Complaints Handling

Complaints Handling (Specified Information Order)

The Specified Information Order states that the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner must publish the most up to data. Please see below for information surrounding the Complaints Handling Function. 

PCC assessment of their own performance in carrying out their other complaints handling functions It is recommended that the assessment should include:

The timeliness of complaint reviews e.g. the average time taken to complete reviews.

The average time taken to complete a review and send the final response to the complainant within the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire is 22 days as of 15th July 2021.

Details of which review functions the PCC has delegated and what measures they have taken to ensure quality, integrity and impartiality.

Complaint reviews are managed by the Transparency Manager of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire and administrative support is provided to the Transparency Manager by the Compliance Officer. A reviews log has been created for the Transparency team to ensure that all reviews are recorded and logged for key dates and themes, whether the review has been upheld or not, feedback and to ensure that the time taken to complete all reviews is in line with IOPC statutory guidance.

Quality Assurance mechanisms the PCC has established to ensure that review decisions are sound and in line with the requirements of the complaint’s legislation and IOPC statutory guidance.

All reviews are Quality Assured by the Chief Executive before finalising and sending out to the Complainant. Any learning following a Review decision is also taken to Strategic Board for the Force Exec Team to be informed and for it to be formally minuted.

How the PCC assesses complainant satisfaction with the way in which they have dealt with complaints.

The PCC delegates the function of complaints to his Office and will not have any personal involvement in the function of complaints. In terms of reviews, the PCC has delegated this function to his Transparency Manager to complete this function and make decisions. 

All reviews are quality assured by the Chief Executive. To find out more on reviews, please review our ‘Complaints Reform Reviews’ page on the website using the following link:  Complaints Reform Reviews – Bedfordshire PCC

In terms of accessing the complainant satisfaction, it is very difficult to measure this in reference to reviews. The process is that the complainant approaches the OPCC to complete a review of their complaint, as they are not satisfied with the outcome they have been provided with. The Review Officer will look at whether the outcome of the complaint was reasonable and proportionate. Reasonable and proportionate means doing what is appropriate in the circumstances, taking into account the facts and the context in which the complaint has been raised, within the framework of legislation and guidance. It is important to understand that the OPCC cannot reinvestigate the complaint. The OPCC can only assess whether the final outcome of the complaint was reasonable and proportionate and if the review is upheld can make recommendations to the Professional Standards Department (PSD).

If the complaint has been found to be reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances and resulting in the review outcome not being upheld, this may lead to the complainant having continued dissatisfaction as they have the belief that the decision is incorrect. The only right of further review is for the complainant to submit a Judicial Review. Bedfordshire OPCC have not received any notices in regards to decisions they have made following a review outcome.

In terms of accessing the complainants satisfaction when dealing with Chief Constable complaints, 50% of Chief Constable complaints are not relating to the Chief Constable’s conduct, so they are referred back to the Force.

When the Chief Constable has not had any personal involvement into a case or dealings with the complainant and delegates such as responsibilities to others within the organisation, a Chief Constable complaint cannot be recorded. The IOPC statutory guidance states ‘A.7 There will be times where a complaint names the chief officer or acting chief officer, but the complaint is actually about something where authority has been delegated to another officer or staff member within the force. Where the local policing body receives a complaint for which is it is not the appropriate authority, they must forward the complaint to the appropriate authority.’

Therefore, where it is immediately clear that the Chief Constable or Acting Chief Officer has had no involvement, the local policing body must take the steps to inform the complainant that they are not the appropriate authority and that the complaint must be passed to the police to review.

A number of complainants respond thanking the OPCC as they were not aware of the process, however some complainants continue to contact the OPCC, stating that it is a complaint about the Chief Constable, as he is in charge of the Force. However, that is not correct and if the Chief Constable delegates the function, it is not about his conduct, so it is not a Chief Constable complaint.

The OPCC monitors Force complaints handling by completing dip sampling on a monthly basis. Currently each month the Transparency team contact the Professional Standards Department on a monthly basis and can pick a theme of complaints that they wish to review which have been completed in the last month for example Stop and Search, Incivility or Custody. The OPCC then review the complaint in full as an independent dip sampler to ensure that process has been followed and that a reasonable and proportionate outcome has been reached. The OPCC also review learning and if they believe there should have been learning this can be raised either directly to Professional Standards Department or to the Executive Team via Strategic Board.

During our dip sample, we review the following:

  • Timelines – how long the complaint has taken to complete
  • Has process been followed
  • Have all allegations been investigated
  • Learning identified
  • Has the outcome been clearly explained to the complainant

Within the PCC Akinbusoye’s first year plan, he wishes for his office to expand this and for the dip sampling to be completed for lower dissatisfaction complaints which have not met the Schedule 3 threshold. The project plan is being worked through and drafted by the Transparency Manager.

Chief Constable Complaints Information

graph showing complaints received and outcomes

Reviews Information

OPCC reviews received graphical format

Process Maps for Complaints

Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC)

Independent Office of Police Conduct Logo

Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC)

You can visit the IOPC website directly by clicking on the following link: https://policeconduct.gov.uk/research-and-learning/statistics/police-complaints-statistics

Quarterly data is also available here –  Bedfordshire Police | Independent Office for Police Conduct

The most up to date annual information available from the IOPC is for 2019/20 – please see document below:

PSD Quarterly Reports