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Process – Complaints made against the Chief Constable

Information provided

Our Ref: Our Ref: NY7332 - 24 November 2021


I write in connection with your request for information that was received by the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire (OPFCC) on 27th October 2021.

I note you seek access to the following information:  

Would you please disclose information concerning how you / your office deal with complaints made against the Chief Constable. The type of information which I would like is; 

  1. Details of each step followed from the minute a complaint is received and up until a recording decision, letter is sent to the complainant; 
  1. Which internal forms / documents are used, completed during a complaints process 
  1. How are reasons, decisions and rationale recorded during above process. And which (if any) form/s / document/.s and or reports are required to be completed (including when case is closed) 
  1. If the Chief Constable is required to be (or is) contacted once a complaint is received. And, if so, if the Chief Constable is asked or is required to supply you (as PCC) / your office with comments or an account in reply to the allegations / complaint/s during the assessment stage (and in advance of recording decision being issued) 

With regards to above. I would also be grateful if you could disclose either screenshots or copies of the required , i.e. blank copies of those documents showing the layout, information required etc

Extent and Result of Searches to Locate Information 

To locate the information relevant to your request searches were conducted within the OPFCC.

I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by the OPFCC.


I have today decided to disclose the located information to you.

I can confirm that the process followed by this office when dealing with any complaints made against the Chief Constable is as detailed below:

  1. Upon receiving a potential complaint against the Chief Constable, it is reviewed by our Complaints and Recognition Team in conjunction with the Chief Executive who will engage with the correspondent about their concerns, to ensure a full understanding of the circumstances and to ensure that the specific concern about the Chief Constable is properly and fully understood by all.
  2. Dependent on the nature of the concern following this engagement, the Complaints and Recognition Team may engage with the correspondent to understand whether the specific concern or its root cause can be resolved speedily and effectively through good customer service principles – this is consistent with the Complaints and Recognition Team service offered to all correspondents who express concern about North Yorkshire Police.
  3. Where such a resolution is not possible or appropriate, we do not operate any separate process other than those which are set out in legislation and Guidance.
  4. The key relevant legislation is as follows:
    1. The Police Reform Act 2002 as amended Police Reform Act 2002 (
    2. The Police (Complaints and Misconduct) Regulations 2020 The Police (Complaints and Misconduct) Regulations 2020 (
    3. The Police (Conduct) Regulations 2020
  5. The OPFCC also relies upon and follows statutory and non-statutory guidance provided by the Independent Office for Police Conduct. The following documents therefore set out the remainder of the information that you have requested.
      1. Statutory guidance | Independent Office for Police Conduct
        Our statutory guidance sets out technical guidance for police forces. It aims to help police forces and other organisations covered by the police complaints system to comply with their legal obligations and achieve high standards in the handling of complaints.
      2. Focus | Independent Office for Police Conduct
        Focus gives police force professional standards departments (PSDs) and local policing bodies (such as PFCCs) practical guidance on dealing with complaints, conduct matters, and death or serious injury cases. It supports police complaint handling and improves standards.

The law requires that the OPFCC must refer to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) any complaints relating to a Chief Constable where we are unable to satisfy ourselves that the conduct complained of, if it were proved, would not justify the bringing of criminal or disciplinary proceedings. It is therefore important that we understand the correspondent’s concern, in accordance with Step 1 above, so that we can make this judgement. This is because this test is based on whether the correspondent wishes to complain against the Chief Constable specifically (as opposed to about a more general policing matter) and if they do, what the substance of the complaint is. In accordance with the law and guidance, we do not make an assessment of the apparent merit of the allegations and we do not carry out any preliminary investigative steps.

If a case is referred to the IOPC, we use such forms as are provided to us from time to time by the IOPC. I can confirm that no internal forms or templates are used during this process.