22 November 2021
Cumbria Police Federation Chair Paul Williams reacts to the NPCC trying to turn misconduct hearings into ‘kangaroo courts’
In his keynote speech at the APCC & NPCC Partnership Summit 2021, NPCC Chair Martin Hewitt told delegates it has asked all chief constables to chair more accelerated hearings, “wherever the grounds are met, to swiftly determine the facts”, and to make submissions to Legally Qualified Chairs “wherever appropriate, so that sanctions always meet the gravity of an offence.”
Chiefs have also been advised by the NPCC to seek judicial reviews where dismissal is not the outcome, and it wants the College of Policing guidance amended. The Federation believes this is to influence dismissals and hamstring panels.
Reacting, Paul said: “Reading this fills me with concern. It seems the NPCC are encouraging Constabularies to act out with Home Office guidance and conduct and performance regulations.
“This is entirely inappropriate and surely subject to legal challenge. The regulations were designed to ensure fair and independent hearings so how is it right to seek to influence misconduct panels into outcomes prior to hearing all of the evidence.
“On the back of new regulations in 2020 encouraging a more learning based approach to outcomes and we seem to be going back in time. Don’t get me wrong there are certain elements of misconduct that need dealing with robustly but those measures are already in place.
“This does not reassure my faith in fair play. This will adopt naturally a practice where an early desired outcome will cause an investigation to be unfairly railroaded towards that outcome.
“Hitting cops with big sticks isn’t a fair and transparent way of dealing with allegations of misconduct.”