New Police Regulations are a real positive for policing, says Federation Chair

NEW Police Regulations will go some way to ending the blame culture in policing, and allow officers to learn from their mistakes without fear of losing their jobs.

The new guidelines, which have been continuously postponed, take effect in February 2020.

Under the new guidelines, up to 80% of cases currently dealt with by Professional Standards will be dealt with by line managers – with serious sanctions only for the most serious cases.

And Alex Charge, Chairman of Hampshire Police Federation, said the move was a “real positive” for the police service.

He said: “It is taking the focus away from discipline and blame and putting it into the world of learning, and understanding what’s gone wrong in order to prevent it happening again.

“A lot of the time things where people have potentially got things wrong, it gets badged up as disciplinary matters and officers face disciplinary outcomes. So ultimately it’s a punishment.

“I’m not convinced that ever teaches people to do it right next time. It might scare them so they focus on it, but what we want to do is we want to create a culture of understanding what went wrong and making sure it doesn’t happen again.

“People should want to volunteer they got things wrong but not be terrified that they’re going to get blamed and that there’s going to be a discipline culture at the end of it.

“That will allow professional standards to focus on those things where people really need to be disciplined.”

By moving Regulations to a culture of learning rather than discipline, more officers will not needlessly face long investigations and the threat of losing their jobs, Alex said.

He added: “Most jobs should just be dealt with by line management as a good practice of, ‘This is what you did wrong, this is how to do it right, let’s do it right a couple of times and then we all move on with our lives’.

“If we can move to that culture I think that would be great because what people don’t recognise is the impact of investigations on officers.

“The way the Regs are written, if it’s gross misconduct you might be sacked. You might do something that you’ve done the wrong thing for all the right reasons and all of a sudden you get served a piece of paper that says, ‘You’ve breached this standard of professional behaviour and by the way, it’s gross misconduct, which means you might get the sack’.

“That investigation then goes on for a long period of time and you’re thinking all the time, ‘I could get sacked’.

“What we want to encourage is a, if you do something wrong, there’s a genuine error, a line manager will come in and they’ll say, ‘Right. This is what you did wrong, this is why it’s wrong, this is how to do it right, this is how you do it, and we’ll all move on’, in a real quick, timely process. No threats of dismissal and all those kind of things.”

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