Police disciplinaries to be held in public

DISCIPLINARY hearings for police officers may soon be held in public. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is planning to hold the first ever disciplinary hearing of an officer in public. Until now all disciplinary cases have been held behi

DISCIPLINARY hearings for police officers may soon be held in public.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is planning to hold the first ever disciplinary hearing of an officer in public.

Until now all disciplinary cases have been held behind closed doors.

But now there is a move to bring police into line with the military and medical professions as their salaries are paid by the taxpayer so any misdemeanours are heard in public and can be reported in the media.


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In the past the police have been accused of using private hearings as a way to be lenient and hide problems with officers that should be made public.

Both police constabularies covering Comet country say they would consider any changes in disciplinary procedures if the IPCC decided they should be heard in public.

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Last year Hertfordshire Constabulary dismissed one officer and 33 others faced disciplinary proceedings. Bedfordshire Constabulary also sacked one officer and three officers were asked to resign.

Both constabularies have refused to reveal why the officers were kicked out and the seriousness of their conduct.

Brenda Griffiths, vice chair of Hertfordshire Police Authority, said: "We are delighted to work closely with our local IPCC commissioner, both on national matters and those which affect the residents of Hertfordshire.

"We are fully committed to an open and transparent hearing system, but any such hearings must not be allowed to compromise any other activity in the criminal justice system.

"We are working closely with the constabulary to develop the new requirements which have arisen as a result of the Taylor Report. We anticipate these will include much more lay membership on hearing panels, which is something else we welcome."

A spokesman for Bedfordshire Constabulary said: "With regard to the proposals for public hearings, both the authority and the force will be consulted by the Police Advisory Board as part of the formal consultation process, when we will have more information and at which time we will be invited to put forward our views."

The mood within the IPCC is changing after it identified a case it says should and will be heard in public. The exact case and the constabulary involved has not been revealed.

The IPCC also says the case of horse enthusiast Tania Moore who was murdered by her former boyfriend Mark Dyche in 2004, was a case that could have benefited from a public hearing.

The victim had told police about threats made by Dyche, and several officers faced misconduct hearings last October.

Last year the IPCC began work on how any new process would begin and agreed to look at a way forward and how to implement any changes after consultations with the Police Federation, which represents front line officers and is believed to be opposed to the move.

* Should police officers have their cases tried in public like members of the armed forces and doctors? Tell us your views.

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