More than 1500 police officers investigated for their behaviour by Independent Office for Police Conduct in two years, new figures reveal

More than 1,500 police officers and staff have been investigated for their conduct and behaviour by the police watchdog in the last two years, latest figures reveal.

Since the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) was established in January 2018 to oversee the police complaints system in England and Wales, a total of 1,435 investigations have been carried out, of which 693 (48 per cent) examined the conduct of at least one individual, and 236 (16 per cent) included at least one person under criminal caution.

A total of 1,504 police officers and staff were investigated by the watchdog in relation to their conduct, with 867 ( 58 per cent) either found to have a case to answer or faced with other action, such as unsatisfactory performance proceedings.

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Other figures released by the IOPC reveal 327 people were criminally investigated by the watchdog with files relating to 176 individuals (54 per cent) passed to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to consider charges. A total of 51 people were subsequently charged by the CPS with a criminal offence as a result of an IOPC investigation, with a further seven charging decisions from the CPS awaited.

More than 1500 police officers investigated for their behaviour by Independent Office for Police Conduct in two years, new figures reveal

Misconduct was proven in 181 of the 311 cases that proceeded to misconduct hearings during this period.

IOPC Director General Michael Lockwood said: “Accountability is crucial for public confidence in policing and these reports show how the hundreds of investigations we carry out each year ensure that officers’ actions are properly scrutinised.

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“The cases we investigate which result in disciplinary sanctions by forces or result in criminal proceedings by the Crown Prosecution Service are one end of the spectrum in how police are held to account.

“At the other end of the spectrum we have made over 400 learning recommendations to police forces and policing bodies to improve policing practices through changes to policies, training, supervision and culture. This ensures the system changes, and that mistakes are not repeated.

“Sometimes our investigations find no wrongdoing. That is the whole point of independent scrutiny - providing assurance that conduct has been looked at independently and impartially, with accountability taking many different forms."

The IOPC has recently come under criticism by police federations for the time it takes to conclude police officer probes.West Yorkshire Police Federation Vice Chairman Craig Grandison said while police officers have no issue with being held accountable for their actions, all too often the federation is seeing the "devastating effects elongated investigations" are having on innocent officers' lives. His comments were echoed by South Yorkshire Police Federation Chairman Steve Kent.

The IOPC has said significant achievements in improving the timeliness of investigations have been made with many delays outside the watchdog's control.

Mr Lockwood said: "Since the IOPC was set up, we have made great progress to improve the police complaints system. We have and will continue to improve our own in performance with 90 per cent of investigations now completed within 12 months. We have pushed successfully for much needed changes and will continue to do so in future.”