Leicestershire  Police Federation

Changing police dismissal process 'a step backwards'

20 October 2022


Changing police dismissal process 'a step backwards'


Changing the way police dismissal investigations are run would be a dangerous step backwards, according to Leicestershire Police Federation.

Chair Adam Commons was responding to an announcement by the Home Office that it intends to launch a “targeted review of police dismissals to raise standards and confidence in policing across England and Wales”.

The Home Office says the review is intended to ensure the system is more effective in removing officers who are not fit to serve the public.

However Adam believes that the Home Office should instead focus on taking the time to “review the robustness and timeliness of investigations”.

He said: “At the start of the week the Home Secretary announced a review of police dismissals. She’s now resigned, as has the Prime Minister, in a staggering reminder of how the Government have no ability to run a country or keep its citizens safe.

“Given the Government’s problems I don’t know if this ‘review’ will happen. There has been a concerning ripple for some time from a minority of Chief Constables who want the ability to remove police officers as they see fit.

“Of course, no one wants bad cops to remain in service. But the current Misconduct Regulations only came in during February 2020.

“My problem is quite simple – the current process is fair and transparent. A misconduct hearing is presided over by a Legally Qualified Chair and support by a senior officer and a lay person (member of the public) They read and listen to the evidence, have the chance to question the officer and witnesses and come to a conclusion.

“It has taken a long time to get the discipline regs to evolve to this point and it would be dangerous to take steps backwards.

“Maybe they should stop chasing headlines to distract us from their own political turmoil and take the time to review the robustness and timeliness of investigations, that would be a better start and go some way to improving what we have now.”

The Home Office said the review is likely to consider:

  • the effectiveness of the existing system to dismiss those who fall seriously short of the standards expected by policing and the public
  • the impact of the introduction of changes to misconduct panels, including legally qualified chairs
  • whether forces are making use of their powers to discharge officers during their probationary period
  • Working with policing partners, it will also assess whether the regulatory framework for the police disciplinary system should be changed.