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Police Integrity

Volume 737: debated on Monday 18 September 2023

The vast majority of officers are brave and hard-working individuals but serious concerns persist regarding standards and culture in policing, particularly in light of recent cases and the concerning findings of Baroness Casey’s review into culture and standards in the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS). The Government are committed to ensuring the police discipline system is fair and effective at removing those officers who fall seriously below the high standards we rightly expect of them.

It is for this reason that we launched a review into the police dismissals process in January of this year. The review considered evidence from stakeholders, as well as the results of a national data collection. The core recommendations from this review were announced on 31 August and today we are publishing the report of the review, setting out the evidence collected and full list of proposals we intend to take forward. These proposals include:—

Creating a presumption for dismissal where gross misconduct is proven. This change will ensure that—unless exceptional circumstances apply—officers found guilty of gross misconduct can expect to be dismissed.

Ensuring officers who fail vetting can be dismissed. We intend to make it a statutory requirement for officers to hold vetting—and support a legislative routeway to dismiss those who are unable to do so.

Specifying that certain criminal offences automatically amount to gross misconduct. We intend to introduce a list of barred offences, meaning that conviction of certain criminal offences—including sexual offences—automatically constitutes gross misconduct.

Returning responsibility for chairing misconduct hearings to senior officers. To ensure chief constables are afforded a stronger role in the system—while retaining necessary independence—the responsibility for chairing hearings will now sit with senior officers. A legally qualified person (LQP) and independent panel member (IPM) will sit alongside the senior officer.

Streamlining of the unsatisfactory performance procedures (UPP). We intend to streamline the current statutory performance system for police officers to make it easier to use—identifying under-performing officers and, where there is no improvement in their performance, effectively dismissing them.

A number of other changes are expected to improve the efficiency of the system and ensure greater transparency.

The Government are committed to delivering these important reforms, the majority of which require changes to secondary legislation, and will work with stakeholders to deliver these as soon as practicable.

The review report will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses and published on www.gov.uk.

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