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An act of parliament that provides the core framework of police powers to combat crime and provide codes of practice for the exercise of these powers.
Leads and manages the development of the police service in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The body that represents the interests of all police constables, sergeants, and inspectors.
Deals with someone’s inability or failure to perform to a satisfactory level, but without breaching the Standards of Professional Behaviour.
Focuses on putting an issue right and preventing it from happening again by encouraging those involved to reflect on their actions and learn. It is not a disciplinary process or a disciplinary outcome.
Department within a police force that deals with complaints and conduct matters.
Refers to lower-level misconduct or performance-related issues, which are dealt with in a proportionate and constructive manner.
This means doing what is appropriate in the circumstances, taking into account the facts and the context in which the complaint has been raised, within the framework of legislation and guidance.
The average is calculated using the individual results of the forces in that most similar force group.
An investigation carried out by IOPC staff.
Carried out by the police under their own direction and control. The IOPC sets the terms of reference and receives the investigation report when it is complete. Complainants have a right of appeal following a supervised investigation (unless it is an investigation into a direction and control matter).
This act sets out how the police complaints system operates.
How a police force is run, for example policing standards or policing policy.
An investigation carried out by the police under the direction and control of the IOPC.
The organisation that is responsible for assessing how to deal with a complaint. For example – whether it can be handled locally or reaches the criteria for referral to the IOPC. The appropriate authority may be the chief officer of the police force or the PCC for the force. If a complaint investigation finds that someone has a case to answer for misconduct, the appropriate authority is responsible for arranging any misconduct proceedings. If you make a complaint, the appropriate authority for your case will contact you.
An intelligence-led agency with law enforcement powers, it is also responsible for reducing the harm that is caused to people and communities by serious organised crime.
Policing bodies include police and crime commissioners, the Common Council for the City of London, or the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime.
Investigations carried out entirely by the police. Complainants have a right of appeal following a local investigation (unless it is an investigation into a direction and control matter).
IOPC guidance to the police service and police authorities on the handling of complaints.
A complaint or recordable conduct matter that doesn’t need to be referred to the IOPC, but where the seriousness or circumstances justifies referral.
Parameters within which an investigation is conducted.
A person is adversely affected if he or she suffers any form of loss or damage, distress or inconvenience, if he or she is put in danger or is otherwise unduly put at risk of being adversely affected.
This is where a manager deals with the way someone has behaved. It can include: showing the police officer or member of staff how their behaviour fell short of expectations set out in the Standards of Professional Behaviour; identifying expectations for future conduct; or addressing any underlying causes of misconduct.
This could be the Police and Crime Commissioner, the Common Council for the City of London, or the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime.
A flexible process for dealing with complaints that can be adapted to the needs of the complainant. It may involve, for example, providing information and an explanation, an apology, or a meeting between the complainant and the officer involved.
A flexible process for dealing with complaints that can be adapted to the needs of the complainant. It may involve, for example, providing information and an explanation, an apology, or a meeting between the complainant and the officer involved.
A breach of standards of professional behaviour by police officers or staff so serious it could justify their dismissal.
A matter where no complaint has been received, but where there is an indication that a person serving with the police may have committed a criminal offence or behaved in a manner that would justify disciplinary proceedings.
Disapplication means that a police force may handle a complaint in whatever way it thinks fit, including not dealing with it under complaints legislation. This may only happen in certain circumstances where the complaint fits one or more of the grounds for disapplication set out in law.
The ending of an ongoing investigation into a complaint, conduct matter or DSI matter. An investigation may only be discontinued if it meets one or more of the grounds for discontinuance set out in law.
Quarter 1 covers 1 April - 30 June Quarter 2 covers 1 April - 30 September Quarter 3 covers 1 April - 31 December Quarter 4 covers the full financial year (1 April - 31 March).
You can request a review/appeal if you’re not satisfied with how your complaint has been handled.
Used to house anyone who has been detained.
Complainants have the right to appeal to the IOPC if a police force did not record their complaint or notify the correct police force if it was made originally to the wrong force.
The purpose of an investigation is to establish the facts behind a complaint, conduct matter, or DSI matter and reach conclusions. An investigator looks into matters and produces a report that sets out and analyses the evidence. There are three types of investigations: local, directed and independent.
The ending of an ongoing investigation into a complaint, conduct matter or DSI matter. An investigation may only be discontinued if it meets one or more of the grounds for discontinuance set out in law.
The type of behaviour being complained about. A single complaint case can have one or many allegations attached.
A person who makes a complaint about the conduct of someone serving with the police.
The ending of an ongoing investigation into a complaint, conduct matter or DSI matter. An investigation may only be discontinued if it meets one or more of the grounds for discontinuance set out in law.
List of officers and staff who have been dismissed from policing, or would have been if they had not retired or resigned.
The type of behaviour being complained about. A single complaint case can have one or many allegations attached.
Disapplication means that a police force may handle a complaint in whatever way it thinks fit, including not dealing with it under complaints legislation. This may only happen in certain circumstances where the complaint fits one or more of the grounds for disapplication set out in law.
An independent judicial officer, the coroner enquires into deaths reported to him/her.
A breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour that would justify at least a written warning.
No further action may be taken with regard to a complaint if the complainant decides to retract their allegation(s).
A record is made of a complaint, giving it formal status as a complaint under the Police Reform Act 2002.
This is a format where information is written in plain English and short sentences.
The IOPC must be notified about specific types of complaint or incidents to be able to decide how they should be dealt with.
No further action may be taken with regard to a complaint if the complainant decides to retract their allegation(s).
Casework involves assessing appeals. Casework staff also have a role in overseeing the police complaints system to help ensure police forces handle complaints in the best possible way.
Disapplication means that a police force may handle a complaint in whatever way it thinks fit, including not dealing with it under complaints legislation. This may only happen in certain circumstances where the complaint fits one or more of the grounds for disapplication set out in law.
Conduct includes acts, omissions, statements and decisions (whether actual, alleged or inferred). For example: language used and the manner or tone of communications.
You can request a review/appeal if you’re not satisfied with how your complaint has been handled.
You can request a review/appeal if you’re not satisfied with how your complaint has been handled.

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An act of parliament that provides the core framework of police powers to combat crime and provide codes of practice for the exercise of these powers.
Leads and manages the development of the police service in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The body that represents the interests of all police constables, sergeants, and inspectors.
Deals with someone’s inability or failure to perform to a satisfactory level, but without breaching the Standards of Professional Behaviour.
Focuses on putting an issue right and preventing it from happening again by encouraging those involved to reflect on their actions and learn. It is not a disciplinary process or a disciplinary outcome.
Department within a police force that deals with complaints and conduct matters.
Refers to lower-level misconduct or performance-related issues, which are dealt with in a proportionate and constructive manner.
This means doing what is appropriate in the circumstances, taking into account the facts and the context in which the complaint has been raised, within the framework of legislation and guidance.
The average is calculated using the individual results of the forces in that most similar force group.
An investigation carried out by IOPC staff.
Carried out by the police under their own direction and control. The IOPC sets the terms of reference and receives the investigation report when it is complete. Complainants have a right of appeal following a supervised investigation (unless it is an investigation into a direction and control matter).
This act sets out how the police complaints system operates.
How a police force is run, for example policing standards or policing policy.
An investigation carried out by the police under the direction and control of the IOPC.
The organisation that is responsible for assessing how to deal with a complaint. For example – whether it can be handled locally or reaches the criteria for referral to the IOPC. The appropriate authority may be the chief officer of the police force or the PCC for the force. If a complaint investigation finds that someone has a case to answer for misconduct, the appropriate authority is responsible for arranging any misconduct proceedings. If you make a complaint, the appropriate authority for your case will contact you.
An intelligence-led agency with law enforcement powers, it is also responsible for reducing the harm that is caused to people and communities by serious organised crime.
Policing bodies include police and crime commissioners, the Common Council for the City of London, or the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime.
Investigations carried out entirely by the police. Complainants have a right of appeal following a local investigation (unless it is an investigation into a direction and control matter).
IOPC guidance to the police service and police authorities on the handling of complaints.
A complaint or recordable conduct matter that doesn’t need to be referred to the IOPC, but where the seriousness or circumstances justifies referral.
Parameters within which an investigation is conducted.
A person is adversely affected if he or she suffers any form of loss or damage, distress or inconvenience, if he or she is put in danger or is otherwise unduly put at risk of being adversely affected.
This is where a manager deals with the way someone has behaved. It can include: showing the police officer or member of staff how their behaviour fell short of expectations set out in the Standards of Professional Behaviour; identifying expectations for future conduct; or addressing any underlying causes of misconduct.
This could be the Police and Crime Commissioner, the Common Council for the City of London, or the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime.
A flexible process for dealing with complaints that can be adapted to the needs of the complainant. It may involve, for example, providing information and an explanation, an apology, or a meeting between the complainant and the officer involved.
A flexible process for dealing with complaints that can be adapted to the needs of the complainant. It may involve, for example, providing information and an explanation, an apology, or a meeting between the complainant and the officer involved.
A breach of standards of professional behaviour by police officers or staff so serious it could justify their dismissal.
A matter where no complaint has been received, but where there is an indication that a person serving with the police may have committed a criminal offence or behaved in a manner that would justify disciplinary proceedings.
Disapplication means that a police force may handle a complaint in whatever way it thinks fit, including not dealing with it under complaints legislation. This may only happen in certain circumstances where the complaint fits one or more of the grounds for disapplication set out in law.
The ending of an ongoing investigation into a complaint, conduct matter or DSI matter. An investigation may only be discontinued if it meets one or more of the grounds for discontinuance set out in law.
Quarter 1 covers 1 April - 30 June Quarter 2 covers 1 April - 30 September Quarter 3 covers 1 April - 31 December Quarter 4 covers the full financial year (1 April - 31 March).
You can request a review/appeal if you’re not satisfied with how your complaint has been handled.
Used to house anyone who has been detained.
Complainants have the right to appeal to the IOPC if a police force did not record their complaint or notify the correct police force if it was made originally to the wrong force.
The purpose of an investigation is to establish the facts behind a complaint, conduct matter, or DSI matter and reach conclusions. An investigator looks into matters and produces a report that sets out and analyses the evidence. There are three types of investigations: local, directed and independent.
The ending of an ongoing investigation into a complaint, conduct matter or DSI matter. An investigation may only be discontinued if it meets one or more of the grounds for discontinuance set out in law.
The type of behaviour being complained about. A single complaint case can have one or many allegations attached.
A person who makes a complaint about the conduct of someone serving with the police.
The ending of an ongoing investigation into a complaint, conduct matter or DSI matter. An investigation may only be discontinued if it meets one or more of the grounds for discontinuance set out in law.
List of officers and staff who have been dismissed from policing, or would have been if they had not retired or resigned.
The type of behaviour being complained about. A single complaint case can have one or many allegations attached.
Disapplication means that a police force may handle a complaint in whatever way it thinks fit, including not dealing with it under complaints legislation. This may only happen in certain circumstances where the complaint fits one or more of the grounds for disapplication set out in law.
An independent judicial officer, the coroner enquires into deaths reported to him/her.
A breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour that would justify at least a written warning.
No further action may be taken with regard to a complaint if the complainant decides to retract their allegation(s).
A record is made of a complaint, giving it formal status as a complaint under the Police Reform Act 2002.
This is a format where information is written in plain English and short sentences.
The IOPC must be notified about specific types of complaint or incidents to be able to decide how they should be dealt with.
No further action may be taken with regard to a complaint if the complainant decides to retract their allegation(s).
Casework involves assessing appeals. Casework staff also have a role in overseeing the police complaints system to help ensure police forces handle complaints in the best possible way.
Disapplication means that a police force may handle a complaint in whatever way it thinks fit, including not dealing with it under complaints legislation. This may only happen in certain circumstances where the complaint fits one or more of the grounds for disapplication set out in law.
Conduct includes acts, omissions, statements and decisions (whether actual, alleged or inferred). For example: language used and the manner or tone of communications.
You can request a review/appeal if you’re not satisfied with how your complaint has been handled.
You can request a review/appeal if you’re not satisfied with how your complaint has been handled.

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Preface First

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Content

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IOPC Impact Report 2021/22 - Engaging, learning and improving

You can view our Impact Report in a designed PDF format. We have also produced a welsh version of the report. This report covers the period 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022.

Contents

Welcome

Who we are and what we do

Our Impact in 2021/22

Find out more


Welcome

Welcome to our Impact Report 2021/22, sharing the highlights of our work and, most importantly, the difference we have made over the year. We have now come to the end of our first three-year strategy which has given us an opportunity to take stock as we launch our new five-year plan.

Despite the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have continued to perform well. I am pleased to report that 90% of our core investigations were completed within 12 months, surpassing our target, and 35% of our core investigations were completed within six months.

Our focus on learning and improving policing practice is an important part of our work. We made some 180 recommendations in 2021/22, leading to improved training, better policies and guidance, and changes to the way officers go about their work. Our major report and recommendations on the use of Taser is a good example. Our Learning the Lessons magazine continues to share information and best practice, which I know is well received.

Awareness of the IOPC is a key part of how we raise confidence in police accountability. While there is always more work to do in this area, we’re making good progress. In the last year, awareness has increased from half of the public having heard of the IOPC, to almost two thirds.

However, awareness isn’t everything – importantly, what do people think of us? While not complacent we are very proud of the feedback we have received, examples of which are quoted in this report.

We have continued to focus on making the IOPC a diverse and inclusive organisation to work for, with 81% of staff agreeing that we value diversity. Improvements in this area are helping us to better reflect and serve the public.
Our progress was helped by feedback from members of the public, stakeholders and policing organisations. These conversations have enabled us to understand and recommend improvements to the things that matter most to the public.

As always, I would like to thank our non-executive directors for their knowledge, constructive challenge and support, and my management team and staff for their hard work and commitment.
I hope that you enjoy reading about our impact over this past year. We are always looking for ways to improve policing in England and Wales, and to improve ourselves as an organisation. I look forward to continuing that work over the coming years.

Michael Lockwood

Director General


Who we are and what we do

We are the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). We oversee the police complaints system in England and Wales and set and monitor the standards by which the police should handle complaints. We investigate the most serious matters, including allegations of serious corruption, and cases where someone has died or been seriously injured following contact with the police. We also consider certain types of reviews from people who are dissatisfied with the way their complaint has been dealt with. 

We play a vital role in improving police practice by ensuring the police are accountable for their actions and lessons are learnt. Working with our partners, service users and communities, we use evidence from our work to influence and drive changes to policing, particularly on issues that we know are affecting community and public confidence - for example, our thematic focus on race discrimination in policing and on the police response to violence against women and girls.

As part of our wider oversight work, we provide guidance to help the police handle complaints at a local level. We also monitor the performance of police force professional standards departments and we hold them to account for their performance in complaint handling. 

Along with Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) and the College of Policing we assess and respond to super-complaints. Super-complaints are made by a range of organisations about broad or systemic issues that could affect public confidence in policing.

We also have powers in relation to a number of other organisations that are not police forces but have police-like powers, and we investigate criminal allegations against police and crime commissioners and their deputies.

You can read our recommendations, summaries of investigations, and publications on our website.


Our Impact in 2021/22 - Improving public confidence in policing through accountability and learning

 

1. Working with others to improve the complaints system

90% of core independent investigations completed within 12 months, 5% above target

Decided outcome of 1/3 of valid reviews was not reasonable and proportionate.

53% of our investigations were on thematic areas including race discrimiantion, domestic absue and mental health

2. Identifying and sharing learning

During the year we made 180 recommendations

93% of all recommendations were accepted

Learning the lessons issue 39 on child sexual abuse was shared with 1,500 people

3. Improving confidence in police accountability

Over 22,000 calls from the public. 248 engagement sessions

Public awareness of the IOPC increased from half to 2/3

An almost 10% increase in awareness among ethnic minority groups since 2019/20

4. Being an effective and efficient organisation

Learning and Development courses delivered to upskill staff

Received the stonewall silver employer 2022, customer service excellence accreditation

81% of staff survey respondents agreed that the IOPC values workplace diversity

 


Priority 1: To work with others to improve the police complaints system

“[Your report] was incredibly detailed and I felt you completely understood the entire situation … you have addressed every point so well the whole way through. … Thank you for your support and communication.” - Feedback from service user

We will work to improve all parts of the complaints system – both our own work and that carried out by others – so that it consistently delivers fair outcomes, that are based on the evidence, in a timely way.

We play a key role in making sure that complaints are dealt with in a reasonable and proportionate way.

We ensure police officers and staff are held to account and that they learn and improve the service they provide.

Case study- Issuing remedies after a stop and search incident

As an IOPC casework manager, I assess reviews when people are unhappy with the outcome of their complaint to the police. I review the actions the police took to resolve the complaint and look for opportunities for them to improve the service they provide. I can direct the police to look into the complaint again, identify areas of learning and recommend remedies to resolve the issues. Examples of remedies include an apology, return of property or reflective practice for police officers. 

In one case, a complaint was made to the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) after officers stopped, handcuffed and searched a 12-year-old Black child suspected of being part of a group reported for ‘playing’ with a large knife. The search did not find a knife or any evidence of an offence.

The MPS concluded that the stop was not discriminatory, and that excessive force was not used. However, it did find that the service provided was not acceptable and decided to address it through the Reflective Practice Review Process. In this process officers reflect, learn, and put things right where necessary to prevent any problems from re-occurring. 

The mother and child were not happy with this outcome and asked the IOPC to formally review their complaint. They were particularly concerned that the child was stopped because they were Black, and how their personal information would be used following the encounter with the police.

At the IOPC, we have a group of staff who provide specialist advice on complaints concerning race and discrimination. Members highlighted some useful resources to consider including an MPS report on routine handcuffing, the IOPC’s stop and search recommendations to the MPS, and the poster guide ‘Hints and tips for officers when coming into contact with young people’ produced by the IOPC Youth Panel.

I established that an officer handcuffed the child before offering any explanation of the stop. The officer also implied that they routinely handcuffed anyone they stopped and searched – which goes against the rules governing stop and search and contradicts the best practice set out in resources I had read. 

Based on this evidence, I was satisfied the officer did not stop the child because they were Black, and therefore their actions were non-discriminatory. However, I did feel that the child should have been given more of an opportunity to explain themselves, and that the officer should have offered an apology when nothing was found. 

I made three additional remedies to resolve the issues of the complaint and help the MPS to learn from the incident. As a result, the MPS:
• issued an apology to the child
• reassured the family by explaining how their child’s personal information would be used
• expanded the officer’s Reflective Practice Review Process to consider the learning I had identified and the resources I reviewed

Our work on reviews

The majority of complaints from the public are dealt with by police forces. When someone is not happy with how the police handled their complaint, they have a right of review to the IOPC or the local policing body

Reviewing complaints is a key aspect of our work in holding the police to account. When we complete a review, we assess whether the outcome of a complaint was reasonable and proportionate. This means doing what is appropriate in the circumstances, taking into account the facts and the context in which the complaint was raised.

Last year, we completed 1,161 reviews of the way police had handled a complaint for 1/3 of reviews, we decided the outcome was not reasonable and proportionate.

Working with forces to improve the complaints system

On 1 February 2020, legal changes were made to the police complaints system to make it simpler, more effective and more customer focused. This includes a duty on police and crime commissioners to oversee and review local complaints.

This year, we worked closely with them, and others with similar responsibilities, to understand these changes and put them into practice. Our interactive workshops focused on the understanding of reasonable and proportionate handling, and the outcomes available to review handlers if they disagree with a complaint decision. This helped to improve the quality of complaint handling and the service provided to the public.

“It was very useful to have the opportunity to discuss the topics with you (the IOPC) and local policing bodies colleagues. … it is helpful to share best practice and bring questions to the table.” - Feedback provided by a workshop attendee 

All attendees stated they were likely to attend further workshops and 83% of attendees stated that their understanding of reasonable and proportionate handling had improved as a result of attending the workshop.

We also ran workshops with forces to increase their understanding of the definition and referral process to the IOPC for death and serious injury cases. These were attended by 55 staff from the professional standards departments across eight forces.

“It really was a good session and very well received by the team. Some of the more experienced members found it good as a refresher too.’’ - Feedback provided by a workshop attendee

Our investigations

Police forces must refer the most serious cases to us. We decide whether an investigation is necessary and, if so, what level of involvement we should have.

Every year since 2018, the number of referrals we receive has grown. In 2021/22 we received 5,423 referrals. The number of referrals we received where sexual assault or harassment was identified as a factor increased by two thirds, compared to 2020/21. During this time, we recognised the increasing public concern relating to cultural attitudes in policing and the police response to violence against women and girls.

In 2021/22, we started a total of 387 independent investigations, including 20 major investigations. (Major investigations are large scale or more complex cases such as Operation Linden - an investigation into historic child sexual exploitation in Rotherham). The kind of cases we are taking on are changing, becoming more complex as we focus on issues having the most impact on public confidence. This includes more multi-strand investigations, higher volumes of digital evidence and the need to support more vulnerable witnesses.

We exceeded our target to complete 85% of core independent investigations within 12 months, achieving 90%. We also achieved our target to complete 35% of our core investigations within six months.

Throughout 2021/22, we continued to investigate cases on themes of concern to the public and police. Our current thematic areas are domestic abuse, road traffic incidents, mental health, race discrimination and abuse of power for sexual purpose. Last year we completed 85 thematic investigations, with the majority completed within 12 months.

90% of our core investigations were completed in 12 months


Priority 2: To improve policing by identifying and sharing learning from our work

“A really important role for the IOPC is things like the Taser report that it recently issued, so not just looking at those individual cases but also bringing it together and looking more thematically as well” - Feedback from stakeholder

We will focus our work on areas of concern to both the public and police, and work with partners to share our learning to improve policing and protect the public from harm.

Our recommendations can lead to changes at a local or national level to policy, training, equipment, systems, and policing practices. Changes made in response to our recommendations ultimately improve policing for everyone and build confidence. 

Case study - National changes to training for police officers on using Taser in the presence of a child

We investigated nine complaints made by a man who was repeatedly tasered during his arrest, while a child was with him.

We set up a community reference group to understand the impact of this case. Through our discussions, we heard concerns about the disproportionate use of Taser on Black men and noted a disparity between some expectations about when a Taser can be used, and how national guidance allows it to be used.

We examined the actions of officers during and after the man’s arrest, their use of force, and whether the man was treated less favourably because he was Black.

We concluded that officers had acted in line with the relevant policies, guidance and procedures. We also found no evidence to suggest the complainant’s ethnicity was a factor in the decision to use force against him. However, we identified several areas of learning for Greater Manchester Police (GMP), as well as changes needed at a national level.

As a result of our recommendation, the College of Policing updated its national guidance on the use of Taser. All officers are now required to consider the potential implications of Taser use in the presence of a child.

GMP also accepted our recommendation to ensure that officers are aware of their language when justifying their use of force. They should not refer to commonly held stereotypes that might make their actions seem discriminatory.

We shared and discussed the outcome with the community reference group so that it understood how we had come to our decision.

Organisational learning recommendations

We make learning recommendations to the police and other organisations following our investigations, reviews and thematic work.

Our recommendations help to ensure that lessons are learnt, and policing practice improves to prevent issues from happening again. We discuss potential learning recommendations with our stakeholders and intended recipients, so that our recommendations are relevant, accurate and have the greatest impact.

Recipients are required to provide a response to certain recommendations within 56 days (if issued under Paragraph 28A of Schedule 3 of the Police Reform Act 2002). Of these recommendations where we received a response, 92% of local recommendations were accepted and 96% of national recommendations were accepted.

During the year, we made around 180 recommendations aimed at improving policing, including changes to policy, guidance and training.

Sharing learning to improve police practice

Our research consistently shows that members of the public who make a complaint about the police want them to learn from it.

We are pleased to see that our stakeholders firmly support our priority to identify and share learning, and that they are positive about our published learning materials, which can all be found on our website.

Since 2007, we have published Learning the Lessons magazines to share learning from our investigations and reviews. Each issue contains case studies and reflective questions for policy makers, officers, and policing staff to proactively consider what they could do to prevent similar incidents from occurring in their force. The magazines also include contributions from external organisations, which helps highlight work happening nationally to support our learning work.

Last year, we published Issue 39 of the magazine, which focused on child sexual abuse. Themes included failure to progress investigations, and intelligence around indecent images of children.

We shared the magazine with over 1,500 of our stakeholders, including police complaint handlers and learning and development leads. We also hosted two learning sessions for staff to hear from the external contributors to the magazine and increase their understanding of the issues.

“It brought us all together internally with our policing stakeholders to think about the shared agenda - appreciating the challenges and different perspectives and how we work together… Well done” - Policy and Engagement Manager, IOPC

Case study - National guidance on delivering a death message

As a result of our learning recommendation, the College of Policing will develop advice for police officers on delivering a death message. This will include consideration of circumstances when the person receiving the message is not in their own home. 

This followed an IOPC investigation where a woman had died in a road incident. Her family was informed of her death at the scene, while in their car with another family member on a car hands-free device. The family were then allowed to drive home without considerations for potential welfare support. Although officers from the force did follow in a separate vehicle it appears that no dynamic risk assessment was undertaken, given the circumstances in which the family were informed of her death.

The College of Policing will also review its training on delivering a death message to ensure that the need to consider welfare and health and safety is included.

Thematic learning on Taser

Last year we reviewed 101 independent IOPC investigations that involved Taser use - over a five-year period from 2015 to 2020. We considered existing data and literature and listened to the views and concerns expressed by community groups and stakeholders.

In response to the issues we identified, we made 17 learning recommendations to several national organisations. These were focused on training and guidance, scrutiny and monitoring of Taser use, data and research, and community engagement

We also called for increased national scrutiny on the discharge of Taser by police on children. Supported by the National Police Chiefs’ Council, we wrote to all forces, encouraging them to refer matters to us involving the use of Taser on a child. We want to establish better knowledge of the circumstances of each incident, and why the discharge was felt necessary by a police officer. 

We will continue to monitor the impact of this work to increase public confidence in the police use of Taser.

We made 17 learning recommmendation of Taser use, following our review of 101 independent investigations involving Tasers.


Priority 3: To improve confidence in police accountability

“There’s a lot of good people, passionate people willing to put the time in to make a difference... They’re genuinely passionate to work with young people and care about what we have to say and act on what we say.” - Feedback from a member of the Youth Panel

We will engage with a range of stakeholders and communities, focusing on those with the least confidence in policing, so they understand their right to complain and expect fair and just treatment in response to complaints and serious incidents.

We listen to our stakeholders and focus our work on responding to the concerns that matter most to our service users and the public.

Case study - Officer jailed for pursuing women for sexual purposes

We completed an independent investigation into the conduct of a police officer who had pursued six vulnerable women he met through his duties. He had sexual contact with three and sought to establish sexual contact with the others.

The officer had used police computer systems for non-policing purposes to get information about women. He also propositioned women for sex in their homes while their children were in the property.

The officer had sent hundreds of text messages to multiple women while he was on duty and sent obscene and sexually explicit texts to women. He also requested they send intimate photographs of themselves.

We concluded the officer had a case to answer for gross misconduct because the evidence suggested that the conduct of the officer was intentional, deliberate, targeted and planned. The former officer was jailed for over three years and was placed on the College of Policing’s barred list preventing future employment with the police.

Following our investigation, the force updated its training on abuse of power for sexual purpose and amended its social media policies on the use of WhatsApp.

“I would like to thank the IOPC for contacting me and for their incredible support … Without the phone call from them I would have carried these feelings forever. I now realise I am not to blame; I was a victim and I hope at the end of this case there is justice” - Feedback from a witness

Abuse of power for a sexual purpose

Abuse of power for a sexual purpose is the single largest form of police corruption the IOPC deals with. In the last two years we have seen a tripling of press queries about this subject area. This reflects the growing focus in both public concern and the work happening across policing to tackle the problem.

The public expect us to be open and transparent in our communications about our work. In October, we issued a press release in response to increasing public concerns about police who abuse their position for a sexual purpose. This resulted in significant reporting - across radio, television and print media. This included 323 online news articles with a combined reach of 500 million readers.

During this month, our Media team received twice as many queries on abuse of power than any other single month in the last three years.

Building confidence through transparency

Last year we published our learning report into the nine linked investigations known as Operation Hotton, which identified evidence of bullying and discrimination by officers predominantly based at Charing Cross Police Station.

Our learning report contained examples of the messages shared by some officers. Whilst we acknowledged that this could offend and upset the public, we felt it was necessary to promote transparency and provide context for our recommendations.

The report led to widespread calls for the Metropolitan Police Service to address the cultural issues identified. Our report has been described by various stakeholders as a watershed moment in policing.

“The report is truly shocking. The casual sexism and misogyny was an eye opener, even to me. And the rest - racism, bullying etc. The report was well written, hard hitting and the quotes spoke volumes. Thanks to... all at IOPC involved - for doing this really important thematic work towards change” - Stakeholder

On the day it was issued it was a lead story for the BBC, as well as national and regional media. We also carried out broadcast interviews on several BBC platforms and spoke to LBC radio.

In the week after publication, Operation Hotton had an immediate impact. ‘Charing Cross’ trended on Twitter and key terms relating to the report featured in Google searches, prompting discussion on social media platforms.

In the following two months, there was still a great deal of interest in our report. Around 1,700 people had read our Operation Hotton media releases and/or learning report on our website.

Since its publication there have been nearly 500 news stories and blogs about Operation Hotton worldwide. It has been covered prominently in the United States and in countries including India, Italy and New Zealand.

The Metropolitan Police Service fully accepted our recommendations and agreed to publicly commit to a position of zero-tolerance on racism, misogyny, bullying and harassment, as well as being an anti-racist organisation. Our recommendations were also considered as part of the National Police Chiefs’ Council Race Action Plan.

Working with stakeholders

In 2021/22, we held around 250 engagement sessions with a diverse range of stakeholders across England and Wales. This helped us to understand the diverse communities we serve, and the issues in policing that are of greatest concern.

In our latest survey, our stakeholders spoke highly about how we engaged with them and how they appreciate the efforts we have made to be more open, accessible and proactive.

“I’ve always found anyone that I have interacted with to be really professional and transparent… We can have that two-way dialogue from one organisation to another” - Stakeholder

Race discrimination and stop and search were regularly raised as areas of concern, particularly about how stop and search powers are used, and the impact this can have on individuals.

“There is really good engagement. It’s professional, it’s collaborative, it’s open and fair” - Policing stakeholder

Our discussions with stakeholders were vital to developing our national stop and search learning report. We listened to the views of academics, members of our Youth Panel, policing experts, police and crime commissioners, HMICFRS, the National Black Policing Association and community scrutiny and advisory groups, to ensure our report had the greatest impact.

We will continue to monitor the impact of our recommendations. We welcome consideration of our recommendations as part of the National Police Chiefs’ Council and College of Policing’s Police Race Action Plan.

Our Stop and Search learning report made 18 learning recommendationsto national organisations.

Working with children and young people

Our Youth Panel is made up of around 40 young people aged 16-25, who help us to better understand the concerns of young people and improve their low confidence in policing and the police complaints system.

Last year the Panel met with over 125 young people to talk through the issues affecting young people’s perceptions and levels of trust in the police. The Panel’s second report sets out several recommendations that we are working with the Panel to deliver.

These recommendations include:
• developing a national young people’s survey to gather views on policing on an annual basis
• increasing officers’ knowledge of the communities they are policing and exploring improvements to training

“The way we speak to children can make a huge difference. You never know what problems they may be going through and the way we portray ourselves and our communication methods will affect how they respond to us” - Policing stakeholder who attended a meeting with the Youth Panel

The Youth Panel also supported the creation of an IOPC Instagram account to increase the visibility of our work and improve accessibility for young people to information about the complaints system. Together, we launched the ongoing ‘Know your Rights’ social media campaign, developed to inform young people about their rights in areas, such as stop and search.

The Youth Panel Know Your Rights campaign reached out to young people via 5,423 accounts and receievd 7,745 impressions.

 


Priority 4: To be an effective and efficient organisation

“This has been an amazing opportunity, especially for someone with no experience in a professional setting, so thank you for running it so well and giving me this experience.” - Intern at IOPC Aspiring Professionals Programme

We will attract and retain a highly skilled diverse workforce and provide our people with a good working environment, while continually improving to provide value for money.

Our ambition is to be a great place to work. We strive to improve the diversity of our workforce and better represent the communities we serve.

Being an inclusive organisation

As an inclusive organisation we are committed to promoting equality and valuing diversity in everything we do.

Last year we made significant progress on initiatives that build a workplace culture that respects and values difference, making the IOPC an even better place to work. This variety of backgrounds and experience helps us to better work for and empathise with communities.

Reverse mentoring programme

This initiative focused on mentors from ethnic minority backgrounds and supports us to appreciate the experiences and respond to the needs of our staff and service users. It has helped senior leaders understand and resolve some of the personal and organisational barriers faced by colleagues and have an increased awareness of the impact of their decisionmaking and the working practices they oversee.

As part of our work overseeing forces’ handling of complaints, we reviewed a case where a man was arrested and taken into police custody. A number of warning markers were attached to the man’s custody record, including suicide and self-harm. Warning markers on police records are used to give officers and other police staff important information to be aware of to protect themselves and the public.

“We created a safe space to allow both parties to be tenacious and open in learning and undertaking respectful challenge. We were able to develop growth mindsets and reflect on learnt behaviours that reinforce negative societal attitudes, help to eradicate any ignorance [and] remove any bias” - A staff member who participated in the programme.

Pride network help us understand the impact of our work

Our staff networks play a key role in understanding the effect of our work on a particular community or people with a protected characteristic. 

Our Pride staff network has provided significant support to a high-profile investigation which has impacted the LGBTQ+ community and wider public.

This involved giving the investigation team information on intersectionality between LGBTQ+ and sex or gender, and guiding them on the use of inclusive and sensitive language in their reports. Staff network members also attended two community meetings to help foster communication and a better relationship with local people affected by the incident. 

Despite the widespread media publicity, the network felt there was limited internal communication about the impact the case had on the LGBTQ+ community. They hosted a forum where network members could express their concerns and be listened to by senior leaders and other staff.

Senior leaders acknowledged the concerns of staff and recognised that the organisation could do more to provide support for staff and improve its internal communications. They shared a blog post promoting LGBTQ+ inclusion and invited staff to share their pronouns in their email signatures.

Following this meeting, the LGBTQ+ network lead for the Metropolitan Police Service asked to meet with our Pride network. This meeting was really positive, and they were keen to understand more about our pronouns project to increase guidance on gender identity and how they could implement this. We have provided advice to the MPS on how it can improve their equality diversity and inclusion training.

Stonewall Silver Award 2022

We were awarded the Silver Employer Award in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index for 2022. This is a great achievement and recognition of our efforts to become an LGBTQ+ employer. We also promote learning by highlighting issues to police leaders and our oversight partners, and influencing them to take action to improve policing.

Aspiring Professionals Programme

Our Aspiring Professionals Programme is a paid four-week placement at the IOPC, which aims to provide opportunities to those from marginalised and diverse backgrounds, who have an interest in a career in the IOPC or wider public sector.

All candidates felt more confident about applying for IOPC or public sector roles in the future. We are pleased that six of the professionals who completed the programme, secured roles within the IOPC.

We received 119 applications for twelve places on the aspiring professionals programme, with 57% of applicants from an ethnic minority background 

Case study - Disproportionality in stop and search

Evidence of disproportionality in the use of police powers has long been a concern which impacts on confidence in policing, particularly in Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

Eleven opportunities for the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to improve the way it exercises stop and search powers and consider disproportionality were identified following a review of five investigations involving the stop and search of Black men by MPS officers.


Find out more

We share all our publications and communication via our website.

• Our Annual Report describes our progress towards achieving the work we committed to in our Business Plan. It contains information about our performance audited accounts.
• Our Outcomes Report provides transparency about what happens following our investigations in the past year.
• We produce a range of publications that share learning from our work. We also publish investigation summaries and learning recommendations.
• Our Youth Panel has reached out to young people to understand their views and published new research.

An act of parliament that provides the core framework of police powers to combat crime and provide codes of practice for the exercise of these powers.
Leads and manages the development of the police service in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The body that represents the interests of all police constables, sergeants, and inspectors.
Deals with someone’s inability or failure to perform to a satisfactory level, but without breaching the Standards of Professional Behaviour.
Focuses on putting an issue right and preventing it from happening again by encouraging those involved to reflect on their actions and learn. It is not a disciplinary process or a disciplinary outcome.
Department within a police force that deals with complaints and conduct matters.
Refers to lower-level misconduct or performance-related issues, which are dealt with in a proportionate and constructive manner.
This means doing what is appropriate in the circumstances, taking into account the facts and the context in which the complaint has been raised, within the framework of legislation and guidance.
The average is calculated using the individual results of the forces in that most similar force group.
An investigation carried out by IOPC staff.
Carried out by the police under their own direction and control. The IOPC sets the terms of reference and receives the investigation report when it is complete. Complainants have a right of appeal following a supervised investigation (unless it is an investigation into a direction and control matter).
This act sets out how the police complaints system operates.
How a police force is run, for example policing standards or policing policy.
An investigation carried out by the police under the direction and control of the IOPC.
The organisation that is responsible for assessing how to deal with a complaint. For example – whether it can be handled locally or reaches the criteria for referral to the IOPC. The appropriate authority may be the chief officer of the police force or the PCC for the force. If a complaint investigation finds that someone has a case to answer for misconduct, the appropriate authority is responsible for arranging any misconduct proceedings. If you make a complaint, the appropriate authority for your case will contact you.
An intelligence-led agency with law enforcement powers, it is also responsible for reducing the harm that is caused to people and communities by serious organised crime.
Policing bodies include police and crime commissioners, the Common Council for the City of London, or the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime.
Investigations carried out entirely by the police. Complainants have a right of appeal following a local investigation (unless it is an investigation into a direction and control matter).
IOPC guidance to the police service and police authorities on the handling of complaints.
A complaint or recordable conduct matter that doesn’t need to be referred to the IOPC, but where the seriousness or circumstances justifies referral.
Parameters within which an investigation is conducted.
A person is adversely affected if he or she suffers any form of loss or damage, distress or inconvenience, if he or she is put in danger or is otherwise unduly put at risk of being adversely affected.
This is where a manager deals with the way someone has behaved. It can include: showing the police officer or member of staff how their behaviour fell short of expectations set out in the Standards of Professional Behaviour; identifying expectations for future conduct; or addressing any underlying causes of misconduct.
This could be the Police and Crime Commissioner, the Common Council for the City of London, or the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime.
A flexible process for dealing with complaints that can be adapted to the needs of the complainant. It may involve, for example, providing information and an explanation, an apology, or a meeting between the complainant and the officer involved.
A flexible process for dealing with complaints that can be adapted to the needs of the complainant. It may involve, for example, providing information and an explanation, an apology, or a meeting between the complainant and the officer involved.
A breach of standards of professional behaviour by police officers or staff so serious it could justify their dismissal.
A matter where no complaint has been received, but where there is an indication that a person serving with the police may have committed a criminal offence or behaved in a manner that would justify disciplinary proceedings.
Disapplication means that a police force may handle a complaint in whatever way it thinks fit, including not dealing with it under complaints legislation. This may only happen in certain circumstances where the complaint fits one or more of the grounds for disapplication set out in law.
The ending of an ongoing investigation into a complaint, conduct matter or DSI matter. An investigation may only be discontinued if it meets one or more of the grounds for discontinuance set out in law.
Quarter 1 covers 1 April - 30 June Quarter 2 covers 1 April - 30 September Quarter 3 covers 1 April - 31 December Quarter 4 covers the full financial year (1 April - 31 March).
You can request a review/appeal if you’re not satisfied with how your complaint has been handled.
Used to house anyone who has been detained.
Complainants have the right to appeal to the IOPC if a police force did not record their complaint or notify the correct police force if it was made originally to the wrong force.
The purpose of an investigation is to establish the facts behind a complaint, conduct matter, or DSI matter and reach conclusions. An investigator looks into matters and produces a report that sets out and analyses the evidence. There are three types of investigations: local, directed and independent.
The ending of an ongoing investigation into a complaint, conduct matter or DSI matter. An investigation may only be discontinued if it meets one or more of the grounds for discontinuance set out in law.
The type of behaviour being complained about. A single complaint case can have one or many allegations attached.
A person who makes a complaint about the conduct of someone serving with the police.
The ending of an ongoing investigation into a complaint, conduct matter or DSI matter. An investigation may only be discontinued if it meets one or more of the grounds for discontinuance set out in law.
List of officers and staff who have been dismissed from policing, or would have been if they had not retired or resigned.
The type of behaviour being complained about. A single complaint case can have one or many allegations attached.
Disapplication means that a police force may handle a complaint in whatever way it thinks fit, including not dealing with it under complaints legislation. This may only happen in certain circumstances where the complaint fits one or more of the grounds for disapplication set out in law.
An independent judicial officer, the coroner enquires into deaths reported to him/her.
A breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour that would justify at least a written warning.
No further action may be taken with regard to a complaint if the complainant decides to retract their allegation(s).
A record is made of a complaint, giving it formal status as a complaint under the Police Reform Act 2002.
This is a format where information is written in plain English and short sentences.
The IOPC must be notified about specific types of complaint or incidents to be able to decide how they should be dealt with.
No further action may be taken with regard to a complaint if the complainant decides to retract their allegation(s).
Casework involves assessing appeals. Casework staff also have a role in overseeing the police complaints system to help ensure police forces handle complaints in the best possible way.
Disapplication means that a police force may handle a complaint in whatever way it thinks fit, including not dealing with it under complaints legislation. This may only happen in certain circumstances where the complaint fits one or more of the grounds for disapplication set out in law.
Conduct includes acts, omissions, statements and decisions (whether actual, alleged or inferred). For example: language used and the manner or tone of communications.
You can request a review/appeal if you’re not satisfied with how your complaint has been handled.
You can request a review/appeal if you’re not satisfied with how your complaint has been handled.

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