Oath of office (including code of conduct)
All elected police and crime commissioners (PCCs) have been required to swear an oath of office in order to be able to take up their duties.
Police and crime commissioners are required to pledge an oath to represent 'all sections of the public without fear or favour'. The oath is designed to provide a platform for PCCs to set out publicly their commitment to tackling their new role with integrity.
It also echoes the commitment police officers make to serve every member of the public impartially, while at the same time recognising the importance of the operational independence of the police service.
Furthermore as a holder of public office, the police and crime commissioner has undertaken to sign a code of conduct which is based on the seven principles of public life shown below.
There is no statutory requirement for the police and crime commissioner to do this, however there is a general requirement to promote and maintain high standards of conduct in public office.
An element of the code of conduct requires that the police and crime commissioner disclose their interests including those arising in relation to gifts and hospitality and those of a pecuniary nature.
Pecuniary interests are interests that a person has in a matter because of a reasonable likelihood or expectation of appreciable financial gain or loss to the person and which is either an interest of the person themselves, or an interest of person’s spouse or partner. Pecuniary interests cover the person’s 'employment, office, trade, profession or vocation', any 'sponsorship' of the person, including contributions towards their election expenses, any 'contracts' between the person and the public body, any 'land' the person has an interest in and lies within the area of the public body, any 'licences' the person holds to occupy land in the area, any 'corporate tenancies', and certain 'securities' the person may hold.
If you believe that the police and crime commissioner has failed to comply with this code, you can make a complaint.
The principles of public life apply to anyone who works as a public office-holder. This includes all those who are elected or appointed to public office, nationally and locally, and all people appointed to work in the civil service, local government, the police, courts and probation services, NDPBs, and in the health, education, social and care services. All public office-holders are both servants of the public and stewards of public resources. The principles also have application to all those in other sectors delivering public services.
Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.
Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.
Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.
Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.
Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.
Holders of public office should be truthful.
Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.