Rt Hon Harriet Harman KC MP and Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, sent a letter to Suella Braverman on 18 May to propose a new bill to reform Met Police standards.
The new Bill, developed by the Mayor of London and Drafted by King’s Counsel, introduces reforms to “create 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.
MP Harman said: “In her review, Baroness Casey recommended that the Government should expedite work to provide the Commissioner with new powers to support his efforts to rapidly reform and clean up the Metropolitan Police.
“The changes this Bill would introduce are a direct response to the Casey review and the requests by Sir Mark Rowley for increased powers. “
Other reforms include:
“Strengthen the pension forfeiture rules so that a criminal offence does not have to be committed ‘in connection’ with their service in order for an officer to lose their pension;
“Introduce a Duty of Candour, which would require an officer to proactively report any wrongdoing (by self or others);
“Provide that Regulation 13 should be used to dismiss an officer whilst in their probation period (including for misconduct).”
MP Harman said Police Reform (Performance and Disciplinary) Bill has the support of Members of Parliament from Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.
She added: “The Bill stands ready to be made into law, to give police chiefs in England and Wales the powers they need and have explicitly asked for, so that they can start to build public trust in the police.”
Strong backlash from online police community
A Met officer commented on Twitter: “HRA Right to a private life is what Harman & Khan want to remove from my colleagues who day in day out risk our lives for you.”
One user said: “If only politicians had the same enthusiasm to limit their own rights and raise standards…”
Another user said: “I was police staff not a police officer but have misgivings about taking a person’s pension that they have paid into.”
Rich Cooke, chair of West Midlands Police Federation, said: “If police are to be subject to arbitrary decisions & rules by a Chief ending their careers and livelihoods, surely it’s only fair we have the right to claim unfair dismissal for one?”
Lee Broadbent, former chair of GMP Federation, reminded that Police Conduct Regulations were changed/reformed in 1999, 2004, 2008, 2012 and most recently in 2020.
Phil Matthews, a retired Police Federation of England and Wales board member and ex-Conduct & Performance Lead, said the proposal is “draconian, unfair and wouldn’t be allowed in any other profession”.
Police Federation’s official comment is yet to come.