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?The pendulum has swung too far? - Javid on IOPC

The issue will be top of his agenda at an upcoming meeting, he said
Published - 24/05/2018 By - JJ Hutber- Police Oracle

The Home Secretary agreed “we need a reset” on misconduct investigations at the annual police federation conference this week.

Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) Vice Chairman Che Donald extended an invitation to Sajid Javid on behalf of W80, a Met firearms officer who will face a misconduct hearing despite the CPS  declining twice to bring charges, to meet the officer and their family.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) announced it was directing the Met to hold misconduct proceedings last week on the day armed policing lead Deputy Chief Constable Simon Chesterman revealed firearms recruitment targets have been missed, provoking a furious backlash from the federation and armed policing community.

W80 (a code name), fatally shot Jermaine Baker near Wood Green Crown Court on December 11, 2015.

The Met says its officers were foiling an attempt to break-out criminals from a prison van and reject the IOPC’s finding that W80 may have committed gross misconduct.

Mr Donald said: “The criminals involved were sentenced to a total of 30 years in prison. The officer involved in that shooting referred to as W80 has had the impact of a prolonged investigation take its toll on them and their family.

“To fully understand the impact such investigations have on our firearms officers I’m extending an invitation to you on behalf of W80 to meet with them meet with their family.

 “Will you accept the invitation to meet with W80 and their family not to discuss the investigation but to hear first hand the impact it’s had on the health and wellbeing of all of them?”

Mr Javid said his instinct was to agree to the meeting but wanted to clarify whether it would create a legal conflict.

“There’s many aspects of a police officer’s job where they’re just doing their job, they are doing what you expect them to do. To apprehend those who want to do wrong.

“And all too often it seems it’s the police officer who gets in trouble rather than the criminal.

“So you’ll know exactly where my instincts are on this.

“I think that over successive governments over a number of years the pendulum has swung in the wrong way on this and we do need a reset.”

He also agreed to look into a review commissioned by then Prime Minister David Cameron in 2015 to consider the legal protections for firearms officers in the event of a shooting, which has been apparently kicked into the long grass.  

The Home Office told Police Oracle in March the review is ongoing but could not give a publication date.

DCC Chesterman said last week he did not feel the review was needed as he thinks the law is already “crystal clear”.

PC Griffiths from Nottinghamshire Police spoke about how he became the subject of a six year IOPC investigation in 2011 - six months after joining the service - and asked Mr Javid to pledge to “protect us by putting a time limit on these investigations”.

Mr Javid responded: “One of the meetings I will be having very soon is with the IOPC and Mr Lockwood [IOPC director general]. Anyone can see in a situation like that having to wait six years is a huge problem and I would like to find out what can be done to bring timing of investigations down.

“That will be at the top my agenda when I meet with the IOPC.”

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