13 September 2023
Police officers who are investigated for misconduct deserve “a fair and balanced hearing decided on the merits of the evidence put forward”, the Chair of Cumbria Police Federation has said.
But the Government has announced that it is giving Chief Constables greater powers to sack police officers, as they are put back in charge of disciplinary panels, replacing independent Legally Qualified Chairs (LQCs). The reforms will also mean that officers who fail to keep their vetting status up to date will be automatically axed from their posts.
Ed Russell, Chair of Cumbria Police Federation, said that the current system of LQCs – which was only brought in in 2016 by Theresa May, when she was Home Secretary – was fair and independent, and that putting Chief Constables in charge was giving too much power and weight to one person’s opinion.
Ed said: “The proposed new rules by the Government to circumvent the fair and balanced system that is currently in place to deal with police conduct is ill-considered.
“Officers in Cumbria have no time for colleagues who disregard their role or the requirements of it, and this is evident in police stations up and down the country, with officers prepared to stand up against any inappropriate behaviour.
“Policing is a difficult job, and one that unfortunately attracts complaint and scrutiny at times. Officers should expect nothing different from anyone else – a fair and balanced hearing decided on the merits of the evidence put forward.
“To effectively distill this process down to the considerations of one individual is the antithesis of the reforms put in place only a few years ago, which created a fair system appropriate to the complexities of policing.”