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Police Professional Behaviour Standards
Authority, Respect and Courtesy
Police officers act with self-control and tolerance, treating members of the public and colleagues with respect and courtesy.
Police officers do not abuse their powers or authority and respect the rights of all individuals.
Equality and Diversity
Police officers act with fairness and impartiality. They do not discriminate unlawfully or unfairly.
Use of Force
Police officers only use force to the extent that it is necessary, proportionate and reasonable in all the circumstances.
Orders and Instructions
Police officers only give and carry out lawful orders and instructions.
Police officers abide by police regulations, force policies and lawful orders.
Duties and Responsibilities
Police officers are diligent in the exercise of their duties and responsibilities.
When deciding if a police officer has neglected his or her duties all the circumstances should be considered.
Police officers have wide discretion and may have to prioritise the demands on their time and resources. This may involve leaving a task to do a different one, which in their judgement is more important. This is accepted and, in many cases, essential for good policing.
Police officers treat information with respect and access or disclose it only in the proper course of police duties.
Where a police officer provides any reference in a private as opposed to professional capacity, then he or she will make this clear to the intended recipient and will emphasise that it is being provided in a private capacity and no police information has been accessed or disclosed in giving such a reference.
Fitness for Duty
Police officers when on duty or presenting themselves for duty are fit to carry out their duties and responsibilities.
Police officers behave in a manner which does not discredit the police service or undermine public confidence, whether on or off duty.
Police officers report any action taken against them for a criminal offence, conditions imposed by a court or the receipt of any penalty notice.
Discredit can be brought on the police by an act itself or because public confidence in the police is undermined. In general, it should be the actual underlying conduct of the police officer that is considered under the misconduct procedures, whether the conduct occurred on or off duty.
However where a police officer has been convicted of a criminal offence that alone may lead to misconduct action irrespective of the nature of the conduct itself. In all cases it must be clearly articulated how the conduct or conviction discredits the police.
Challenging and Reporting Improper Conduct
Police officers report, challenge or take action against the conduct of colleagues which has fallen below the standards of professional behaviour expected.
Police officers have some restrictions on their private life. These restrictions are laid down in the Police Regulations 2003. These restrictions have to be balanced against the right to a private life.
Therefore, in considering whether a police officer has acted in a way which falls below these standards while off-duty, due regard should be given to that balance and any action should be proportionate taking into account all of the circumstances.
Even when off duty, police officers do not behave in a manner that discredits the police service or undermines public confidence.
In determining whether a police officer’s off-duty conduct discredits the police, the test is not whether the police officer discredits herself or himself but the police as a whole.
Police officers are particularly aware of the image that they portray when representing the police in an official capacity even though they may be off-duty (e.g. at a conference).
When police officers produce their warrant card (other than for identification purposes only) or act in a way to suggest that they are acting in their capacity as a police officer (e.g. declaring that they are a police officer) they are demonstrating that they are exercising their authority and have therefore put themselves on duty and will act in a way which conforms to these standards.
For example, during a dispute with a neighbour a police officer who decides to produce a warrant card would be considered to be on duty.
Police officers may only hold or undertake a business interest or an additional occupation where an application to hold or undertake it has been approved in accordance with the Police Regulations 2003.
Police officers do not conduct such interests or occupations if approval has been refused or withdrawn, nor do they breach any condition of approval imposed.
All forms of management action and formal outcomes for misconduct are available in response to off-duty conduct
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