Responding to statistics published today by the Independent Police Complaints Commission on Police Complaints in England and Wales 2016/17, APCC Lead for Transparency and Integrity, Julia Mulligan, PCC said:
“We welcome today’s Independent Police Complaints Commission report which calls for greater simplification of the current complaints system. From next year Police and Crime Commissioners will have a far greater role in the oversight of the complaints system on behalf of the public.
“Whilst we would concur with the IPCC’s conclusion that police handling of complaints remains inconsistent and that the current system is extremely complex and bureaucratic, changes to the complaints system, that will be implemented next year, are a welcome a first step along the route to a simpler and more flexible approach.
“These changes will significantly strengthen the role which PCCs have in oversight of the complaints system. In particular, PCCs will in future hear all appeals within the complaints system that are currently heard by Chief Constables. This will inject some much needed independence into the system, to make it more responsive to the public and improve public confidence.”
Meanwhile, APCC Deputy Lead for Transparency and Integrity, Dame Vera Baird QC, PCC said:
“Although there has been no significant increase or reduction in complaints since the previous year, it is reassuring that complaints relating to very serious misconduct, such as assault and sexual assault are extremely rare. We are clear that any sort of police misconduct, whether serious or less damaging, is never acceptable and we want to ensure that the public has confidence in the system that if they come forward they will be treated fairly and listened to. It is hoped that increasing the PCC role will also help to strengthen high standards of police integrity and reduce the overall level of complaints in the coming years.
“We also welcome the early signs that the timeliness of investigating or resolving complaints is improving, although this has also been inconsistent and not universally the case. PCCs remain acutely aware of the need for a timely response, as the system needs to be fair to both complainants and police officers and resolve these matters more quickly.”