'The vast majority of our cops are heroes': South Yorkshire police officers 'fed up of being bashed'

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South Yorkshire Police officers are ‘absolutely fed up of being bashed,’ says the local branch of the Police Federation.

The organisation, which represents rank and file officers explained the way cops are feeling after the Home Office announce that it intends to launch a “targeted review of police dismissals to raise standards and confidence in policing across England and Wales”.

South Yorkshire Police Federation chairman, Steve Kent, said the vast majority of complaints against police officers are not upheld and changing the way investigations are carried out could subvert a currently fair and balanced process.

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The Home Office says the review is intended to ensure the system is more effective in removing officers who are not fit to serve the public. Mr Kent said that rooting out corrupt officers is essential, but that innocent officers are being unfairly tarnished.

Police officers put their lives on the line each day when they serve in South YorkshirePolice officers put their lives on the line each day when they serve in South Yorkshire
Police officers put their lives on the line each day when they serve in South Yorkshire

He said: “The vast majority of complaints against police officers are either not upheld, vexatious and malicious in their intent, or they’re grossly incorrect. So any perception that thousands of complaints against police officers should result in dismissal is so far from the line, it’s absolutely ridiculous.”

He added: “Now there’s nobody out there who wants to get rid of corrupt officers more than other officers ourselves. What the Government is trying to do here by stealth or by suggestion is to almost subvert the process and summarily dismiss officers, or retry officers when they’re simply not happy with a verdict made by independent, legally qualified people, who have balanced the evidence and made an appropriate, fair judgement based on the circumstances.

We cannot keep tarnishing the 99.9 per cent of great cops out there who are doing an unbelievable job, putting their lives on the line every day, who are made to feel absolutely rubbish by the rhetoric that they should all be ashamed of themselves because they are part of a wider corrupt culture. This is simply not true.”

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He added that the Government had failed to recognise the impact of these investigations on the mental health of officers who are ultimately found to have done nothing wrong. He explained: “I’ve been speaking to cops every day, they are absolutely fed up of being bashed. The vast majority of our cops are heroes.

“We need to make people more aware of what we do, we need to be given a voice, we need to have a voice heard. We need to hold politicians to account, we need to hold the media to account as well about what they’re actually doing because it has such a detrimental effect.

“We talk about the mental health of officers. They’re getting lambasted because of the mental health they’re having to suffer from doing the job and on the breadline.

“Their mental health is also being affected by the constant negativity aimed towards them. It’s almost like they’re going out in the police cars, have got their heads down because they’re worried that everybody has this perception of them, and it’s absolutely crazy.”

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The Home Office said the review is likely to consider the effectiveness of the existing system to dismiss those who fall seriously short of the standards expected by policing and the public and whether forces are making use of their powers to discharge officers during their probationary period.