Reform Is Needed In Police Accountability

Reform is needed in all aspects of police accountability, the Chair of Hampshire Police Federation has said, as the Home Secretary announced an emergency review of armed policing.

Suella Braverman ordered the review after Metropolitan Police firearms officers handed in their weapons in protest at one of their colleagues being charged with murder. It follows calls from Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley for reforms in the way police officers are held to account, particularly when they use force or undertake pursuits.

Hampshire Police Federation Chair Zoë Wakefield said: “The Federation has been calling for a Royal Commission on policing for a long time. Even though we had the Winsor Review and the Hutton Review, there are still a lot of aspects of policing that weren’t looked at, and which need to be.

“The current state of police misconduct shows that there is a lot of reform needed. We also see it varying between forces. Yes, there are some people who have done some really bad things, and they need to be removed from the organisation. But there is also a lot of minor stuff or genuine mistakes that are being treated as high-level misconduct.

“There needs to be a review of the whole thing. When an officer’s complied with all the training, all the force policy and procedures, and all the instructions on the day, then who is responsible? Is it the individual firearms officer, or is the force responsible?

“Incidents happen very quickly and you have to make split-second decisions, based on the information you’ve got at that time. What you can see, what you can hear.

“It’s very easy for people to criticise your decisions later on, when they’ve got every single piece of information. It’s easy for them to say: ‘Well actually you should have done this’. But it’s what that officer was aware of at that time.”

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