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3 February, 2020

Major changes to police complaints and compliments in North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner has confirmed major changes to the way complaints and compliments about North Yorkshire Police are handled.

New legislation, The Police (Complaints and Misconduct) Regulations 2020, came into force on Saturday (1 February) which aims:

  • to bring greater independence, accountability and improved customer service to the complaints process;
  • reduce bureaucracy and complexity so problems are resolved more quickly;
  • and, encourage individuals to compliment where good service has been provided.

Commissioner Julia Mulligan has been calling for these changes since being elected in 2012 and has today (Monday 3 February) given notice that she will be using the powers provided in the new regulations with the new complaints and recognition process beginning on Monday 2 March.

The definition of a complaint, determined nationally, will also broaden from ‘any complaint about the conduct of a person serving with the police’ to ‘any expression of dissatisfaction with a Force’.

The change will ensure there is an independent process, led by the elected Commissioner’s independent team, to ensure fairness for both residents and the police.

Based in Harrogate, the four-strong customer service focused team will be the main point of contact aiming to record, review and resolve complaints in an efficient, rigorous and fair way for all involved.

Where complaints cannot be resolved by the new team, or should the complainant request it, the case will be referred to North Yorkshire Police’s Professional Standards Department.

Any complaints and compliments currently within the system will continue to a resolution under the existing system.

North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan said:

“Despite good people and good teams working on complaints and compliments, the public still often perceive the current system to be the police marking their own homework – something which does not instil the confidence needed to make the process work as effectively as it should.

“These changes, and our North Yorkshire Complaints and Recognition Team, will be distinct and independent. We want to ensure the system is rigorous and efficient, so residents have confidence, but also fair for the officers and staff of North Yorkshire Police. The police are still a key part of the process and the new team will work with them to make sure complaints are resolved appropriately and quickly.

“I am confident this has huge potential to improve the service provided by the police, to develop a culture based on learning rather than blame, and to ensure the public can have confidence that their complaints will be dealt with objectively and swiftly.”

Further details about the new process will be confirmed next month once the new system comes into force.

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