Derbyshire Police Federation

Fed chair hopes new ethics code will help restore confidence in policing

23 February 2024

Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton has called for training and protected learning for members to ensure they fully understand changes to the new Code of Ethics.

Tony said he hoped the revised Code of Ethics - which which guides ethical decision making by officers and outlines the professional behaviours the public can expect from the police service - would help to restore confidence in policing.

But he said for it to achieve all of its goals, members need to know where the the Code fits in with Police Regulations and other ethical guidance for officers.

Tony said: “The Code of Ethics was first introduced more than a decade ago and so needed revising and updating to reflect the current policing landscape. 

“Albeit the Police Federation have concerns about some aspects of the revised code and its implementation, we broadly welcome it.

“It is there to set out how our members will work with the public and offers them ethical guidance in their decision making.

“This is what the vast majority of members do in their job every day, but I hope the new Code is another step to restoring public confidence in policing.



“In order for it to do that, we need standardised training so that members are fully aware of the changes and how the Code fits in with Police Regulations - and they needed to be afforded the protected learning time to do that.”

His comments follow the launch of the revised Code of Ethics by the College of Policing.

The College said it 'supports everyone in policing to deliver a service that is fair, ethical and can be trusted to make decisions in the interest of keeping people safe’.

The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) has been working closely with the College on the new Code, and has broadly welcomed it.

However, PFEW said it was disappointing that significant concerns it raised about how the revised Code of Ethics should fit within the existing regulatory framework remain.

PFEW said there was a mismatch between what is cited within the Home Office Guidance [Conduct, Efficiency and Effectiveness, and Police Officer Misconduct, Unsatisfactory Performance and Attendance Management Procedures], the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2020, and the new Code of Ethics.

PFEW said that the previous Code was integral to police officers’ decision-making process. Home Office Guidance stated ‘the Code of Ethics provides general guidance on how behaviour that does not uphold policing principles or meet expected standards should be handled’ but there is no guidance on handling such behaviour within the revised Code of Ethics.

Gemma Fox, PFEW deputy national secretary, said: “We fully welcome the ethos and focus on cultivating a culture of learning, development and honest reflection.

“A crucial element of this involves the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2020, with the introduction of the Performance Requires Improvement process, where officers can take part in Reflective Practice with their line manager if their actions do not amount to misconduct or gross misconduct.

"This gives police officers the opportunity to embed learning and ensure performance is improved as quickly as possible, signifying a step towards putting blame culture in the past.

“However, the statutory definition of Practice Requiring Improvement includes consideration of the Code of Ethics to inform any assessment or judgement of conduct.

“These are just two examples, but it demonstrates not only the paramount importance for the new Code of Ethics to be embedded into the Home Office Guidance and the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2020 to mirror one another, but also highlights how the Code of Ethics underpins a vital section of the Conduct Regulations – therefore merely removing mention of the Code of Ethics as a quick fix is not a feasible solution.

“I would strongly urge the Home Office to change and revise the guidance on police officer conduct and Police (Conduct) Regulations 2020 in accordance with the revised Code of Ethics.”

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