A nationwide overhaul of the police complaints system comes into effect today (8 January 2018) aimed at making the process of complaining about police conduct quicker and more effective.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which has acted as the principal reviewing body for complaints against police forces throughout England and Wales, is being replaced by a new body – the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
A principal difference in the power of the newer organisation is that the IOPC will be able to take on cases without first receiving a referral from a police constabulary. Historically, individuals dissatisfied with the service they have received from a police force have had to first complain to the Professional Standards Department before their complaint could be escalated to the higher authority (IPCC) for a resolution.
The IOPC will continue to oversee the complaints system and aim to set the standards by which complaints should be handled by the police.
Michael Lockwood has been appointed the first Director General of the organisation. He said: “Public confidence in policing is best served by robust and independent oversight. People need to know that when things go wrong or serious allegations are made about police officers, they will be thoroughly investigated by a truly independent body.”
Policing Minister Nick Hurd: “We are absolutely determined to make the police complaints and discipline systems simpler and more transparent for the benefit of the public, and the new, more efficient and effective IOPC will be a vital part of that.”
Blaser Mills frequently assists clients with complaints against the police following mistreatment or negligence by police officers. We are able to assist with all aspects of the complaints process and can provide advice in the following common areas:-
- Wrongful arrest and false imprisonment
- Failure to investigate
- Harassment by police officers
- Malicious prosecution
- Assault and excessive force
- Mistreatment at the police station
- Unlawful stop and search.
The powers of the IPCC’s successor means that clients will be able to instruct solicitors to draft written representations directly to the IOPC, which may lead to a swifter resolution. Where IPCC complaints give rise to positive findings against the police, we can assist in drafting and serving a letter before action (the first step in civil legal proceedings).
Should you wish to contact Blaser Mills Law for advice and assistance relating to a police complaint call +44 (0) 203 814 2020 or contact the team.