Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
Monthly roundup - December 2019
Welcome to our monthly roundup, with updates about our work, performance, and organisational changes.
Introduction from Lianne Corris, Head of Private Office Group
Welcome to the December edition of Round Up.
I started working for the IOPC over ten years ago when we were the Independent Police Complaints Commission. I’ve held a number of really interesting roles. I currently head up Private Office, which provides support to our Director General, deputy directors general, and non-executive directors. My team also supports all our parliamentary work and provides support and advice on governance.
I love the breadth of work that my role offers, and the fact that it touches on every aspect of the IOPC’s business. No two days are ever the same! It genuinely offers an insight like nowhere else in the organisation.
Since we became the IOPC in January 2018, it’s been great to see our Director General’s vision for the organisation start to become a reality (you can read more about this in our Strategic Plan). I feel very privileged to be able to support this work, and to work alongside such committed staff in my team and beyond.
I hope you enjoy this month’s Roundup.
Head of Private Office Group
A large part of our role focuses on learning, which helps influence policing policy and practice and drives change. One of the ways we help do this is by publishing our Learning the Lessons magazine, which we share with police forces across England and Wales. In December, we published an edition that looked at police work in relation to missing people.
Lauren Collins, who chairs our missing people Operational Practitioner Group, said:
“IOPC investigations into missing people are particularly difficult and bring home the impact on people. At the start of police contact there is a family member or friend with hope that the police will find their loved one safe and well. However, because of the nature of the investigations the IOPC is involved in – death or serious injury following police contact – this is often sadly not the case.
“Publications like Learning the Lessons help all stakeholders involved in missing people investigations share learning and good practice,” added Lauren.
“In particular, the magazine highlights the importance of call handlers as key contact points. They receive a call every hour about missing people and how that initial contact is handled by control room staff determines the immediate police response, including the resources allocated to it. There’s also lots of other pioneering work police forces are doing to improve on their investigations, help detect people quicker, and free-up resources by improving efficiency.”
The IOPC teamed up with multiple policing and non-policing organisations to produce this edition of Learning the Lessons – including the charity Missing People, which works closely with the loved ones of missing people, and with police forces.
The magazine includes articles from specialists at the National Crime Agency, and Greater Manchester and the Metropolitan Police, as well as case studies highlighting key areas for consideration and asking forces to consider ‘could this happen here?’
Helping improve policing practice
The complaints and investigations we work on provide useful insights and learning that can inform policy, practice and processes. This is important in helping to reduce the risk of events recurring, in protecting people from harm or in better supporting police in their work at a local or national level. Some examples of learning from our work this month include:
- Humberside Police and Lincolnshire Police reviewed and shared their working practices and policies relating to missing persons investigations, including cross-border co-operation. This follows our investigation into the death of a man who had been reported missing to Humberside Police.
- Our investigation into the death of a man who had requested police assistance led Devon and Cornwall Constabulary to address some issues and departmental failings. We recommended the force be clearer in the way it handles calls reporting concern for someone’s welfare.
Investigations following deaths/serious injuries
Police forces must refer to us all deaths or serious injuries that happen during or following police contact. Investigating these matters is one of our key functions.
We investigated after a man collapsed in a police cell after his arrest by Northumbria Police. He died a short time later. We analysed CCTV footage, witness accounts, police custody logs and statements from the officers and staff at the scene. Our investigation found evidence of ‘serious failings’ leading up to his death.
We issued an update on our investigation into the circumstances surrounding the fatal shooting of Usman Khan during the Fishmongers’ Hall terrorism incident in London. We have begun a separate investigation after receiving a referral from Staffordshire Police relating to its contact with Usman Khan prior to his death. This is in its very early stages.
We published the findings of our investigation into the actions of Merseyside Police prior to the death of 18 year-old Mzee Mohammed-Daley. Police responded to reports that a man, later identified as Mr Mohammed-Daley, was behaving erratically and had been seen carrying a knife. Officers restrained Mr Mohammed-Daley. He was later transferred to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital where, sadly, he was pronounced dead. We concluded that the decision to restrain Mr Mohammed-Daley was based on a number of risk factors and this complied with guidance, policy and training. We found evidence that information given to a call handler wasn’t recorded appropriately, and highlighted learning for this member of staff.
Our investigation into the death of a man in south London concluded that Metropolitan Police (MPS) officers did everything they could to save him. Daniel Bastien was taken ill after officers were called to reports of an attempted burglary and used force to remove him from the property. We found the officers followed relevant policies and procedures, and made every effort to give Mr Bastien emergency treatment.
Other investigations news
Two Dorset Police officers have been given written warnings after persuading a man to admit possessing drugs. The evidence we gathered showed that the man did not freely admit to possessing the cannabis and was coerced by two of the officers.
Investigation summaries published in December
Last month we published summaries of 13 independent investigations we recently closed. They covered the conduct of police officers, a near-miss in custody, and use of force.
During December, we ran events across England for staff from police force professional standards departments. These departments deal with the majority of complaints and conduct matters involving police officers and staff, with the most serious and sensitive matters investigated by us independently.
The events are helping to prepare staff for upcoming changes to the legislation that underpins the police complaints system. The changes take effect on 1 February 2020. We will run further events, including one in Wales, in the run up to the launch of legislative change.
We are also running events for police and crime commissioners and their staff to support their preparations for these changes.
A look at some of our Director General’s engagements in December
Michael Lockwood, our Director General, met with Martin Hewitt, Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council. Michael provided feedback on some of his most recent visits to forces, and discussed some of our latest learning recommendations.
Michael also spent time with staff across our various offices in the run up to Christmas. He was able to hear firsthand about the work being done to make progress against the priorities set out in our Strategic Plan, and to maintain our focus on learning, in keeping with our mission.
Investigations started and completed
In the period April 2019 – December 2019 we completed 77% of the investigations we closed in 12 months or less, compared to 78% for the same period last year.
We continue to focus effort on closing older cases, which has had an impact on our recent performance data.
*This figure may change as a result of data being recorded after the figures are collated.
The % of upheld appeals is worked out from the number of appeals upheld over the total number of valid appeals completed.
If you have any comments on Roundup, please let us know.
Read previous issues here.
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