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Dame Anne Owers attacked the commissioner after he asked for greater public support for armed firearms officers. The head of the IPCC has accused the Met commissioner of falsely claiming armed officers are “increasingly” treated as suspects. Dame Anne Owers responded to Bernard Hogan-Howe’s calls for greater public support for by saying “facts don’t support” the feeling that AFOs are treated as suspects as soon as they use their weapons. The chairman of the Independent Police Complaints Commission had an article published in The Times which insisted the body “doesn’t treat police witnesses as suspects”. She said: “The debate over police use of firearms has generated a number of myths and selective facts. “This week Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the outgoing Metropolitan Police commissioner, called for greater public support of firearms officers who, he said, were increasingly treated as suspects in investigations by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which I chair. “The facts don’t support this. “Since 2010 we’ve completed 24 firearms investigations, eight of which related to fatalities. “In all but three of them, including six of the fatal shootings, no firearms officer was ever treated as a suspect; they were all treated as witnesses. “Sir Bernard also complains about the length of time it takes to investigate shootings. This is something about which the police and the public are rightly concerned. But it is too easy to blame the IPCC alone. “When police witnesses co-operate fully and early, we can complete our investigations much more quickly. By contrast, when they don’t, for example giving statements that simply say when they came on and off duty or refusing to answer questions at interview, it takes much longer. “No one benefits, whether they are police officers or bereaved families.” Ms Owers went on to defend “rigorous independent scrutiny” adding: “We have proposed fresh guidance to get the best evidence when someone dies or is seriously injured. “It doesn’t treat police witnesses as suspects. It does aim to separate officers while they give their first accounts, to prevent conferring or contamination by other evidence. “Doing it early ensures that we can secure necessary evidence. Of course in a major terrorist incident we would not expect to do this until the risk had passed. “We will do our bit to make sure that our investigations are both robust and timely and the proposed guidance will help to ensure this. “Rigorous independent scrutiny is not a threat: it is a protection. If the police appear to shy away from this, there is a real risk to public trust. “As Sir Bernard has said, our police officers rarely discharge firearms, and even more rarely with fatal effect. When they do, it is in everyone’s interest that this is thoroughly investigated, with early and full co-operation from those involved.” View on Police Oracle