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ACPO: ‘No Duty’ For Officers To Brief PCCs

Association guidance warns officers and staff to stay impartial and treat PCC candidates as members of the public

Officers should treat all Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) candidates equally in the run up to the November elections and should never put themselves in a position where they could be seen to be showing support, ACPO has said.

According to guidance from the association, candidates ought to be treated “like members of the public” when they make requests for information from forces.

There is “no duty” to interact with them as if they were “elected representatives” and requests made by candidates to regularly meet senior officers or department heads should be declined.

The ACPO document, entitled Guidelines for Interaction with Police and Crime Commissioner Candidates, says such regular meetings would second guess the electorate and assume a certain candidate will win – as well as diverting resources from other policing activities.

The document says parties and candidates should be treated “even-handedly” and should receive the same right of access where appropriate.

Information provided to candidates should also be published so it is available in the public domain.

The guidance also says that if police are forced to investigate a candidate during election time for alleged “criminal conduct” it should do so in a way which best demonstrates “independence and impartiality” to avoid a conflict of interest.

A chief constable could, for example, call in another force unrelated to the PCC election in their area to review any part of an investigation.

ACPO Lead on Futures, CC Alex Marshall, said: “It will be for individual forces to judge the way they interact with PCC candidates but it is vital that they avoid bringing the impartiality of the force or its staff into question.

“These guidelines provide general principles, for local interpretation, when forces are communicating with PCC candidates.”

To read the guidance click here

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