Professional Standards Unit
The Professional Standards Unit (PSU) is responsible for maintaining good conduct and discipline by police officers. It strives to ensure that the integrity and high ethical standards required of police officers are not compromised, and that breaches of discipline and good conduct are dealt with professionally and impartially.
The Police Law and Police Regulations are the relevant laws governing police discipline, and provide for the procedures for disciplinary hearings. Investigations are guided by a modern manual of guidance and standing operating procedures.
Where an officer's conduct falls within criminal conduct, the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions advises if the evidence meets the threshold test of evidence required criminal charges to be brought against the accused officer(s) or if the public interest test warrants other appropriate consideration such as an internal disciplinary hearing.
While the discipline of the organisation rests with the Commissioner of Police, this is delegated to a deputy commissioner of police with oversight of the Unit; this is to ensure that accused officers are treated in accordance with the principles of natural justice and fairness, as the Commissioner has the ultimate discretion on the application of discipline.
The Commissioner of Police sitting as the Presiding Officer following a disciplinary hearing by virtue of Section 99 (2) of the Police Law (2014 Revision), shall have the power to impose any one or more of the following punishments:
- Severe reprimand;
- A fine not exceeding ten days pay;
- Reduction in rank or seniority; and
- Discharge, that is, immediate termination of service and membership of the Service.
Section 99 (3) empowers the Commissioner of Police to authorise a police officer to inquire into and deal with an offence against discipline, where this occurs, the officer shall have power to impose the following punishments:
- Reprimand; and
- A fine not exceeding five days’ pay.
Any offence against discipline not arising from a complaint made by a member of the public in which the police officer accused is of a rank of Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner or Assistant Commissioner may be inquired into by the Governor.
In all instances, there is an appeal procedure available to the accused officer after punishment.
Complaints Against Officers by Members of the Public
Since 2010, with the passage of the Police Law (Revised 2010 (2014 Revision)), section 99 (1), complaints made by members of the public against police officers could no longer be investigated by the Police. With the establishment of the Office of the Ombudsman in 2017, these complaints are now referred directly to the Ombudsman in accordance with The Police (Complaints by the Public) Law 2017. (http://www.gov.ky/portal/pls/portal/docs/1/12408390.PDF) The law sets forth that the PSU forms a part of the Ombudsman’s investigative body, and may only investigate those complaints from members of the public that the Ombudsman specifically refers to the PSU through the Commissioner of Police. The Ombudsman, however, retains full discretion regarding which complaints are referred back to the PSU for investigation, and has direct oversight over the investigation.
In accordance with the law, formal complaints against police officers can be filed at local police stations, for immediate referral to the Office of the Ombudsman, or filed directly with the Office of the Ombudsman itself at their offices at Anderson Square in George Town or at http://www.occ.ky/make-a-complaint. More general information about the Ombudsman's office and complaint process can be found at www.ombudsman.ky.