Call for public police hearings

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A SHEFFIELD legal expert has urged police forces across the UK to be more transparent and consistent following revelations 160 officers are sacked in ‘secret’ disciplinary hearings every year.

Irwin Mitchell is calling for the Independent Police Complaints Commission and police authorities to use public hearings and ensure officers breaching their duty of care are properly held to account.

The demand comes following an investigation based on Freedom of Information requests, which revealed hearings related to criminal activity, assaults and even carrying firearms when drunk are held behind closed doors.

It has also been suggested the cost of suspending officers on full pay could be up to £2.7 million a year.

Irwin Mitchell represents claimants who have suffered distress, injury or been falsely imprisoned by police.

Among its most notable cases is that of a Leeds man tasered while in a diabetic coma because of fears he may have been a suicide bomber.

Ifti Manzoor who worked on the case said: “It is concerning to see such cases are being dealt with in secret and with a lack of consistency.

“We believe that standards will only rise if information on disciplinary hearings is fully published, as this will mean that forces are publicly held to account for the failings which continue to blight their services.

“With high-profile cases such as the death of Ian Tomlinson dominating headlines in recent weeks, it is clear that the public need to know police officers who are believed to have misused their power are fully investigated.”’