Government reforms which aim to “make it easier for Police Forces to sack Police Officers”, must not come at the expense of officers being part of a fair and just process, The Defence Police Federation has said.
Under the new rules being drawn up, Chief Constables will be put back in charge of disciplinary panels, replacing independent legally qualified chairs (LQCs). The reforms will also mean that officers who fail to keep their vetting status up to date will be automatically axed from their posts.
Mitch Batt, Secretary of The Defence Police Federation, said: “This appears to be a retrograde step. Officers who have no place in policing have no place in policing but everyone has a right to a fair and just process.
“Police officers must have confidence that they have the right to fair and transparent disciplinary processes to ensure individual bias does not govern or influence decisions which have serious consequences on an individual’s career and wellbeing.”
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.
Mitch added: “If officers are proven to be guilty of horrific offences, then we will be the first to say that we do not want these individuals in the job.
“Any reform of the police must not come at the expense of due process for officers pending or subject to conduct procedures.”