The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) must make sure staff are fair, balance competing needs and use resources evenly and appropriately.
A very small number of people can take up a disproportionate amount of time and resources.
We aim to work to put things right for people who get in touch or make a genuine complaint.
However, in a minority of cases some people pursue their concerns in a was that can hinder an investigation.
Their behaviour can have significant resource implications for the OPCC.
Examples of eligible complaints about the police
Members of the public may write to the OPCC or raise dissatisfaction about a number of areas of work covered by Cleveland Police. They could include the following:
- Use of police powers and procedures;
- How a service has been delivered;
- The conduct and actions of individual staff members or teams;
- The outcome of any request for service.
Definition of unreasonable behaviour
Unreasonable complainants and/or unreasonably persistent correspondence hinder the OPCC’s ability to handle their own and other people’s complaints and correspondence.
This may be due to either the frequency or nature of contact from those individuals.
Complainants and correspondents may have justifiable cause for complaint or correspondence, but may be:
- Pursuing their complaint in inappropriate ways;
- Intent on pursuing complaints or sending correspondence which appear to have no substance;
- Unreasonable in the frequency or nature of their contact;
- Pursuing complaints or correspondence, which have already been investigated, determined or answered.
Sometimes their behaviour moves from being unreasonable and persistent to unacceptable, This will not be tolerated by the OPCC.
Unreasonable and unreasonably persistent behaviour can be characterised by the following:
- Obsessive, persistent, harassing, prolific, repetitious and/or otherwise unreasonable actions;
- Continuing to pursue unjustifiable complaints or correspondence and/or unrealistic outcomes;
- Insisting on pursuing justifiable complaints or correspondence in an unreasonable manner – or being uncooperative with staff trying to resolve them.
Measures to handle unreasonable behaviour
Before deciding whether the complainant or correspondent is unreasonable, staff should be satisfied that:
- The complaint/correspondence is legitimate and is being or has been investigated/responded to properly;
- The decision reached was appropriate;
- Communication with the correspondent has been adequate and appropriate;
- A significant new complaint/correspondence has not been presented.
OPCC staff will first warn the complainant/correspondent first that his/her behaviour may be seen as unreasonable or unreasonably persistent if it continues.
If the complainant/correspondent’s behaviour continues and OPCC management consider it to be unreasonable, they may decide to put restrictions on or terminate any future contact.
Appeals can only be submitted in writing. Appeal rights are limited to one occasion.
Guidance on Unreasonable or unreasonably persistent behaviour has been drawn up using the guidelines provided by The Commission for Local Administration England.
When applying this policy, the OPCC will make sure any actions are in accordance the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Convention Rights within it.