IOPC launches Victims’ Right to Review scheme

The scheme allows victims to request a review of IOPC decisions not to refer matters to the Crown Prosecution Service

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The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has today (1 December, 2020) launched its Victims’ Right to Review (VRR) scheme which allows victims to request a review of our decisions not to refer matters to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

The scheme will apply in all independent, managed and directed investigations that have previously been designated by the IOPC as criminal investigations. Although the IOPC is not legally required to have such a policy, the VRR brings the organisation in line with similar schemes operated by the CPS and police forces.

At the end of these investigations, a decision maker decides whether a case should be referred to the CPS to determine if a prosecution should follow. In cases where no referral is made, under the VRR scheme victims can now request a review of the decision, to be carried out by a new decision maker, who had no involvement in the original decision.

Director of Strategy and Impact Kathie Cashell said: “When a victim alleges that a crime was committed by a member of the public, they are given a right to review the decisions taken by the police and the CPS. Victims are also given the right to review a decision made when they allege a crime was committed by a police officer if the investigation was carried out by a police force’s professional standards department.

“However, when the IOPC investigates, no right to review currently exists so by introducing this scheme today, we are ending that disparity for the most serious and sensitive matters involving police officers.

“Schemes of this nature have successfully operated in police forces and the CPS for a number of years and we hope the introduction of our VRR process promotes further public confidence in all parts of the police complaints system.”

The scheme has been brought in following a consultation period earlier this year and we will aim to review decisions within 28 calendar days of receipt of the request.

The full guidance has been published on the IOPC website.

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