POLICE WATCH INDIA (Regd. NGO)
THE POLICING PROTOCOL ACT (PPA) will set out how the new policing governance arrangements will work. It will clarify the role and responsibilities of the DGPs/Commissioners of police & other law enforcing agencies. It will outline what they are expected to do and how they are expected to work together to fight crime and improve policing. The protocol will therefore fundamentally underpin the key working relationships within the new policing landscape.
The PPA will build on the government’s commitment that the DGPs/COMMISSIONERS will retain the direction and control of their forces’ officers and staff, making clear that the operational independence of the police will be safeguarded. It must set the strategic direction and objectives of the force.
Why policing protocol should be introduced?
The protocol will underline the government’s commitment to limiting the role of the Home Office in day-to-day policing matters therefore giving the police a greater freedom to fight crime as they see fit.
Will policing protocol focus on local issues, not national ones?
Policing protocol will be responsible for the full range of policing work, not simply local priorities, and will not undermine the operational independence of policing professionals. They will not manage the forces they govern and they will have to recognise that the only way of making a police force effective is by letting the professionals do their job.
The protocol will clarify the delineation of responsibilities between Police Officers at all levels. The protocol will also set out how the DGPs/ Commissioners should provide a link between the police and the public, translating the legitimate expectations of the public into action. Responsibilities for other areas too will be specified, such as the delivery of community safety by the bringing together of community safety partnerships, and entering into agreements to deliver better value for money and better policing capabilities.
The Policing Protocol will apply to all Police Officers & other law enforcement agencies.
The entire staff of every police force is expected to have regard to this document.
The establishment and maintenance of effective working relationships by all is fundamental. It is expected that the principles of goodwill, professionalism, openness and trust will underpin the relationship between them and others & everyone will do their utmost to make the relationship work.
This Protocol does not supersede or vary the legal duties and requirements of the DGPs/Commissioners of Police. DGPs/Commissioners of Police remain operationally independent.
THE “POLICING PROTOCOL COMMISSION” (PPC) WILL :-
Set the strategic direction and objectives of the force through the Police and Crime Plan (“the Plan”), which must have regard to the Strategic Policing Requirement set by the Home Secretaries;
Scrutinise, support and challenge the overall performance of the force including against the priorities agreed within the Plan;
Hold the DGPs/Commissioners of Police to account for the performance of the force’s officers and staff;
Decide the budget, allocating assets and funds to the DGPs/Commissioners of Police; and set the precept for the force area;
Appoint the DGPs/Commissioners of Police;
Remove the DGPs/Commissioners of Police subject to following the process set out;
Maintain an efficient and effective police force for the police area;
Enter into collaboration agreements with other policing bodies and partners that improve the efficiency or effectiveness of policing for one or more policing bodies or police forces in consultation with the DGPs/Commissioners of Police;
Provide the local link between the police and communities, working to translate the legitimate desires and aspirations of the public into action;
Hold the DGPs/Commissioners of Police to account for the exercise of the functions of the office of DGPs/Commissioners of Police and the functions of the persons under the direction and control of the DGPs/Commissioners of Police;
Publish information specified by the Secretary of State and information that the PCC considers necessary to enable the people who live in the force area to assess the performance of the PCC and DGPs/Commissioners of Police;
Monitor all complaints made against officers and staff, whilst having responsibility for complaints against the DGPs/Commissioners of Police.
In addition, the PCC must not fetter the operational independence of the police force and the DGPs/Commissioners of Police who leads it.
In order to enable the PCC to exercise the functions of their office effectively, they will need access to information and officers and staff within their force area. Such access to any information must not be unreasonably withheld or obstructed by the DGPs/Commissioners of Policeand/or fetter the DGPs/Commissioners of Police direction and control of the force.
PCC will have wider responsibilities than those relating solely to the police force, namely :-
A specific responsibility for the delivery of community safety and crime reduction;
The ability to bring together Community Safety Partnerships at the force level, except in;
A duty to ensure that all collaboration agreements with other Local Policing Bodies and forces deliver better value for money or enhance the effectiveness of policing capabilities and resilience;
A wider responsibility for the enhancement of the delivery of criminal justice in their area.
The DGPs/Commissioners of Police will be accountable to the law for the exercise of police powers, and to the PCC for the delivery of efficient and effective policing, management of resources and expenditure by the police force. At all times the DGPs/Commissioners of Police, their constables and staff, remain operationally independent in the service of the communities that they serve.
The DGPs/Commissioners of Police will be responsible to the public and accountable to the PCC for :-
(a) Leading the force in a way that is consistent with the attestation made by all constables on appointment and ensuring that it acts with impartiality;
(b) Appointing the force’s officers and staff (after consultation with the PCC);
(c) Supporting the PCC in the delivery of the strategy and objectives set out;
(d) Assisting the PCC in planning the force’s budget;
(e) Providing the PCC with access to information, officers and staff as required;
(f) Having regard to the Strategic Policing Requirement when exercising and planning their policing functions in respect of their force’s policing responsibilities;
(g) Notifying and briefing the PCC of any matter or investigation on which the PCC may need to provide public assurance either alone or in company with the DGPs/Commissioners of Police;
(h) Being the operational voice of policing in the force area and regularly explaining to the public the operational actions of officers and staff under their command;
(i) Entering into collaboration agreements with other DGPs/Commissioners of Police, other policing bodies and partners that improve the efficiency or effectiveness of policing;
(j) All DGPs/Commissioners of Police remaining politically independent of their PCC;
(k) Managing all complaints against the force, its officers and staff DGPs/Commissioners of Police, and ensuring that the PCC is kept informed in such a way as to enable the PCC to discharge their statutory obligations in relation to complaints in a regular, meaningful and timely fashion. Serious complaints;
(l) Exercising the power of direction and control in such a way as is reasonable to enable the PCC to have access to all necessary information and staff within the force;
The direction and control of the DGPs/Commissioners of Police will include—
(a) The ability to issue a warrant to an attested officer with which that officer may exercise their police powers;
(b) Decisions in relation to the appointment and dismissal of officers and staff;
(d) Total discretion to investigate or require an investigation into crimes and individuals as he or she sees fit;
(e) Decisions taken with the purpose of balancing competing operational needs within the framework of priorities and objectives set by the PCC;
(f) Operational decisions to reallocate resource to meet immediate demand; and
(g) The allocation of officers’ specific duties and responsibilities within the force area to meet the strategic objectives set by the PCC.
This list is not exhaustive and is by way of illustration only. The DGPs/Commissioners of Police will be expected to ensure that the PCC is regularly informed of their decisions and operational activity in a timely manner so that the PCC can hold the DGPs/Commissioners of Police to account for the totality of policing within their force area, including the operational delivery of the police service. The direction and control of the DGPs/Commissioners of Police does not just remain under the scrutiny of the PCC but is open to investigation and scrutiny by the Independent Police Complaints Authority within the parameters of their terms of reference.
The PCC and DGPs/Commissioners of Police must work together to safeguard the principle of operational independence, while ensuring that the PCC is not fettered in fulfilling their statutory role. The concept of operational independence is not defined in statute, as by its nature, is fluid and context-driven.