We aim to acknowledge your complaint within 2 working days and will make a recording decision within 10 working days. You have the right to escalate your complaint to the Police and Crime Panel if you disagree with our decision not to officially record your complaint or with the initial explanation given. Wherever possible, we will try to informally resolve your complaint directly with you. However, criminal or misconduct proceedings will be formally handled by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
You can withdraw or discontinue your complaint at any time.
Our principles are to be open, transparent, auditable, keeping full records.
A standing report of complaints against the Police and Crime Commissioner is sent to the Police and Crime Panel to have oversight in their scrutiny role and to ensure that there is no conflict of interest where the Panel has delegated the initial handling of complaints to the Chief Executive.
The Police and Crime Panel are also the correct authority to handle a complaint when it has been escalated for resolution.
If you are not satisfied, you have the right to escalate your complaint to the Panel.
Complaints will be referred to the Panel if :-
- You, as the complainant, are not satisfied with the outcome following action taken by the Chief Executive in the OPCC ;
- The Chief Executive in the OPCC deems there to be an actual or perceived conflict of interest in dealing with the complaint;
- The IPCC refers a matter back to the Panel;
- There is a request for a review/escalation of a complaint file by a member of the Panel.
On receipt of a complaint, the clerk to the Panel will:
- Convene a meeting of the Panel, normally to be held within four weeks of the referral of the complaint.
- Write to the complainant, setting out timescales and giving the complainant an opportunity to make further comments in support of the complaint (allowing two weeks to respond).
- Send to the Panel, the relevant papers and pertinent details of the complaint. Where the person complained against chooses not to comment on the complaint, the Panel shall record this fact in writing.
- Paperwork will be made available 5 working days before the meeting and the matter will be considered by the Panel in Exempt session (this means that the public and press will be excluded from this part of the meeting).
In accordance with regulations, the Panel cannot conduct an investigation, but may exercise its delegated powers to require the person complained against to provide information or documents or attend before it to answer questions or give evidence.
Steps designed to gather information about or corroborate the complaint such as taking statements from witnesses or seeking documents from other parties are prohibited.
The Panel will first consider whether the complaint has been dealt with satisfactorily and, subject to any representations by the complainant, may decide to treat the complaint as having been resolved. In such a case, the reasons of the Panel will be recorded and notified to the parties.
If the Panel consider the complaint has not been dealt with satisfactorily, the Panel will decide what course of action may assist in resolving the complaint, and any recommendations it may wish to make in this respect. This may include:-
- An explanatory letter being written by the Chairman or an officer of the Panel (on behalf of the Panel);
- An explanatory letter being written by the Chief Executive in the OPCC.
- A suggested change to the Commissioner’s policy; or
- A request that an apology is tendered (no apology may be tendered on behalf of the person complained against unless that person has admitted the alleged conduct and agreed to the apology).
The decision of the Panel will be recorded as soon as practicable, normally within three working days after the process is completed. The outcome of the hearing should be notified to the complainant and the Chief Executive in the OPCC. The matter will then be closed.
For more detailed information, please see the Complaints Protocol agreed between the Panel and the Commissioner complaints protocol
Please note that the Panel does not deal with complaints involving the conduct of Police officers or the delivery of operational policing matters. These complaints are dealt with by the Professional Standards department in the Avon and Somerset Police Force or you can write to:
Professional Standards Department
Avon and Somerset Constabulary
Alternatively, you can contact the IOPC directly.