A new report, led by Police and Crime Commissioners, has found that whilst the police misconduct system is operating reasonably effectively, and Legally Qualified Chairs (LQCs) are settling into their role, action is required to improve the current arrangements.
The report, which is based on evidence from Legally Qualified Chairs (LQCs), force discipline departments and PCCs offices, makes a series of recommendations, including that the APCC and the NPCC produce urgent guidance to encourage more consistency in the application of the misconduct process in relation to the LQC role.
It also calls for the Home Office to consider developing regulations, and detailed guidance, setting out the underlying features of the LQC role in relation to the new complaints and conduct regime which will soon be implemented.
The report also recommends that PCCs, APCC, Home Office and Information Commissioners Office work together to provide consistency and clarity about LQCs’ data protection responsibilities and LQCs work with the APCC and other to instil and embed transparency into the process.
Julia Mulligan, APCC national lead for Transparency & Integrity, said:
“Whilst the misconduct hearing process has run very well under LQCs, 15 months after their implementation, it is clear that a collective effort is required if we are continue to improve the misconduct hearing process, for everyone involved.
“It is vital LQCs work with the APCC and others to instil and embed as much transparency into misconduct hearings as possible and proportionate, with a clear rationale for their approach with the media and public at the outset of each hearing.”
Dame Vera Baird QC, APCC deputy lead for Transparency & Integrity, said:
“It is hoped that this review leads to the changes that all those involved in the system agree are necessary, from short-term guidance on the selection process of LQCs to more detail set out in regulations about the roles and responsibilities of all parties, including clarity on issues such as data protection.
“We hope the APCC and LQCs can continue to work together to ensure the police misconduct process is overseen and implemented thoroughly and fairly.”
Notes to editors:
- This report is based on a survey about Legally Qualified Chairs (LQCs), conduct by the APCC between July and September 2017. The survey was sent to LQCs themselves, police force Professional Standards Departments (PSDs) and Offices of Police and Crime Commissioners (OPCCs)
- This was a largely qualitative survey, based on perception and experience of the misconduct system from different perspectives.
- The main report is available on the APCC website here. You can access the report complete with annexes here.