North Yorkshire Police has welcomed the first Code of Ethics for everyone working in policing.
Developed by the Harrogate College of Policing, it sets out the standards of behaviour that the public can expect from all officers and police staff in every role, at every level.
To mark the official launch, the College of Policing asked 2,043 members of the public how they might deal with some of the ethical dilemmas faced each day by those in policing.
More than two-thirds of respondents (68%) said they wouldn’t want to be in the position of a police officer or staff member when making those decisions and 40% of those surveyed felt the challenges facing the police when making decisions were harder than they previously thought.
There was not always a clear consensus among respondents on the best thing to do in the scenarios and most respondents did not always find it easy to decide what to do.
College of Policing board chair, Professor Dame Shirley Pearce, said: The Code of Ethics makes explicit the ethical principles that should guide the difficult decisions that everyone in policing has to make every day of the week.
Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police, Dave Jones, said: We welcome the introduction of the Code of Ethics which sets out clearly defined principles for our officers and staff to uphold as they work to protect our communities.
The public rightly expect the highest standards of behaviour from the professionals tasked with keeping them safe, often when they are at their most vulnerable. The code will benefit members of the public as it documents the standards of behaviour that they should expect from everyone who they come into contact with at North Yorkshire Police.
Policing is a difficult but rewarding job. Every day we have to make decisions that affect people’s lives, often under extreme pressure. The code is designed to assist this decision making and will also empower our officers and staff to challenge any unethical behaviour they witness.
College of Policing chief executive Chief Constable Alex Marshall said: The vast majority of people who work in policing are hardworking, honest people who want to serve their communities. The Code of Ethics clearly defines the expectations of standards and behaviour for everyone in policing and brings policing into line with other trusted professions that have such codes, like those in medicine and law.
A set of ethical dilemmas has been published by the College of Policing which highlights 12, example situations which a police officer or member of police staff could face at any time.
Members of the public can test their own response to these situations by visiting www.northyorkshire.police.uk/ethicaldilemmas
Police forces across England and Wales are today supporting the launch of the Code of Ethics on Twitter using #ourduty.
The College of Policing has also launched an online video of frontline officers and police staff talking about the importance of the Code of Ethics and what it means to them.[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5P9USuCeUc [/embedyt]