Public Misconduct Hearings
Under their formal Misconduct Regulations, Police Officers accused of gross misconduct have to appear before a misconduct panel which is chaired by a legally Qualified Chair appointed by the Police and Crime Commissioner and made up of a Police Officer of at least the rank of Superintendent plus an independent lay member, also appointed by the Police and Crime Commissioner.
The hearings are held in public and in Gwent this is usually achieved by the hearing taking place in a Police building and the proceedings being streamed by way of a live link to a room in Police Headquarters where the press and the public can attend.
Sometimes, if there are representations made by any of the interested parties which can include the Officer(s), witnesses or victims, complainants , the Force itself or the Independent Police Complaints Commission if they have been involved, the Chair of the panel may decide to exclude the public and media from some or all of the proceedings. Representations can be made for personal reasons or for operational reasons because of the sensitivity of the case or the circumstances and because policing tactics or operations may be compromised. The starting point is always a hearing in public. The details of the hearing must be published by the Force at least five working days before it is due to take place, even if it is to be held in private. The Force must also publish the outcome for at least 28 consecutive days after the hearing has finished. It does not have to identify the Officer(s).
In Gwent, members of the public and press wishing to attend are asked to notify the Force of their desire to do so, in order that enough space can be allocated and any necessary security measures can be put in place.
Our next Public Misconduct Hearing
On 27th June 2017 a Gwent Police Constable was dismissed by the Chief Constable at a Special Case Hearing as a result of breaching the Standards of Professional Behaviour relating to Authority, Respect & Courtesy, Use of Force, Duties & Responsibilities and Discreditable Conduct.
The officer had been convicted of Grievous Bodily Harm relating to an assault on a member of the public whilst off duty and on 22nd June 2017 the officer was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.
Chief Constable Jeff Farrar said, “The public rightly expects the highest standard of ethical and professional behaviour from its officers. DC Smith’s behaviour fell well below this standard, he has not only lost his job but his liberty as a consequence of his actions.”