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‘Action Vital’ To Ensuring IPCC Functions Effectively

Lawyers React Following MPs’ Report Into Police Watchdog


By Rob Dixon

Legal experts have called for urgent action to be taken to ensure the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is fit for purpose, following a new Home Affairs Committee report which has raised concerns about the body.

According to the new report, the IPCC is overloaded with appeal cases and failing to adequately investigate serious cases of police corruption and misconduct as resources are devoted to lesser complaints.

It also claimed that public trust has been undermined by the commission’s dependence on former officers and the investigative resources of police forces.

The Home Affairs Committee has now called for a range of new measures to be introduced, including a new investigation to when forces come to the wrong decision on complaints, more independent investigation and IPCC representatives taking control of potential crime scenes during the ‘golden hours’ of an investigation into death or serious injury involving police officers.

Irwin Mitchell’s Public Law team specialise in helping victims who have suffered as a result of negligence or human rights issues involving police, including people affected by problems including deaths in custody, wrongful arrest and excessive force.

Nancy Collins, a legal expert at the national law firm’s London office with expertise in the area, said: “This report has clearly flagged very worrying findings which raise concerns over whether the IPCC is working effectively and ensuring forces are being properly held to account where necessary.

“While the majority of police officers do an excellent job, it is an unfortunate truth that we do see cases when people have suffered as a result of officers abusing their powers or negligence which has gone on to have a significant impact on the wellbeing of people in custody.

“Proper investigation of complaints related to such problems is vital to ensuring that people who have suffered get the justice they deserve, while officers found to be in the wrong face the necessary consequences.

“An effective IPCC is a vital part of this, so we hope the Government and the IPCC can work quickly to address the concerns raised and ensure the body is functioning in the most effective manner.”