Police Integrity

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2013 Police & Justice Conference
12 June 2013

Conference welcomes the initiative led by the Home Secretary to improve standards of integrity in the police service in England and Wales. Conference notes that:

1)A number of chief constables in England and Wales have been suspended and others have been the subject of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) or criminal investigations.

2)The Leveson Inquiry into press standards concluded that there had been inappropriate disclosure of police information to the press and media.

3)The (HMIC) Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary report ‘Without Fear Or Favour’, published in December 2011, raised concerns that few forces provided any guidance in relation to key integrity issues, such as how the police should interact with the media, the acceptance of gifts and hospitality, what second jobs officers and staff should be allowed to do, and the use of corporate credit cards.

4)2 months later, HMIC produced an update report on progress in forces towards the guidance identified as necessary in ‘Without Fear Or Favour’. HMIC found that:

a)Progress was inconsistent across forces and more needed to be done with a greater sense of urgency

b)There was little evidence of force professional standards departments checking and challenging chief officers in relation to issues of integrity

c)More robust and auditable corporate governance arrangements were required if the new accountability arrangements following the election of PCCs were to work effectively.

5) On 12 February 2013, the Home Secretary wrote to the Service to set out proposed measures to improve standards of integrity within policing in England and Wales. The proposals included:

a)A register of officers ‘struck off’ from the police

b)The ability to discipline officers who retire or resign to avoid such outcomes

c)Better vetting procedures prior to appointments

d)National registers of chief officer reward packages, gifts and hospitality, second jobs and contact with the media

e)A single code of ethics for the whole police service

f)360 degrees feedback for all managers

6) Also in February 2013, the College of Policing formally assumed responsibility for driving the agenda on integrity with the whole service.

Conference welcomes the intention behind the announcements of the Home Secretary, HMIC and the College of Policing to ensure that the Police Service is above reproach in relation to matters of ethics and integrity.

In line with UNISON’s response to the Home Secretary’s consultation of 12 February 2013, Conference instructs the Service Group Executive to seek to ensure that the integrity programme being developed by the College of Policing covers the following issues, as well as those identified in the Home Office and HMIC proposals:

i)A single code of ethics for the entire police workforce, including private sector police staff and police support volunteers.

ii)Vetting procedures that cover the entire police workforce, including private sector police staff and police support volunteers.

iii)A single misconduct procedure for all police staff in all forces in England and Wales.

iv)Registers of business interests/hospitality and media contacts to cover the entire police workforce, including private sector police staff and police support volunteers.

v)A review of the links between freemasonry, and other ‘secret societies’, and the police service to ensure that transparency in relationships is extended to all notifiable associations.

vi)Bullying and harassment in the workplace

vii)Sexual harassment and misconduct in the workplace