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Complaints review

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) understands 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. The role of the Police and Crime Commissioner (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 the OPCC 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 local people deserve, police need to constantly strive for improvement. The police must therefore address poor service as learning, through a process called ‘Reflective Practice’. This process is used by other large organisations.

When an individual makes a complaint, they should expect the police to explain in writing whether the service they received was acceptable. If the service was unacceptable, they should be told what learning was identified and how it was embedded.

If the individual does not believe that the police handled their complaint correctly, they can ask the PCC 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 the PCC. The letter received from the police will explain who is responsible for the review, and the complainant has 28 days from the date of this letter to request a review.

The PCC is able to make recommendations to the police where appropriate, but if the police has told the individual that the service they received was unacceptable then identification of learning is the only available outcome. Please understand that the PCC has no legal power to insist upon alternative outcomes, such as compensation or sanctions.

A review can be requested by completing appeal against the outcome of your complaint form.

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