Purpose

The role of the Ethics Committee is to promote good ethical practice in the Constabulary, to support and to enhance trust and confidence in the ethics and actions of those working in policing in Gloucestershire. The Ethics Committee provides a forum to which officers and staff can bring dilemmas and issues for confidential discussion. Submissions may be made by individuals and/or departments/teams.

Responsibilities

The responsibilities of the Committee are to:

  • provide responses to requests for consultation, advice and support that have been directed to the Ethics Committee from those working in policing in Gloucestershire.
  • meet three times a year to consider requests for consultation.
  • provide a network of trained members who can be called upon to support members of the constabulary with quicker-time dilemmas.
  • provide support to leaders to enable them to achieve the Constabulary’s purposes.
  • draw on the conclusions and discussions of the Committee to develop and provide guidance, recommendations, reports, or suggested changes to training, policy, or approaches to engagement with the public.
  • provide a focus for education and training and compliance in relation to dilemmas and issues (and which will also inform the training and understanding of the Code of Ethics) for Gloucestershire Constabulary.
  • review and recommend updates to the Behaviour and Ethics Programme.

Framework

The Chair and Vice-Chair will be responsible for the determining the agenda and will be able to proactively seek independent advice on agenda items where specific expertise is required. Submission of agenda items will be through the Submission Form or the committee may proactively identify or request potential agenda items.

A quorum will be 5 members (inclusive of the Chair). The Chair or Vice-Chair may exclude from whole or part of the meeting any member whose attendance may raise a conflict of interest with respect to agenda item(s).

A public record summarising the work of the Committee will be maintained on the external website. This will be redacted at the discretion of the Committee where issues of confidentiality or operational secrecy arise. A list of roles and ranks represented on the Committee will also be maintained on the website.

Meetings will be held three times a year but if urgent matters arise that need consideration by the Committee, they can be addressed by delegated members at an extraordinary meeting.

Membership

Membership will be open to individuals across those working in policing, on a voluntary basis. Representation is not comprehensive but rather includes people who are interested in ethical dilemmas and issues. Membership will reflect all ranks and will also reflect the diversity of the force and the local policing environment.

Submissions procedures

Submission for a consultation is via a referral form available on Gloucestershire Constabulary intranet.

Submissions are required at least one week prior to the Committee meeting, but there may be a rollover of issues depending on the workload of the Committee.
They are initially reviewed by the Chair and Vice Chair to ensure consultation is relevant and appropriate. They are distributed to Committee members in preparation for meeting.

The referrer is invited, but not required, to be available in person or by teleconference or by telephone for the Committee meeting.

The conclusions of the discussion and any suggestions are sent back to referrer for consideration.

Where relevant, conclusions will be drawn upon to inform guidance and recommendations for Constabulary practice.

Conduct and principles

The Committee will work on the principles of openness, frankness, trust and respect and members will be expected to abide by Chatham House rules of confidentiality.
Members and invited contributors will be aware that matters of a sensitive nature may be discussed and will not act in a way that may compromise the work of any other member, or their personal or professional integrity.

Declaration of interest

Members of the Committee must declare any conflict of interest to cases presented for consultation on receipt of case referral to the Chairperson or Vice-Chairpersons. A conflict of interest may be real, potential or perceived in nature. The Chairperson or Vice-Chairpersons will consider whether that member should absent themselves from that discussion.

Governance

An annual review of the Committee’s achievements will be undertaken by an independent inspector, and this will feed into the Executive Board.