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North Yorkshire Police takes all misconduct allegations extremely seriously and are very aware of the serious damage caused to trust in the police service by recent events in the Metropolitan Police.
The force has taken a number of measures to improve its already robust vetting process to root out those people who are not fit to serve.
North Yorkshire Police is one of the few forces that handle complaints independently through the Police Fire and Crime Commissioner’s office to provide an additional level of scrutiny.
The force has recently led a national pilot scheme that checks all vetted staff against the Police National Database (PND) every month. This process was implemented to ensure that any police contact outside of North Yorkshire is brought to the attention of our Vetting Unit and Professional Standards Department. This covers both police officers and police staff.
A recent report by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary Fire and Rescue Service following an inspection of vetting, misconduct, and misogyny in the police service, highlighted the good work by North Yorkshire Police and recommended that all forces make routine use of the PND as a tool for revealing any unreported adverse information about police officers and staff. It was announced this week that all forces in England and Wales will be adopting this approach.
The vast majority of our officers and staff are honest, hardworking and act with integrity. But we are not complacent and know that there will be a number within our force who are not. When misconduct is found, we will take action. We encourage anyone who has any concerns about an officer or staff member they have come into contact with, to please report it to us.
From April 2021 to April 2022 there were 740 public complaint allegations recorded against 352 individual officers.
It is important to note the difference between a complaint and misconduct. The definition of a complaint is ‘any dissatisfaction with the police service’. The 740 allegations relate to a number of different scenarios and there could be more than one complaint relating to one incident and may involve multiple officers depending on the type of incident or level of involvement. These complaints range from low level matters such as an officer may not have updated a victim or witness or behaved in a way that the complainant states they were subject of incivility, to more serious allegations such as alleged misuse of police powers or excessive use of force. But they are not necessarily matters of misconduct.
Misconduct is much more serious. It's a breach of the professional standards so serious as to justify disciplinary action and it’s not always uncovered through a complaint by a member of the public. It may come to light as a result of a member of staff reporting their concerns about a colleague, a crime report, a supervisor referring a member of staff due to their conduct, or as the result of an incident that has not been handled correctly.
The outcome of gross misconduct hearings can be found on the force website.