Last year, I noted in this blog the creation (in December 2012) of the College of Policing – replacing the National Police Improvement Agency.
Following the enactment of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, the College is now recognised in legislation. (See Part 11, sections 123-130.) The College is given specific statutory power to issue Codes of Practice.
The core areas of responsibility of the College are:
• setting standards of professional practice
• accrediting training providers and setting learning and development outcomes
• identifying, developing and promoting good practice based on evidence
• supporting police forces and other organisations to work together to protect the public and prevent crime
• identifying, developing and promoting ethics, values and standards of integrity.
The College has set itself ambitious aims. For example it is seeking to extend its networks beyond the traditional boundaries
of policing – to include the public, further and higher education, the private sector, charitable organisations and the wider public sector – and make the most of all opportunities to work with others to support policing.
It wants to create open and transparent development opportunities for police officers and staff at all levels. These will include:
• being part of a network with local academic institutions to gather evidence and test new approaches
• participating in a community of practice
• providing peer support to share experiences
• working in the College or with one of our partner organisations to gain new skills and knowledge, while sharing learning and experience.
Further detail of its plans can be found in its statement of strategic intent at http://www.college.police.uk/en/20801.htm.
The reason for the creation of the College lies in a number of difficult issues that have affected police forces in recent years which has led to falls in public trust in the ability of the police to work effectively and fairly in carrying out its work.
Responding to these worries, one of the first actions of the new College was to develop and publish a new Code of Ethics for the police service (similar in aim to codes of ethical practice which apply to most professional groups). The Code was published in July 2014.
It is based on 9 core policing principles (themselves based on the Nolan Principles for Standards in Public Life). They are
- Accountability: You are answerable for your decisions, actions and omissions.
- Fairness: You treat people fairly.
- Honesty: You are truthful and trustworthy.
- Integrity: You always do the right thing.
- Leadership: You lead by good example.
- Objectivity: You make choices on evidence and your best professional judgement.
- Openness: You are open and transparent in your actions and decisions.
- Respect: You treat everyone with respect.
- Selflessness: You act in the public interest.
Perhaps surprisingly this is the first time that a set of ethical standards for policing has been published.
Naturally it will be asked what difference publication of the Code will have on day to day policing. This question certainly cannot be answered at this stage. However, as the College itself notes, its effect will become clearer if the public starts to acknowledge that standards of police integrity have started to improve.
The Code is available at http://www.college.police.uk/en/20972.htm
More detail about the work of the college is available on its website at http://www.college.police.uk/en/home.htm