We understand that any lapse of professionalism by the police can be frustrating and upsetting for those involved. The law (in particular the Police Complaints and Misconduct Regulations 2020) stipulates how the police must deal with complaints. My role as PCC is to ensure that the police comply with the law.
Only the most serious or deliberate misconduct will result in formal investigation or formal sanction. Whilst we accept that sometimes sanction such as written warning or dismissal are required under the circumstances, it does not bring improvement, therefore mistakes simply get repeated. To get the police service we deserve, we need the police to constantly strive for improvement. The police must therefore address poor service as learning, through a process called ‘Reflective Practice’. You may be familiar with this process as it is used by other large organisations.
When you make a complaint you should expect the police to explain in writing whether the service you received was acceptable. If the service was unacceptable you should be told what learning was identified and how it was embedded.
If you do not believe that the police handled your complaint correctly you can ask me to conduct a review of the outcome. A review is not a re-investigation, but it will consider whether the outcome was reasonable, proportionate and lawful. The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) are responsible for conducting reviews of criminal or complex matters, while reviews of quality of service complaints fall to me. The letter you receive from the police will explain who is responsible for your review. You have 28 days from the date of this letter to request a review.
I am able to make recommendations to the police where appropriate, but if the police have told you that the service you received was unacceptable then identification of learning is the only available outcome. Please understand that I have no legal power to insist upon alternative outcomes, such as compensation or sanctions.
A review can be requested by completing the form on the following page: https://www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/updates-and-feedback/complaints/appeal-against-the-outcome-of-your-complaint/