The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) is to give evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) to illustrate the detrimental and costly impact of lengthy conduct investigations.
The HASC will receive the evidence on Wednesday 27 January as part of its inquiry into the police complaints system and the timescale of investigations.
The Federation also already given MPs access to case studies including that of West Midlands PC Richard Allen-Zoarder who feels his mental health and enthusiasm for policing has been destroyed after he was subjected to conduct proceedings that he describes as ‘a massive witch hunt’. He became bed-ridden for two years with depression as a result of the investigation.
Cambridgeshire Police Federation chair Liz Groom welcomes the inquiry, saying: “The effects of protracted disciplinary investigations need to be spelled out because they cannot be underestimated.
“Officers’ lives are devastated, careers are ruined, families are shattered. The long-term impact on mental health is also frightening.”
The Federation will highlight the impact of lengthy and costly investigations on police officers, their families and their colleagues as part of its Time Limits campaign launched in 2019 to evidence the urgent need for investigations to be concluded within 12 months from the time of an allegation being made.
The Federation’s national conduct and performance lead, Phill Matthews, said: “We appreciate this opportunity to share the stark findings we gathered as part of our ‘Time Limits’ campaign with the Home Affairs Select Committee.
“Protracted disciplinary investigations have ruined the careers of multiple colleagues, left a mark on their mental health and placed pressure on their home lives and loved ones. It is clear the effects are devastating.
“Public trust in the system will erode if people do not think their complaints will be dealt with quickly. This issue is already something many complainants frequently express.
“We are encouraged the IOPC is keen to work with us rather than against us. However, the issue of investigations rumbling on for more than a year still continues, and enough is enough,” he concluded.
The Federation is additionally calling for:
• Improved IOPC investigator training, particularly in relation to post-incident procedures and disclosure
• A move towards a system where breaching the time limit has consequences on the ability to proceed.