Four in five misconduct cases found proven following IOPC investigations
Almost 100 police officers and staff faced disciplinary or criminal proceedings as a result of an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation in 2022/23, a new report shows.
Today we have published our latest Outcomes Report, showing how our work is helping hold police to account and drive up standards in policing.
The data is taken from IOPC independent investigations, which include cases where someone dies or is seriously injured following contact with the police, serious conduct matters and public complaints.
It shows that in almost two thirds (196) of the 312 investigations completed last year, none of the officers and staff involved faced an investigation into their conduct but were treated as witnesses throughout.
Of the 232 individuals whose conduct was investigated last year, we found 108 (46 per cent) had a case to answer for misconduct or gross misconduct. Of the 121 who had no case to answer, further action was taken to help improve the performance of 54 (45 per cent).
But where we found a case to answer for potential breaches of police professional standards, the case was found proven at 80 per cent of the disciplinary proceedings held by police forces during this time (70 out of 87). This is in line with the figures in previous years (79 per cent in 2020/21 and 82 per cent in 2021/22)
Of those cases found proven, 43 were at the level of gross misconduct and resulted in 32 people being dismissed without notice.
The figures show 15 per cent of our investigations (48) involved at least one criminal suspect, of which 33 were referred to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider possible charges. There were 11 people convicted of a criminal offence as a result of an independent investigation in 2022/23, fewer than the 23 in 2021/22 but still higher than previous years.
IOPC Director General Tom Whiting said: “Every day we see examples of police officers going above and beyond to keep people safe. But when things appear to go wrong – such as when people die or are seriously injured – it is vital that all of the circumstances are thoroughly scrutinised.
“More often than not, the officers and staff involved are treated as witnesses throughout. But the value of independent investigation, to identify opportunities to improve policing and reassure the public that matters have been carefully examined, must not be underestimated.
“What this report also shows is that where police officers fail to uphold the high standards required of them, our independent scrutiny continues to help ensure those who are not fit to serve are identified and dealt with.
“At a time when reduced resources mean we have been refocusing our attention on a smaller number of cases where independent investigation will have most impact on maintaining public confidence in policing, it is pleasing that the proportion of cases found proven remains high.
“Despite the growing complexity of our investigations, the figures show we continue to ensure the right ones end up in front of disciplinary panels for them to reach a decision.”
Other findings from the report include:
- among the offences successfully prosecuted following and IOPC investigation were drug supply, causing death by dangerous driving, misconduct in public office, computer misuse and assault
- more than a quarter of those found to have a case to answer for gross misconduct (28 per cent) were involved in investigations relating to abusing power for sexual purposes
- the proportion of prosecutions leading to a conviction has remained steady at 61 per cent (from 62 per cent in 2021/22)
- of the 59 individuals criminally investigated by the IOPC, 56 per cent (33) were referred to the Crown Prosecution Service for a possible charging decision – down from 74 per cent the year before.