Complaints Reform - Reviews
The Policing and Crime Act 2017 and supporting regulations made significant changes to the police complaints and disciplinary systems. The legislation introduced a number of changes to existing legislation (such as the Police Reform Act 2002) which are designed to achieve a more customer-focused complaints system. This, in part, has impacted on the way complaints against Bedfordshire Police are handled.
Reviews were previously known as appeals and dealt with by Bedfordshire Police Professional Standards Department (PSD) or the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
From the 1st February 2020 the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) will be the relevant review body in most cases apart from those complaints or conduct matters listed below which the IOPC are responsible for reviewing where they relate to:
· Any incident or circumstance in or in consequence of which a person has died or suffered serious injury.
· A serious sexual assault or offence
· Serious corruption
· Criminal offence or behaviour which is liable to lead to disciplinary proceedings
If a request to review is submitted to either the IOPC or the OPCC and they are not the correct review body, then they will forward it to the correct review body and notify the complainant that this has happened.
What a review means
A review offers the opportunity to consider whether the complaint outcome is reasonable and proportionate but not the handling of the incident leading to the complaint. Each review will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If the reviewer concludes that the outcome was not reasonable and proportionate, the review should be upheld i.e the service provided by the police was not acceptable the OPCC will, where appropriate, make recommendation to the Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police.
Requesting a complaint review
Complainants will have been advised by PSD in their complaint outcome letter if they have the right of review and who is the appropriate review body (either the OPCC or IOPC). The review can only be against the outcome of a formal complaint, i.e a complaint that has been recorded under the legislation. The right of review does not apply to an informal complaint i.e one that has not been recorded.
The timeframe for requesting a review is 28 days from the date of the letter concluding the complaint.
Before a complaint can be reviewed by the OPCC it has to be formally recorded by Bedfordshire Police’s Professional Standards Department (PSD) under Schedule 3 of the Police Reform Act 2002.
This is different to having an expression of dissatisfaction dealt with/logged by the Force through their Customer Support team and which has not been recorded under Schedule 3.
Complaints recorded under Schedule 3 will be handled and investigated by the Force or the IOPC (depending on the severity of the allegation).
The Police and Crime Commissioner nor the OPCC can get involved at this stage or investigate the original incident leading to the complaint being made as this could potentially compromise any future request by the complainant to review.
Bedfordshire Police having concluded their investigation of the complaint, will inform the complainant of the outcome, including information about the right to apply for a review, who is the appropriate review body (either the OPCC or IOPC).
Should the complainant wish to request a review, then an application for a review must be in writing and state the following:
· the details of the complaint;
· the date on which the complaint was made;
· the name of the force or local policing body whose decision is the subject of the application;
· the date on which the complainant was provided with the details about their right of review at the conclusion of the investigation or other handling of their complaint.
· the complaint reference number on the outcome letter from PSD.
Alternatively, a review form can be downloaded and completed. It is located at the bottom of this page.
Please note only the complainant or someone acting on their behalf (with their written consent) can make an application for a review.
Where to send the completed review form
In writing: Office of the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Bedfordshire Police Headquarters, Woburn Road, Kempston, Bedfordshire, MK43 9AX
What you can expect from the OPCC in conducting the review process
Within five working days of receiving the application for a review, the OPCC will acknowledge your correspondence. We will then inform you when you can expect to hear about the review and what will happen next.
You will also be given a point of contact for any queries. Decisions will be reached as soon as practicable, however, the OPCC will provide an update every 28 days.
Further information can be found on the IOPC’s websites:
Police Integrity Regulation 2020
Please find links to the Regulations which commenced on the 1st February 2020 below;
· Police (Complaints and Misconduct) Regulations 2020: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/id/uksi/2020/2
· Police (Conduct) Regulations 2020: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/id/uksi/2020/4
· Police (Performance) Regulations 2020: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/id/uksi/2020/3
· Police Appeals Tribunals Rules 2020: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/id/uksi/2020/1