Chief Constables have responsibility for creating an environment where the Code of Ethics can thrive; the College support Chief Constables by setting standards for products and services that may help in embedding the Code.
The Code of Ethics consists of two main parts – 'Policing Principles' and 'Standards of Behaviour'. The former originates from the Principles of Public Life to which the College has added 'fairness' and 'respect' as the evidence base demonstrates they are crucial to enhancing public confidence. How fair an organisation is perceived to be internally by its people is likely to affect the extent to which they feel valued by, and part of, that organisation. This sense of having a stake in that organisation has been shown to affect staff willingness to comply voluntarily with work rules, hold positive attitudes about the public and engage in a range of positive work behaviours. The work environment fostered by police leaders and supervisors is, therefore, likely to effect the ethical health of a force.
The police ethics network (PEN) is an established network where a group of forces provide a place to share learning, capture and disseminate information, become a repository for material and develop knowledge products on ethical police and the Code of Ethics.
Representatives includes the following organisations; South Wales Police, Dorset Police, Avon and Somerset Police, Wiltshire Police, Devon and Cornwall Police, Imperial College NHS, Bath Spa University, Dyfed Powys, North Wales Police, Gloucestershire, Metropolitan Police, British Transport Police, Thames Valley Police, Bedfordshire Police, the Royal Marines, the Royal Navy, the Committee on Standards in Public Life, the south west regional Organised Crime Unit, Gwent Police, College of Policing and Swansea University.
PEN meets quarterly at Bath Spa University, the meetings has two distinct elements. The morning meeting is concerned with sharing good practice, identifying challenges, updates of events, developing knowledge products and evidence of what works. The afternoon session is a dedicated ethics committee. The committee considers ethical dilemmas presented by network members from their home forces with potential to have significant implications for other forces. The process also provides a peer review for the force presenting the dilemma. In addition the PEN hosts an annual conference, one day workshops and masterclasses.
PENs success is attributed to the passion of its members for the ethics agenda and driving forward the development of ethical practice in policing. Bath Spa University have further underpinned this success by providing the academic environment to consider this subject matter in a reflective and thoughtful way.
Other Force regions are also in the process of establishing similar formal groups with the assistance of the well-established PEN.