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Complaints procedure

Below Relates to Complaints Against the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner and/or the Deputy Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner. 

This Process note has been updated to reflect non-statutory advice issued by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) in December 2018 

1. Introduction 

The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 (updated by the Policing and Crime Act 2017) established the Police, Fire and Crime Panel (‘The Panel’) and gives the Panel the responsibility for the handling of complaints and conduct matters against the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (‘The Commissioner’) and/or the Deputy Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (‘The Deputy Commissioner’). 

The Elected Local Policing Bodies (Complaints and Misconduct) Regulations 2012 set out the way in which complaints or conduct matters about a Commissioner or a Deputy Commissioner should be handled. 

Our Monitoring Officer acts as the Secretary and Monitoring Officer to the Panel and has been appointed by the Panel to receive and deal with complaints and conduct matters against the Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner on its behalf. The Monitoring Officer is independent and experienced in handling complaints. 

The Monitoring Officer reports annually to the Panel on complaints and conduct matters dealt with by him. 

2. Definitions 

(a)  Complaint 

A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction. The Panel will only consider complaints against the personal actions/conduct of the Commissioner or the Deputy Commissioner. 

Complaints about decisions or actions of the Commissioner or his Deputy in relation to Policy matters or operational policing matters will not be considered by, or on behalf of, the Panel 

(b)  Conduct Matters 

A conduct matter is where there is an indication (whether from circumstance or otherwise) that the Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner may have committed a criminal offence. 

3. How to Complain About the Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner 

(a)  Conduct Matters 

If your complaint relates to a conduct matter that you feel may involve the Commissioner, or his Deputy, then you should contact the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). You can do this as follows:  

Telephone: 0300 020 0096  

E-mail: Police conduct enquiries

Post

Independent Office for Police Conduct,
PO Box 473,
Sale,
M33 0BW 

(b)  Other Complaints 

If your complaint does not relate to a criminal offence, by the Commissioner or his Deputy or if you are not sure whether a criminal offence is involved, you should submit your complaint in writing, giving as much information as possible to Staffordshire Police, Fire and Crime Panel’s Monitoring Officer:

Staffordshire Police, Fire and Crime Panel Monitoring Officer
c/o Julie Plant
Member and Democratic Services Unit,
Staffordshire County Council Wedgwood Building,
Stafford,
ST16 2DH

Telephone: 01785 276135

or

E-mail: Julie Plant

It is important that you sign your complaint and provide your name and address. We will not consider anonymous complaints. You may request that your details are kept anonymous and this will be considered by the Monitoring Officer, who will contact you to discuss that request. 

4. How we will handle your complaint 

The Monitoring Officer will initially log receipt of all complaints or conduct matters and consider how they should be handled. He will assess your complaint and decide whether he should handle your complaint (on behalf of the Panel) or whether it should be referred elsewhere: 

  1. Conduct matters (or possible conduct matters) will be referred to the Independent Office for Police Complaints (IOPC)

  2. Complaints about the actions of Staffordshire Police will be referred to the Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police.

  3. Complaints about the actions of the Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service will be referred to the Chief Fire Officer

  4. Complaints about the policies of the Commissioner will be referred to him to respond directly.

  5. Other complaints out of the scope of the Panel will be referred to the appropriate body (eg. Probation Service, Crown Prosecution Service etc…). 

Your complaint may be rejected if: 

  • It is about a staffing matter

  • it is about something that happened more than 12 months ago

  • the matter has already been the subject of another complaint

  • the complaint is made anonymously

  • the complaint is vexatious, oppressive or an abuse of the complaints procedures

  • the complaint is a repetition of a previous complaint 

If your complaint is rejected by the Monitoring Officer you will be informed by letter and given the reason(s) why it has been rejected. 

If your complaint is accepted as relating to the personal conduct of the Commissioner or the Deputy Commissioner, it will be formally recorded onto the Complaints database and you will be provided with a copy of that record. 

The person that you are complaining about (ie the Commissioner or the Deputy Commissioner) will be provided with a copy of the complaint. The Monitoring Officer will also notify the Chief Executive of the Commissioner’s Office of the complaint. (See above if you want your details kept anonymous.) 

As soon as the Monitoring Officer and Commissioner/Deputy Commissioner are aware of a complaint or conduct matter they have a duty to ensure that all appropriate steps are taken to obtain and preserve evidence relating to that complaint or conduct matter. 

The Monitoring Officer will gather all relevant information. 

The Monitoring Officer may call a meeting and ask you and the person complained about to attend a meeting and answer questions. 

After considering all relevant information, The Monitoring Officer will make a suggestion as to how your complaint may be resolved and will give you and the person complained about an opportunity to comment on the suggestion. 

If the proposal is to uphold your complaint the Monitoring Officer will decide if any of the following sanctions should be imposed. 

  • Formal apology by the person complained about

  • Formal apology from the Panel on behalf of the person complained about.

  • Issue of a press release on the nature of the complaint and the Panel’s decision. 

The Monitoring Officer has no legal powers to apply sanctions other than to provide an opinion on the conduct of the Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner and request an apology. 

If the proposal is not to uphold your complaint no action will be taken against the person you have complained about. 

After considering your views on his proposed action, the Monitoring Officer will make a final decision. He will also take into account any comments made by you and the person complained about on his proposed decision before deciding whether or not to publish that decision. He will publish the decision if, after taking account of the comments, he considers publication to be in the public interest. 

You will be regularly updated on the handling of your complaint. 

5. Withdrawal of Complaints 

You can withdraw your complaint at any time. This must be done in writing and must be signed by you or your representative. 

If you withdraw your complaint the Monitoring Officer will notify the person complained about that the complaint has been withdrawn and discontinued. 

6. Appeals 

If you are unhappy about the way in which your complaint has been administered, you can lodge an appeal with the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman who can be contacted as follows: 

Telephone: 0300 061 0614

Online: LGO website

7. Review of Arrangements 

These arrangements may be amended by resolution of the full Police, Fire and Crime Panel. 

8. Contact Details 

For further information on these arrangements please contact: 

Police, Fire and Crime Panel Monitoring Officer
c/o Julie Plant
Governance and Support Manager
Member and Democratic Services Unit
Staffordshire County Council
Wedgwood Building
Stafford ST16 2DH 

Telephone: 01785 276135

E-mail Julie Plant

Additional Information: 

Complaints about Staffordshire Police or the Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service 

The Police, Fire and Crime Panel does not handle complaints about the Police or the Fire and Rescue Service.  

For complaints about Staffordshire Police you may:

For complaints about the Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service you may: 

For complaints about the Chief Constable or Chief Fire Officer you may: 

  • Call the Staffordshire Commissioner’s Office on 01785 232270
  • E-mail Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner
  • Write to:

    Staffordshire Commissioner (Matthew Ellis),
    Staffordshire Commissioner’s Office,
    Ground Floor,
    Block 9,
    Weston Road,
    Stafford
    ST18 0YY

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