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Federation: Regulation 13 not being used properly by the Met

The Professional Standards Secretary (PSS) for the Met Police Federation, Matt Cane, shares Baroness Louise Casey's view that this regulation is not used fairly or effectively.

The PSS of the Met Police Federation has claimed that the provision which allows for the removal of probationary officers is being used ineffectively in the Met.

In an interview with the latest edition of the Met Police Federation magazine, Matt Cane identified a number of issues with this provision of the 2002 Police Regulations.

Regulation 13 allows probationers to be removed in a separate way to the formal misconduct process, and was one of the areas highlighted as requiring reform in the interim findings of the Casey review published last October. 

Mr Cane said: "Regulation 13 is far too often seen as a punitive process, where in fact it should be embraced as a process to improve and develop probationers to eventually become excellent officers."

In her report, Baroness Casey highlighted that the use of this regulation is rising 'in line with and beyond the increase of probationers' due to the uplift in police numbers.

This is despite the fact that her review identified challenges in using Reg 13, including the amount of paper work required, the need to provide ‘clear and incontrovertible’ evidence of problems and the fact that rotation arrangements mean that problem behaviour isn't always communicated between supervisors.

While Mr Cane believes this measure should be used as an opportunity to grow within the service, Baroness Casey found that Reg 13 resignations accounted for 41% of all probationer resignations in 2021/22.

The 143 such resignations was also much higher than in the previous three years, where there were 33, 49 and 47 Reg 13 resignations respectively (in 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21).

Mr Cane was also critical of how the force uses Reg 13 in relation to misconduct, arguing that it is being used contrary to Home Office guidance which makes it clear the circumstances in which such use is acceptable. 

Under paragraph 2.12 of the Home Office guidance on Police Officer Misconduct, Unsatisfactory Performance and Attendance Management Procedures, chief constables have a discretion as to whether to use the misconduct procedures or Reg 13 as 'the most appropriate means of dealing with a misconduct matter'.

Mr Cane's view is that the Met is wrongly using Reg 13 in this context as a "fast track route to remove officers".

A spokesperson for the Met said: "Regulation 13 is used by the Met to dismiss probationary constables from the organisation when they demonstrate significant performance issues or behaviours and judgement that fall below our values and evidences they will not make suitable police officers. 

"We ensure the application of Regulation 13 enables natural justice with those probationers having the opportunity to improve or explain their actions.  All of these decisions are taken by Assistant Commissioners and are fair and transparent.

"We are in regular contact with the Federation and discuss the appropriate use of Regulation 13 to safeguard the organisation and the communities ."

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