Ethical Considerations Scenario – “Good old Tom”
In my essay, I am going to outline the codes of ethics and the competency framework before explaining why they are an important part of policing. I will then go on to talk about “the good old Tom” scenario and where the codes of ethics and competency value framework have been considered and where perhaps it has not been considered. I will lastly talk about why I made certain decisions when I took part in “the good old Tom” scenario.
The Codes of Ethics
The codes of ethics are nine principles and are intended to be used every day to help guide the behaviour being conducted and the decisions that are being made by all in policing. The nine principles are Accountability, Integrity, Openness, Fairness, Leadership, Respect, Honesty, Objectivity and Selflessness. These principles ensure that we are treating all members of the public with professionalism and keeping public respect.
Sir Robert Peel set out principles in 1829 for those patrolling on behalf of the community, as a citizen in uniform. He focused heavily on the support of the public and emphasised the need for the police to ‘secure and maintain public respect.’ The codes of ethics stay true to these original British policing principles and highlight the responsibility to all those who work in policing to behave in a way that gains the trust and support of our fellow citizens.
The codes of ethics ensure everyone in policing works to the highest of standards, are always able to do the right thing in the right way and acts with professionalism. The codes of ethics are important so that everyone in policing regardless of rank can do the right thing and challenge colleagues if the behaviour is not acceptable and in line with the code of ethics.
Competency and Values Framework
The competency and values framework (CVF) have six competencies that are put into three groups, all the competencies are supported by four values that strengthen everything we do as a police force nationally. The CVF supports all policing professionals in ensuring that everyone knows what is expected of them and how this will in turn lead to standards being raised for the benefit and safety of the public.
The competency and values framework works well alongside the codes of ethics and provides consistency with what values and behaviours are expected of us on and off duty. It is also used during recruitment; questions are based around it and the answer given can be put against the CVF to see what role would suit that person.
“Good Old Tom”
Tom was off duty and on a night out with colleagues, which included a supervisor. Tom openly tells the girl about his job; the girl tells him about a speeding ticket she had received and Tom replies “I’ll sort your ticket for you if you sort me out tonight.” This statement from Tom goes against the codes of ethics, he has not been truthful and lied to the girl about her ticket, the comment was made without integrity, he has not done the right thing, he has done what is right for him and to help him get what he wants. Tom’s comment could also come across as disrespectful and Tom is in a leadership position and should lead by example, the people around him look up to him and may think that this sort of behaviour is then acceptable. Tom does not seem to see there is any problem in his behaviour when challenged and continues his night and is even seen holding the girl up as they walk out of the bar.
Tom is quick to talk about his evening and what happened with the girl and again uses disrespectful language to describe it, this seems to make others uncomfortable but other colleagues laugh as though they feel it is acceptable. I decided this was the time to talk to my supervisor about his behaviour. Later we are all told that Tom has been accused of rape and an investigation Is taking place.
I decided to challenge Tom on the night out not because I ever thought he was going to put the girl in danger but because of the comment I overheard, he used language that I felt was disrespectful and was giving the girl false information. Tom was using his job for his own gain and potentially taking advantage of the girl who may be very trusting of this police officer chatting her up. Tom did not seem to be worried about being challenged and was happy to continue.
On our next shift Tom quickly began to tell everyone about what had happened after his night out, again using disrespectful language which seemed to make others in the room uncomfortable but not everyone, others laughed, I found this very worrying and decided to go to my supervisor.
We later realised Tom was not with us on the next shift and were told he was under investigation for an alleged rape on the girl.
In conclusion the decision to challenge Tom on the night out and then the decision to report Tom to my supervisor where both the right decisions to make. Tom had the chance to stop and think on the night out, he chose to ignore me, but I did the right thing by challenging him even though this may have affected our working relationship.
I could see that Tom was potentially influencing others into thinking his behaviour was acceptable, so going to my supervisor was where I needed to go because he was never going to listen to me.
- Code of Ethics A Code of Practice for the Principles and Standards of Professional Behaviour for the Policing Profession of England and Wales. (2014). [online] Available at: https://www.college.police.uk/What-we-do/Ethics/Documents/Code_of_Ethics.pdf.
- Police.UK. (2019). Competency and Values framework | College of Policing. [online] Available at: https://www.college.police.uk/What-we-do/Development/competency-and-values-framework/Pages/Competency-and-Values-framework.aspx.