Revolutionising police complaints
Since coming to office in 2012, and speaking to local people who had made complaints against the police, it was clear to Julia that something had to change. The system was, and remains, bureaucratic, complicated, lengthy and legalistic. At its heart, it is also the police investigating the police, a principle which the Commissioner and many members of the public she speaks to, disagree with.
Julia has worked hard persuading the Home Office and others to change the way police complaints have been dealt with, and to ensure she was at the heart of the change, has been the PCC with national responsibility for integrity (including police complaints). This work led to police complaints changes being included in the Policing and Crime Bill, which in turn was passed by Parliament in January 2017. In the Act, it gives Police and Crime Commissioners the opportunity to take over the responsibility of:
- Receiving and recording a complaint
- Assessing complaints and deciding what action should be taken next
- Acting as a single point of contact and communication for the complainant, explaining the process to the complainant and acting as the main link between the complainant and the complaints system
- Resolving complaints that are appropriate for local resolution driving proportionate remedies such as an apology or independent mediation
- Act as the appeal body for local resolutions in place of the Chief Constable
It is up to each Commissioner in each area which of these responsibilities a Commissioner will undertake, and Julia has decided to take on the fullest level of responsibility possible.
From January 2016, the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner will work with the Deputy Chief Constable to phase in a new approach to police complaints in North Yorkshire. This page will be kept up to date as that work progresses. The first step is to bring the recording and initial decision making on police complaints out of police hands and into Julia’s office. This is hoped to be in place in Autumn 2017, with the remaining responsibilities on local resolutions and appeals in place for the beginning of 2018.
See the related pages, below, for more information on local resolutions and the police complaints.