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Ban on police retiring while under misconduct investigation lifted

Retired officers will now be able to be subject of standards hearings
Published - 08/12/2017 By - Ian Weinfass - Police Oracle

Officers will be able to resign or retire while under investigation, ending a limbo situation which has been in place for two years for those accused of misconduct who want to leave the service.

In 2015 the government banned officers from leaving the job while they were the subject of misconduct proceedings.

Since then, forces have continued to pay officers under investigation for gross misconduct while they are suspended or on restricted duties, even if they wanted to leave policing.

On Friday regulations will change to re-instate the previous practice, but misconduct proceedings will be able to continue after personnel have left forces.

Former officers in that situation will have their details put on a list which will count against them in vetting procedures for other law enforcement roles.

Phill Matthews, from the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: "We're happy they've seen sense and relented.

"Financially it made no sense for forces to keep people on who wanted to leave, to have to say 'We'll pay you to be here and not work until we can sack you'."

The new Home Office regulations say: "A public perception that some police officers who have committed serious wrongdoing have avoided accountability through resignation or retirement has caused damage to public confidence in the integrity of policing.

"At the same time, not allowing officers accused of misconduct to resign or retire while investigations are ongoing creates an unsatisfactory situation for the police force and the officer concerned."

The change will apply to all officers from December 15, but will not affect anyone who retired before that date.

Elsewhere in the regulations it states that former officers can be the subject of gross misconduct proceedings if a complaint is made within 12 months of their retirement and the allegation is "subject to a special determination that it is reasonable and proportionate for proceedings to be brought".

Mr Matthews said the Police Federation has concerns about the vague wording of this measure, and the lack of clarity on what constitutes a "special determination".

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