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Remmy

IPCC advises separating police officers after fatal incidents

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Remmy

 

Police officers directly involved in fatal incidents should be separated as quickly as possible to prevent conferring, a watchdog has said.

 

The step is part of new guidance from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

 

It relates to how evidence should be collected immediately after a member of the public has died or been seriously injured during contact with the police.

 

But the Police Federation said the move was "without cause".

 

The guidance proposes that key policing witnesses should be separated as soon as it is "operationally safe" until after they have provided their personal initial account.

 

Collusion

 

The IPCC said separating officers after an incident to prevent conferring was designed to ensure officers provide individual accounts of only what they saw, heard and did.

 

This avoids actual or perceived collusion or their accounts being unintentionally influenced by those of others, the watchdog said.

 

The issue of conferring among officers came under the spotlight following the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan in 2011. A jury later concluded he was lawfully killed by police.

 

armed police stand outside downing street in London

IPCC deputy chair Sarah Green said: "The measures we have outlined do not treat police officers as suspects, but as witnesses whose early individual accounts will help ensure the integrity and smooth running of the critical early stages in any investigation."

 

Che Donald, firearms lead for the Police Federation of England and Wales, said officers were "under no illusion" of the scrutiny they face following a death or serious incident.

 

He added: "They are witnesses first and foremost and to separate them in the immediate aftermath of a highly traumatic incident is neither proportionate nor necessary and without cause."

 

If approved by the home secretary, all police forces in England and Wales would be obliged to make use of the new guidance in the event of fatalities or serious injuries resulting from firearms operations, incidents in custody or other police contact.

 

I saw this on the BBC and thought you should see it:

 

IPCC advises separating police officers after fatal incidents - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39034668

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BlueBob

Seeing both sides but aren't "normal" witnesses separated in a similar way.  There seems nothing in the guideline that removes the welfare for those involved.  

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Remmy

It's quite different, so you would arrive at the scene of a traumatic, potentially distressing event and assessing it was now safe thank witnesses for staying, then order them not to talk to each other, then physically separate them and keep them under supervision? Not allowing them to use mobile phones until hours later the investigation team where ready to take your first account? Can't see that making a potential helpful witness hostile can you?

I'm sorry BlueBob not having a go at you just making the difference obvious for any readers.

 Having experienced post incident procedure and having a quite positive opinion of how the IPCC dealt with officers involved it seems a shame they are pursuing this course of action. At the conclusion of our investigation officers were praised by the IPCC for thier openness and professionalism at a very early stage. If this is approved by the Home Office and I find myself a principle officer, well guess what I will confirm I was on duty, I did attend the incident and that following legal advice at this stage I do not wish to add anything else. If they decide to treat me as a suspect from that point on so be it, it won't change my rationale for using force or my honestly held believe at the time....but it will hamper a quick investigation.

I think the IPCC should be careful what it wishes for.

 

 

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JulietAlpha1

The IPCC have already said that these measures are being brought into to check integrity as much as for anything else. Why would I submit myself to an integrity check by the IPCC? If I thought they could be trusted to rationalise and understand that recall will be slightly different to what was recorded on my BWV, or what my colleague remembers then it wouldn't be so bad but I don't.

I also think forcing officers to provide an account without any protections (I.e not admissible in court as we no longer have a right to silence) is a slippery slope and I'd want the Fed fighting that every step of the way. It's a massive loophole that, if I was an IPCC investigator, I would try and use as much as possible until it was closed.

 

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Remmy
20 minutes ago, JulietAlpha1 said:

I also think forcing officers to provide an account without any protections (I.e not admissible in court as we no longer have a right to silence) is a slippery slope and I'd want the Fed fighting that every step of the way. It's a massive loophole that, if I was an IPCC investigator, I would try and use as much as possible until it was closed.

The simple answer is that they can't force you now and won't be able to force you in the future, even if these proposals are signed off. 

Although it may change how you are treated from witness to suspect. But so what then you are protected by PACE.

 

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stewie_griffin

Just out of interest, are you provided with immediate Federation and legal advice prior to any interview?

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Remmy
53 minutes ago, stewie_griffin said:

Just out of interest, are you provided with immediate Federation and legal advice prior to any interview?

Yes well before the IPCC even lands you will have the Fed there and free confidential legal advice. The PI process is quite robust and we'll practised within firearms world stewie. 

Interviews will normally take place weeks later initial accounts are normally obtained as a written statement. How detailed that is depends on the circumstances no hard and fast rule, and all done in company with your solicitor.

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depot

You're starting to sound like me Remmy :)

The IPCC have been wanting this for a number of yeas now. They also want the power to compel you to remain until you have provided a detailed initial first account.

Then there are the logistics of the post incident procedure. Enough rooms for all those involved to be separated into, a room for the IPCC, PSD, PIM manager, forensics etc. All needing to be located near to each other and easy to lock down to prevent those not involved poking their noses in.

Edited by depot
to add stuff
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