My statement following HMICFRS’s report into vetting, misconduct and misogyny
November 3rd, 2022
Darryl Preston, Police and Crime Commissioner
While today’s report makes for incredibly difficult reading and will clearly impact public trust and confidence in policing, ensuring your police force maintains the highest standards of behaviour is one of my key priorities.
The murder of Sarah Everard raised serious questions about systemic failings, missed opportunities and an inadequate approach to the setting and maintenance of standards in the police service nationally.
I want to reassure you that your Chief Constable and his senior officer team have not been sat waiting for this report. Instead they have been putting in place measures to ensure arrangements for recruitment and vetting are robust in order to ensure standards of behaviour of police officers and staff are of the highest order.
I recently visited the team responsible for protecting standards to see how increased investment and innovation is driving up performance. Thanks to income raised from the council tax precept in 2022/23 and the national recruitment programme, the team has increased staffing by 30% which is enabling 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.
There is more work to be done but I have seen for myself how the team is 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.
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.