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Professional standards lead backs chiefs having last word on dismissals

A Home Office review into the current misconduct system triggered by the Casey review is set to be published in the coming weeks

The national police lead on professional standards says chief constables must have the final say on whether officers should be dismissed or not for misconduct.

Craig Guildford, who recently took the helm at West Midlands Police said a change away from the current system “needs to be done expeditiously”.

A Home Office review into the current misconduct system triggered by the Casey review is set to be published in the coming weeks.

CC Guildford said he had given feedback as the NPCC lead “on behalf of chief constables” to the Government.

Speaking on Wednesday, he said the NPCC’s feedback on the topic was now with the Home Office and any final decision on changes to the existing system was ultimately “for the Home Secretary to consider”.

But supporting Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley’s call for a change in the system he said: “I echo those comments with regards to being able to firmly and individually set the standard for the organisation.

“I do that with cases that come before me on a fast-track basis.

“But clearly the system at the moment with legally qualified chairs has somebody else making that decision.

“We feel that the Chief Constable as the employer, as the standard-setter, needs to have that final word and that needs to be done expeditiously.”

He added: “But this isn’t just about making sure that it’s easy to dismiss officers at all because each officer and staff member needs a fair hearing and it’s important that that is remembered.”

In mid-January, the Home Office announced a review of current disciplinary arrangements for forces, to assess if they were both “effective” and “efficient at removing officers who fall far short of the high standards expected of them”.

Police forces nationally are also undertaking a PND data wash of every officer and staff member.

CC Guildford added: “We’ve had a data wash of every individual employee who works for the organisation – officer and staff member.

“We’re working through that to make sure that there is nothing that has slipped the net.

“Thus far … we have found nothing, locally, which has slipped through that net – in other words, things that we weren’t already aware of.”

Home Secretary Suella Braverman, speaking at the time of the review’s announcement, said: “Officers who fall short and are not fit to serve the public have no place in our police, and we must ensure they can be dismissed as swiftly as possible.”

She added: “This review will ensure that bureaucracy and unnecessary process will not prevail over ethics and common sense.

“It will urgently identify reforms to the dismissals process so that we can enact change.”

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