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Police Chiefs Can’t Be Allowed To Disregard Legal Process

22 June 2023

A Government proposal allowing police chiefs to get rid of officers without due legal process is “unacceptable”, Surrey Police Federation has said.

Last month, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and MP Rt Hon Harriet Harman published a Bill to reform the regulations governing police conduct and dismissal.

Among their recommendations, they want Chief Constables to have the power to reopen misconduct investigations, and to reduce the performance process to a two-stage process, from the current three stages and three appeals.

Surrey Police Federation Chair Darren Pemble said: “These undemocratic political mechanisms from Government are unacceptable. They are proposing sweeping changes, which would give uncontrolled powers to police chiefs to dismiss officers without following due legal processes.

“The proposals would also require officers to surrender their personal mobile devices, when any other member of the public is afforded protection under the law. Police officers are people too – not even MPs are held to these standards.”

The national Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) issued a statement saying the proposals are “calling for undemocratic powers to chief officers under the guise of police reforms”.

It added: “Systemic changes in police recruitment, vetting, training, standards, and leadership are needed, but any change must be fair, considered and backed by proper evidence and not conjecture.”