PIPs – a discussion with Tony Williams, Solicitor and Managing Director at JNP Legal

Tell us about the recent Conference where you spoke about PIPs…

The Police Federation of England and Wales recently held a National Conference on Post Incident Procedures (PIP) following Death and serious injuries to members of the public following police contact.

Over two days (11 th and 12 th of September) discussions and learning took place in relation to this important process which is designed to help protect police officers and achieve best evidence in circumstances where there is an investigation of the death or serious injury to a member of the public after police contact.
However Police officers often have limited knowledge of the process.

So what is a PIP and why is the process followed?

Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights requires a State to carry out an independent investigation when a citizen dies following contact with a state agency (such as the police).

The criteria for a PIP is that

• There has been direct contact with police;
• Officers have been acting in the execution of their duties during the contact;
• There is an indication that the contact may have directly or indirectly caused or contributed to the death.

There is no time limit within which a PIP has to be called. The process is designed to protect the integrity of the investigation and instil public confidence, and is managed and controlled by the Post Incident Manager (PIM).

Police who are involved in the incident are identified as Key Police Witnesses (KPW’s). KPW’s are required to provide evidence of what happened and their honestly held belief of the circumstances. The process is broken down into stages to reflect the way in which memory works and to reflect that often cases can involve upsetting and emotionally difficult circumstances.

Police officers are entitled to help and assistance from a Federation friend and from a lawyer. The access to legal advice is not because a police officer has done anything wrong, but is to help and support the police officer to provide the best evidence possible, whilst protecting that officer’s personal position.

The investigations are often conducted independently by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), but can also be conducted by the Professional Standards Department (PSD) with an overview from the IOPC. The evidence obtained during a PIP is often used to help in Coroner proceedings and to develop organisational learning.

Sometimes criminal or misconduct issues can arise relating to police officers, which is why it is so important to receive direct legal advice about your personal situation within a PIP.

The College of Policing have provided guidance which sets out in detail the PIP process. This can be found on the College of Policing website

JNP Legal focuses on law for individuals, with services including Wills and probate, lasting powers of attorney, estate administration, crime, residential property, family law, children law, civil litigation and personal injury. We also regularly represent officers in post incident procedures, coronial proceedings, and criminal and misconduct investigations and proceedings.