Complaints and Conduct
Changes to Police Complaints from 1 February 2020
The Policing and Crime Act 2017 included major changes to the police complaints system, which will apply to complaints made on or after 1 February 2020.
The new system will be simpler and is designed to ensure that complaints can be dealt with quickly and proportionately. The emphasis will be on organisational learning and improvement, whilst still allowing discipline outcomes where it is found that police officers or staff are guilty of serious misconduct.
Police forces are now expected to resolve complaints made about any aspect of policing in a reasonable and proportionate way.
If police forces can resolve complaints quickly to the satisfaction of the person making them, the new legislation allows this to happen with the minimum of bureaucracy.
Complaints should ALWAYS be directed to the police force to which the complaints relate rather than the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). If the complaint is serious enough, the police force will have to refer the complaint to the IOPC themselves.
Some complaints, and particularly those where allegations of serious misconduct or criminality have been made about police officers or staff, will need to be dealt with in a more formal way. You can also ask for your complaint to be handled more formally if you want, and you can ask for this to happen at any time, even if the police force has already used the less formal method of resolving it. The police force will be expected to resolve these complaints in a reasonable and proportionate way too. The police force may refer to these complaints as being handled inside or outside Schedule 3 of the Police Reform Act 2002 (as amended by the Policing and Crime Act 2017).
For frequently asked questions please see the following page on the West Yorkshire Police website https://www.westyorkshire.police.uk/about-us/our-standards/professional-standards/making-complaint scroll to the bottom of the page.
Right of Review
Complaints handled in this more formal way will have a right of review. For complaints where criminality or serious misconduct have been alleged, the review will be done by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). For other complaints, the review will be done by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. You must ask for a review to be done, but you will be told by the police force which organisation to ask. The relevant review body will be named in the letter from the police force setting out how the complaint was resolved.
The purpose of a review will be to assess whether the police force resolved the complaint in a reasonable and proportionate way and also to identify any more learning or opportunities for improvement.
The outcome of a review could be:
- confirmation that the complaint was resolved in a reasonable and proportionate way or
- a recommendation to the police force for more work to be done to resolve the complaint. The recommendation may include what more work is thought to be needed.
The review body will write to the complainant with the outcome of the review.
Or if you would prefer, download a Word version of the form to request a review of a complaint by the OPCC to return by email or post. (Word Document 155KB)
Complaints about the Chief Constable or Temporary Chief Constable
The legislation in the Policing and Crime Act 2017 also applies to complaints about the Chief Constable or Temporary Chief Constable, but it is the Police and Crime Commissioner who is responsible for resolving these complaints rather than the police force.
Complaints can be resolved in the same ways as complaints about other aspects of policing, as previously explained. The Police and Crime Commissioner will be expected to resolve all complaints in a reasonable and proportionate manner.
If your complaint is dealt with in the more formal way, the review will be done by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
Complaints must be about something that the Chief Constable has personally done. From 1 February 2020, if a complaint is received which is about something which is delegated to another member of the police force, we will pass it to West Yorkshire Police to resolve because the Chief Constable will not have been personally involved in the matter.
Complaints about the conduct of the Police and Crime Commissioner or Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner
The West Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel is responsible for resolving complaints about the Police and Crime Commissioner or his Deputy. The Police and Crime Panel, made up of councillors from the five local authorities in West Yorkshire and two lay members, is responsible for overseeing some of the functions of the Commissioner. Complaints can be made directly to the Panel by completing its online form or they can be made on our Enquiries and Complaints form which we will forward to the Panel.
Complaints about a member of staff in the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner
Staff in the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner aim to provide a service which is both efficient and fair. Complaints about any member of staff can be made to the Chief of Staff, who may choose to resolve it themselves or delegate the investigation to another member of staff.
Complaints about the Chief of Staff will be resolved by the Police and Crime Commissioner.
Complainants will be informed of the outcome of any investigation and, if required, any action taken or planned.
Complaints about a Volunteer Independent Custody Visitor
We aim to operate a fair and transparent volunteer scheme to make unannounced visits to people held in police custody to check that their rights, entitlements and wellbeing needs are being met by West Yorkshire Police. If you have been held in police custody and feel you were treated unprofessionally by a Volunteer Independent Custody Visitor, you can complain to the Custody Visiting Scheme Manager, who may choose to resolve it themselves or delegate the investigation to another member of staff. You will be informed of the outcome of any investigation and, if required, any action taken or planned.
Complaints about any aspect of policing, other than complaints about the Chief Constable
West Yorkshire Police is responsible for resolving these complaints. Complaints should ALWAYS be directed to West Yorkshire Police, rather than the IOPC. If the complaint is serious enough, the police force will have to refer the complaint to the IOPC themselves.
For information on the options to make a complaint about any aspect of policing visit the Professional Standards Directorate section on West Yorkshire Police's website or they can also be made on our Enquiries and Complaints form which we will forward to West Yorkshire Police.
‘Unreasonable Behaviour’ Policy
You can read our ‘Unreasonable Behaviour’ Policy at https://www.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk/sites/default/files/2020-07/unreasonable_behaviour_policy.pdf (PDF 377KB)
Where to Send Completed Enquiries and Complaints Form Forms
Paper copies of any of the forms for making a complaint or requesting a review of a complaint can be posted out to anyone who contacts the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.
Completed forms can be sent by post or email.
Email address: [email protected]
Postal address: Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Ploughland House, 62 George Street, Wakefield. WF1 1DL
Telephone: 01924 294000 to speak to a member of staff (24 hour voicemail)