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Increased investment helping to maintain highest standards within Cambs Police

Many of you will have seen the news about the review about misconduct issues by serving officers in the Metropolitan force.

It is extremely upsetting to hear that standards have fallen so low in our biggest police force. Sadly, this is not uniquely a problem for London, poor behaviour of officers occurs throughout the country, impacting our communities and undermining the commitment of the vast majority of the workforce in keeping us safe. That is why in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, increased investment is helping the Constabulary weed out officers falling short of the standards expected of them.

Last week Police and Crime Commissioner Darryl Preston visited the team responsible for protecting standards across the Constabulary to see how increased investment and innovation is driving up performance.

The PCC visited Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Constabularies’ Professional Standards Department (PSD) to understand how the Government’s national Uplift Programme and increased investment from the money local people are paying towards policing in 2022/23 has boosted resources and secured additional investigators.

PSDs play a vital role in the maintenance of public trust and confidence in the police by robustly managing misconduct and complaints, undertaking vetting of officers, staff and volunteers, and investigating counter-corruption claims in accordance with the College of Policing’s Code of Ethics.

During an inspection to the Counter Corruption Unit (CCU) in September 2021, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) described the unit as ‘on the way to becoming one of the best CCUs in the country’.

During Darryl’s visit to the department, he learned how PSD has increased their capability by 30% thanks to income raised from the council tax precept in 2022/23 and the national recruitment programme. This has enabled the force to secure experienced analysts and researchers who use data to flag potential areas of concern before they escalate – helping to maintain officer professionalism and deliver a better quality of service to the public.

The PCC was also shown how experienced investigators are working proactively to stop issues before they happen and how improvements in vetting procedures at the point of application and throughout an officer’s career are providing a platform for continuous professional development.

Ethical Policing is one of five pillars in Darryl’s Police and Crime Plan which pledges to ensure the police always act with integrity and social responsibility.

Darryl said: “The majority of officers who join the Constabulary want to do the right thing and keep people safe. However, as with any large organisation, there will always be those who sign up for the wrong reasons and it is vital we have robust systems in place to weed them out. Where officers are proven to have been behaving inappropriately the Constabulary robustly deals with them, and this rightly includes dismissal.

“I am pleased the new resources are helping the team to work more preventatively to stop issues escalating before they damage public confidence. The public must be able to trust the police to do a good job and act ethically, otherwise they will not support their work upholding the law in our communities.”

DCS Martin Brunning, Head of Professional Standards, added: “Maintaining and enhancing the public’s confidence in policing is my absolute priority. The expansion of the functions within PSD have enabled proactive work to identify threats posed by individuals and mitigate and remove those risks. The dedicated people who fearlessly route out wrongdoing within PSD do so because it is vital work and they recognise how important their role is for the public and policing.”

The PCC and Constabulary jointly operate a Community Scrutiny Panel made of up members from all walks of life and backgrounds to fairly represent Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s communities. Their role is to advise on approaches to PSD procedures and oversee its work to ensure police officers operate to the highest professional standards.

The force’s Continual Professional Development (CPD) Units provide a rolling weekly CPD programme for staff and supervisors around policy, procedures, legislative changes and best practice. Additionally, these units deliver an operational and detective training programme and provide coaches, mentors and People Development Advisors to support student officers through their journey and young in-service officers, helping to educate them about the culture, values and behaviours expected of them from the force.