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Leadership plays a part in preventing misconduct, says PCC

PCC Philip Wilkinson has told Police Oracle that the College’s updated guidance on misconduct outcomes is welcome, but that there are further considerations that need to be taken around misconduct.

The “timeliness and focus” of the College’s updated misconduct guidance is “exemplary”, Wiltshire PCC Phillip Wilkinson has told Police Oracle.

However, he has said that consideration of possible personal causes of misconduct, as well as a recognition of the importance of supervision could have equally been included within the guidance document.

Mr Wilkinson served for 32 years in the Army with the Royal Artillery, Commando and Parachute Brigades and Special Forces, including six years in Northern Ireland. He retired as a colonel. 

For the past 20 years he has worked for Whitehall departments on the international front-line in Rwanda, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Somalia.

“While not a police officer, if I was, I am sure that I would find the guidance clear and helpful,” he explained.

“Even I could get the gist and understand the assessment of seriousness factors and personal mitigation.

“Having been a commander in other security forces - getting that right when making judgements of one’s own people and to maintain internal and external trust, confidence and force morale is critical.”

He nonetheless added that he would have liked to see the guidance include reference to possible personal causes of misconduct, as well as the importance of supervisors in identifying possible causes and behavioural traits that may later manifest as misconduct.

It’s something he’s working on within his own force – primarily by implementing new supervisors training courses.

He previously told Police Oracle: “I know of course there is a strategic course for promotion to assistant chief constable but we need a whole hierarchy of courses below that reaching down to the one that we are now running.” 

On the recent guidance, PCC Wilkinson also referred to the overlap between gross incompetence and gross misconduct.

“This guidance makes it clear on page 7 that the Performance Regulations exist to address gross incompetence and unsatisfactory performance or unsatisfactory attendance,” he said,

“But this left me wondering - if the criteria of seriousness for misconduct and incompetence are both based upon the negative impact on public confidence should misconduct and incompetent performance, especially if caused by wilful neglect, not be managed in a similar manner and suffer the same level of sanction? Perhaps they do?

“However, that aside, I wish I had had these misconduct guidelines in some of my previous command roles.”

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