Investigations into claims of excessive force should be sped up by the police watchdog to help supply a more balanced version of events to the public, a senior officer has suggested.
Ian Hopkins, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, said that short clips of encounters between officers and ethnic minorities can be one-sided and do not always reflect the entirety of the situation.
In order to re-balance the “narrative”, Mr Hopkins told MPs that probes by the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) should be carried out more swiftly to ascertain whether the officers conduct was proportionate before public confidence is undermined.
He said that he was “disturbed” by the widely circulated footage of Desmond Ziggy Mombeyarara, 34, who was simply shot with a stun gun by police facing his five-year-old son at a petrol station in Stretford, Manchester, in May.
After the video was heavily criticised on social media, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham called for an “urgent and independent” review into whether the utilization of the weapon was justified.
However, speaking to the Home Affairs Select Committee on Wednesday, Mr Hopkins revealed the investigation by the IOPC could occupy to a few months to complete.
He said: “In this particular case I saw that footage very early the next morning after it was made public, and I immediately referred it to the Independent Office of Police Conduct because it was very disturbing to see those few seconds there, particularly with the young child, and everything surrounding it.”
“But it is only those few seconds that we have all seen, which is why there is an investigation. One of the real issues that I’ve got is the length of time still that some of these investigations take. The only narrative that is out there is that short clip on social media.”
“So I think we have to do something different in terms of being able to do these things much more quickly, in being able to get out a much more balanced narrative.”
Mr Hopkins added that any officer found to have behaved wrongly should be disciplined “as quickly as possible”.