Being accused of gross misconduct as a police officer can have serious consequences on an individual’s personal and professional life. It can result in officers’ being dismissed and placed on the College of Policing Barred List. It can have far-reaching effects on an officer’s personal relationships, reputation, and future employment prospects.
Police officers hold a position of trust in our society and when officers break that trust it can have reputational damage to the Police Force and impact on public confidence. This means any conduct or complaint assessed as gross misconduct are dealt with by Police Professional Standards or the Independent Office of Police Conduct so to maintain public confidence and to ensure that the high standards expected of Police Officers are maintained and not abused.
But there are times when the matters assessed as gross misconduct leveled against officers are assessed or not preceded with if early intervention is achieved and legal advice is obtained. At Burton Copeland our Compliance Partner and Supervising Solicitor Daniel Weed has helped successfully represent many serving police officers when they’ve been accused of gross misconduct, some of which avoiding the stress of gross misconduct proceedings after an initial investigation.
Daniel has advised and assisted officers accused of gross misconduct including matters of breach of data protection, use of force and matters relating to honesty and integrity. In many of these cases the police officer in question was able to stay within the role of a Police Officer. You can read more about Daniel’s successes here.
What is gross misconduct?
Gross misconduct is any behaviour, whether on or off duty, that constitutes a breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour that is so serious as to justify dismissal. The Standards of Professional Behaviour are a statement of the expectations that the police and the public have of how police officers should behave.
How can it affect an officer’s policing career?
If matters against you are proven as gross misconduct, it can result in dismissal without notice, a reduction in rank or other sanctions placed upon you. It could impact on career progression, reduction in rank or dismissal. It also has financial consequences in terms of your police pension. If a matter proceeds to a Gross Misconduct hearing on the basis there is a case to answer. It will be heard by a panel of 3, including a legal qualified Chairperson, a senior ranking officer and a lay person. They will consider the evidence presented and decide on the balance of probabilities whether the alleged breaches are proven or not, and what level of misconduct, if any, they amount to.
What should you do if you’re accused of gross misconduct?
- Don’t panic and speak to your Federation who can advise you and direct you to accredited firms of solicitors.
- If the matter is off duty related, contact us and we speak with your Group Insurance Cover Providers in order to secure funding for legal advice and representation.
- Never provide any written response or attend a misconduct interview without first seeking advice. Getting the right advice at this stage can often avoid Gross Misconduct Proceedings.
Federation Representatives work alongside solicitors from early stages of an investigation in order to assist Officers during what can sometimes be a protracted period of investigation and proceedings where the officer may be restricted from carrying out certain duties or even suspended from duty.
Burton Copeland are experts in misconduct defence for police, and have helped many serving police officers successfully defend themselves against accusations of gross misconduct. If you’re currently under investigation for that offence and need legal representation contact our defence solicitors here.