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Misconduct panels to be sped up to rebuild trust, Chiefs confirm

Misconduct processes will be sped up in a bid to root out racist and misogynist officers, the leader of policing has pledged.

The misconduct system will be changed as part of a series of responses - including Chiefs going to judicial review in cases where they believe an officer should be removed.

The first day of the Chiefs and Police and Crime Commissioners summit opened with a blunt assessment of the impact of the murder of Sarah Everard, rows over stop and search and a string of misconduct cases including officers sharing photos of two murdered Black women.

Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council Martin Hewitt told the NPCC APCC Summit in Westminster that the cases were impacting on the reputations of decent, hardworking officers.

“Far too many women are asking themselves if the police are on their side in tackling violence against them,” he said. “ We cannot claim to police by consent if any community or section of society doesn’t trust us and believe in what we are doing.”

He warned forces will have to respond with openness and admit that the same negative attitudes in society also exist in policing.

He added the culture in policing would have to change.

Mr Hewitt also set out the first steps in the NPCC’s response:

Mr Hewitt said: "The public will see police officers sanctioned or leave the service after misconduct processes - and we must not shy away from that.

He added: "We know that the overwhelming majority of police officers and staff are serving to a high standard in some of the most difficult circumstances. But swiftly dealing with police officers or staff members that need to be removed from the service is a demonstration of our values."

The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners made clear its leads would be working with partners – and using their funding – to support preventative work in communities and with partner agencies.

Chair Marc Jones told the event: “Effectively tackling violence against women and girls doesn’t just mean arresting perpetrators. It means investing in our communities and changing attitudes. PCCs are helping to address whole-system culture and health challenges.”

“We all need to call out misogeny and hate wherever we see it,” he added.

But the event also heard the effective work that police forces delivered to ensure lockdown was enforced and two global summits –COP26 and G20 passed without incident.

At the height of the COVID-19 outbreak, the sickness rate was just 16% against a projection of 40%.

Mr Hewitt also revealed that forces have now passed the half way mark for recruiting 20,000 officers  and have made significant inroads into County Lines gangs.

In October alone, £2m of Class A drugs were seize and £1m in cash recovered.

And opinion poll research had revealed confidence in policing remain strong, thanks to the work carried out during lockdown – a “gamechanger”, according to Mr Hewitt.

He added: “Yes, there may be flaws that must be addressed, but equally there is indisputable strength within our culture that we must address to channel and use to deliver the best service possible to the public and build better levels of trust.”

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