19th May 2023
With Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, I have today published a Bill to reform the regulations governing police conduct and dismissal. The Police Reform (Performance and Disciplinary) Bill has the support of Members of Parliament from Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats and you can view it here.
The current procedures for disciplining and dismissing police officers are not fit for purpose. The shortcomings in existing police procedures and regulations have been highlighted by, amongst others, Baroness Casey of Blackstock, the College of Policing Chief Constable Andy Marsh and the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, Sir Mark Rowley.
In her review, Baroness Casey recommended that the Government should expedite work to provide the Commissioner with new powers to support his efforts to rapidly reform and clean up the Metropolitan Police. The changes this Bill would introduce are a direct response to the Casey review and the requests by Sir Mark Rowley for increased powers. The Bill has been developed by the Mayor of London and drafted by King’s Counsel.
The Bill would introduce reforms to:
- Automatically dismiss a serving officer who is convicted of a serious criminal offence (all indictable and either-way offences + violence and Domestic Abuse if summary only)
- Automatically suspend an officer charged with a serious criminal offence (offences as above)
- Automatically dismiss a serving officer who fails vetting (strengthen and streamline current provisions – learning from MPS existing work)
- Give Chief Constables the power to reopen misconduct investigations
- Provide that Regulation 13 should be used to dismiss an officer whilst in their probation period (including for misconduct)
- Introduce a Duty of Candour, which would require an officer to proactively report any wrongdoing (by self or others)
- Provide Chief Constables the right of appeal to a Police Appeals Tribunal following a misconduct hearing when the sanction is inadequate
- Reduce the performance process to a two stage process, from the current three stage + three appeals
- Strengthen the pension forfeiture rules so that a criminal offence does not have to be committed ‘in connection’ with their service in order for an officer to lose their pension
- Create a ‘duty to handover’ to obtain relevant information from an officer’s personal phone during a misconduct investigation
Sadiq and I have written to the Home Secretary to offer her the legislative package to introduce in Parliament. The Bill stands ready to be made into law, to give police chiefs in England and Wales the powers they need and have explicitly asked for, so that they can start to build public trust in the police.