Last updated on October 11th, 2023 at 03:57 pmReading Time: 3 minutes
The College of Policing’s Barred List is one of the few topics that I haven’t really addressed before. I may have made a passing reference to it in the past, but I’ve decided to give it some free publicity.
It’s quite possibly going to polarise my readership. Some of you may agree with me, some may violently disagree and some of you just might not give a toss, and all of those are totally fine.
Before I begin, I think it’s important to clarify and confirm a few points.
- I am NOT on the Barred List (I know, I’ve checked)
- I am NOT totally opposed to the Barred List
- I am NOT on the Sex Offenders Register (unlike at least one serving officer I could name)
- I don’t know anybody who IS on the Barred List.
- I have no convictions, spent or unspent
The Barred List was devised by the College of Policing a few years ago to hold details of all officers, special constables and staff members who have been dismissed from policing after investigations under the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2020 or Police (Performance) Regulations 2020. It also shows the equivalents for police staff.
So far, so good. I have no real objections to that so far. This is where I start getting uncomfortable with some of it.
Individuals will remain on the list indefinitely, unless they either:
- win an appeal against their dismissal
- make a successful review application, where they would have to provide clear evidence as to why they were now suitable to re-join policing
Reviews cannot be requested for a minimum of:
- three years for gross incompetence dismissals
- five years for gross misconduct dismissals
Even a successful review does not guarantee a return to policing. The individual concerned has to apply for a post and successfully pass the vetting process, just like anyone else would. I don’t have a problem with that bit, totally reasonable.
I think we can all agree that any Police Officer who is convicted of a criminal offence involving any form of Indecency should be added to the list. Even more so, if those officers are on the Sex Offenders Register.
Yet there is at least one Police Officer, of reasonably high rank, who has been convicted of a criminal offence involving indecent images of a child. That person Appealed against their conviction and LOST. That officer IS on the Sex Offenders Register, yet is still serving. That officer, still serving, is clearly NOT on the College of Policing’s Barred List.
This case demonstrates admirably that the Barred List is not perfect.
Secondly we have the almost missable comment Individuals will remain on the list indefinitely, i.e. potentially FOR LIFE
Offenders do not automatically remain on the Sex Offenders Register for life.
The vast majority of offenders who are sent to prison, are not imprisoned for life.
Many Criminal Convictions are ‘Spent’ after a certain length of time keeping one’s nose clean.
What happened to Rehabilitation?
A Police Officer, or Police Staff etc can hypothetically be dismissed for Gross Misconduct or Gross Incompetence could find themselves with far harsher consequences than some other person convicted of a crime.
As I said at the beginning, I’m not totally opposed to the College of Policing’s Barred List, but it does seem to have the potential for being vindictive, and punitive after the initial Discipline Board.
One thing that I am not suggesting is that people from the Barred List should be automatically admitted back into the world of Policing, but IF their Appeal is successful, and IF they pass their vetting to the same standard as everybody else, then maybe there;s no reason not to give successful applicants the chance. I was told at my vetting interview that IF I failed it (I didn’t) it would be for my Line Managers to manage the risk and would not automatically disbar me.
It is also possible that the majority of people on the Barred List would not want to re-enter the world of Policing anyway. I simply have a problem with the written, public, policy that it will potentially apply for life.