Police disciplinary hearings to be heard in public

Theresa May
Theresa May

Sussex Police is making plans to hold future disciplinary hearings in public following new legislation which came into force on today (May 1).

The then Home Secretary, Theresa May, announced the new regulations on March 12 requiring gross misconduct hearings against police officers to be held in public to make them more open and visible and to increase protection for whistleblowers.

As from January next year, those chairing the hearings must also be legally qualified.

Superintendent Lisa Bell, head of Sussex Police’s professional standards department, said, “We are very open to being as transparent as possible in all of our work and this is an important aspect of ensuring that our disciplinary processes are similarly visible to the public.

“In recognition of the important position of trust we hold in society, we also have a responsibility to ensure that people who work for us meet the very high standards of honesty and integrity that we demand and expect.

“There are no dates set at this stage for any hearings, but details of how members of the public will be able attend them will be available on our website - http://www.sussex.police.uk/ - in due course.

“We are currently in liaison with the College of Policing to ensure that our arrangements fall into line with other police forces. As with similar hearings, such as criminal or coroners’ courts, the public will be able to attend as observers only and will not be able to comment on proceedings or have a part in the decision-making process of the hearing.”