Legally Qualified Chair of a Police Misconduct Hearing
Under the Police Conduct Regulations 2012 (as amended by Police (Conduct) (Amendment) Regulations 2015), changes were made to the conduct and composition of police misconduct hearings for police officers of Superintendent rank and below. The purpose of the changes is to bring greater transparency and independence to police misconduct hearings. They include the holding of hearings in public (which was introduced in May 2015) and since January 2016, the chairing of them by legally qualified person appointed by Police and Crime Commissioners (the Commissioners). Further changes in legislation came into effect from 1st February 2020 under the Policing and Crime Act 2017, where legally qualified chairs will be required to manage police misconduct hearings from the outset.
Misconduct process – Non Senior Police Officers (Superintendent and below)
Public confidence in the police is of the highest importance. To secure it, police officers are expected to demonstrate a high level of personal and professional standards of behaviour. An allegation of misconduct against a police officer or a special constable may be deemed appropriate for investigation by the Force’s Professional Standards Department or the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). The findings of an investigation will be referred to and formally assessed by the Deputy Chief Constable as the ‘appropriate authority.’ If the Deputy Chief Constable considers the allegation as one of gross misconduct, the matter will be referred to a police misconduct hearing for determination and, in the event of the allegation being found to be proved, the imposition of sanctions.
Misconduct Hearings in Dyfed Powys, Gwent, North Wales and South Wales
Hearings will be held in each of the Dyfed Powys, Gwent, North Wales and South Wales police force areas. Hearings will be conducted by a Police Misconduct Panel (the panel) made up of one legally qualified chair, one police officer of at least the rank of superintendent and an independent member. It is the responsibility of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to maintain a list of legally qualified chairs and independent members and appoint them. It is the responsibility of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to appoint them by using the ‘cab rank process.’ It is the responsibility of the appropriate authority to appoint a police officer member of the panel.
The College of Policing have produced ‘Guidance on outcomes in police misconduct proceedings.’ The College of Policing is a professional body for the police in England and Wales, whose responsibility includes a number of training and development roles. The guidance is intended to assist the panel appointed to conduct misconduct proceedings.
Police (Conduct) Regulations 2012 (amended by Police (Conduct) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 and 2015)
Police (Conduct) Regulations 2019 (enacted from 1st February 2020)
Policing and Crime Act 2017