Chief Constables' Message
Acting with integrity is a key requirement of successful policing. If the public don't trust the police to be fair, act ethically and in their best interests, they will be less inclined to help us and work with us.
Nationally, high profile events and widespread media coverage has initiated an ongoing debate about integrity in the police service. It is important that we acknowledge this has had a damaging effect on public confidence.
The government, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the College of Policing have responded by developing initiatives to demonstrate that the service is aware of public concern, is acting to raise standards of integrity and will increase openness and transparency of the police service in general in order to increase public confidence.
We know that the vast majority of people who work and volunteer for Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police always strive to do the right thing in every situation, often in very difficult circumstances. Unfortunately however, from time to time some colleagues through their behaviour let both us, and themselves down.
To demonstrate to the public that the police service will take a unified approach to addressing corruption and unethical behaviour, ACPO has asked all forces to adopt a new public commitment to professional standards and integrity. Supported by our Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs), we are keen to make this commitment.
This will include:
- Adopting a zero tolerance approach to corruption.
- Publishing a letter committing both forces to being open and transparent in what we do.
- Establishing independent Ethics Committees to scrutinise how the forces deal with integrity issues, acting on their advice and publishing their reports.
- Publishing internally and externally details of serious misconduct.
- Creating an environment where individuals feel confident to challenge or report corruption.
- Building integrity questions into public consultation initiatives.
In addition, Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police have adopted the new Code of Ethics developed by the College of Policing which complements and links to our existing values.
The Code of Ethics is the first national document setting out the standards of professional behaviour for officers and police staff. It defines what exemplary behaviour within policing looks like and has practical examples for officers and staff to use in their everyday jobs. Work will now take place to ensure that all officers, staff and volunteers are clear about these standards of behaviour expected of them.
As the alliance strengthens and deepens, future success will depend upon bringing the two forces, officers, staff and volunteers together, being clear what is expected of them and showing our communities that we are open, transparent and totally committed to delivering our services with the highest integrity.
As chief constables we are committed to achieving these objectives.
West Mercia Police
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