Federation: Police Officer Vetting Must Be Fair

Any new vetting procedures must be fair and follow due process – and not be used to dismiss officers who have not been proven to have committed any offence, Hampshire Police Federation has said.

In July, the College of Policing put the Code of Practice for Vetting before Parliament, which authorises Chief Constables to dismiss officers without going through the processes and mechanisms of dismissals. Hampshire Police Federation Chair Zoë Wakefield said that it was “not fair” on officers if chief officers were able to circumvent Police Conduct Regulations.

She said: “We as a Federation, and as police officers, don’t want the wrong people to be in the organisation. There’s no place for them here. But we certainly do not want good officers, who’ve maybe made a mistake, to end up losing their jobs.”

She continued: “In Hampshire Police, our vetting department has struggled to cope with all the new recruits, so for this to be done properly there’s got to be a huge investment into vetting departments.

“The force needs adequate resources so that these vetting processes are done properly. The problem is, if it’s not a fair and due process, there are going to be appeals. If the process is done properly and that person rightly should no longer be a police officer, then I don’t think any of us have any issue with that.

“But if people have been found not proven or not guilty of any offenses, then why can that person no longer remain in the organisation? Especially when things are brought in this quickly, without a lot of notice – we’ve got to make sure that new processes are as fair as they can be.”

Zoë said that Hampshire Police Federation’s CAPLO, Moray Anderson, was having regular meetings with PSD to ensure that the processes and procedures the force brought in were as fair as possible. She added: “We will support officers if they find themselves in this position.”

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