One of the most important functions a Branch Board representative performs is to assist a fellow officer who is subject of a complaint of misconduct or unsatisfactory performance. The duties and responsibilities of a “Police Friend” are essential in order that an officer receives advice and assistance at the earliest available opportunity.
Where an officer is suspected of having committed a criminal or conduct offence, this may result in a formal investigation. In such a case the officer may be subject to both a criminal investigation and an internal conduct investigation. Where there is a criminal investigation an officer has the same rights as any individual who is investigated for an alleged criminal offence under the provisions of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.
The officer has the right to seek advice from the Police Federation at all stages of an investigation, and has the right to be accompanied by a police officer “friend” to any meeting, interview or hearing.
For further information on the services of a “friend”, contact the JBB.
It is important for a member to seek advice at the earliest possible stage and certainly prior to making any formal statement. The full extent of the allegation may not be known until notice of the allegation is served in writing under Regulation 15 of the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2012. Regulation 15 requires this to be served as soon as is practicable.
It is accepted that, other than in exceptional circumstances, this notice should be served very shortly after receipt of the allegation. The member should be informed that he/she is not obliged to say anything concerning the matter, but it may harm their defence if he/she does not mention, when questioned or when providing a written response, something he/she relies on in any subsequent proceedings. Further, he/she should be informed that a written or oral statement may be made to the investigating officer or to the appropriate authority that may be then used in any subsequent proceedings under the Police (Conduct) Regulations.