In a report on policing standards, the Home Affairs Select Committee recommended the recently formed professional standard body, College of Policing, should “establish a scale of fines which should be docked from officers’ pensions in cases of the most grave misconduct”.
The committee has also called for a new code of ethics for all officers to be established, and recommended new officers be forced to obtain a Certificate in Knowledge of Policing.
The recommendations come after several high profile allegations about police conduct, including allegations that undercover Met Police officers spied on the family of Stephen Lawrence, who was murdered in a high profile racist attack in 1993.
One officer told the Committee colleagues tempted by corruption often looked at what they could lose, with the pension seen as a big financial incentive to “keep your nose clean”.
Treading through treacle
Martin Tiplady, former HR director of the Met Police who is now MD of Chameleon People Solutions, told HR magazine he believed police leaders should focus on making investigations as efficient as possible.
“The issue for me is more about misconduct investigations being carried out quickly and disciplinary decisions being tougher and consistently applied,” he said. “The current process is like treading through treacle – overly processed and full of technical challenges that cause untold delay.”
Tiplady said these delays often lead to “surprising outcomes”, such as officers taking early retirement instead of being disciplined.
“But let’s not treat police differently from other professions,” he said. “The delays may be more apparent and the process could be simpler, but the penalties in terms of pensions should be the same across all sectors, public and more commercial organisations.”
Labour MP and committee chairman Keith Vaz said policing needed a code of conduct similar to the medical profession.
“We need a code of ethics [and] integrity, and we need to make sure that there are sufficient sanctions for those who reach that code,” he said.
“Basically, we want it to be like the Hippocratic oath for doctors, where there is an unshakable faith in the honesty, integrity and transparency of our police force.”