IPCC launches consultation on new strategy to improve oversight of the police complaints system

29 Jan 2014 04:25 PM

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is launching a consultation on a new strategy to improve oversight of the police complaints system, and publishing an interim report on the results of five pilot projects on aspects of complaints handling within police forces.

IPCC Chair, Dame Anne Owers, said: "An important part of the IPCC’s statutory responsibility is to improve public confidence in the police complaints system.  At a time when police behaviour and integrity are under increased scrutiny, it is clearly important that complaints from the public are handled well, and that lessons are learnt.

"Over the next three years, we will be increasing our own capacity to investigate serious and sensitive matters independently.  However, it will still be the case that the great majority of the 30,000 or so complaints made against the police every year will be dealt with locally, by forces themselves – and it must be right that the police themselves seek to resolve complaints as swiftly and effectively as possible.

"Our initial pilot projects show that police forces struggle to apply this complex system properly.  All said they needed better training, support and guidance, and we hope that the work outlined in our strategy will contribute to that.  But we also found that complaints handling is not sufficiently consumer-focused, fully engaging with and communicating to complainants, rather than taking a defensive and formalistic approach.’

The draft strategy outlines the steps that the IPCC proposes to take, in cooperation with others – such as Police and Crime Commissioners, the Inspectorate of Constabulary, and the College of Policing - to help improve complaints handling and ensure lessons are learnt.  This includes;

  • Producing additional guidance and information for police forces;
  • Publishing information on how local forces handle complaints;
  • Making the case for a simplified and more accessible complaints system
  • A more robust system for following up learning recommendations;
  • Gaining better feedback from complainants and other stakeholders
The IPCC is asking for responses to its draft strategy, which covers the next three years, by 28 March 2014. The draft strategy is available on our website.  People can contribute by answering the online questionnaire .
An interim report with findings from the pilot studies is also available on our website.

- See more at: http://www.ipcc.gov.uk/news/ipcc-launches-consultation-new-strategy-improve-oversight-police-complaints-system#sthash.Le194aHy.dpuf