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Chiefs streamline process for recommending top officer gongs

Regional committee system led to outdated nominations being submitted to Home Office, says report
Published - 31/05/2018 By - Ian Weinfass - Police Oracle

Errors have seen incorrect papers for honours for chief officers submitted to the government.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council has a role in overseeing nominations for chief officers for New Year and Queen’s Birthday Honours lists, while HMICFRS coordinates those for lower ranks.

Chiefs in each region were meant to get together to review nominations at their level before they are passed on to a central team – but they rarely bothered.

A paper from a meeting on the issue says: “Reviews conducted by regional contacts are inconsistent due to the frequency of staff turnover and a consequent lack of knowledge. As a result, a number of poorly written and non-conforming nominations are submitted to the central office.”

It adds the regional committees “frequently” did not listen to feedback from the Home Office and NPCC.

“Due to the number of different parties involved (i.e. the force, region, NPCC and Home Office), a number of different versions of each nomination are created and, in the interests of expediency, versions may occasionally bypass stages of the process.

“As a consequence there have been times where outdated versions of a nomination have been wrongly submitted to the Home Office,” it says.

Police Oracle has asked the NPCC how many cases it believes this to have happened and if it is thought this had an impact on the process of a chief officer getting an honour. The organisation had not responded before this article went live.

At the meeting chiefs agreed to remove the regional committee from the process to remove an extra layer of bureaucracy.

As it takes 12-18 months from nomination to award, the effect of this will be felt at the New Year Honours for the first time rather than next week’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Any person can nominate anyone else to receive an honour but the police service, and some other sectors, have specific processes in place to facilitate awards among their peers.

The last significant change to the honours system process took place in 2016 after Police Oracle highlighted how disproportionate the awards to chief officer ranks had been. A higher proportion of rank and file personnel have received Queen’s Police Medals since.

How chiefs’ honours are recommended:

  • Nominations submitted to NPCC central office.
  • NPCC honours committee – made up of CC Sara Thornton, two NPCC vice chairmen and Comm Cressida Dick - assess the nominations with the help of a Home Office advisor*.
  • Feedback on the nominations goes back to the nominator for revision.
  • High scoring nominations go to a Home Office committee, with the possibility of more feedback before final paperwork is submitted.
  • Selected nominations are forwarded to a Cabinet Office committee which makes the final decisions.
  • *For other ranks HMICFRS makes the initial assessments rather than the NPCC’s honours committee.


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