If you carry out work for the police force in any capacity and have been informed that you are going to be subject to an investigation regarding your conduct, it is essential that you seek the best legal advice as soon as you possibly can.
Wilford Smith's Regulatory and Compliance Solicitors specialise in acting on behalf of police officers and staff who are subject to disciplinary investigations. We will work on your behalf to conclude matters as quickly as possible and, with an up-to-date understanding of police protocol and operations, we can assist you to draft detailed responses throughout the investigation process. In the event that you are referred to a conduct hearing, our team can advise you on the best defence strategy and can provide the highest quality representation when necessary. Contact our Regulatory and Compliance Solicitors today to find out how we can help.
When can a police officer be investigated regarding their conduct?
Police officers and staff can find themselves under investigation relating to conduct occurring either on or off duty. On-duty incidents may include minor road traffic offences, common assault allegations, misconduct in public office or a death or serious injury occurring after an individual has had contact with the police. Off-duty incidents can have serious repercussions also, often resulting from incidents that result in criminal charges. Such incidents can also give rise to misconduct proceedings, which can potentially lead to dismissal in cases of gross misconduct.
How are accusations of misconduct made against a police officer investigated?
The police complaints system in England and Wales is overseen by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which makes its decisions independently of the police, government and complainants. In situations where a complaint regarding the conduct of a police officer has been made, this may be investigated by their operational command unit, by an outside force or by the IPCC depending on the nature and seriousness of the complaint. The IPCC’s remit includes investigations into the actions of police officers and staff following a death or serious injury that has occurred after an
individual has had contact with the police, and investigations into the most serious complaints and conduct referrals made by police forces.
When it is decided by an IPCC investigator that the actions of a police officer or member of police staff warrants investigation, they will be served with a notice informing them of this as soon as is practical. In the case of police officers, this notice should include:
- details of any allegations and how their conduct has failed to meet the Standards of Professional Behaviour;
- an assessment by the investigator as to whether the conduct, if proven, would amount to misconduct or gross misconduct;
- information as to whether, in the event of the matter being referred to misconduct proceedings, this would likely be a misconduct meeting or hearing;
- confirmation that the officer has the right to seek advice from their staff association or any other body, and the role of a police friend;
- information on the officer’s right to make representations to the investigator, and the requirement that the investigator have regard to these representations if they are made within 10 working days of the notice; and
- the misconduct caution.
Officers and staff should expect to be interviewed by IPCC investigators, with this interview taking place under the misconduct caution or a criminal caution if appropriate. The investigator will draft an investigation report concluding whether, in their opinion, the police officer or member of staff has a case to answer for misconduct or gross misconduct. The basis of this decision will be whether, in the investigator’s opinion, there is sufficient evidence that a reasonable tribunal could find the conduct amounting to misconduct or gross misconduct. It is then at the commissioner’s discretion as to whether a misconduct hearing or meeting takes place.
Contact our Police Discipline Defence Solicitors in Sheffield and London Today
Wilford Smith’s specialist Regulatory and Compliance Solicitors are experienced in advising police officers and staff in relation to misconduct investigations. We provide a service that is exceptionally strategic and results driven, ensuring that you are given clear and pragmatic advice throughout any disciplinary proceedings. We understand that when your livelihood is at stake you need a legal team you can trust. We are committed to defending your position and protecting your career, reputation and rights.
Our Regulatory and Compliance Solicitors are based in Sheffield and London and advice and represent clients throughout England and Wales. Contact us today on 01709 828 044 to find out how we can help.