Met Fed chairman furious over ACPO officer’s stance on proposed new powers for IPCC
The chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation has launched a scathing attack on Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe in the wake of his remarks over proposed IPCC powers.
John Tully (pictured) said the suggestion that officer witnesses should have their professional status questioned if they refused to answer interview questions was â€œoutrageous”.
He also said the â€œalready fragile relationshipâ€ between officers and the watchdog would be damaged if the proposed Police (Complaints and Conduct) Bill became law.
As previously reported, the government has introduced the new legislation intended to bolster the IPCCâ€™s powers â€“ which is set to be fast-tracked through Parliament and began its passage through the Commons on December 5. It will now be considered by peers, although a date for its first airing in the Lords was not available as this story went live.
The Bill would allow the watchdog to compel officer witnesses to attend face-to-face interviews. Currently they only have to give written statements.
The proposed legislation would also allow the IPCC to investigate matters probed by its precursor organisation, the Police Complaints Authority.
The Bill has been criticised by the House of Lords Constitution Committee, which said it may not be fit for purpose in its current form and should not be fast-tracked as it was not dealing with any urgent issues.
Committee members said it was not clear what would happen if a witness attended an interview but refused to answer questions. They were also concerned that the legislation only dealt with serving police officers, and there was no provision made for calling witnesses who had either retired or resigned.
But the Metropolitan Police Commissioner recently told MPs at the Home Affairs Committee that officers should be prepared to assist IPCC investigations at interview.
He suggested that those refusing to answer questions could be made aware that they may face sanctions as a result â€“ potentially having their employment status reviewed.
A furious Mr Tully said the Metropolitan Police Federation totally opposed the bill â€“ and that the IPCC needed to deploy their existing powers more effectively.
He told PoliceOracle.com: â€œI would say that I support the stance of the House of Lords Constitution Committee that the legislation â€“ like other legislation brought forward by the Home Secretary â€“ is not fit for purpose.
â€œThe Met Commissionerâ€™s apparent view that officers should expect a threat to their employment if they fail to co-operate with the IPCC is nothing short of outrageous.
â€œThere is no evidence of non-cooperation by officers with the IPCC, and it is difficult to understand the logic of Mr Hogan-Howeâ€™s comments,â€ Mr Tully added. â€œThe Home Secretaryâ€™s suggestions will only serve to further damage the already fragile relationship that exists between officers at the IPCC.â€
From Police Oracle