Standards of professional behaviour and the code of ethics

The Standards of Professional Behaviour are found in Schedule 2 of the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2012 and are also listed below. A more detailed explanation of the Standards is contained within the Home Office Guidance on Police Officer Misconduct, Unsatisfactory Performance and Attendance Management Procedures (Home Office Circular 21/2015 refers).

Honesty and integrity

Police officers are honest, act with integrity and do not compromise or abuse their position.

Authority, respect and courtesy

Police officers act with self-control and tolerance, treating members of the public and colleagues with respect and courtesy.

Police officers do not abuse their powers or authority and respect the rights of all individuals.

Equality and diversity

Police officers act with fairness and impartiality. They do not discriminate unlawfully or unfairly.

Use of force

Police officers only use force to the extent that it is necessary, proportionate and reasonable in all the circumstances.

Orders and instructions

Police officers only give and carry out lawful orders and instructions.

Police officers abide by police regulations, force policies and lawful orders.

Duties and responsibilities

Police officers are diligent in the exercise of their duties and responsibilities.

Confidentiality

Police officers treat information with respect and access or disclose it only in the proper course of police duties.

Fitness for duty

Police officers when on duty or presenting themselves for duty are fit to carry out their responsibilities.

Discreditable conduct

Police officers behave in a manner which does not discredit the police service or undermine public confidence in it, whether on or off duty.

Police officers report any action taken against them for a criminal offence, any conditions imposed on them by a court or the receipt of any penalty notice.

Challenging and reporting improper conduct

Police officers report, challenge or take action against the conduct of colleagues which has fallen below the Standards of Professional Behaviour.

In addition to the Standards of Professional Behaviour is the College of Policing’s Code of Ethics. This document sets out in detail the principles and expected behaviours that underpin the Standards of Professional Behaviour. The document is a Code of Practice meaning that chief officers must have due regard to it. As such, the Code may inform decisions on whether formal action will be taken under the Police Conduct Regulations 2012.

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

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