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Reform must not come at the expense of due process, say Met Fed

The Metropolitan Police Federation has acknowledged the “failings” documented in this morning’s Casey review, but has emphasised the importance of due process for those facing conduct procedures.

The narrative that officers should be “guilty until proven innocent” is not acceptable, the Met Fed has said on the back of today’s Casey review.

A Fed spokesman has emphasised that any reform implemented must not come at the expense of due process – for those pending or subject to conduct procedures.

In a statement responding to the review, the Fed acknowledged the “well-publicised failings” and underlined that there was no escaping that the service needs to improve.

“Part of that trust and confidence process is ridding the service of those who don’t deserve the privilege of being a police officer – and who disgrace us all,” the spokesman said.

"The Federation does not shy away from this fact. If officers are proven to be guilty of horrific offences, then we will be the first to say that we do not want these individuals in the job.

“However we must say that the narrative in the media and from some police leaders and politicians over recent weeks that police officers should be guilty until proven innocent is not acceptable.

“The criminal and statutory misconduct processes must always be followed. Any investigation, finding or sanction should be in keeping with relevant Police Regulations and legislation and be in keeping with the long-standing principles of United Kingdom law.”

Within the recommendations in her report Baroness Casey highlighted that “the misconduct process is not fit for purpose”.

Five recommendations were made in this area, including the establishment of independent multi-disciplinary teams of officers and staff to reform how the force handles misconduct cases.

Vetting standards should “be changed with immediate effect” in order to guard against those who intend to abuse their powers,

There were further calls for the government to expedite providing the Commissioner with new powers - among which would be providing Chiefs with the right to appeal to a Police Appeals Tribunal, giving forces a clear legal power to reopen closed misconduct investigations and strengthening the pension forfeiture rules (so a criminal offence does not only need to be committed in connection with an officer’s service).

Some of these recommendations have also recently been called for by the Mayor who wrote to the Home Secretary at the start of the month with seven key changes he wanted to see implemented in the Met.

One of Sadiq Khan’s more controversial asks, however, was the automatic suspension of an officer facing allegations of serious offences, including all sexual offences.

On this. Met Fed Chair Ken Marsh was clear: “Any suspension has to be made in accordance with guidance laid down in statue.

“You can clamour for things to change, [but here] you have to change the law,” he told Police Oracle.

He added that, not all, but some complaints are vexatious.

“We need to be careful here – my colleagues are human beings,” he said.

The MPF Spokesman concluded today: “The Metropolitan Police Federation actively supports the interests of more than 30,000 members on a daily basis. Their morale is plummeting – they are traumatised by the constant attacks to their proud profession.

 “Within the Federation’s daily work, we will also continue to speak up for the tens of thousands of hard working, brave and courageous police officers - who are out there as you read this - working tirelessly to keep Londoners safe.

“They – like us – are being gravely let down by a small number of individuals.”

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