New performance system set to reduce officer misconduct cases
A new police performance system looks set to reduce the number of police officers going through misconduct cases by 80 per cent.
Training, restorative action, mediation, closer supervision and welfare intervention will be used at times instead of sanctions, and the onus will be on supervisors to deal with the issue, rather than putting officers through “unnecessary and potentially traumatic misconduct processes”, said the Police Federation of England and Wales’ Conduct Lead Phill Matthews.
The Performance Requiring Improvement (PRI) system, due to come into force later this year.
The complaints process has come under criticism for being unwieldy, time consuming and unnecessarily stressful for police officers and their families. More than 70 per cent of misconduct cases are eventually classified as ‘No Case to Answer’.
Mr Matthews added: “We need to create a culture where we put back the pride in policing and recognise that officers don’t come to work to do a rubbish job; they want to make a difference and if they make a mistake, we want to be there to support them and guide them to do better next time.”
In a report in Police magazine, Det Ch Insp Mike Allen, who sits on the The National Police Chiefs’ Council’s Complaints and Misconduct Working Group, said the current system was “adversarial” and “can make an officer defensive and unwilling to admit their shortcomings”.
He said: “Too often, we have lost great officers in the past because of this system. What we want to do is concede that everybody can make a simple mistake – but it doesn’t have to be a career-ending mistake. The police service has to evolve like other professions and work with its people to retain the best; yes, they can make mistakes, but unless they are corrupt or inept, let’s keep them and make them into even better officers.”
He added: “They can’t just ask the PSD to investigate an officer because he has forgotten to pay for a 10p packet of Haribos at the tuck shop. The PSD has got to be reserved for the most serious of offences.”
Rupert Bailey, the Home Office’s Head of Discipline agreed that there is an “overuse of misconduct and under-use of performance procedures.” He said: “Of course you still want to be able to sack the bad apples, but we need to move forward to this less adversarial and fairer process, and reform the handling of low-level wrongdoing. Low-level mistakes should be handled quickly and locally by line managers with much more emphasis on learning.”