Ethics and integrity are at the centre of my role as Police Crime Commissioner for Essex.
Ethics are the values, principles and behaviours which underpin my conduct and work and those of Essex Police. Integrity is at the heart of how I work ensuring that my office and Essex Police behave openly and honestly, so the public have confidence and trust in what we do.
In support of this, I have produced an Ethics and Integrity Framework which sets out my values, principles and how I will conduct myself in the role of Police Crime Commissioner.
The details of this framework are presented below.
The framework is underpinned by the Police Code of Ethics which is the national policing code of practice, setting out the principles and standards of professional behaviour for the policing profession of England and Wales. The Code is based around the following 8 principles:
Every person working for the police service must work honestly and ethically. The public expect the police to do the right thing in the right way. Basing decisions and actions on this core set of policing principles will help us to achieve this.
Ethics and Integrity Framework
The framework sets out:
1. The standards and behaviours that the public can expect from me, my Deputy and my Office
2. How I am accountable to the public, and how the public can in turn hold me to account and
3. How I hold the Chief Constable to account in the important areas of standards, public life and public service.
I am committed to the Seven Principles of Public Life (also known as the ‘Nolan Principles’) as set out the Government’s Ministerial Code. These are:
i. 1. Selflessness
Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.
I publish a register of gifts and hospitality (both accepted and declined) on my website. This is regularly updated by my office (the OPCC). You can find it here.
ii. 2. Integrity
Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.
I am committed to transparency, ensuring that information and data is put in the public domain and published on my website. This includes ensuring that any disclosable interests are visible to the public. You can find those here.
iii. 3. Objectivity
In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.
All staff appointments to my office have been made following an open and transparent process. The OPCC has a Code of Conduct which highlights the responsibility for all OPCC members of staff to behave in an open, transparent and impartial manner. This includes the provision of impartial advice to my Deputy and me. You can find the OPCC Code of Conduct at the link below.
iv. 4. Accountability
Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.
As PCC, I am elected by and accountable to the public. My Deputy and I will attend regular public meetings and will engage directly with local communities, including under-represented and vulnerable groups.
Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.
Decisions made by me are available here, and comments which I make about inspections reports by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) are available here. I also keep the public informed about how I hold the Chief Constable to account and how Essex Police is performing in the delivery of my Police and Crime Plan here. I publish a quarterly performance report on matters relating to police professional standards here.
On a regular basis, my office issues proactive press releases about my work, and I hold a range of engagement events throughout the county here.
Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
All disclosable interests, both for my Deputy and I, are made available to the public and can be found here. Were any conflict of interest or potential for conflict arise, I am committed to declaring it at the earliest opportunity and taking action to resolve it.
Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.
I have ensured that details of remuneration for the Chief Constable, I, my Deputy and members of my senior team are publicly available here.
I am committed to the honest and accurate recording of crime and performance data.
I am elected by the people of Essex, and I am directly accountable to the electorate. I hold a range of different public meetings, where the public can ask me questions about how I am delivering for the people of Essex in my role as PCC, and how I am ensuring Essex Police perform to the very best of their ability for the safety of the people of Essex.
The Police and Crime Panel which is made up of representatives from each district and unitary authority, plus two independent members, is another mechanism by which I am accountable. The Panel has a number of powers and responsibilities. These include:
The Panel is required to hold a minimum of four public meetings a year. Papers can be accessed here.
My office operates a thorough scrutiny programme, which analyses Essex Police service performance and financial performance against a number of areas including:
Essex Police Challenge
I chair a quarterly public meeting, which aims to give members of the public the chance to raise any concerns about policing and crime in Essex. The Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh provides the public with a countywide and then a local update on force performance, followed by open questions and answers from the audience and also from those who may have submitted questions in advance. The Challenge meetings form a crucial part of my role in scrutinising the work of police and holding the force to account.
PCC and CC meetings
I meet with the Chief Constable on a regular basis to discuss issues from the scrutiny programme, as well as to raise concerns that the public have raised with me.
All information regarding meetings under the scrutiny programme can be found here.
Transparency and accountability
The OPCC has adopted a Code of Conduct which can be found here, and publishes all information regarding meetings under the scrutiny programme here. I also publish all expenditure over £500, which can be found here.
As PCC, I am responsible for holding the Chief Constable to account and for ensuring that the police force is efficient, effective and fair. My office has a process for looking into complaints that are made, and where matters are not within my remit (e.g. those matters that are to do with operational policing); my office will pass these to Essex Police to respond. My office also undertakes a dip sample of complaints made to Essex Police. This is covered in more detail in section 3.
Allegations and Complaints against the PCC and the DPCC
Any complaints made against me and / or my Deputy, go to the Police and Crime Panel (‘the panel’) here for review and investigation. The Panel has responsibility for the initial handling of complaints made about my conduct or that of my Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner. Complaints are governed by a statutory complaints procedure. The panel is required to refer any criminal complaints to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
Police Code of Ethics, and monitoring of implementation and impact
Essex Police are guided by the Police Code of Ethics. Supported by my office and by the work of the Ethics and Integrity Committee, I monitor how well Essex Police are delivering against the Code and, working with the Chief Constable, Iuse this to help drive improvements. In addition, HMIC now inspects all police forces against the Police Code of Ethics HMIC website.
Out of Court Disposals
An out of court disposal is a community sanction, or a formal warning, or a fine that a member of the public who has committed an offence agrees to accept from the Police in preference to being charged with an offence and appearing before a court of law. There is a requirement for the victim to be consulted and their wishes determined before an out of court disposal decision is made.
Essex Police were amongst the first Forces to establish an out of court disposal panel to review all disposals determined by the Police. My office sits on the Panel, with wider membership including local magistrates, representatives from the voluntary and community sector etc. The Panel has no executive authority, but reviews cases and provides feedback to Essex Police around appropriateness of use of the sanction and review of the legality. Where the panel believes that the disposal was not appropriate they will submit a recommendation to Essex Police, accompanied by a request for a further review by an operational manager within the line management structure.
Promoting high professional standards and monitoring of the Professional Standards Department
I am committed to ensuring that the highest possible professional standards are embedded across Essex Police. These standards relate to:
• Honesty and integrity
• Authority, respect and courtesy
• Equality and diversity
• Use of force
• Orders and instructions
• Duties and responsibilities
• Fitness for work
• Challenging and reporting improper conduct
Where misconduct or errors of judgement do occur, I will ensure a fair and rigorous disciplinary process.
I publish a quarterly performance report on matters pertaining to police professional standards here. My office also reviews and scrutinises the outcomes of police officer and police staff members’ misconduct cases. My office also undertakes regular dip sampling of complaints made by the public and the outcomes reached by Essex Police, providing the appropriate level of scrutiny in this area.
If your enquiry relates to operational policing or a crime please contact Essex Police here