IPCC reform delayed again

12 September 2017

Ian Todd from the IPCC

Ian Todd, Chief Operating Officer at the IPCC, addressing the National Custody Seminar

The long-awaited reform of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has been set back yet again – until at least the New Year.

The police watchdog, which is undergoing a restructure, will now not have a new director general until January at the earliest.  And other changes to the police disciplinary system will take a further six months to take effect with an IPCC boss blaming the delays on ‘Brexit, Home Office lawyers and the General Election.’

Chief Operating Officer Ian Todd, who will become Deputy Director General at the new Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), admitted that reform was ‘taking much longer than expected.’ He said the new director general post was a Government appointment and needed sign off from the Home Office, Prime Minister and the Queen; "I cannot guarantee that it will happen in January but I hope so."

He told delegates at today's National Custody Seminar, the new organisation meant ‘investigations will be much more streamlined’.  Critics of the IPCC – including the Federation - have blasted it for taking too long over investigations, particularly historic and legacy cases.  But Mr Todd said: “The average length of investigations has reduced from 294 working days to around 230, a reduction of over 60 working days.”  He added that the organisation still had a problem with staff turnover and inexperienced investigators although they were working hard to rectify issues.

However there was good news in the custody arena, he said, with the number of deaths in police custody consistently falling over the years: “That’s a tribute to the way custody staff are performing their roles on a daily basis.”  Referring to the Federation’s recent Pay and morale survey which revealed that nearly one in five custody officers want to be redeployed from detention roles as soon as possible, Mr Todd said: “It’s a real shame that custody is not seen as a positive part of the policing profession because it is a job requiring a lot of expertise and specialist skill.”

He also told the seminar that, moving forward, he hoped the IOPC would place greater emphasis on learning and performance rather than blame.