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Police Code of Ethics

What are the policing Code of Ethics?
© College of Policing

Why do police officers need a professional code?

There are many professions that have a professional code, which acts as a guide to their members, an example of this is the medical profession where doctors have a Hippocratic Oath. Policing needs the consent and support of the public and as part of that relationship the public have high expectations about the standards of behaviour and values of police officers. A code of practice can guide and underpin decisions and the way that policing is conducted on a day to day basis. They will also set and define the standards of behaviour expected from everyone who works in policing. As the police service strives to become a profession, one of the traits of a profession is having a Code of Ethics.

What is the Code of Ethics for policing?

The Code of Ethics was introduced by the College of Policing in 2014 in its role as the professional body for policing. They are based upon nine policing principles, built on the Nolan principles for public life. Please refer CoP website:

Nine Policing Principles

  • Accountability

  • Fairness

  • Integrity

  • Leadership

  • Objectivity

  • Openness

  • Respect

  • Selflessness

Who do the Code of Ethics apply to?

The Code of Ethics applies to everyone who works in policing. Apart from police officers this will also include all those engaged on a permanent, temporary, full-time, casual, consultancy, contracted or voluntary basis.

What is the statutory basis of the Code of Ethics?

The College of Policing has issued the Code of Ethics as a code of practice under section 39A of the Police Act 1996 (as amended by section 124 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014)

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