Misconduct Interviews

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2019 Police & Justice Service Group Conference
16 May 2019

Police Staff who are subject to a misconduct investigations will be interviewed by Professional Standards Department (PSD) as part of the investigation. These interviews are often undertaken by detectives who are serving police officers and will be very similar if not the same as a criminal interview. These interviews will often be recorded and later transcribed. The language and attitude of the investigators is often that of the police and not an employer and confusion of what is and is not appropriate from an employment context.

Conference, our members are not criminals, there are employees and deserve to be treated as such. The methods used by PSD with regard to misconduct are most likely unique in comparison to other areas where UNISON organises. With this in mind, it is reasonable to assume that the training provided by UNISON does not cover this method of interview.

UNISON lists the below as the model process for misconduct:

1)An informal chat in private to identify whether disciplinary action is required;

2)An investigation, where you and others may be interviewed;

3)A letter from your employer setting out clearly the reason for the disciplinary action;

4)A formal meeting to allow you to state your case;

5)A formal letter explaining the result of the case;

6)An invitation to appeal within a set time frame.

In policing a notice of investigation is served on an employee outlining a brief overview of the allegations. Members are asked to respond either immediately or within a given time frame. The next stage will involve a disclosure of information prior to a formal recorded interview. At this point the interview brings us into territory that is not covered by UNISON training.

The process of interview under these conditions can be stressful for both member and the representative.

As a trade union, we owe it to our members to afford them the best representation possible and in offering that representation, our representatives be so far as is reasonably practicable, competent to do so.

Conference recognises the unique situation Police Staff are in with regard to misconduct interviews. It further acknowledges that our stewards and representatives are in need of training to enable to them to deal with misconduct interviews for employees within the police service.

Conference therefore instructs the Service Group Executive (SGE) to:

a)Survey Police branches to identify the specific operating model used by their employer for the purpose of misconduct interviews;

b)Assess the information gained through for the purpose of identifying any commonality of process and method.;

c)Explore the possibility of providing bespoke training for police branches/stewards;

d)Seek support and advice from Learning and Organising Services (LAOS) to assess the potential for the development and delivery of training centred on dealing with Police Staff misconduct interviews.