On 14th December 2016 I was visited at work by a civilian professional Standards Officer, Wendy Elliot.
You’ll no doubt recall how on 05/12/16 DI TAYLOR told me that I was not being investigated for any discipline issues. Well, he was lying. Wendy served me with a Misconduct Notice which stated the following……….
Name of complainant: Crown Prosecution Service. This is to notify you that an allegation has been made that your individual conduct may have breached the Standards of Professional Behaviour and that there will be an investigation into the circumstances. Whilst you do not have to say anything it may harm your case if you do not mention when interviewed, or when providing any information under regulations 16(1) or 22(2) or (3) or (45) of the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2012 or regulation 18 of the Police (Complaints and Misconduct) Regulations 2012, something which you later rely on in any misconduct proceedings or special case hearing or any appeal proceedings. The details of your conduct that it is alleged may have breached the Standards of Professional Behaviour can be found below: On the 25/07/16 you attended a sensitive case conference with CPS relating to Operation Childer. It is alleged that you have disclosed confidential and sensitive information from the case conference to ‘HIT member, ‘Andy’. If proven this would be a breach of the Data Protection Act, this would also be a breach of the Code of Ethics. Based on the information available at this time the conduct described above, if proven or admitted, has been assessed as amounting to misconduct. This may result in your attendance at a misconduct meeting.
That was it! No other clues as to what it was that I was supposed to have ‘disclosed‘. What Data had I disclosed? What was it that was confidential or sensitive? How had I breached our code of ethics? This was a mystery.
There are nine policing principles. They are built on the Nolan principles for public life, with the addition of ‘Fairness’ and ‘Respect’.
These principles underpin and strengthen the existing procedures and regulations for ensuring standards of professional behaviour for both police officers and police staff. This gives the profession and the public the confidence that there is a system in place to respond appropriately if anyone believes that the expectations of the Code of Ethics have not been met.
These principles should also underpin every decision and action across policing. They should be used, for example, in day-to-day operations as interventions are planned and debriefed, in the selection of new staff, in educational and development programmes, in annual reviews and in promotion. The principles must be more than words on a page and must become embedded in the way Police professionals think and behave.
The somewhat cryptic and none specific allegation, which I was expected to respond to, didn’t seem to adhere to our policing principles. This was not going to be a very happy Christmas!!