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31st Jan 20
The way that complaints and compliments about Northamptonshire Police are dealt with is changing on February 1.
The changes – which result from the Policing and Crime Act 2017 – give the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner a much greater role in police complaints, strengthening the independence of the process and increasing public confidence.
From February 1, any expression of dissatisfaction with the service provided by Northamptonshire Police will be recorded. This will increase the number of complaints that are recorded each year but will give the Commissioner a clear overview of the issues that are causing concern to the public.
Any lessons to learn will now be captured on a forcewide basis and passed to the Chief Constable to support on-going improvements in the policing service.
Complaints made over the phone or online will now generally be received by the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC). If the complaints are of a less serious nature – meaning that they don’t contain allegations that would be considered misconduct – then the PFCC’s office will try to resolve the issue as quickly as possible, to the satisfaction of the complainant. This will usually be by providing an explanation or an apology and the assurance that lessons have been learned and shared across the Force, so that it does not happen again.
More serious complaints will be recorded and passed to the Force’s Professional Standards Department to investigate.
These changes will give the public a better, swifter and more consistent service that is clearly independent and that they can have confidence in. It will mean one consistent way of dealing with less serious complaints across the Force and will also enable the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner to identify areas of concern and hold the Chief Constable to account for improving service.
Where complainants are not satisfied with the response they receive from the Professional Standards Department, they will have a right to review. The Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner will also now have responsibility to carry out reviews where complainants are not satisfied with the Force’s response to more serious complaints.
And under the new system compliments will also be captured and considered.
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said: “I am pleased that my Office now has a stronger role in dealing with less serious complaints about Northamptonshire Police as that clearly underlines the independence of the process and will also allow us to make sure that we use the feedback to improve policing in this county.
“The vast majority of complaints could be simply and quickly resolved with an explanation, an apology and an assurance that it won’t happen again. The new system aims to offer quick service recovery that will prevent matters from escalating and deal with less serious issues in a more consistent way.
“The Force also receives many compliments and I will be making sure that as well as learning from complaints, officers and staff are able to enjoy the thanks and praise that is directed to them.”