Independent Office for Police Conduct introduced by Home Office to replace IPCC

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has been launched by the Home Office to replace the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), the established police watchdog. According to the Government, new leadership under a director general will mean speedier decision-making with a new Board put in place to ensure greater accountability to the public.

This is the latest move in the Home Office’s programme of reforms specifically designed to strengthen the organisation and will lead to new powers. The new single executive head will ensure clear lines of accountability and a streamlined decision-making process.

As well as these changes, the Policing and Crime Act 2017 includes further provisions which will increase the IOPC’s powers, clarify its investigative processes and further safeguard its independence.

Nick Hurd MP

Nick Hurd MP

The major reforms were announced by Prime Minister Theresa May during her time as Home Secretary and these powers will allow the IOPC to initiate its own investigations without relying on a given police force to record and refer a particular case for investigation, re-open cases it has closed where there are compelling reasons for doing so (such as the emergence of new evidence), increase the IOPC’s independence from the police by abolishing ‘managed’ and ‘supervised’ investigations, investigate all disciplinary investigations against chief officers and present cases against officers in the police disciplinary process when the force disagrees with the IOPC’s findings.

Nick Hurd, Minister for Policing and the Fire Service, stated: “We’re absolutely determined to make the police complaints and discipline systems simpler and more transparent for the benefit of the public. We want confidence in policing to continue to grow and be underpinned by the vital role the reformed IOPC will play. Under the leadership of Michael Lockwood and the newly-appointed Board, the IOPC will provide powerful scrutiny for policing, with new powers to begin investigations when deemed appropriate and added decisiveness in concluding cases.”

Michael Lockwood

Michael Lockwood

Michael Lockwood, the new director general of the IOPC, explained: “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, those allegations will be thoroughly investigated by a truly independent body. That’s the role of the IOPC. It’s crucial work, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Like the IPCC before it, the IOPC will continue to investigate the most serious and sensitive matters involving the police, including deaths and serious injuries as well as matters such as allegations of corruption. It will also oversee the police complaints system in England and Wales and set the standards by which complaints should be handled by the police service.

The Home Office has announced the appointment of new Board members Geoffrey Podger (senior independent director) and Manjit Gill, Catherine Jervis, Mary Lines, Andrew Harvey and Bill Matthews as non-executive directors.

The non-executive directors will form the majority of the new Board and provide independent support and challenge to the director general as well as oversight of the overall running of the organisation.

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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