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Acting Met Commissioner calls for powers to sack officers faster

Chief Constables should be given more powers to root out bad officers, the head of the Met has said.

Chiefs are unable to sack officers who have breached standards because they lack the powers needed to do it, the head of the Metropolitan Police has said.

Acting Commissioner Sir Stephen House called for simplified regulations so that Chiefs could use disciplinary hearings to root out officers sooner.

He told the Home Affairs Select Committee that forces across the country are having to keep officers on the pay roll despite serious concerns about their conduct.

Sir Stephen urged the committee to investigate and make recommendations for changes to speed up misconduct cases.

“They take too long,” he said. “We would absolutely welcome a speed up and simplification of the regulations.”

Sir Stephen added forces were being prevented by the current arrangements from being able to dismiss officers who have committed acts of gross misconduct.

He said: “Chief Constables all round the UK face the situation where they have officers in the organisation they don’t want and can’t get rid of. They either can’t get rid of them quickly enough or they can’t get them exited from the organisation at all because we are not in control of those decisions.”

He isn’t the first to call for change. The demand was first made by the National Police Chiefs Council last year in response to the Sarah Everard case.

NPCC Chair Martin Hewitt told its annual conference that Chiefs wanted accelerated hearings to remove those guilty of misconduct and for Chiefs to be able to make submissions to independent conduct panels.

He also wanted Chiefs to be able to take panel decisions to judicial review.

Mr Hewitt said: “We can’t claim to police by consent if any community or section of society doesn’t trust us and doesn’t believe in what we are doing.”

But the Police Federation responded that the changes were likely to create ’kangaroo courts’. Its position hasn’t changed since.

Conduct and Performance Lead Phill Matthews, commented at the time: “We agree it is vital the service is as open and transparent about misconduct processes as possible, but what is being suggested risks undermining that which is deeply concerning. What is being proposed risks turning misconduct proceedings into kangaroo courts."

The Fed did back calls for the disciplinary process to be sped up.

The Met’s leader argued his force had taken a battering with a series of misconduct cases and the public needed reassurance.

Sir Stephen said: “Frankly we would like to have fewer officers coming forward but where we have a problem to deal with, every officer who is exited makes for a better organisation. It may be a challenge for public confidence… but the more officers we can exit because they don’t have the right values and attitudes, the better.”

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