pursuit-related incidents and none convicted. Over the same period five officers were prosecuted following investigations into emergency response driving, resulting in four convictions. But the IOPC only investigates the most serious cases, giving an incomplete picture, and the watchdog wants research to be compiled into how many officers overall have been prosecuted following investigations. Last week IOPC regional director Miranda Biddle praised the efforts of West Yorkshire officers to save David Ellam from an out of control dog. The dog had been returned to Mr Ellam’s neighbour eight days before it mauled the 52-year-old to death but an IOPC investigation commended the officers who came to his aid for their quick-thinking and bravery. View On Police Oracle
  16. Misconduct reforms to 'shift the culture from blame to learning' Package of dozens of changes to include giving IOPC power to present a case to a panel. Chief Constable Craig Guildford at a Police Federation event Date - 20th August 2018 By - Ian Weinfass - Police Oracle 8 Comments Major reforms, which aim to change the culture of the misconduct system from blame to learning, are on course to be in place next summer. Work has continued on the process first revealed by Police Oracle earlier this year and more detail has been developed. In an interview with this website, NPCC lead for complaints and misconduct Chief Constable Craig Guildford said: “The main thing is to try and shift the culture from blame to learning. “It’s about trying to encourage best practice from other professions such as the airline industry where the emphasis is on learning for the purposes of safety. As a profession this is the direction we need to travel in.” Among the measures being worked on are: Raising the threshold for what constitutes misconduct and gross misconduct. Issuing terms of reference to an officer subject to a notice. Requiring investigative bodies to produce reports explaining why a misconduct investigation is taking longer than 12 months to complete. Introducing more clarity around the IOPC’s case to answer test for directing misconduct hearings. Asked about the IOPC’s directed hearings, CC Guildford said in future he expects all watchdog investigations will have to be shown to be reasonable and proportionate. Recent cases involving the watchdog include a seven-year-old misconduct hearing thrown out because it was so old it would have been an abuse of process to continue, and a sergeant facing a gross misconduct hearing after being accused by an arrested man of stealing money – even though the alleged victim was evasive and uncooperative. “The case to answer test is on occasions a little bit misunderstood […] much of it comes from stated cases through litigation however [...] the IOPC will be refining their guidance and clarifying the elements of the case to answer test and this will hopefully address the obvious issues,” CC Guildford said. “The test will include an element of public interest and also whether it is necessary for misconduct procedures to follow. “The IOPC will also have the power to present a case themselves, and I think that will encourage a decision maker to reflect carefully on their final decision to do so.” At the moment the watchdog directs forces to hold hearings and present cases against officers, even when those constabularies have already determined there is no case to answer. The Nottinghamshire chief added that the IOPC under its new director general Michael Lockwood is already moving towards a more learning-based approach. But he said many cases being heard at the moment are based on old case to answer decisions. The major moves being discussed between chiefs, the Home Office, staff associations and IOPC require changes to police regulations, but not all do. A recent case covered on Police Oracle involved a Metropolitan Police officer who used his discretion to destroy a small amount of cannabis before moving on to a weapons search, without completing checks and paper work face a gross misconduct hearing. The case was brought by the force rather than the IOPC. Asked by our reporter whether professional standards departments could introduce a culture of learning themselves ahead of changes to police regulations, CC Guildford claimed that they already are doing so, but that there are limitations. “You’ve just given an example of where some would say PSDs have got it wrong. I think over the last three or four years since I’ve had this portfolio there has been a shift towards more learning but […] the existing legislation and statutory guidance which is the letter of the law, doesn’t always encourage that to be the outcome. “One of the key aspects going forward is effectively raising the bar for what is misconduct and what is gross misconduct. “We want to see cases moving forward [to hearings] where the expected outcome is to be the minimum of a written warning. "I see lots of cases now being resolved from that learning perspective and I know specifically colleagues in the Met have already started to adopt this approach.” He added: “The service is very good at identifying its own bad apples. But at the same time where a case involves death or serious injury I think it’s only right that the public can expect a full and transparent investigation.” It is expected that the draft regulations will be complete by the end of the year. They will then need to be approved by parliament before coming into effect. View On Police Oracle
  17. Allegations of "serious corruption and malpractice" within the Met Police are being investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). Gross misconduct notices have been served on three officers, while "a number" of other officers are being assessed, according to the IOPC. IOPC director Jonathan Green said claims of racial discrimination within the Met were also being investigated. The Met said it was "fully co-operating" with the investigation. It is claimed there are officers in the Met's Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) who are said to have interfered with or curtailed investigations, according to Mr Green. He added: "The investigation includes alleged interference in, and curtailment of, investigations by potentially conflicted senior officers, failure to investigate allegations of wrongdoing, systemic removal of the restrictions of officers under investigation and racial discrimination. "As part of this investigation, three officers have been served with gross misconduct notices and one of those officers is also under criminal investigation. "Assessments on the status of a number of other officers remains ongoing." According to The Sunday Times, three whistleblowers from the Met approached the IOPC to allege members of the DPS were shielding officers from a range of allegations. A Met spokesman said: "The Metropolitan Police Service has referred allegations regarding the conduct of a number of MPS personnel to the IOPC which is conducting an independent investigation. "The MPS is fully co-operating with the IOPC investigation." https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-44915885
  18. But one former officer may have committed gross misconduct, it says. Dorothy Begley says the death of her son has 'destroyed' her family Date - 15th June 2018 By - JJ Hutber- Police Oracle The police watchdog’s re-investigation into the death of a man after he was Tasered by officers has concluded five of the officers involved did not breach professional standards of behaviour. Factory worker Jordon Begley, 23, from Gorton, Manchester, died in July 2013 two hours after being shot by the less lethal weapon. He was also punched and restrained by armed officers, who believed he had a knife. The Independent Police Complaints’ Commission (now the Independent Office for Police Conduct) 2014 investigation cleared all officers involved of wrongdoing but in 2016 the body persuaded two High Court judges to quash the original report on Mr Begley's death, arguing it was legally flawed and there should be "a new and lawful" investigation. Mr Begley’s family spoke out to ITV’s Granada Reports today in anger after learning IOPC has advised Greater Manchester Police not to take misconduct proceedings against five of the officers and a sixth officer has resigned. IOPC Deputy Director General Ian Todd said: “Today I met with Jordon’s mother Dorothy to provide her with an update on our reinvestigation which we recently completed. “We have reviewed all of the evidence from the original case and assessed this evidence against that given during the inquest. The reinvestigation was completed by a team with no previous involvement in the original investigation. “We examined the actions of six Greater Manchester Police officers and my view is that one former officer may have breached the professional standards of behaviour in relation to their use of force. “We have shared our provisional findings with the force and will wait for their response and any other outstanding matters, before we publish our report. “Our thoughts remain with Dorothy and her family.” GMP Federation chairman Stu Berry said the time and money spent on the process is “ridiculous”. He said: “This outcome is welcomed by both the officers and the Police Federation, but the timescale is indicative of how the IOPC clearly needs more than just a name change. “The 2018 World Cup is upon us. To put this investigation into some perspective, it began well before the previous tournament. “Disappointingly there are many more similar cases around the country. “The IOPC has to appreciate the impact these ridiculously long investigations have on police officers, their families and the communities we serve.” Mr Berry added: “The restrictions placed on five of these officers during the majority of the previous five years have prevented them from engaging in front line policing and armed policing throughout. “That is more than £1 million of public money spent on salaries for these officers to essentially sit behind desks in times of austerity and when the threat level to the country has been severe. “That’s not even factoring in the cost of the two lengthy investigations and the Judicial Review. “I am hopeful that the new Director General of the IOPC, Michael Lockwood, is listening to these concerns. “There is nothing more destructive than pressure and time. The stress, anguish and worry cannot be overstated. I wish the very best to officers involved and hope they can start to rebuild their careers in the future.” A spokeswoman for GMP said of the six officer involved, five are no longer under restricted duties and another has since resigned. The IOPC has not yet officially released the results of the investigation as it is waiting for the force to feedback on the report and draw its own conclusions as to whether any officer should face gross misconduct proceedings. An IOPC spokesman said: “The reinvestigation did take a little longer to complete than we would have liked due to unforeseen circumstances. However, this was a thorough reinvestigation using a substantial amount of evidence to reach our findings.” View On Police Oracle
  19. The issue will be top of his agenda at an upcoming meeting, he said. Home Secretary Sajid Javid The Home Secretary agreed “we need a reset” on misconduct investigations at the annual police federation conference this week. Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) Vice Chairman Che Donald extended an invitation to Sajid Javid on behalf of W80, a Met firearms officer who will face a misconduct hearing despite the CPS declining twice to bring charges, to meet the officer and their family. The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) announced it was directing the Met to hold misconduct proceedings last week on the day armed policing lead Deputy Chief Constable Simon Chesterman revealed firearms recruitment targets have been missed, provoking a furious backlash from the federation and armed policing community. W80 (a code name), fatally shot Jermaine Baker near Wood Green Crown Court on December 11, 2015. The Met says its officers were foiling an attempt to break-out criminals from a prison van and reject the IOPC’s finding that W80 may have committed gross misconduct. Mr Donald said: “The criminals involved were sentenced to a total of 30 years in prison. The officer involved in that shooting referred to as W80 has had the impact of a prolonged investigation take its toll on them and their family. “To fully understand the impact such investigations have on our firearms officers I’m extending an invitation to you on behalf of W80 to meet with them meet with their family. “Will you accept the invitation to meet with W80 and their family not to discuss the investigation but to hear first hand the impact it’s had on the health and wellbeing of all of them?” Mr Javid said his instinct was to agree to the meeting but wanted to clarify whether it would create a legal conflict. “There’s many aspects of a police officer’s job where they’re just doing their job, they are doing what you expect them to do. To apprehend those who want to do wrong. “And all too often it seems it’s the police officer who gets in trouble rather than the criminal. “So you’ll know exactly where my instincts are on this. “I think that over successive governments over a number of years the pendulum has swung in the wrong way on this and we do need a reset.” He also agreed to look into a review commissioned by then Prime Minister David Cameron in 2015 to consider the legal protections for firearms officers in the event of a shooting, which has been apparently kicked into the long grass. The Home Office told Police Oracle in March the review is ongoing but could not give a publication date. DCC Chesterman said last week he did not feel the review was needed as he thinks the law is already “crystal clear”. PC Griffiths from Nottinghamshire Police spoke about how he became the subject of a six year IOPC investigation in 2011 - six months after joining the service - and asked Mr Javid to pledge to “protect us by putting a time limit on these investigations”. Mr Javid responded: “One of the meetings I will be having very soon is with the IOPC and Mr Lockwood [IOPC director general]. Anyone can see in a situation like that having to wait six years is a huge problem and I would like to find out what can be done to bring timing of investigations down. “That will be at the top my agenda when I meet with the IOPC.” View On Police Oracle
  20. Officer W80 has been cleared by CPS and force but still faces losing his job. Phill Matthews Directing gross misconduct hearings when officers have been cleared by their forces are a waste of time and give families false hope. Those were the views of Police Federation misconduct lead Phill Matthews at the staff association’s annual conference today. A panel was asked about the direction to hold a gross misconduct hearing for the firearms officer who shot Jermaine Baker in 2015. Last week the Crown Prosecution Service said there is no criminal case against the officer – known as W80 – and the Met said he should not face misconduct proceedings, but the IOPC directed them to take place. Independent Office for Police Conduct director general Michael Lockwood had earlier acknowledged issues of trust exist towards his organisation from the police service, but also the public. He said: “We’ve said there could be a case to answer, it’s a panel that makes a finding. We’re not judge and jury on this, the fact is the panel judges. Going through that process is about giving confidence in system.” He added there are different types of tests for prosecutions and gross misconduct investigations but the former council chief executive added the threshold for whether there “could be a case to answer” is up for review. “We have a case to answer test that’s been met. I’m happy we have a discussion about what we mean by ‘could’,” he said. The IOPC points out since 2010 there have been 29 firearms officers treated as witnesses and just three as suspects. But Mr Matthews said: “We think [the case to answer is] broken and it does need completely resetting. It lets families down as it gives them false hope that something might happen. “It completely demolishes morale for a long time afterwards.” He added: “It’s a waste of money, a waste of time and does nothing to increase public confidence." View On Police Oracle
  21. 'I do not underestimate the stress that these delays undoubtedly caused', says watchdog deputy. The police watchdog has admitted parts of its investigation into two officers cleared after a six-year process was unacceptable. But the Police Federation says it is disappointed it has taken almost another year to resolve its complaints about the process. Detainee Lynette Wallace complained about her treatment by Nottinghamshire Police in a custody suite in July 2011. In May 2017, a misconduct hearing which the watchdog ordered into a male and female PC was scrapped. The officers’ own complaints to the new Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) have now been resolved. Phill Matthews, from the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “We are disappointed that it has taken nearly a full year to resolve the complaints, bearing in mind that such lengthy delays were part of the original problem, but pleased that the IOPC have now upheld our complaint against it and apologised to both the officers, admitting that its performance was not acceptable. “The news that the IOPC has also made multiple recommendations for changes is also welcome. We are heartened that some learning appears to have come out of this protracted and sorry case and hope that this will make future cases quicker, fairer and more proportionate for our members.” He said the officers’ motivation has been about ensuring that the type of flawed investigation they had to endure would never happen again. IOPC deputy director general Ian Todd said the watchdog’s predecessor responded to the complaints at the end of last year. He added: “In February I met with the two officers in Nottinghamshire to apologise in person for an at times unacceptable standard of investigation, for our contribution to delays in this case, and not keeping them regularly updated during its course. “While not all of the process was within our direct control, I accept that our need to reinvestigate was the cause of a considerable part of the delay. “I do not underestimate the stress that these delays undoubtedly caused the officers. I am committed to ensuring that we have learned from this investigation so that similar situations do not arise in the future.” An independent review found no evidence of misconduct committed by an IPCC employee but some received management action. Mr Todd said: “Significant changes have already been made to our investigative procedures in the six years since the original investigation began. Further operational improvements are in train to ensure the appropriate resourcing, quality, and review of our investigations. “We are carrying out more timely investigations with 68 per cent of the 705 started in the year ending March 2018 completed within 12 months, and nearly a third in under six months, up by 14 per cent in one year.” View On Police Oracle
  22. Police had been responding to an entirely unrelated report. A car crash has been referred to the police watchdog despite the fact officers’ presence in the area was a coincidence. On Sunday two teenage boys were arrested in connection with a car crash in which five pedestrians were seriously injured the day before. The collision happened at 4.10pm on Saturday afternoon in Furtherwick Road, Canvey, Essex when a blue BMW 120D was in a collision with five men. The BMW driver and passenger abandoned the car, which turned out to be stolen, and fled the scene. Five men in their early 20s were treated at the scene for serious injuries before being taken to hospitals across Essex and London. Three remain in hospital while they receive treatment and two have been released. But none of the injuries are described as life threatening. A statement from Essex Police said initial reports there had been a police pursuit were incorrect. “Officers were in the area responding to an unrelated incident at the time and not to the presence of the BMW,” a spokesman said. But the matter has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Complaints “under the criteria of there being an indirect link between police being in the area and the incident.” The spokesman refused to comment further. Max Maxwell, 18, of Small Gains Avenue, Canvey has been charged with four counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving, one count of aggravated vehicle taking and one count of driving without insurance. He is due to appear at Basildon Magistrates' Court today (Monday). A 17-year-old boy from Canvey was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving, failing to stop after an accident, driving while unfit through drink or drugs, aggravated vehicle taking and causing serious injury by dangerous driving. He has been released on bail until May 5, pending further enquiries. View On Police Oracle
  23. PCCs or chief constables will be able to consult Independent Office for Police Conduct. Chief superintendents looking for promotion could have their disciplinary records checked The IOPC is to gain a role in vetting candidates for chief officer posts. The watchdog, formerly known as the IPCC, is one of the bodies, alongside professional standards departments and chief constables which can be consulted for details of an applicant’s disciplinary record. Its new involvement has been revealed in a College of Policing guidance document on appointments. Although candidates are expected to declare any issues when they apply for a position, the recruiter may also now contact the watchdog. The new IOPC facility will be available later this year after the organisation has ironed out all logistical, policy and legal issues with the process. It will remain the responsibility of the PCC or chief constable, depending on the role, to decide if any disciplinary issued make the person unsuitable for a job. The document states that the decision-maker should take into account the disciplinary issue’s impact on the “force, region and community”. A spokesman for the IOPC said: “We agree we have a part to play alongside police forces in sharing information that could be considered pertinent in the appointment of potential chief officers. “We need to be able to take fair and consistent decisions about what we provide in response to such requests and are putting in place a process to achieve this.” In April 2016 Dawn Copley lasted 24-hours as acting chief constable of South Yorkshire Police after it emerged she faced an investigation into her conduct. PCC Alan Billings said she had told him she was under investigation but she nevertheless stepped aside following adverse publicity. Other measures in the document include guidance on recruiting chiefs from overseas forces and from fire and rescue services under joint governance arrangements. Louise Meade, from the College of Policing, said: "We recognise that chief officer roles are incredibly demanding so we have developed new guidance to ensure the best and most talented individuals apply, and the most suitable candidates are appointed." View On Police Oracle
  24. Police vehicle collided with driver after he attempted to flee on foot. A police officer has been charged with dangerous driving following a pursuit related incident. PC Lee Rumsey, serving with Cambridgeshire Constabulary, is due to appear at Peterborough Magistrates Court on May 9 following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). The charge relates to an incident on August 29, 2017 when a police car was engaged in a pursuit of a vehicle in Morley Way, Peterborough. The chase ended in Celta Road where the 21-year-old male attempted to flee on foot and was in collision with the police vehicle, causing him to dislocate his shoulder. The man was arrested on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle, failing to stop for police and possession of class B or C drugs. Cambridgeshire Constabulary referred the incident to the IOPC and an investigation was launched that concluded in December 2017. A file was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) who authorised the charge. View On Police Oracle
  25. 'There were simply no officers available', watchdog finds. The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) says a lack of resources at Greater Manchester Police helped delay the search for an 18-year-old who was later found murdered. The watchdog investigated the force over the case of Ellen Higginbottom who was reported missing in June last year, and found dead a few hours later. Mark Buckley, 51, was jailed for life for her murder last September. She had died before being reported missing, but delays in dispatching officers to look for her were investigated by the watchdog. The call reporting her missing at 7pm was graded correctly but the IOPC found that dispatching officers to the incident was delayed 13 times due to a lack of available patrols. All others were all dealing with priority incidents. The report was escalated once, and there was an attempt to find officers from another division but none were available. Shortly after 11.30pm, following a call to GMP from Ellen’s father requesting an update, officers became available and were dispatched to Ellen’s home to begin searching for her. The watchdog says radio operators should have escalated the search further and said their performance was unsatisfactory, but found no misconduct could be proved. IOPC Regional Director for the North West, Amanda Rowe, said: “It is difficult to draw definitive conclusions to this case. There were significant delays in dispatching officers, and clear evidence that there were simply no officers available. “While we believe there were errors in following force policy, delays may still have been inevitable given the number of high priority incidents that day.” She added that escalation is still necessary so the public are reassured every effort is being made to find a missing person. GMP Federation chairman Ian Hanson told Police Oracle: “Against the backdrop of such a tragedy the reality is that police officers and call handlers are every day trying to meet overwhelming demand with minimal resources. “The government deceives the public by telling them frontline policing has been protected but that quite simply is not true and the reality is people are having to make judgement calls which can turn into life or death decisions. It’s a national scandal.” View On Police Oracle
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