Review of police dismissals is welcomed by Federation conduct lead


PUBLISHED 25 Nov 2022

IN News

A Home Office review of the way police dismissals are handled as part of its plans to raise standards and public confidence in policing across England and Wales has been welcomed by Cambridgeshire Police Federation conduct lead Scott Houghton.

Scott, who attended a two-day seminar for Police Federation conduct and performance liaison officers in Birmingham this week, said any reforms had to be fair and balanced and should include measures that bring an end to lengthy and expensive misconduct investigations.

He said: “Police officers who fail to meet the high standards of conduct expected of them should be removed from the Force as speedily and efficiently as possible so we welcome this review.

“But other aspects of the disciplinary mechanism should also be looked at improvements made where necessary.

“The Police Federation has been campaigning for a 12-month cap on conduct investigations for a long time now and this Home Office review seems like the ideal opportunity to examine our proposals in detail and introduce measures to ensure such inquiries are not allowed to drag on for years and years.”

The review is also likely to consider:

Scott said: “Members of the public have every right to expect the highest standards of behaviour from police officers. In my experience, most officers are decent, honest and dedicated men and women who live up to those expectations day in and day out.

“Any police officer who fails to uphold the standards of professional behaviour should rightly face disciplinary action and, if appropriate, dismissal from the Force.

“But we must also remember that police officers are human beings who have to make split-second decisions often under extremely tense circumstances and sometimes they get it wrong and this has to be reflected in any overhaul of the misconduct system.”

Scott said safeguards against spurious allegations must also feature in any modernised disciplinary mechanism and stressed the Police Federation would always be available to support its officers through any such inquiries.

The Government has already overhauled the police discipline system over the last seven years to make it more transparent, more proportionate and more accountable.

Public misconduct hearings were introduced in 2015, Legally Qualified Chairs to lead conduct panels in 2016 and the Police Barred List, which ensures officers and staff who are dismissed cannot rejoin the police, in 2017.