The Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland will play a greater role in reviewing public concerns about Cleveland Police, as part of changes to the police complaints system.
The Policing and Crime Act 2017 gives Police and Crime Commissioners a range of new powers regarding police complaints, in a bid to make the process more independent, transparent and accessible.
From 1 February 2020, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) has taken on responsibility for the independent review of complaints against Cleveland Police, a role previously carried out by the Force.
Where they find that a complaint has not been resolved appropriately, the PCC can make recommendations for improvements to the Force, including recommending the re-investigation of the complaint. Recruitment is open for an Independent Complaints Adjudicator to assist the PCC with this work.
The changes build on the PCC’s commitment, made in his Police and Crime Plan, to provide a complaints system that ensures complaints are dealt with quickly and effectively; that lessons are learnt and service improvements are made; and that the public has faith in the system.
The OPCC already has oversight of public concerns and complaints through their Complaints Resolution Team, who give advice and guidance to the public, providing ‘rapid response’ service recovery solutions, including explanations and apologies where necessary.
Last year alone, this resulted in almost 30% fewer complaints entering the lengthy formal process for police complaints.
Complaints involving potential serious wrongdoing will continue to be handled by Cleveland Police’s Directorate of Standards and Ethics, although under new rules the public can now make a complaint about Cleveland’s policing as a whole, rather than just the conduct of an individual officer.
Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said: “The new rules present an important opportunity for my independent office to play an even greater role on behalf of the public in providing independent scrutiny of how Cleveland Police handle complaints.
“Throughout my time as PCC I have supported the Force to make changes to the way it drives improvement in standards and ethics, including appointing a leader from outside policing to lead a reformed Directorate of Standards & Ethics.
The Force must take learning from expressions of concern from the public – my team will play an important part in assisting the Force to do so and build public confidence and trust in Cleveland’s policing.”
Deputy Chief Constable Ian Arundale said: “We welcome the changes that have been brought in nationally; they represent a positive step towards greater confidence in Cleveland Police and more openness with the public.
“Cleveland Police is determined to deliver a high quality service on each and every occasion and we work hard to promote a culture where officers will acknowledge those occasions where things could have been done better and, more importantly, learn from them.”
Feedback, including expressions of appreciation and complaints, can be provided about Cleveland Police through a variety of channels, including in writing, via email, via telephone, online and via social media.
More information on ways to make a complaint can be found on the websites of Cleveland Police and the Police & Crime Commissioner.
Posted on Monday 3rd February 2020