Tue, 04 Jul 2017
New guidance from the College of Policing on how to manage the aftermath of a death or serious injury resulting from an armed policing incident has been welcomed by the Federation.
The College published its post-deployment Authorised Professional Practice (APP) guidance today (4 July) which aligns with our stance that the immediate separation of officers following an incident is not necessary in every case, and is perceived by many as an inference of guilt.
The APP describes the steps that can be taken to provide transparency, and suggests that conferring between those most closely involved should not take place before a statement is made, other than to share operational information. However automatic separation is ‘not required unless it is safe, practical and necessary to do so’ and decided by the senior manager at the scene.
Phill Matthews, Conduct and Performance lead for the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “We welcome the recognition from the College that firearms officers are highly trained individuals who should be treated as professional witnesses, unless there is good reason to suspect they have not acted professionally. They should not be made to feel like suspects following what will already have been a highly traumatic incident. We are also pleased that the College agrees with us that separation is not necessary in all cases.”
College CEO Alex Marshall said: “We are aware that automatic separation is perceived very negatively by officers and we are satisfied that the approach set out in the guidance provides the necessary protection and support both to the independent investigation and those most closely involved.”
In February the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) released revised guidance for how evidence should be collected following the death or serious injury of a member of the public during police contact. Of significant concern once again was the continued drive for the immediate separation of officers.
At the time the Federation said trust in the guidance by those at the forefront of these incidents - our members - was key to ensuring a timely, fair resolution for all those involved. In its current form it’s difficult to see the existence of that trust.
Mr Matthews added today: “With the College of Policing, the body charged with setting professional standards in policing, making clear its position on this issue through its updated APP, we want to see the IPCC consider changing its position to accept this.”
The Federation is keen to see the guidance used as a benchmark and be extended to cover any death following police contact.
The reality is that deaths resulting from a police firearms incident are extremely rare and contact in other areas of policing, especially custody, are where many deaths occur.
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