Probation

Probationary service in the rank of constable

The probation period for a newly joining constable is the first two years unless the member transfers, having completed probation in another force. The chief officer has
power to lengthen this period. The probation period for a part-time member is adjusted in relation to their determined hours and any period carried out on a fulltime basis. However, this is due to change as a result of PNB Circular 2014/9 (see Section G for more details). If a constable with previous service does not join on a transfer, the chief officer can reduce the probationary period or, so long as the member had completed the probationary period during that previous service, dispense with probation.

Time spent during probation on leave for ante natal care, maternity support leave, adoption support leave, parental leave and time off for dependants is counted as probationary service.

The first 52 weeks of time spent during probation on maternity leave is counted as probationary service (irrespective of service). Any other period is not counted.

The first week of adoption leave is counted as probationary service for all adopting members irrespective of service. In addition, where the member has at least 26 weeks' service by the notification of matching for adoption, any period of adoption leave which falls in the 26 week period immediately after placement for adoption is counted as probationary service. Any other period is not counted.

See Regulation 12 and Annex C of Police Regulations 2003.

Discharge and misconduct of a probationer

Under Regulation 13 of Police Regulations 2003, a probationer’s services may be dispensed with at any time (at a month’s notice or with payment in lieu) if the chief officer considers that s/he is not fit, physically or mentally, to perform the duties of the Office of Constable or is not likely to become an efficient or well conducted Constable. The chief officer cannot delegate this decision.

Where misconduct is alleged in relation to a probationer, if the probationer does not admit to the misconduct in question then the misconduct procedures should generally be used. If the Regulation 13 procedure is used, the probationer should still be provided with any reports relied on in reaching a decision and given an opportunity to comment and present mitigation, as per the Home Office Guidance on Police Officer Misconduct, Unsatisfactory Performance and Attendance ManagementProcedures (Home Office Circular 21/2015 refers).

In any case where misconduct is alleged against a probationer or there is a suggestion that Regulation 13 may be invoked, the JBB should be contacted.

Member rejoining a police force

If a member rejoins the service within five years having previously satisfied the probationary service in the rank of constable, s/he shall be appointed to the rank in which s/he last served and shall be on probation for a period of six months.

This provision can also apply to a member who rejoins the service after more than five years if the chief officer considers that there are exceptional circumstances.

Produced and issued by Research and Policy Support PFEW HQ - updated August 2016

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