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Devon & Cornwall Police Federation

NPCC advice for Chief Constables to make submissions to independent misconduct hearing panels "a worrying step"

30 November 2021

The National Police Chiefs’ Council has encouraged Chief Constables to make submissions to Chairs of independent misconduct hearing panels, in a move that Devon and Cornwall Police Federation described as “a worrying step towards a very dark place”.

Speaking at the APCC & NPCC Partnership Summit 2021, NPCC Chair Martin Hewitt said he had 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”.

It also advised Chief Constables to seek judicial reviews when dismissal wasn’t the outcome, and that it wanted the College of Policing guidance amended on the matter.

Devon and Cornwall Police Federation Chair Andy Berry said this wasn’t the answer to any perceived problems in policing, and that the NPCC should be looking inwards.

He said: “Instead of apologising for the collective failures of Chief Constables over the past 10, 20, even 30 years, Martin Hewitt’s solution to the woes of policing is to insist that the Chief Constables exert pressure on independent tribunals, which preside over gross misconduct cases.

“No decent officer wants any rotten cops in policing. I don’t, the Police Federation doesn’t, but effectively encouraging Chief Constables to interfere with such cases is a worrying step towards a very dark place.

“What I find most depressing is that this is his flagship solution to the problems facing policing.  Sack a few cops and all will be well.  

“There is no contrition from him to admit that this generation of leaders have failed. Failed to increase the ethnic diversity of policing; failed to equalise the gender balance in policing; failed to challenge the Government when it took a hatchet to policing; failed to stand up to the CPS; and failed to challenge other public services who have pushed work onto us.

“A failure so manifest that it doesn’t just make the working lives of my colleagues harder every day, but has also reduced the quality of service to victims.

“These failures have happened on the watch of every senior police officer who sat in front of Martin Hewitt. They have fiddled while policing burned, and their only solution now is to throw out a few more Constables.

“So come on NPCC, come on Chief Constables, we expect far more of you. Yes, deal with the small number of miscreants, none of us want them, but deal with the really big strategic stuff like ensuring there are enough resources to respond to the public’s calls for help, and investing in enough Detectives to focus on rape, sexual offences and domestic abuse.

“This is what will truly build public confidence in the police.”