By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter
Misconduct hearings have led to dismissals for 32 former or serving Nottinghamshire Police officers in the last two years.
The force says most were for “honesty and integrity matters”, adding the dismissals show it takes incidents seriously.
Twelve dismissal sanctions were issued after misconduct hearings in the most recent recorded year – between April 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022.
A further 20 dismissals were issued in the previous 12-month period.
It follows an inspection of all constabularies in the country examining their approaches to vetting, misconduct and misogyny policies.
The inspections came in response to widespread concern over vetting and police conduct in the wake of the conviction of Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens’ for the murder of Sarah Everard.
Couzens, who was off-duty at the time, posed as an on-duty officer enforcing lockdown rules before kidnapping, raping and strangling Ms Everard in March 2021 and burning her body.
Serial rapist David Carrick – also a serving officer on the same force – was convicted earlier this month after 48 separate rapes over 17 years.
Both officers had passed police vetting processes despite concerns about their previous behaviour.
The national inspection, conducted by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS), assessed all forces on their vetting and misconduct processes.
Forty-three recommendations for improvements were found, with 28 issued directly to chief constables.
They aimed to introduce more pre-employment checks on all new officers entering the police.
National police organisations were also asked to improve processes for vetting and corruption and improve the quality and consistency of vetting.
Other recommendations aimed to improve the understanding of misogynistic and predatory behaviour relating to policing, the way police collect intelligence and investigate misconduct.
A visit was made to Nottinghamshire Police in March last year and the force was rated as ‘good’.
It found 24 of the 28 recommendations were already existing practice at the force, including teams working together when adverse information about a candidate is found.
The inspection found decisions on vetting were met with “detailed written rationale”, while professional standards and intelligence were properly logged.
One area for improvement was found, relating to analysing vetting decision data for “disproportionality”.
Inspectors found there was no “meaningful analysis” on vetting for applicants with protected characteristics.
However, the force’s vetting unit will transfer to a new system next month, which has a mandatory field for this issue to “allow for effective analysis moving forward”.
The force has since welcomed the inspection result and says despite the ‘good’ grading, it is “not complacent”.
Deputy Chief Constable Steve Cooper said: “Nottinghamshire Police take every complaint against the force and our staff extremely seriously.
“It was reassuring that the inspectorate rated us as ‘good’, with only one area for improvement, which we have now addressed.
“That said, we are not complacent and will continually look to improve the service we offer.
“The force regularly rejects applicants and dismisses those staff who badly let down the public and their colleagues.
“From April 1, 2021, to March 2022, the force dismissed 12 police officers following misconduct hearings.
“The majority are for honesty and integrity matters. This shows how seriously we take any incidents that affect our reputation.
“The public can have trust and confidence in the processes and procedures we have in force, to ensure that our officers and staff meet the high standards expected of them.
“When a member of the public calls the police they want that trust, confidence, reassurance, and professionalism immediately and that is what we will deliver.”
DCC Cooper adds the force has volunteered to be a pilot organisation in implementing recommendations around vetting practices.
The inspection will be discussed by councillors on the Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Panel on February 7.