Police could face public hearings

Police officers could face public disciplinary hearings in ‘exceptional circumstances’where there are accusations of serious incompetence or neglect, it emerged this week.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has powers to compel officers accused of serious failings to attend tribunals open to victims, relatives and the media.

But a case would have to meet a number of criteria in order to warrant a public hearing, which would be held only if the commission ‘considers that because of the gravity or other exceptional circumstances it would be in the public interest to do so”, an IPCC spokeswoman said.

If relevant issues in a case had already been aired in another public forum, for example in a criminal trial or inquest, that was likely to count against holding a public disciplinary hearing.

The case of showjumper Tania Moore, who was shot dead by her former boyfriend, Mark Dyche, in 2004, has been cited as one for which a public hearing could have been necessary. Before she died, the 26-year-old had told Derbyshire Police that Dyche had threatened her.

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