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Code of Policing Principles and Standards of Professional Behaviour

The Code of Policing Principles and Standards of Professional Behaviour was created as part of the aim of the College of Policing to professionalise the service. It consulted extensively to ensure it is a Code of Ethics 'by' policing 'for' policing.

The Code has practical examples for officers and staff to use in their everyday jobs and sets out nine policing principles and ten standards of professional behaviour.

Policing Principles

The public expect the police to do the right thing in the right way; basing decisions and actions on a set of policing principles will help to achieve this.

1. Accountability: you are answerable for your decisions, actions and omissions.

2. Fairness: you treat people fairly.

3. Honesty: you are truthful and trustworthy.

4. Integrity: you always do the right thing.

5. Leadership: you lead by good example.

6. Objectivity: you make choices on evidence and your best professional judgement.

7. Openness: you are open and transparent in your actions and decisions.

8. Respect: you treat everyone with respect.

9. Selflessness: you act in the public interest.

Standards of professional behaviour: These standards reflect the expectations that the public and the force have of the behaviour of those working in policing.

1.  Honesty and integrity: I will be honest and act with integrity at all times, and will not compromise or abuse my position.

2. Authority, respect and courtesy: I will act with self-control and tolerance, treating members of the public and colleagues with respect and courtesy. I will use my powers and authority lawfully and proportionately, and will respect the rights of all individuals.

3. Equality and diversity: I will act with fairness and impartiality. I will not discriminate unlawfully or unfairly

4. Use of force: I will only use force as part of my role and responsibilities, and only to the extent that it is necessary, proportionate and reasonable in all the circumstances

5. Orders and instructions: I will, as a police officer, give and carry out lawful orders only, and will abide by police regulations. As a police staff member I will give reasonable instructions only, and will follow all reasonable instructions.

6. Duties and responsibilities: I will be diligent in the exercise of my duties and responsibilities.

7. Confidentiality: I will treat information with respect, and access or disclose it only in the proper course of my duties.

8. Fitness for work: I will ensure, when on duty or at work, that I am fit to carry out my responsibilities.

9. Conduct: I will behave in a manner, whether on or off duty, which does not bring discredit on the police service or undermine public confidence in policing.

Challenging and reporting improper behaviour: I will report, challenge or take action against the conduct of colleagues which has fallen below the standards of professional behaviour.

Download the full Code of Ethics from The College of Policing.

It encourages officers and staff to challenge those who fall short of the code, while at the same time protecting those who report wrongdoing.

As well as setting high standards of integrity and ethics, the College is also working to help develop the professional skills of all those in policing.

It is responsible for raising the professional status of police and to enable everyone working in policing the ability to gain greater recognition for accredited levels of expertise.

The professional body has a team of expert researchers who work with academics and forces across the country to build evidence about what works in policing and crime reduction.

The aim of this is to help officers and staff to make better evidence-based decisions.