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London Mayor’s proposal is undermining policing by using it “as a political football”, Police Federation says

The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) issued a statement today (22 May) to comment on the letter from Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, and Rt Hon Harriet Harman KC, MP for Camberwell and Peckham, to Home Secretary Suella Braverman, which sets out a police reform proposal.

The PFEW said the letter was “calling for undemocratic powers to chief officers under the guise of police reforms.”

The proposal included reforms such as “creating a ‘duty to handover’ to obtain relevant information from an officer’s personal phone during a misconduct investigation,” which means that police officers will have to provide their personal communications when under investigation.

Another proposed reform is “providing that Regulation 13 should be used to dismiss an officer whilst in the probation period (including for misconduct).”

The PFEW said it represents and protects the rights of more than 145,000 police officers in England and Wales and it has been doing so for more than a century “regardless of the political party in power and without allowing police officers to be drawn into political matches played out on social media”.

The PFEW stated the letter setting out a reform proposal “seeks to put police officers at the mercy of a politically motivated mechanism which is both arbitrary and creates bad law.

“Policing and the protection of our communities should never be undermined in this way and used as a political football.”

“Giving uncontrolled powers to police chiefs to dismiss officers” is not the way for reform

The PFEW continued: “Policing in our country is in crisis and police officers desperately need cross-party support.

“The incredibly hard-working police work force need to set right their pay, working conditions and employment rights.

“Baroness Casey’s recent review of the Metropolitan Police Service highlights a possible way forward to deliver the changes needed to restore public confidence and deliver an improved service.

“Cultural reform and service-wide change cannot be undertaken by handing out sweeping, uncontrolled powers to police chiefs to dismiss officers without following due legal process.

“Systemic changes in police recruitment, vetting, training, standards, and leadership are needed, but any change must be fair, considered and backed by proper evidence and not conjecture.”

“Knee-jerk reactions intended to grab political limelight”

The PFEW said that it is actively engaging in the ongoing Home Office review into the process of police officer dismissals which is examining various aspects of the decision-making.

“It is disappointing to note that Mr Khan or Ms Harman have not found it appropriate to strengthen this important work by providing their insights,” the PFEW added.

“It would be encouraging for officers to see leaders engage positively in supporting a fair legal process instead of promoting piecemeal priorities and knee-jerk reactions intended to grab political limelight and media headlines at the expense of damaging the service.”

(Source: Police Federation)

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