Superintendent Jackie Alexander, the College of Policing Standards Manager for Professional Development & Integrity, explains how the new Barred and Advisory Lists will affect everyone in policing.
On Friday, 15 December the new Police and Crime Act 2017 comes into effect and brings significant changes that affect all of us in policing in England and Wales. One of the changes includes the introduction of the Barred & Advisory lists, which can hold the names of officers, staff, specials and designated volunteers in certain circumstances. In short, the principle of the Barred List is similar to that already used in other professions, such as teaching and the medical profession, where individuals can be 'struck off' and prevented from practising. It will hold information on those who are dismissed from policing – officers, staff and specials - and thereafter prevent them from re-entering the service, and that includes being employed by policing bodies such as the Office of Police and Crime Commissioners, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabularies and Fire & Rescue Services or the Independent Police Complaints Commission (soon to be the Independent Office for Police Conduct). In addition, the Advisory List will contain information on those who have resigned or retired whilst under investigation for gross misconduct, and includes designated volunteers who have had their designated status withdrawn. Again the forces and the other policing bodies I have already mentioned must consider this information during their appointment processes. As the professional body for policing the College has been given a statutory role in how these lists are held and maintained, similar to the General Medical Council or Royal College of Nursing do in the medical profession. While the majority of you will of course never go onto these lists, it is really important that you know what they are, and understand what they mean. The Barred List covers officers, staff and specials dismissed, but this isn't limited to misconduct dismissals, it includes performance and attendance issues that lead to dismissal too. So there doesn't have to be a breach of the codes of conduct to end up on the Barred List. Additionally, the new legislation requires that there is a publicly searchable version of the Barred List containing only officers and specials – serving and former - dismissed under Conduct Regulations. The College sought the advice of the Information Commissioner's Office and have had a database designed so it is searchable by name, rather than simply providing the public with a full list. Misconduct hearings in most circumstances are now public, so most of the information on the list will have already been made public in reporting or on your force's website. While the starting point is that a person is barred for life, in order to ensure fairness and proportionality there will be opportunities for review of the need to be on the lists on application by the individual to the College– but not until after three years for performance dismissals, and five years for conduct. With the Advisory List it will not matter that someone had already planned to retire, or resigned in the preceding 12 months. Being investigated for matters that could lead to dismissal places a person on the Advisory List pending the outcome. If the outcome is that they would have been dismissed, then the person will be moved to the barred list, otherwise they are removed from the Advisory List. The lists also replace the Disapproved Register previously held by the College, and the legislation is not retrospective so the names on it will not be transferred to the new lists. Instead they will continue to be recorded on the Police National Database to be searched through established vetting practices. My team and I have kept your professional standard department (PSD) informed of the changes, and have updated them on the processes that we have put in place to maintain the lists and to ensure that the first officers and staff affected by this legislation are informed.
The Home Office Guidance which covers all of the changes can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/circular-0122017-new-former-police-officer-and-barred-list-regulations-an-amended-determination-on-retirement-and-amended-home-office-guidance
You can find the website hosting the publicly searchable Barred List here: http://www.college.police.uk/What-we-do/Ethics/integrity-and-transparency/Barred-List/Pages/Barred-List.aspx