Leicestershire  Police Federation

Federation: Current Police Conduct Regime Already Fair

22 August 2023


Federation: Current Police Conduct Regime Already Fair


Proposed reforms of the police conduct process are unnecessary given that officers are already bound by fair and effective processes, Leicestershire Police Federation has said.

Andy Spence, Federation Conduct and Performance Lead, was speaking after Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley called for changes to the system that has been in place since 2016.

This month’s High Court ruling regarding Victor v Chief Constable of West Mercia Police - where a probationary officer who was found guilty of misconduct and received a final written warning was subsequently sacked from policing as her vetting was removed – has also caused concern.

Andy said: “I completely agree that the high standards of policing must be upheld; this is part of the reason that legally qualified chairs were appointed. 

“The panels at gross misconduct hearings consider all of the evidence in relation to a case, hearing from both sides and weighing up the evidence. They give out the least severe outcome whilst protecting public interest. They are in the best possible position to give their considered and detailed decision. We know that they make the right decision due to the lack of appeals.”

Legally qualified chairs were introduced under changes to the Police (Conduct) Regulations made in 2015, to replace senior police officers as the chairs of misconduct panels to make the process more transparent, independent and fairer. Legally Qualified Chairs are individuals who remain independent of the police in order to provide fair and impartial oversight of these hearings.

Andy added: “For forces to take that decision out of their hands and use it as a stepping stone to then remove someone's vetting is taking two bites of the cherry.”

Mr Rowley wrote in The Times earlier this month: “I’m leading the strongest doubling down on standards in 50 years, but to deliver the far-reaching reform the public rightly expect to see I need others to do more. I have been consistent in calling on the government to reform police misconduct processes, so that police chiefs can be more decisive in dismissing rogue officers and restoring public confidence.

“The honest majority of our officers share my determination to relentlessly focus on identifying and removing those who let us all down and cause untold damage to public trust. But the final say on dismissals doesn’t sit with me or other chief officers but with external panels led by lawyers known as legally qualified chairs.”


May 2024