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In February 2020, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner will be launching a new Complaints and Customer Service Team within the OPFCC. The new team will be responsible for recording all expressions of dissatisfaction, the informal resolution of low level complaints and the handling of reviews.
These new responsibilities for PCCs have been introduced by the Policing and Crime Act 2017 which allows PCCs to adopt a complaints model locally that is right for their force. All PCCs will become the relevant review body for low level complaint appeals however, in Northamptonshire, the PFCC has also opted to take on additional responsibilities for the recording and informal resolution of complaints.
The PFCC aims to increase public confidence by creating greater independence of the complaints system, which currently sees the force dealing with their own complaints and often dealing with subsequent complaint appeals.
For more serious matters, the Independent Office for Police conduct will remain the relevant review body and they will continue to provide oversight of the complaints system.
According to the Policing and Crime Act 2017, the PFCC must consult with the relevant Chief Officer, all persons appearing to represent employees who may be affected by the proposed changes and all persons appearing to represent members of a police force who may be affected.
Subsequently, the PFCC wrote to the Chief Constable, the Police Federation, Unison and the Superintendents Association requesting their views on the proposed changes. The PFCC received one response which was supportive. The PFCC is required to publish the results of the consultation prior to issuing a section 13A notice to the chief Constable, informing him of the implementation date of the reforms.