Newham Borough Commander Ch Supt Rob Jones on the importance of the new Police Code of Ethics
PUBLISHED: 15:17 20 November 2013 | UPDATED: 15:17 20 November 2013
I am writing this on a rather wet Saturday night from Forest Gate Police Station, having just paraded with the night duty police officers. At the start of every shift, we provide them with the recent intelligence and crime taskings that we hope will enable them to go out and do their duty to keep people safe.
I have full faith in my officers to do their job with compassion, integrity, courage and professionalism. Many of them are local people; others travel a long way to come in to do their job (one volunteer police officer travels all the way from Manchester). But I know that not everyone shares that confidence.
It is a cornerstone of policing that we need to be trusted. And if there is one message I send out the police officers at the frontline with, it is to tell the truth: I will support anyone who makes an honest mistake, in good faith, but any officer who fails to meet that standard lets all of us down.
I do not know what happened in the incident in Whitehall that has now become known as “Plebgate”, but I do know that it is now more difficult than ever for the officers who work in Newham to win the confidence of people who have read about what happened and wondered if the police deserve their support. What I am clear about is that is that it is not the fault of officers in Newham that the reputation of the police has suffered from events elsewhere. Here, they are committed to reducing crime (which they have, by over 3,000 offences in the last year) and providing excellent care for every victim of crime (in the last year, Newham has moved from the lowest levels of satisfaction in London to the third highest).
It is my responsibility to be clear to officers that it is not just the results police officers achieve that matters; but the way they do it. This needs clear guidance and a shared understanding about what is important. The College of Policing is currently consulting on a national Police Code of Ethics that we can all share - something similar to the Hippocratic Oath for Doctors. This is a positive step, and I encourage the public to contribute to the policing you want to have working on your behalf. In the meantime, I hope you remember that the police you meet on the streets are doing their best and are there to help you.
Your chance to have your say on the draft Code of Ethics for policing in England and Wales: http://www.college.police.uk/en/20972.htm