Tuesday, March 5, 2024
HomePolicingOfficers to be automatically dismissed if found guilty of gross misconduct

Officers to be automatically dismissed if found guilty of gross misconduct

Police officers found guilty of gross misconduct face automatic dismissal while all staff who fail vetting can be sacked, under new government reforms of the disciplinary system.

The measures are an attempt to restore the public’s faith in policing in the wake of numerous controversies including serving firearms officer Wayne Couzens being convicted of the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard.

In February, the Met police officer David Carrick was jailed for life after pleading guilty to 85 serious offences including 48 rapes.

Suella Braverman, the home secretary, will announce on Thursday that the law will be changed to ensure all officers in England and Wales must be appropriately vetted during their service and to enable officers who fail a re-vetting test while in post to be sacked.

A finding of gross misconduct will automatically result in a police officer’s dismissal, unless exceptional circumstances apply.

Under the new measures, chief constables or other senior officers will also chair independent public hearings responsible for removing corrupt officers from their force.

Police chiefs will also be given a right to challenge decisions and there will be a presumption for former officers and special constables’ cases to be heard under fast-track procedures.

Braverman said: “Corrupt police officers and those who behave poorly or fail vetting must be kicked out of our forces. For too long our police chiefs have not had the powers they need to root out those who have no place wearing the uniform.

“Now they can take swift and robust action to sack officers who should not be serving our communities.

“The public must have confidence that their officers are the best of the best, like the vast majority of brave men and women wearing the badge, and that’s why those who disgrace the uniform must have no place to hide.”

Chris Philp, the policing minister, said: “Public trust must be restored – this is an important step to ensure we are ridding forces of rogue officers, for the sake of communities and for those officers who are dedicated, hardworking and brave.”

Other measures announced include the Home Office working with the sector to create a list of criminal offences that would automatically amount to gross misconduct upon conviction, streamlining the performance system to remove officers who demonstrate an inability or failure to perform their duties, and issuing new guidance to all forces to support the effective discharge of under-performing probationary officers.

Gavin Stephens, chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, told the PA news agency: “Where criminal conduct is found, and of course in those cases, it’s the most serious criminal conduct that we can imagine, then dismissal is automatic.

“And such processes are putting us back in control and speeding things up, which is a really important part of maintaining public confidence.”

Lawyers, known as legally qualified chairs, were brought in to oversee police disciplinary panels in 2016 in a bid to make the system more transparent.

Stephens added: “It’s right, in an employment process, just as in any other profession, that we have the say over who works in policing or not.

“The good thing about these changes is that chief constables or a chief officer is now on the chair of the panel, so we will be able to put in a very strong operational perspective on maintaining those high standards, in declaring what we expect them to be in order to maintain public confidence.”

(Source: The Guardian)

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