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Police and Crime Commissioners Public Consultation: Complaints

Volume 603: debated on Thursday 17 December 2015

The Government are committed to building on the success of the police and crime commissioner (PCC) model by further strengthening their role; for example, the Government are proposing to enable PCCs to take on the governance of fire and rescue services as part of driving greater collaboration between emergency services. The Government intend to bring forward legislation to enable PCCs to take on responsibility for key parts of the police complaints system making that process more transparent and easier to navigate.

With PCCs taking on a greater role in the handling of complaints made against their police force, and with the responsibilities held by a PCC increasing, I believe the time is right to amend the system for complaints made against a PCC. I have today published a consultation paper to seek views on proposals to improve the system for handling non-serious complaints made about a PCC. The consultation paper proposes:

Clarifying, through non-statutory guidance, what constitutes a complaint, ensuring police and crime panels (PCPs), who scrutinise the work of PCCs, take forward complaints about a PCC’s conduct rather than their policy decisions.

Providing PCPs with greater investigatory powers to seek evidence pertinent to a complaint.

Clarifying, through non-statutory guidance, the parameters of “informal resolution” and setting out that, where agreement cannot be reached, it is open to PCPs to make recommendations on the expected level of behaviour of a PCC, and that they have powers to require the PCC to respond.

The consultation ends on 10 March 2016. Copies of the consultation paper have been placed in the Library of the House.

The proposed changes to the complaints system ensure the fundamental principle of the PCC policy, that of accountability to the electorate, is not undermined. The proposals will improve the transparency of the complaints procedure and deliver more satisfactory outcomes for complainants.