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West Midlands Police Federation

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Force is in a good place to work under new conduct regs

15 January 2020

West Midlands Police Federation’s conduct lead has said he hopes the new conduct regulations will be a ‘learning device to assist our officers to be the best they can be’.

As of 1 February 2020, the system will be simplified so that any complaints can be dealt with quickly, effectively and proportionately and there will also be changes to misconduct investigations, including a requirement to provide an explanation where investigations take longer than 12 months.

Speaking about the changes, George McDonnell, conduct lead for the Federation, said the Force is in a good place to implement them next month, but there will be some challenges.

He said: “I believe PSD has done a lot of work in the background around these new regs, as it should have done, and is ready to go. Clearly, there are many more potential problems that could arise, however, we will work with it in the hope it turns out to be what the Home Office intends it to be, and that is a tool that doesn’t beat our officers with the conduct stick anymore but a learning device to assist our officers to be the best they can be.”

A training input was held on January 10 this year for all key personnel in the Force to introduce the new conduct regulations and discuss any potential issues.

“Overall, the input was well received as the trainers made strong references to how positive this could be and then those present could either bring the Force, conduct-wise, into the 21st century or indeed continue to languish in the past,” explained George.

“There are lots of positives to come out of these new regs for all willing to give them a go. As I understand it, these will be with us for the next 10 years. I made a point of saying we don’t want to be waiting 10 years to get to where we want to be.

“Rather than hope they (the regs) are embedded, we will insist they are embedded as to do anything else will take us backwards.

“We have held PSD to account, and will continue to do so, and we will make the necessary challenges where we believe it appropriate. Hopefully, they will be few and far between. Time will play a part and mistakes will be made and that is acceptable, provided that everyone - including PSD - learns from them.

“As the input went on, it became clear that managers were to play a bigger part than they have previously played and questions around their training were raised so as to look to a more uniformed approach, which inevitably would lead to more consistent outcomes, something we have been crying out for, for many years.”

Talking about the support the Federation can provide to anyone who is subject to a complaint or misconduct investigation, he said: “One of our challenges is to continue to support our colleagues throughout whatever process comes before them, whether that be performance requiring improvement (PRI) and/or a misconduct investigation.

“Getting the message across to our colleagues will take time and asking them to trust the new world when they had no confidence in the old world will be even more challenging.”

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