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British Transport
Police Federation

Misconduct Advice


The advice contained in this section is for reference and guidance only - whilst ever effort is made to keep the information up to date it is always recommended that you contact a trained Federation 'friend' or the Federation office in Dulwich for advice and assistance.

Home Office Guidance - Police Officer Misconduct, Unsatisfactory Performance and Attendance Management Procedures

Allegations against members do not always arise from complaints from the public. There are instances where members may be suspected of having committed a criminal or disciplinary offence either as a result of a complaint, an allegation from a fellow Officer or from some other source, which may result in a formal investigation. In any such case, members may be subject to both a criminal investigation and an internal disciplinary investigation. Where there is a criminal investigation a member has the same rights as any individual who is investigated for an alleged criminal offence under the provisions of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.

The IPCC has set out guidance for complaints and state the complaints system must:

Be coherent and consistent - wherever a complaint is handled within the system it is handled according to the same principles; while the principles of management and local ownership encourage managers to take responsibility for local resolution of complaints the principles of natural justice dictate that this may not be the case where the manager has a conflict of interest to the degree that a complainant might reasonably suspect that they might not handle the complaint fairly;

Be values driven - reflecting the values of the IPCC;

Respect people - people are respected through being kept informed by being treated fairly and in a way which reflects their diversity, people includes all individuals involved in the complaint, not just the complainant;

  • Demonstrate police accountability,

  • Operate to improve standards,

  • Be just and proportionate,

Increase public confidence in police activity and be timely and effective - the IPCC have an expectation that the local resolution process should usually be concluded and the outcome notified to the complainant within 28 days, unless in exceptional circumstances the complainant has specifically consented to an extension of time. This is not a rigid time limit, effective complaint resolution and satisfaction of the complainant are the primary factors;

Be open to public scrutiny

It is vitally important and very much in your own interests that you notify the Federation Office as soon as you know or believe that you may be under investigation. Delay in notifying can put you at risk.

A member has the right to consult with this "friend" at all stages of the investigation. It is important to seek advice at the earliest possible stage and certainly prior to making any formal statement.

All officers who become aware that a complaint has been made against them, or are under criminal investigation, should immediately seek advice from their Federation representative, before making any statements, written or verbal, or answering any questions. If at any time they are pressed by investigating officers to answer questions, etc., they should politely reply that they have been advised to first consult a 'friend'. They should also state that they wish a 'friend' or in appropriate cases their legal representative to be present at any interview.

Officers who are called upon to attend for interview, should ascertain first, whether they are under investigation, and if so, should consider asking a 'friend' to accompany them.

The full extent of the allegation may not be known until the service of a notice in writing is made. The notice is worded with the allegation(s) and contains the following information:

This notice has been issued to inform you at the earliest possible stage that an allegation has been made and that there is to be an investigation into the case.

You are not obliged to say anything concerning the above matter(s) but you may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned or when providing a written response something, which you later rely on in any subsequent proceedings under these regulations. If you so desire, you may make a written or oral statement to the investigating officer or to the Appropriate Authority (Chief Officer for non ACPO ranks). This statement may be used in any subsequent proceedings under these regulations. You have the right to seek advice from your staff association and be accompanied to any meeting, interview or hearing, by a 'friend,' who must be a serving police officer and shall not be an interested party. This form is served on you in accordance with Regulation 15, The British Transport Police (Conduct) Regulations 2008. It does not necessarily imply that disciplinary proceedings will be taken but is served to safeguard your interests.

Whatever the outcome of the complaint, report or allegation, you will be informed of the result and you will also be informed if there is likely to be any undue delay in completing the procedure.

It is accepted that other than in exceptional circumstances this notice should be served very shortly after receipt of the allegation.

Prepared Statements - Suggested Wording

"I write this statement of my own free will in response to a regulation 15 notice of complaint against me. I understand that I do not have to say anything but it may harm my defence if I do not mention when questioned, something which I later rely on in court or misconduct proceedings. Anything I do say may be given in evidence. I understand that this statement may be used in any subsequent criminal or disciplinary proceedings".

At the end of the statement covering the issues contained within the Reg 15 notice and disclosure you can consider putting the following.

"I have now given a full account of the issues contained within the regulation 15 notice served on me on……………..and offer this statement as my account I am not prepared to answer any further questions in relation to this matter and rely on this account as my response to the allegations made".

Duty Statements - Suggested Wording

Where a member is the subject of a criminal investigation (i.e. where an allegation of criminal misconduct has been made against him) no request to provide a duty statement should be made, or if such a request is made this may be refused.

Where an allegation of the commission of a discipline offence has been made, then, whether or not a Regulation 15 Notice has been served, a duty statement may be properly refused, it being a statement "concerning the matter".

An express assurance that a duty statement will not be used in any subsequent criminal or discipline proceedings arguably provides the member with the necessary protection to enable a statement to be made. The circumstances in which this may arise are where a civil action has been commenced against the Chief Officer and a statement is necessary to help the Chief Officer oppose or defend the action. In these circumstances preface the duty statement with:

"I have been informed that I am not under investigation for any criminal or, disciplinary matter and I make this statement on the understanding that it will not be used in any subsequent criminal, civil action or any disciplinary proceedings against me."

Some useful tips

Remember,when it comes to the person serving the Regulation 15 note, it's not personal but they have a job to do, which they probably do not like any more than you. It is not normally best practice to give any reply to the allegation at the time the notice is served. Be polite and simply inform that you intend to take advice from the Federation and will respond to the allegations in due course. Don't worry, as this is the reply that most Investigating Officers will expect you to make.

Always endorse the Regulation 15 notice for a copy to be disclosed to the Federation. Better still forward a copy to us immediately. Remember that if this is a case that needs a solicitor to be instructed you will need to get authority, via your Area Secretary, from the Federation office at Dulwich.

Once a notice has been served there will normally be a time gap before you are interviewed. During this time the I.O. will be interviewing witnesses and will make contact with you once they are ready for an interview. Don't worry if you do not hear from the I.O. or your 'friend' during this time. It does not mean nothing is happening. The I.O. needs to gather any evidence and your friend will be in a better position to have a meaningful discussion with you once disclosure has taken place.

Remember that whoever acts as your 'friend' will be a serving police officer and they are bound by the same Code of Conduct that you are.

This means that while the 'friend' will do everything they can to help you they can not put forward a defence that they know to be false. To do so would mean that they aid and abet a discipline offence. That said any discussion you have with your 'friend' attract the same confidentiality, as you would have in a solicitor/client relationship.

The 'friend' will not disclose anything said between you.

Remember that even relatively simple complaints often take a long time to resolve. Investigation times are often longer than ideal and a file can take in excess of 3 months for the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to arrive at a decision once the investigation is complete. Whilst this may not be a satisfactory state of affairs, this is totally out of our control.

It is important to remember, that during an investigation, if you do have any concerns or queries your 'friend' is only a phone call away.

Local Resolutions

Local Resolution is a new term and replaces informal resolution of a complaint. Within Local Resolution the IPCC will authorise different procedures that can be followed. The aim of the Local Resolution procedure is to provide a speedy and satisfactory resolution to a complaint without the need for formal investigation and which meets with the complainant's needs.

Certain cases will be appropriate to be dealt with under a Local Resolution process or the fast track procedure - Immediate Local Resolution. Immediate Local Resolution could take the form of:

The person complained against being present or readily available and willing to explain his or her understanding of the incident, which has given rise to the complaint and/or willing to give an apology. or;

A supervisor or another member of the force being able to give a satisfactory explanation, apology on behalf of the force, or giving undertaking to perform a course of action - training, advice, etc.

Standards of Professional Behaviour

Honesty and Integrity

Police officers are honest, act with integrity and do not compromise or abuse their position.

Authority, Respect and Courtesy

Police officers act with self-control and tolerance, treating members of the public and colleagues with respect and courtesy.

Police officers do not abuse their powers or authority and respect the rights of all individuals.

Equality and Diversity

Police officers act with fairness and impartiality. They do not discriminate unlawfully or unfairly.

Use of Force

Police officers only use force to the extent that it is necessary, proportionate and reasonable in all the circumstances.

Orders and Instructions

Police officers only give and carry out lawful orders and instructions.

Police officers abide by police regulations, force policies and lawful orders.

Duties and Responsibilities

Police officers are diligent in the exercise of their duties and responsibilities.

Confidentiality

Police officers treat information with respect and access or disclose it only in the proper course of police duties.

Fitness for Duty

Police officers when on duty or presenting themselves for duty are fit to carry out their responsibilities.

Discreditable Conduct

Police officers behave in a manner which does not discredit the police service or undermine public confidence, whether on or off duty.

Police officers report any action taken against them for a criminal offence, any conditions imposed on them by a court or the receipt of any penalty notice.

Challenging and Reporting Improper Conduct Police officers report, challenge or take action against the conduct of colleagues which has fallen below the Standards of Professional Behaviour.