Scope for the Code of Ethics review published

Published on 12 January 2022
The finalised scope includes changes to make the Code more accessible and inclusive
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We've finalised what will be included in the review of the Code of Ethics, following a public consultation between July and September 2021.

Consultation responses included feedback about the need for the Code to be embedded into policing culture, with a focus on the end user. There was also a call for more clarity on the evidence gathering process and method proposed for the review – ensuring the involvement of a diverse range of people with lived experiences of policing and the criminal justice system.

Following the consultation, changes to the scope of the review of the Code of Ethics acknowledge the need to:

  • use clear language
  • reflect that the Code will apply to everyone in policing (including officers, staff and volunteers)
  • make it clear that the work will not revise the standards of professional behaviour themselves as these are determined by police regulations
  • describe the proposed approach, including the role of the committees and the evidence gathering process
  • use a behaviour change model to inform the work

About the review

The Code of Ethics was first published in 2014 to provide a framework to support ethical decision-making and clear guidance on the standards of professional behaviour within the police service.

The review will ensure that:

  • the Code of Ethics helps create an environment that supports everyone in policing to be their best
  • there is greater transparency for the general public about how policing makes decisions and the standards they can expect from the service – leading to greater legitimacy, confidence and support for policing

Any changes to the Code will be based on the best available evidence, including empirical research and practitioner experience, and developed with a committee of police officers, police staff, subject matter experts and academics.

This process will help to ensure that everyone can understand what ethical, professional behaviour looks like for modern policing, and how it can be brought to life to support everyone in policing to be their best.

We know from front line staff and police leaders that the current code could be more useful in helping people to understand how they can make difficult decisions when they have ethical concerns.

We want to support everyone to understand the responsibilities and high expectations that come with a role in policing and how these can be met.

We will be working with a range of people to help us get the Code right and welcome the valuable feedback that has been received during the consultation on the scope of the review. 

Richard Bennett, Delivery Lead for the Code of Ethics Review

We welcome your feedback and suggestions about the Code of Ethics review. Email: ethics.review@college.police.uk

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