Why the IPCC needs to win over its doubters

IPCC - Independent Police Complaints Commissionsource: BBC News
published: 14 July 2015

When the policeman who had shot dead the suspected armed robber, Azelle Rodney, in north London was cleared of murder earlier this month, an email quickly dropped into my in-box. It was a statement from Susan Alexander, Azelle Rodney’s mother.

She wrote about how her 24-year-old son’s death in April 2005 was “avoidable” and called on the Metropolitan Police to say sorry.

Significantly, she also asked for an “unreserved apology” from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPPC) for conducting a “wholly inadequate investigation” into the shooting.

“A better investigation may have resulted in a trial nine years ago,” she said. “I can never get those years back – the IPCC must stop failing families in this way.”

It is strong criticism that has frequently been levelled at the IPCC since it replaced the Police Complaints Authority – an organisation which was derided as ineffectual – in 2004.

The intention was that the new body, with offices across England and Wales, would bring more rigour, transparency and independence to the system for investigating allegations of police wrongdoing after failings were exposed during the Macpherson inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

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