Ethical policing is a modern buzz phrase, but there is no trust and confidence in the police without it. South Yorkshire is one of the few areas of the country to have an independent policing ethics panel, and I believe that the Panel makes an important contribution to the trust and confidence which the citizens of this county need to have in their police force.
The Panel was established by Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, with the full support of the Chief Constable, to provide independent and effective challenge and assurance about the integrity, standards and ethics of decision-making in policing.
In our four years of work, we have been monitoring and reporting on a number of topics, including the use of stop and search powers, the rise in reported hate crimes, the introduction of body cameras and spit guards, complaints and conduct trends and the make-up of the workforce. For more detail, I invite you to look on the links for minutes of our meetings and our annual reports.
Of course, the Panel recognises that it was established in the shadow of some of the most troubling episodes in policing of the last 35 years. Its focus is however the present and future conduct of policing, with an awareness that policing is today carried out in a different environment. The ethical implications of new uses of technology, including artificial intelligence, are on the Panel’s agenda.
Policing is difficult. It can involve making instant decisions in challenging – sometimes dangerous – situations. In the current climate of financial austerity there is an additional challenge: the police are expected to do more with less. Decisions about where and how to spend resources can themselves raise ethical questions,
Andrew Lockley, Chair
Independent Ethics Panel