Watchdog failing in Yorkshire

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper
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THE police watchdog has completely failed to bring justice to Orgreave, the shadow Home Secretary has said.

Yvette Cooper has renewed her determination to close down the Independent Police Complaints Commission as she points to a series of damning failings in South Yorkshire.

The Pontefract politician has said she believes a two year wait for the IPCC to even decide if it will investigate claims of police misconduct at Orgreave during the miners strike is a “disgrace”.

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, she said there were too many issues facing South Yorkshire Police for which there has been no satisfying answer thanks to the delays and ineffectiveness of the IPCC.

Mrs Cooper said: “It is not even a two-year investigation, it is two years to decide what to do. Completely unacceptable. We need an urgent decision from the IPCC. I have long said there is a case for an investigation.”

She added: “The IPCC has clearly failed here. It is not effective enough to be able to change what has gone wrong.”

The IPCC has still not given a reason why it has spent two years looking into Orgreave without action. Miners and politicians have sought an inquiry amid claims officers framed strikers following violent scenes in June 1984.

Mrs Cooper was speaking the day after it emerged South Yorkshire had seen a huge rise in claims of child abuse, but only a small increase in the number of arrests. There have been repeated calls, including from within the Labour party, for the police force to be subject to a Rotherham council-style formal investigation into how it failed to help victims of abuse.

Mrs Cooper said there were signs not just of failures in South Yorkshire, but again in the wider way in which the police are held to account.

“South Yorkshire Police is facing a series of problems, but what this exposes is a failure of the whole system to deal with problems quickly.

“In child sexual exploitation victims were simply not listened to by the police in Rotherham, but it is much wider than that, this is an issue all over the country.”

“There are big issues in terms of what happened in South Yorkshire Police that the IPCC should be able to investigate, but we have not seen results yet.”

She added: “We need to let the current investigations run their course, let’s make sure those are as effective as possible, then we can improve things for the future.

“But after that we have to recognise that the current system is just not working and that is why we want to see changed.

“The truth is you can have police officers who on a daily basis do excellent work with local communities to keep people safe, but these historic problems, or current problems, cast a long shadow over the important work police do.”

Labour has said it intends to replace the IPCC with a tougher watchdog if it is successful on May 7.

Other policies in the party’s crime and policing manifesto will include a new policing charter, similar to that which doctors sign up to, which will see officers take part in regular training or struck off for misconduct.

The IPCC did not provide a comment.

The watchdog is investigating 42 police officers over alleged failings identified as part of the investigation into Rotherham child sexual exploitation.

A separate investigation by the National Crime Agency into South Yorkshire Police is also ongoing.