IPCC: Firearms officers 'believe police watchdog is out to get them' in hunt for scalps

Firearms officers believe the IPCC is 'out to get them'

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The body investigating police wrongdoing is out for scalps and more concerned with introducing changes to look tough than seeking out the truth, a senior officer has claimed.

Firearms officers believe that the Independent Police Complaints Commission is “out to get them” after planned changes to ban officers from talking to each other before giving statements after fatal shootings by police, according to Deputy Chief Constable Simon Chesterman.

DCC Chesterman, who is the national lead on firearms, said that officers were worried about their safety and their livelihoods every time they went on an armed operation.

“The IPCC is an organisation that is under scrutiny from the government and the public about how it holds the police to account – that is its job, I fully understand and I am completely supportive of the need for accountability.

“However, the fear that I have is that the pendulum with the watchdog has now swung to a point where officers believe that the organisation is now actually ‘out to get them’.

“In short, the IPCC is giving the perception that it is after scalps,” he told the Police Oracle.

His comments follows the damning Ellison report that criticised the IPCC’s inquiry into corruption linked to the Lawrence murder investigation, the latest in a long list of failures by the IPCC to properly investigate and hold officers to account.

That came a day after the IPCC warned that allowing police officers to talk after a fatal police shooting could undermine police confidence. “This begs the question ‘what is the problem we are trying to solve here?’ I fear this is more about the IPCC being seen to be tough as opposed what it should be, namely a search for the truth,” said Mr Chesterman.

Police firearms teams came under scrutiny during two major inquiries last year over the shootings of suspected gangsters Azelle Rodney and Mark Duggan. A retired judge found that an officer, known only as E7, had no “lawful justification” to shoot Mr Rodney. The officer made a High Court challenge against the finding but lost.

An IPCC spokesman said: “The IPCC  is not about ‘gaining scalps’, but is about holding police to account and searching for the truth.  The public, and we, rightly expect police who witness a death or serious injury in a professional capacity to fully co-operate with an investigation.”