Director General forced to resign from police watchdog

Screenshot 2022-12-04 at 04.02.16

In a short statement made late on Saturday 3rd December, 2022, the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman said: “I have accepted Michael Lockwood’s resignation as Director General of the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

“I took immediate action upon being made aware that Mr Lockwood was the subject of a police investigation into an historic allegation, and instructed my officials to ask him to resign or face immediate suspension from his role.

“Home Office staff are working at pace with the IOPC’s Unitary Board to put in place temporary arrangements for the organisation’s leadership.”

On the IOPC website the previous day Michael Lockwood had said, presumably in an attempt to deflect the real reason:

“It is with great sadness that I have decided to resign as Director General of the IOPC for personal and domestic reasons, and this will be effective from today.

“It has been an enormous privilege to serve as Director General and to have led the organisation for the past five years. I am proud of the progress we have made and I am grateful to all our staff, the Unitary Board and external stakeholders for all their support.”

There should be an immediate Home Office investigation as to how Lockwood and the IOPC were allowed to deceive the public in this way.

In extraordinary circumstances, he was the first Director General to be appointed to the IOPC. A candidate of outstanding ability, credentials, reputation and relevant experience had been overlooked to accommodate a former local council chief executive who came with baggage,

Prior to joining the IOPC, Lockwood was chief executive of the London Borough of Harrow, and before that was an accountant with a background in auditing. He had no policing background.

The ‘achievements’ to which Lockwood refers would be a complete mystery to most, if not all, of those who form the miscarriage of justice fraternity in England and Wales. Wherein he was viewed as just the latest in a long line of time-serving, policing sycophants to occupy senior roles in the IPCC or IOPC.

The most notable watchdog  ‘achievement’ being that there are now, on the admissions of chief officers, many hundreds, if not thousands, of miscreant officers lurking in the ranks of the police service.

The IOPC replaced the discredited Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) in 2018. That brand had simply become too toxic as it was engulfed in scandal upon scandal, particularly relating to the treatment of families bereaved at the hands of the police. These include, amongst many others, those close to Christopher Alder, Jean Charles de Menenez, Sean Rigg, Ian Tomlinson, Mark Duggan, Anthony Grainger and, of course, the 97 Hillsborough families where not one single police officer has been convicted of any offence or faced any complaint sanction.

In 2013, a House of Commons Home Affairs Committee report found that the IPCC was “buried under the weight of poor police investigations” leaving the public “bewildered by its continued reliance on the very forces it is investigating”. It took over four years for the Government to act and dissolve the IPCC. Regrettably, many of the officers responsible for its appalling reputation, and ultimate demise, simply transferred across to the IOPC where it was “lessons learned” business as usual.

In June, 2021, the same Select Committee branded the IOPC “a law unto themselves” and highlighted the dual role of Michael Lockwood as both Director General and the Chair of its Unitary Board. The joint roles were described as “unusual” and MPs questioned the watchdog’s accountability as a result.

The IOPC press office has declined to comment further on the Director General’s resignation. In particular, regarding how long, and how many of the senior management of the IOPC had known about this allegation, before it became public?

Page last updated Saturday 3rd December, 2022 at 2050hrs

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Picture credits:  IOPC

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© Neil Wilby 2015-2022. Unauthorised use, or reproduction, of the material contained in this article, without permission from the author, is strictly prohibited. Extracts from, and links to, the article (or blog) may be used, provided that credit is given to Neil Wilby Media, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Published by Neil Wilby

Former Johnston Press area managing director. Justice campaigner. Freelance investigative journalist.

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