Misconduct hearing process
Misconduct hearings involving police officers are held in public to ensure public confidence in policing.
The vast majority of police officers, specials and police staff who work for Avon and Somerset Police demonstrate the high standards of professional behaviour expected by the force.
Misconduct hearings are held to present the facts of the case and allow the person to give an explanation of their conduct and the circumstances surrounding the allegation. Witnesses may also be called to give evidence.
The purpose of a public hearing is to show that our disciplinary system is open and transparent. It will demonstrate that we do hold officers who breach the standards of professional behaviour, or those where misconduct is found proven, accountable for their actions.
There are two types of misconduct hearings, one held by chief officers when the evidence is clear, such as a guilty verdict or plea in court, or the other much more common hearing, is chaired by legally qualified chairs (usually lawyers) who must be independent of the police.
More information can be found on the College of Policing website.
The misconduct process
Step 1 : Misconduct notice published
A misconduct notice will be published at least five working days prior to the hearing.
In circumstances where this is not appropriate, or where certain parts of the hearing need to be in private, we will give adequate notice and explain the reasons why.
Step 2 : Registration to attend a hearing opens
Members of the public, and press, can register their interest to attend a misconduct hearing.
Step 3 : Hearing takes place
Hearings are normally held at Police and Fire Headquarters and are conducted by a panel, chaired by an Independent Legally Qualified Chair (LQC).
Other panel members include an officer, of at least the rank of Superintendent, and an independent person selected from an approved list held by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC).
Use of mobiles and recording equipment
As part of the conditions of entry you must switch to silent all mobile phones, pagers, recording machines or other electronic items in the hearing rooms.
You are strictly forbidden to use recording or photographic equipment in the hearing rooms. Anyone found to be using such equipment will be asked to leave by police staff.
Only accredited members of the press will be allowed to use text-based communications to report proceedings. They can do so if the Chair is satisfied that it does not interfere with the proceedings.
We provide the following facilities to visitors who have a hearing or speech impairment, or are less abled:
- an induction loop system
- space for wheelchair users and assistance dogs
- accessible toilets
The panel will hear the facts of the case, often with the assistance of live witnesses. If the officer is found to have committed gross misconduct, outcomes of either type of misconduct hearing include:
- Written warning
- Dismissal without notice
- Final written warning
- Reduction in rank
Step 4 : Hearing concludes
Upon the conclusion of the hearing, the Chair will decide whether to publish an outcome notice in relation to the proceedings.