College of Policing consultation on the draft Code of Ethics for policing in England and Wales Submission by Transparency International UK (TI-UK) November 2013
Submission by Transparency International UK (TI-UK) 1. Introduction 1.1. TI-UK welcomes the publication of the College of Policing draft Code of Ethics for policing in England and Wales. In 2012, the TI-UK response to the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) ‘Managing Police Integrity’ report recommended that common ethical standards be developed that are robust, clear and consistent, are embedded across police forces. We support the focus on ethics and integrity as part of the overall mandate of the College of Policing to set and maintain consistent standards in professional development across the 43 forces in England and Wales. 1.2. TI-UK is an anti-corruption organisation that has extensive experience in reviewing policies and practices relating to organisational integrity. TI-UK has published a series of guides to good practice in this area, most recently the Anti-Bribery E-Learning Course, updated in June 2013 to provide free best practice anti-bribery training; and the July 2013 paper Diagnosing Bribery Risk to inform effective corporate bribery risk assessments. 1.3. Looking specifically at policing, TI-UK’s Corruption in the UK report published in 2011, reviewed twelve pillars of ‘national integrity’ including law enforcement. The research found little evidence of systemic corruption in the UK police, but significant, and growing, opportunity for corruption of and by individual officers and support staff. Corruption in the UK highlighted the need for well-designed and adequately-resourced integrity programmes reinforced by ethical leadership. In 2012, Benchmarking Police Integrity Programmes report set out TI-UK’s views on what constitutes good organisational integrity practice and how this could be applied to the police. In addition, the TI-UK Defence and Security Programme published an international survey of police anti-corruption reforms in the 2012 report Arresting Corruption in the Police. This submission draws on those reports1. Key points
Reference material should be published available alongside the Code to set out the implementation, guidance, training and review system for the Code. Police forces should require suppliers and other contracted third parties to agree contractually to observe relevant specified provisions of the Code. Consideration should be given to how Police and Crime Commissioners and their staff can be held to a comparable standard as the Code of Ethics for policing. The Code should be expanded to include sections on accountability, including reporting and whistleblowing; conflict of Interest and typical corruption risks; and security of information and citizen privacy. TI-UK agrees with the positive focus on integrity within the Code, but believes that it should also explicitly prohibit corruption, and de-bunk the myth of so called ‘noble corruption’. The code should state the disciplinary measures that will apply for breaches of the Code, based on the principle of zero tolerance of corruption.
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Comments in detail 2. Implementation 2.1. Reference material should be published available alongside the Code which explains how the complete package of ethics training, management, and evaluation will be implemented and maintained. The system of training on the Code, use of effective educational tools, oversight and evaluation, and transparency in reporting to the public is as important as the content of the Code itself. At present, the Code does not offer guidance on what training officers will receive. Given the new standards that officers have to meet, there should be preparations to train officers accordingly to the standards expected of them. 2.2. In parallel with training is the need for detailed guidance for trainers and supervisors. Detailed guidance, beyond what is provided in Section 1.13, should be provided separately covering all aspects of the Code. The supervisors’ guidance should also be accessible to all those to whom the Code applies. 2.3. Implementation and roll out should also include a comprehensive and continuous approach to risk assessment. The ethics risk assessment process should be reviewed and strengthened to ensure that the process is robust, comprehensive and up-to-date in capturing emerging or changing risks such as those related to outsourcing, procurement, secondary employment and post-service employment. 2.4. Consideration should be given to explicitly setting out the responsibilities for implementation with Chief Officers within the Code. 3. Major topics not addressed in the Code 3.1. The Code should be expanded to include the following sections: accountability, including reporting and whistleblowing; conflict of Interest and typical corruption risks; security of information and citizen privacy; and discipline and sanctions. 3.2. Accountability and transparency: There is no clause or section on this, although there is a reference in Section 1.12. TI-UK recommends that this topic should be a section by itself. This section would state the need to be accountable and transparent, both organisationally and at a personal level. It would also cover the dos and don’ts of public statements, including contacts with the media. 3.3. Whistleblowing and ‘Bonds of Loyalty’: There is no mention of whistleblowing regulations. This should be addressed and included. Within the police, as in other similar organisations, there exists a strong camaraderie which can prevent whistleblowers from exposing incidents of corruption. There should be provision both for encouraging whistleblowing, and for protection from retribution of those who bring to light malpractice. 3.4. Conflict of Interest: Conflict of Interest is not specifically covered in the Code, but it is referenced in Sections 1.3, 2.5.4 and 2.6.2.There should be a clause inserted that specifically deals with conflict of interest, covering the relevant aspects in the current draft Sections 1.3, 2.5.5 and 2.6.2. Also, Section 2.6.2 requires clarification of the term ‘any relationship’, located in the final bullet point. 3.5. Prohibition of bribery and corruption: Section 2.1.1-2.1.4, Honesty and Integrity, should make en explicit statement that the police prohibit bribery and corruption. TI-UK agrees with the focus of the Code on the positive approach of building a culture of integrity. However, there is a need to identify the risk areas where officers may expose themselves to corruption pressures or targeting, and TI-UK believes that the Code should deal explicitly with these. These areas include the link between corruption risk and specific activities, including such as steroid use in personal
life, financial exposure from secondary employment, and bribes and kickbacks in functions such as contracting and procurement. 3.6. Security of Information: This is not addressed, despite the fact it is the counterpart of ‘Confidentiality’, covered in Section 2.7.1-2.7.4. The Code should recognise that information systems are a point of corruption for police. The Code should emphasise the importance of not to disclosing confidential information, and ensure that information is secure through behaviour, systems, and policies and procedures. 3.7. Privacy: The Right to Privacy is not explicitly addressed. Privacy means respecting the rights to privacy of the police, as well as the police respecting the rights to privacy of others. This is a particular concern for the police, as inevitably investigations allow for privileged access to citizen’s personal private information. 3.8. Disciplinary measures: The Code does not refer to disciplinary measures and rights. It should state that the police forces will apply appropriate disciplinary measures in the event of a breach of the Code of Ethics. There should also be included in the Code information on the sanction for non-compliance with internal investigation or audits. Clear disciplinary measures should highlight the active promotion of integrity, based on the principle of zero tolerance of corruption. 4. Additions to Section 1.7. Application of the Code 4.1. In Section 1.7, the reference to “everyone working for or with those forces” should be clarified, as “with those forces” could apply to contractors and suppliers, and other third parties. Explicit consideration should be given on how the Code will be reflected in relationships with contracted entities. TI-UK recommends that police forces should require suppliers and other contracted third parties to agree contractually to observe relevant specified provisions of the Code. 4.2. In addition, TI-UK recommends that consideration be given to how Police and Crime Commissioners and their staff can be held to a comparable standard as the Code of Ethics for policing. 5. Additions to Section 1.11. Responsibilities 5.1. In the section detailing Chief Officers’ responsibilities for the code (Section 1.11), an additional bullet point should be inserted that reads as follows: “Ensure that effective management systems are implemented to build and support ethical behaviour and integrity.” 5.2. In Section 1.11, TI-UK recommends that the bullet point beginning “recognise and acknowledge that many people find it hard to question or challenge chief officers’ actions or decisions” should be reworded as follows: “create an environment in which people feel able to question or challenge chief officers’ actions or decisions.” 5.3. Finally in Section 1.11, an additional bullet point should be inserted that addresses personal asset declaration of Chief Officers. 5.4. Section 2.2.1, bullet point six (which reads “recognise that some individuals that come into contact with the police – particularly victims, witnesses or suspects – are vulnerable and require additional support and assistance”), should be amended to reflect that witnesses should be treated with objectivity, to avoid influencing their testimony. 6. Additions to Section 2.5 Orders and instructions 6.1. Engagement in political activities: The level of engagement in political activities is not referenced at all in the current draft. There should be a point under Section 2.5, Orders and instructions, which clarifies the Code’s position on this.
6.2. Private Security and Interest groups: There should be provision against the police operating for profit by providing private protection for groups or individuals, as opposed to providing services to all citizens based on public funds. Linked to this, the police should not be disproportionately influenced by the interests of a portion of the population. This undermines the police’s role as a provider of service for all, and should be noted. 6.3. Performance targets: The Code should make provision for preventing performance targets that may encourage officers to alter statistics to make them appear more favourable within the Section 2.5, Orders and instructions. 7. Additions to Section 2.6 Work and Responsibilities 7.1. Evidence tampering and theft: In Section 2.6.2, a bullet point should be added regarding evidence tampering and theft and emphasising that planting, removing, or altering evidence all undermine the proper investigative processes. As a sensitive public institution with a uniquely privileged position within society, the trust of the people must always be maintained through high levels of integrity 7.2. A ‘Noble cause’: A ‘Noble cause’ refers to the use of corrupt or illegal means to achieve goals which may be perceived legitimate. Another bullet point should be added, to make sure employees understand that so called ‘noble cause’ corruption is not permitted and is corrosive to the integrity of the institution. 7.3. Officer Identification: Clearly identifiable name and police numbers reduce the risk of officers abusing their position and operational independence. Officer Identification should be included in Section 2.6.2. 7.4. Recruitment and Promotion of Officers: The internal functioning of the police must be transparent and auditable to ensure individuals do not take advantage of human resource corruption risk. The standards applied to the promotion and recruitment of officers should be objective and subject to transparency. 8. Additions to Section 2.7 Confidentiality 8.1. Informants: There is a risk that the relationship between officers and informants – often handled at the discretion of the individual officer – may be abused for personal gain. Similarly, officers may add ‘ghost’ informants, with the goal of misallocating police funds. Consideration should be given as to how to address this through a robust and secure reporting and assurance framework. 9. Additions to Section 2.9 Conduct 9.1. Addictions beyond alcohol and drugs: Currently Section 2.9 provides guidance for officers with drug and alcohol issues. However, there is nothing regarding other addictions including, but not limited to, gambling. Other addictions can lead officers to find themselves in difficult and extortive positions which are vulnerable to corruption.
Transparency International UK (www.transparency.org.uk), the UK national chapter of TI, fights corruption by promoting change in values and attitudes at home and abroad, through programmes that draw on the UK’s unique position as a world political and business centre with close links to developing countries. TI-UK:
Raises awareness about corruption; Advocates legal and regulatory reform at national and international levels; Designs practical tools for institutions, individuals and companies wishing to combat corruption; and Acts as a leading centre of anti-corruption expertise in the UK.
TI-UK’s vision is for a world in which corruption is greatly reduced and the UK has zero tolerance for corruption both at home and abroad.
Contact: Nick Maxwell Research Manager Transparency International UK E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: + 44 (0)20 7922 7976