Police disciplinary hearings to be public

A Hove speed camera took a battering when a motorist crashed his car into it
A Hove speed camera took a battering when a motorist crashed his car into it

Sussex Police is making plans to hold disciplinary hearings in public after new legislation came into force.

Home Secretary Theresa May announced the regulations on March 12 requiring gross misconduct hearings against police officers to be held in public to make them more open and to increase protection for whistleblowers. The rules came into effect on Friday (May 1).

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.”

Supt Bell said there were no hearings due at this stage but any future dates would be made public on the Sussex Police website – www.sussex.police.uk .

She added: “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.”