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Do away with NDAs at employment tribunals says Fed

The Chair of the national Police Federation has called for an end to the use of NDAs whenever a Chief Constable or force is taken to an employment tribunal.

The Chair of the Police Federation has called for an end to the use of NDAs (non disclosure agreeements) at employment tribunals. 

The Fed wants it to be an “open and transparent” process.  

Speaking to the Home Affairs Committee, last week, he said: “If we have won the case, and the officer, the person we represent, is okay with having their name out there - they can say this is the type of behaviour we have reported, we have challenged it, we've sadly had to take it to an employment tribunal we have won, that is the kind of culture we need to stop. 

“If you shine a light on this behaviour it will stop, there should be no hiding place for it whatsoever.

"Its more about the victim led approach for police officers in particular to say come forward, challenge it, be supported properly - can we assist with moving them to a different team, different location but also to make sure the perpetrators are dealt with properly. 

“You have to be fair within the process because you can have vexatious allegations and its about safeguarding the process for everybody but obviously when you get patterns of behaviour, if two or three people have said the same thing and they are significantly independent that would raise alarm bells for me. 

“You can perhaps do more that way, bearing in mind the victim.”

He clarified that NDAs are probably more prevalent in the private sector. With policing you report an allegation against your Chief Constable you have to remain in their employment normally to continue. 

Non-disclosure agreements are nonetheless “prevelant” in policing, he said. 

The NPCC, however, told Police Oracle: "The NPCC’s Complaints and Misconduct leads will be picking up conversations directly with the Fed to understand the basis of their comments and to reiterate that they can’t recall any incidents of NDAs being used in the way that has been suggested by the Fed."

Mr Hartshorn said the Fed has done an FOI to try and find out the scale of them. Responses have not yet come back. 

His comments came as part of a wider question put to him on what changes are needed to get back trust and confidence.

“Initially you have got to look at leadership,” he said. 

“It was already commented on previously that leadership starts at the top. We talk about culture there does need to be cultural change, there needs to be a proper victim-led approach so that when somebody comes forward as a police officer but also as a member of the public they are supported properly. 

“The difference I suppose if we look at public crime is that a victim may report a crime and they might not know or have to work with that person. 

“But if you report an offence against a colleague that’s in the same environment so there might be elements of having to work together on the same team and that causes immense pressures.” 

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