The Home Secretary has once again been urged to take action to ensure officers and their families are not put under prolonged pressure due to long-drawn-out conduct inquiries.
Nottinghamshire Police Federation representative Phill Matthews, who is the national Federation conduct and performance chair, called on Priti Patel to work on the Federation’s suggestions to speed up processes during a question and answers session after the keynote speeches by the national Federation chair Steve Hartshorn and the Home Secretary.
“We have offered practical suggestions to do that including having an eminent barrister draw up an amendment to the conduct regulations to allow Legally Qualified Chairs to scrutinise cases that go beyond 12 months, which would really help and save money as well,” says Phill.
“We had cross party support in the Commons for this and had this amendment added to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. The Government removed it. We then had cross party support in the Lords and had it added back in. Lord Hogan Howe was promised by the minister in the Lords (Baroness Williams) that the Government would engage with us and consider it. On that basis, he withdrew it to save time and allow other aspects of the bill to be discussed. We have heard nothing since and the Home Office, the Home Secretary or the policing minister have been unwilling to engage with us on this since. Why is that?”
The Home Secretary responded to Phill’s question and said she would work with the Federation on the issue.
Phill said afterwards: “I welcome her response, but actions speak louder than words. So far they have not lived up to their word.”