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The Police (Conduct) Regulations - a summary

The following is a bird’s eye view of the Police (Conduct) Regulations designed to assist someone to navigate their way around this complex document. It is necessarily simplified and anyone wishing to ascertain the precise rule on any point must consult the original Regulations. They should also consult the Home Office Guidance, ‘Police Officer Misconduct, Unsatisfactory Performance and Attendance Management Procedures’

Proceedings under the Regulations must proceed without delay. (Reg 9(1)).

Before referring a case to misconduct proceedings, the investigating officer must decide whether misconduct proceedings would prejudice any criminal proceedings. If in his view it would disciplinary proceedings may not be brought at that time. (Reg 9(2), (3)).

Where the investigating officer determines that the conduct, if proved, would amount to gross misconduct, the matter must be investigated, but he can change his mind later, in which case the officer concerned must be notified as soon as possible. (Reg 12(4) - (6)).

The purpose of the investigation is to— (a) gather evidence to establish the facts and circumstances of the alleged misconduct or gross misconduct; and assist the appropriate authority to establish whether there is a case to answer. (Reg 14).

Written notice must be given to the officer concerned ‘as soon as is reasonably practicable after (the investigating officer is) appointed’ of the subject matter of the allegation and other matters. It must include a warning similar to the normal police caution. (Reg 15(1)(h)).

If the officer concerned ‘failed (at interview or subsequently) to mention any fact relied on in his case at the misconduct proceedings, being a fact which in the circumstances existing at the time, the officer concerned could reasonably have been expected to mention when so questioned…’ ‘the person or persons conducting the misconduct proceedings may draw such inferences from the failure as appear proper’ (Reg 34 (10) and (12)).

On completion of his investigation the investigator must as soon as practicable submit a report to the person acting for the chief constable (in this case the Superintendent, indicating whether in his view the evidence indicates a case to answer. (Reg 19).

If the senior officer to whom the chief constable has delegated his powers under Reg 3(5) decides that there is a case to answer on gross misconduct he must refer the case to a misconduct hearing. (Reg 19(4)). If he decides that there is a case on misconduct (but not gross) he has discretion to order disciplinary proceedings. If he determines that there is no such a case he can still order ‘management action’. (Reg 20). If no determination is made within 15 working days after receipt of the report the officer concerned must be notified why.

There is a fast track proceedings where the evidence clearly demonstrates guilt (which presumably does not apply here.) (Part V).

Where misconduct proceedings are ordered the officer concerned must be notified and given a copy of the investigator’s report and ‘any other relevant document gathered during the course of the investigation’. (Reg 21 ((1)). ‘Relevant’ means relevant to the case the officer concerned has to answer. (Reg 21(10)).

Within 14 working days after the documents are supplied the officer concerned must respond and give ‘his account of the relevant events’. (Reg 22(2)).

A misconduct hearing must take place before the end of 30 working days after the documents have been supplied to the officer concerned. (Reg 24(1)), but this can be extended.

Attendance at the hearing is normally obligatory. (Reg 29).

The provisions permitting the complainant to attend the hearing (Reg 31) would not seem to apply to your case. Otherwise the hearing is held in private and witnesses must leave after giving evidence. (Reg 32).

Possible penalties for those found guilty of misconduct are listed in Reg 35.

The only ground for an internal appeal is that the finding was ‘unreasonable’. (Reg 38(2)).


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