Staffordshire Police Federation chair Lee Robinson says proposals to reform police conduct and dismissal demonstrated a lack of understanding of police regulations. 

Lee said the current regulations were under constant review and fit for purpose and said that the Federation would fight the proposed reforms. 

He said that officers were being targeted for political gain after Labour MP Harriet Harman and London Mayor Sadiq Khan drafted a Bill for police performance and discipline. 

Ms Harman said the current procedures for disciplining and dismissing police officers were “not fit for purpose”. 

Lee said: “What this Bill demonstrates is politicians’ eagerness to use policing and police officers for political gain. 

“Policing is under the microscope at the moment, and rightly so, but these proposals show a complete lack of understanding about regulations. 

“Conduct regulations are always under review and police forces and our chiefs have the powers now to deal with these issues but, for whatever reason, there’s an inability to apply them. 

“Instead, these proposals amount to an attack on the rights and liberties of our members and they will, quite rightly, be angry at them.  

“No other public service or profession would be targeted in this way, certainly not our political leaders in Westminster, and we will fight to oppose them.” 

Lee’s comments came after seeing Ms Harman and Mr Khan’s draft Bill. 

Proposals in the Police Reform (Performance and Disciplinary) Bill introduce reforms to: 

  • Automatically dismiss a serving officer convicted of a serious criminal offence  
  • Automatically suspend an officer charged with a serious criminal offence 
  • Automatically dismiss a serving officer who fails vetting 
  • Give chief constables the power to reopen misconduct investigations  
  • Provide that Regulation 13 should be used to dismiss an officer whilst in their probation period (including for misconduct)  
  • Introduce a Duty of Candour, which would require an officer to proactively report any wrongdoing by themselves or others 
  • Provide chief constables the right of appeal to a police appeals tribunal following a misconduct hearing when the sanction is inadequate  
  • Reduce the performance process to a two-stage process, from the current three stage 
  • Strengthen the pension forfeiture rules so that a criminal offence does not have to be committed ‘in connection’ with their service in order for an officer to lose their pension   
  • Create a ‘duty to handover’ to obtain relevant information from an officer’s personal phone during a misconduct investigation  
  • Ms Harman and Mr Khan have written to the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, to offer her the legislative package. 

Ms Harman said the current procedures “were not fit for purpose”. 

She added: “The Bill stands ready to be made into law, to give police chiefs in England and Wales the powers they need and have explicitly asked for, so that they can start to build public trust in the police.” 

The Police Federation for England and Wales expressed its dismay at the intervention and said it was “actively engaging” in the ongoing Home Office review into the process of police officer dismissals, which is examining various aspects of the decision-making. 

In February, it submitted detailed evidence to the review to ensure it “reflects the correct state of affairs” and suggests “robust reforms”. 

It warned that cultural reform and service-wide change must not be brought in by giving sweeping, uncontrolled powers which would allow police chiefs to dismiss officers without following due legal process. 

It accepted the need for change in police recruitment, vetting, training, standards and leadership but insisted any reform must be fair, considered and backed by proper evidence rather than conjecture. 

The Police Federation has also been demanding a Royal Commission on policing to evaluate and define the role, purpose and responsibility of the police by engaging members of the public.