The Police Complaints system in England and Wales is overseen by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
On 29 January 2019 the IOPC announced an investigation was underway into the conduct of a Police Officer who allegedly failed over a period of 20 months to circulate images of a suspect connected to an acid attack.
In March 2017 a woman suffered significant hand and leg injuries. A Detective Constable in the Metropolitan Police obtained CCTV images shortly after the incident but it is alleged did not circulate them until November 2018. After circulation 3 days later the suspect was identified. Unfortunately during the alleged 20 month delay the suspect was arrested and imprisoned for manslaughter after another acid attack in June 2017. Readers may recall media reports of the case in which an innocent bystander was caught in the midst of an argument between the male and another person and subsequently died from her injuries after being hit with acid thrown by him.
The obvious issue arises – had the image been circulated in March 2017 and the suspect identified, would the June 2017 assault have been avoided? A painful question for the family of the woman who died.
The IOPC are involved themselves in the investigation. The Police Office in question is being investigated for gross misconduct for alleged breaches of professional standards relating to his duties and responsibilities. If the allegations of gross misconduct are proved the Police Officer may face dismissal from the Police Force.
Blog by Richard Hardy, Partner