Where behaviour falls below the expected standards it is important that the police service is open and accountable. Police Misconduct Hearing Panels preside over serious misconduct cases in what is an important aspect of the disciplinary rules that govern the police.
A misconduct hearing is for cases where a Police Officer, either serving or retired prior to the conclusion of a misconduct investigation, has a case to answer in respect of gross misconduct. These are chaired by an independent legally qualified person (a ‘Legally Qualified Chair’) who will be chosen from a pool held by the local policing body (The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk). Misconduct hearings are held to present the facts of the case and to allow an officer to explain their conduct and the circumstances surrounding the allegation. Witnesses may also be called to provide evidence. The presumption is that misconduct hearings must be held in public and open to the public and media to attend. This is in keeping with a general principle that discipline proceedings should be as open, transparent and fair as possible for both the public and parties to the procedures. Restrictions on attendance should be the exception.
Police and Crime Commissioners have responsibility for appointing the Legally Qualified Chair and an independent panel member (i.e. a layperson who is not a police officer and is selected from a list held by the local policing body and selected on a fair and transparent basis). Together, with a Police Officer of the rank of Superintendent or above (providing that the officer is at least one rank above the person subject to the misconduct hearing), they form the police misconduct panel responsible for hearing police misconduct cases. The chair is responsible for the management of the hearing in conjunction with the appropriate authority, and their administration of the hearing. A panel at a misconduct hearing can find that the case against the officer, on the balance of probabilities, amounts to misconduct or gross misconduct or neither.
Information on upcoming police misconduct hearings, formal outcomes and conditions of attendance can be found on Norfolk Constabulary’s website here:
A police officer has the right to appeal against the finding or outcome of a misconduct hearing to a Police Appeals Tribunal.
Police Appeals Tribunals
All officers have a right of appeal to a Police Appeals Tribunal (PAT) against any disciplinary finding and/or disciplinary outcome imposed at a misconduct hearing or a finding of gross misconduct and/or any disciplinary outcome imposed at an accelerated misconduct hearing held under the Police Conduct Regulations. PATs are currently governed by The Police Appeals Tribunals Rules 2020, and previously the Police Appeals Tribunals Rules 2012. Members of the public can attend appeal hearings as observers but are not allowed to participate in proceedings. The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk (OPCCN) is responsible for administrating the PAT process and appointing the chair to deal with the notice of appeal and conduct the proceedings.
The Police Appeals Tribunal Rules 2020 and the Home Office's – Statutory Guidance on Professional Standards, Performance and Integrity in Policing at Chapter 26 set out clearly the circumstances in which an appeal may be brought and how the appeals should be progressed. A Police and Crime Commissioner has important procedural and administrative functions to discharge to enable the effective and efficient disposal of appeals. In the event of an appeal the Police and Crime Commissioner must ensure that they adhere closely to the legislation and guidance.
PATs are now held in public. In circumstances where this is not appropriate, or where certain parts of the tribunal need to be in private, adequate notice will be given and the reasons why will be explained.
The OPCCN shall arrange for a verbatim record of evidence given at the hearing to be taken and kept for at least two years, beginning with the day after the date of the end of the hearing. Upcoming PATs and formal outcomes will be published on this webpage below.
Selection of Misconduct Panels and Police Appeals Tribunals
The below PDF document details information regarding the selection of Legally Qualified Chairs and Independent Panel Members for Police Misconduct Panels and Police Appeals Tribunals.
Working with other regional OPCCs, the Police and Crime Commissioners for the Eastern Region have all agreed to publish this document on their websites so that their approach to the appointment of Legally Qualified Chairs and Independent Panel Members to Police Misconduct Panels and Police Appeals Tribunals is made on a fair and transparent basis:
There are no upcoming Police Appeals Tribunals.
If you would like to attend a Police Appeals Tribunal then please email the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk (OPCCN) at OPCCN@norfolk.police.uk or telephone 01953 424455 with the following details:
- Full name
- Email address
- Contact telephone number
You will be required to pre-register at least two working days before the Tribunal hearing and agree to the following conditions of entry:
Recording the hearing is strictly prohibited – no recording equipment, photographic equipment or audio equipment are allowed in the proceedings.
No social media report is allowed whilst evidence is being presented.
You must not disrupt proceedings – your entry is as an observer only and any disruption may result in you being removed from the hearing and you will not be allowed access to the remainder of the hearing.
The Chair may impose other conditions before or at the hearing at his/her discretion.
If the hearing you wish to attend is being held online, you will be sent a MS Teams meeting invite to the hearing from the OPCCN which you can access on the day (please check your email spam or junk folder in your mailbox).
If the hearing you wish to attend is being held in person, you will be sent the location and directions for the hearing from the OPCCN.
Formal outcomes of Police Appeals Tribunals will be published on this page for 30 days after the date of outcome.