THE COLLEGE OF POLICING has released updated guidance on outcomes in police misconduct proceedings. The guidance is for chief officers and independent legally qualified chairs who must be appointed to chair most misconduct hearing panels.

The new guidance states that chairs of misconduct hearings should consider the impact on public confidence in policing even where there has been no harm caused and the incident is not in the public domain.

The update includes a new section on violence against women and girls, saying the outcome is likely to be severe.

Chief Constable Andy Marsh, College of Policing CEO, said: “Officers who commit violence towards women and girls should expect to be sacked and barred from re-joining the police. There is no place in policing for anyone who behaves in a way that damages the public’s trust in us to keep them safe.

“Today’s new guidance helps bring common sense and consistency to a process that is crucial to maintaining public trust in police. We need a misconduct system which is transparent, timely and isn’t afraid to show the door to officers who betray our values.

“I know from more than 30 years in policing that the vast majority of officers are dedicated public servants who work hard every day to keep people safe. They do not wish to work alongside officers who commit crimes or impact the trust people have in us.

“The process will be fair but any officer whose behaviour is found to damage public confidence in the police service should expect to be sacked.”

The guidance on outcomes will be used alongside the Police Conduct Regulations laid in parliament in 2020, which sets out the process.

Commenting on the new guidance, Ruth Davison, CEO of domestic abuse charity Refuge said: “Refuge welcomes this long-overdue decision to ensure that the police move away from the culture of violent misogyny. People of colour and women have said for decades that the police are institutionally racist and misogynistic, so it is shocking a measure such as this hasn’t been introduced sooner.

“1,300 police officers and staff have been reported for alleged domestic abuse offences since 2018 but of those only 36 have been dismissed, and police officers are a third less likely to be convicted for domestic abuse than non-police officers. For too long this behaviour has gone unchecked as police officers closed ranks protecting perpetrators of abuse. The bare minimum a woman should expect when she takes the brave step to report domestic abuse, is that the officer she speaks to is not a perpetrator himself.

“Public trust in law enforcement is woefully low, so this is a positive first step in rebuilding public trust. Further action to root out and end the culture of violent misogyny which has been laid bare in recent cases is urgently needed to help ensure women and girls have confidence in the police to protect them.”

* Read Guidance on outcomes in police misconduct proceedings here.

* Sources: College of Policing and Refuge