Police officers face the prospect of public disciplinary tribunals for the first time in the force’s history, according to reports.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is said to have identified a potential case for a public hearing.
Medics and members of the Armed Forces are often subjected to public hearings if they are accused of a serious offence, but no police officer has ever been disciplined in an open court.
However, after police officers were criticised in a series of high-profile cases, the IPCC is believed to be considering public tribunals to restore confidence.
The body was given the power to hold disciplinary proceedings in public in the 2002 Police Reform Act, but has yet to use it.
IPCC chairman Nick Hardwick told the Times: “It is an exceptional power. We are not saying as a matter of course the police are going to find themselves in public.”
Police chiefs are against public hearings as they believe officers could be made scapegoats, but pressure for reform has been driven by cases such as the death of Tania Moore.
The showjumper was shot dead in 2004 by her ex boyfriend Mark Dyche, despite telling Derbyshire Police several times about problems with him.