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CONDUCT AND PERFORMANCE


‘OUR GOAL: A CONDUCT AND PERFORMANCE SYSTEM FIT FOR PURPOSE’


Tif Lynch, Secretary of PFEW’s Conduct and Performance Sub-Committee, discusses the work of the Federation’s dedicated conduct leads up and down the country


T


here can be no doubt that being investigated for misconduct is one of the most stressful things an officer will ever face in their career. We hear too many horrific cases of officers


whose lives – and those of their loved ones – have been put on hold while lengthy investigations play out. The detrimental impact this has on mental and physical wellbeing continues long past the years of investigation. This must stop, so making the conduct and performance system fit for purpose for our members is the backbone of our work.


Our Time Limits campaign calls for a 12-month limit for investigations from allegation to conclusion. We have submitted powerful evidence to the Parliamentary Home Affairs Select Committee’s investigation into the Independent Office for Police Conduct’s handling of complaints, and we are willing to give evidence in person when the inquiry opens. If an officer makes a mistake or their conduct is brought into


question, it is right they are held to account in an appropriate way. But this is where the word “appropriate” makes all the difference and any investigation must be proportionate and swift – not just for our members but also for the public. No one can be expected to wait years for closure. The process of bringing about proceedings is currently NOT timely; it’s clunky, and extremely costly and at the end of it all, because of how long it takes, all concerned have lost faith in the system. Under the 2020 Conduct and Performance Regulations, if


an officer has a minor misdemeanour, or it is evident from an early stage that their action was a mistake, they can work with their line manager to reflect on what could have been done differently. They can take learning points and grow as an officer. This process can draw out possible learning for a Force too. Sadly, the pandemic has meant that the implementation of


these new regulations has taken a back seat in many forces. We are seeing different ends of the scale in how the new regulations and reflective practice are being adopted. Our concerns are the lack of training for line managers, doubts over whether the new system will work and the failure to progress the cultural change required in terms of what needs to be addressed as learning and what needs to go through the disciplinary processes. PFEW will continue to work with its


Keeping You Safe


when we have dealings with


ered as vulnerable. These may cers may pursue less than lihood that things will go


icers could well find here have been some recent hips and have gone to prison dividuals, and do not form


idering whether you need vice, the more opportunity


may be served with a notice of dures and consider how you


UY www.polfed.org


stakeholders on this. We will not sit back and see a re-enactment of what happened with the Taylor reform. There is still much more to do. We want what is best for our members, and we won’t stop until we get it.


Please see our Keeping You Safe leaflet at www.polfed.org/about-us/information-resources


Catch-up with a CAPLO: George McDonnell, West Midlands


Why did you become a CAPLO? I was subject to a lengthy investigation myself. I know what it’s like and my top priority is members’ welfare. It is not just them going through a ‘living nightmare’, it is their partners, children, wider family members and colleagues at work. Why is your role rewarding? I have received many plaudits in this role – kind words, emails and cards that can often be very personal from ofcers and their family members explaining how the support given to them has been invaluable. Some of the stories and messages are incredibly humbling and so understanding what our colleagues go through is most probably the reason we do it. I have also received a Chief Constable’s Award in recognition of outstanding support to our members, which is most unusual, so that too was well received. What challenges do you face as a CAPLO? Our members expect us to represent them, to bring their concerns and issues to the department’s investigators, as well as their command team. Whilst achieving this in the most appropriate way, we must be cognisant of the logistics some investigations often present so, of course, we must be reasonable around our members’ expectations. This is a challenge in itself. My biggest challenge and achievement is maintaining a relationship with our Professional Standards Department (PSD) when, as often happens, we disagree on how, why and when decisions are made in relation to members. I suppose this is testament to how relations between the Federation and PSDs have progressed. How do you make a diference? In terms of leading change, our monthly meets with other national leads can only continue to improve on what we can ofer and more importantly to work with our own forces in making sure they, whom ultimately have responsibility for the ofcers’ welfare, put the right protection measures in place.


New recruitment focus


PFEW National Chair John Apter has called for more police recruits to come from older age groups, military and public sector backgrounds. He said: “For years PFEW has been calling for more


ofcers to be recruited to help fix the damage that has been done after a decade of damaging cuts. We are now seeing that much needed increase. We also need to look at if the current recruitment process is attractive enough for potential new recruits who had other careers and more life experience. All too often I hear they do not feel wanted in policing, and this is wrong. This isn’t helped by the tone of messaging in advertisements, which is often geared towards graduates.” Police numbers across 43 Forces fell from 143,734 in


2010 to 123,142 in 2017. By November this year, 5,824 ofcers had been recruited bringing the total number in England and Wales to 134,885. Just over 10 per cent of new recruits are from a BAME background (the general population is 14 per cent), while 39 per cent have been female.


DECEMBER 2020 | POLICE | 27


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