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IOPC annual report shows investigation time improving


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The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) this week issued its annual report that showed more investigations are now completed within a year.


Michael Lockwood, IOPC Director General

Date - 24th July 2020
By - Chloe Livadeas

35 per cent of investigations are now completed in under six months, up 5 per cent from the previous year, and 83 per cent within 12 months. This excludes their most complex major investigations such as Hillsborough and Rotherham.

18 of the 538 investigations carried over from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) remained open at the end of the financial year.

The IOPC currently employ just over 300 investigators.

They said the 2019/2020 report “showed ongoing improvement in delivery of changes to the police complaints system”.

It said it worked with the Home Office, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) and others to ensure the “smooth implementation” of the reforms set out in the Policing and Crime Act 2017.

The final phase of legislative reforms to the police complaints system were launched this year.

The IOPC said key achievements for the year included:

reviewing over 4,000 cases referred to them by police forces and determined how these should be investigated, meeting their target of 80 per cent within three days.

completing 718 investigations and started 508.

upholding 34 per cent of investigation appeals in 2019/20 compared to 37 per cent the year before which “may indicate that complaints handling by forces is improving”.

achieving customer service accreditation, independently assessed and verified.

making 105 learning recommendations to forces and other bodies resulting in local and national changes to policing practice in a range of areas, from police pursuits to domestic violence, use of force and search warrants.

There was an 18 per cent increase in young people who are confident that complaints are dealt with fairly by the police and a 16 per cent increase in the number of people from a Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background who said they are aware of the watchdog.

The IOPC said this “reflects a strong focus on improving community relationships and visibility by listening to communities and telling them more about our work”.

Director General Michael Lockwood said: “This report reflects our second year in operation and the significant progress we have made in a very short period of time. However, we recognise we still need to make further improvements. We have started work on additional reforms to the way we investigate and are confident that this work will further strengthen confidence in police accountability and the police complaints system.

“I am particularly keen to strengthen our focus on using learning to improve policing practice in the 12 months ahead. During the year we made 105 formal learning recommendations to local police forces and national policing bodies and other organisations.

“These recommendations help drive systemic change and move the impact of our work beyond looking at the misconduct of an  individual. Seventy-seven per cent of these recommendations related to policy or guidance which meant policing is now improved, and in some cases, communities safer.”

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