The Police Superintendentsâ€™ Association of England and Wales welcomes proposals by the Home Secretary to make police disciplinary procedures more transparent.
The Association believes opening up the process to public scrutiny and the involvement of independent professionals will lead to increased public confidence.
Having first called for an independent, legally qualified chair for misconduct panels more than a year ago the Association has been part of a Home Office working group which has developed this and other proposed reforms further, such as holding gross misconduct hearings in public.
Association President Chief Superintendent Irene Curtis said:
â€œPublic confidence in the police disciplinary system is critical to the overall levels of trust and support that the police need from the people and communities we serve.
â€œThe police service already works very hard to deal effectively with wrongdoing and poor performance, but as this is such a critical area the greater support these measures will provide is very welcome.
â€œThe overwhelming majority of police officers are highly trustworthy and carry out their roles with exceptional professionalism and real integrity. I hope that a more transparent process will help increase public understanding that the service deals robustly with those who commit serious wrongdoing, and deals fairly with those who make genuine mistakes.â€œ
The Association considers that:
An independent chair of misconduct panels should lead to greater consistency in decision-making with fewer decisions overturned on appeal;
The police service process will be aligned more closely with those of other professions by having an independent chair;
Misconduct panels should continue to have representation from a senior police officer to enable the policing context to be understood and applied;
In most cases, this officer should be from the same force as the officer who is appearing before the panel, to provide local force context.