Officer Hearings: Statement from Michael Lane, Police and Crime Commissioner
08 January 2021
Following the gross misconduct hearings of six Hampshire Constabulary Police Officers, the Independent Panel has today determined that five officers should be dismissed with immediate effect and one should receive a final written warning.
“Police officers have been given particular powers that demand they abide by the highest standards of ethical behaviour. The rulings and sanctions of the Independent Panel have indicated this has not been the case in relation to these officers in Hampshire Constabulary.
“The investigation and hearings have taken a long time to come to a conclusion and it has been necessary to wait until the end of the legal process to now push for answers on behalf of the public that I represent and to outline my views.
“It is very hard for me to describe how offended I am by what I have heard through the hearings. Let me be absolutely clear, this behaviour is unacceptable and has no place in Hampshire Constabulary.
“I was encouraged that the whistleblowing policy enabled the first indications of the risk from these unacceptable behaviours. And when the allegations first came to light I told the Chief Constable that I wanted her to urgently shine a light into every corner of the organisation to check that procedures and practices were in place to reflect the values and behaviours the force espouses and the ethical standards that are required and expected by the communities it serves. All police officers have a responsibility to protect and serve all of our communities and it is right that these six police officers have been held to account for their abhorrent and unethical conduct.
“I was and remain clear that the investigations should be undertaken transparently and that due and thorough process be followed. It should have always been clear what the right behaviours were and are and that they are adhered to in all circumstances. This should include leaders at all levels in the Constabulary being exemplars in demonstrating the standards required and demanding, as they coach and develop their teams, to the same highest standards.
“I will continue to expect that every officer and member of staff adhere to the strictest ethical codes and professional behaviours. I will be expecting a focus on the highest of standards and for appropriate actions to continue to be taken by the Chief Constable to ensure this. I want reassurance that it is clear to every officer, in every team, at every level, that this conduct has no place in Hampshire Constabulary.
“Last year I published my commitment to an action plan for Equality, Inclusion and Diversity. The plan focuses on using my role of scrutiny and as the elected representative of local communities to inform appropriate challenge and action to the force. The plan focusses on the delivery of a full review of Hampshire Constabulary’s current stop and search scrutiny processes, a deep dive into the force’s current training on diversity and inclusion, and at a time of uplift doing all we can to ensure greater workforce diversity. I have also invested in equality and diversity training to remove unconscious bias and make sure all officers are fair and equitable to all communities they serve, this training has been timed to further reinforce the lessons from the outcomes of these hearings.
“My office has engaged with community leaders and representatives and run focus groups to listen to the voice of black and ethnic minority communities to understand and support the needs of the vulnerable and victims from all of our communities and this conversation continues. Action is being taken to ensure change and continued improvement. I will ensure that more is done to always hear the voice of these communities and those that have been affected by what they have heard through the hearings of these six officers.
“I welcome the Chief Constable’s early condemnation of this behaviour and understanding of the trust issues that this will have created with our communities. And I acknowledge the very many of our constabulary who appropriately and strongly espouse the right ethical approaches and values.
“However these examples of unacceptable behaviours should never happen in policing. As Police and Crime Commissioner I will continue to scrutinise the Chief Constable to ensure Hampshire Constabulary uphold these values and has the right procedures, training and practices in place to prevent this happening again.”