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Khan pushes for duty of candour over wrongdoing

London Mayor Sadiq Khan wrote to the Home Secretary last week asking for “profound” changes to vetting and misconduct procedures.

Sadiq Khan has written to the Home Secretary asking for a Duty of Candour on officers to proactively report wrongdoing relating either to themselves or to others. 

It's one of a number of changes that the London Mayor is now calling for outside of the terms of reference of the Government Review. 

He has also asked for the automatic suspension of an officer facing allegations of serious offences (including all sexual offences), along with the allocation of more powers to Chiefs. Such powers would include the ability to place proportionate restrictions on an officer’s personal life when accused of misconduct and the chance to reopen misconduct investigations if new evidence comes to light.

Within the letter, Mr Khan stated that the recent cases of David Carrick and Wayne Couzens highlight how “the current system is not for purpose”.

He said: “It is vital that all victims of crime have confidence in our police, and to help achieve that more simply has to be done to raise standards and empower police leaders to rid the Met and other police services of those officers who are clearly unfit to serve. That is why these reforms must be made urgently and I would ask you to commit publicly to them at the earliest opportunity."

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The reputation of British policing has been severely damaged by recent high-profile events, and the public’s trust in our police has been shaken. 

“The Home Secretary has taken immediate action and asked police chiefs to root out any current officers unfit to serve and has brought forward Part 2 of the Angiolini Inquiry to identify and address systemic issues in our police forces.

“The Home Secretary has also launched an internal review into police dismissals to ensure that the system is fair and effective at removing those officers who fall below the standards we expect, which is underway.”

Today the College of Policing has sent an updated Vetting Code of Practice out for consultation. 

The seven key changes proposed by the Mayor are as follows;

1. Automatically dismiss an officer who commits a serious offence whilst part of the police service

2. Automatically dismiss an officer who fails police vetting

3. Automatically suspend an officer facing allegations of serious offences including all sexual offences

4. Introduce a Duty of Candour, which would require an officer to proactively report any wrongdoing (by self or others)

5. Strengthen the pension forfeiture rules so that a criminal offence does not have to be committed ‘in connection’ with their service in order for an officer to lose their pension

6. Improve processes, by making them fairer and efficient - provide Chief Constables the right of appeal to a Police Appeals Tribunal following a misconduct hearing when the sanction is inadequate; make the performance process much more streamlined (reduce from six stages); speed up the misconduct process by introducing time limits; support Legally Qualified Chairs to carry out their roles effectively and fully explore disproportionality within the misconduct process

7. Provide Chief Constables with more powers to take action - to reopen misconduct investigations if new evidence comes to light; the right to place proportionate restrictions on an officer’s personal life when accused of misconduct; explore the need for a power to obtain relevant information from an officer’s personal phone during a misconduct investigation; provide that Regulation 13 should be used to dismiss an officer whilst in their probation period (including for misconduct) and explore the possibility of recovering pay for the period when an officer is suspended if found proven and dismissed.

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