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1 March, 2020

New independent police complaints and recognition team begins work in North Yorkshire

A new, independent complaints and recognition team for North Yorkshire Police begins work today (Monday 2 March) with the aim of recording, reviewing and resolving complaints in a quick, effective and fair way, and celebrating good practice.

North Yorkshire’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner has taken responsibility for the process following the introduction of new Home Office rules. The intention is to ensure the system is rigorous and efficient, so residents have confidence, but is also fair for the officers and staff of North Yorkshire Police.

There will be an increased emphasis on investigating what went wrong, finding a resolution to any problems and learning to ensure it does not happen again. Similarly, the team want to ensure good practice is recognised and shared in an attempt to develop the positives across the force. 

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

“This is an important moment for residents and police officers and staff in North Yorkshire. Police officers have been, often unfairly, accused of marking their own homework but the new process will mean that no longer has to happen.

“The changes will mean an independent team with a focus on serving everyone in North Yorkshire – finding resolution for the public when things go wrong, acting quickly to ensure police officers and staff do not face vexatious or unfounded allegations for long periods and learning from the good and the bad to make North Yorkshire safer.”

Lisa Winward, Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police, said:

“Our staff and officers are hard-working, dedicated and professional people who want to deliver the very best service to the communities of North Yorkshire to keep people safe and feeling safe. However, on occasions our service does fall short or we do not meet the expectations of the people who we serve.

“It is important that this is reported and brought to our attention so that we can learn and improve our service and ensure our staff and officers receive valuable feedback and training to develop their skills.

“Likewise, when our team members deliver an exemplary service it is right that they receive recognition and I am very proud when members of the public go out of their way in order to make contact to highlight good work.

“The new team will provide members of the public with a single point of contact for all but the most serious matters, making the process easier, clearer and more straightforward for both complainants and our workforce.”

From today, any complaints or compliments should – in the first instance – be directed to the new team:

FAQs

  • What is going to happen? 

On 1 February, new legislation – The Police (Complaints and Misconduct) Regulations 2020 – came into force introducing major changes to the handling of police complaints and recognition in North Yorkshire Police, and in forces across forces in England and Wales.

Initial complaints and recognition handling will be primarily dealt with a newly established team within the North Yorkshire Office of the Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner (OPFCC).

The team, which comprises a team leader and three advisors, will act as the main points of contact within the process, aiming to provide recovery of service wherever possible and defuse and de-escalate complaints by reengaging any communications that may have faltered, and by ensuring customers are provided with the information and contacts they need to be assured of the good service they are receiving from North Yorkshire Police.

They will also capture good practice and service delivery, which will also play a significant part in developing a continuous learning culture which is no longer risk-averse, which learns from mistakes, is open and honest, engages and addresses constructive criticism positively and always strives to deliver and expand upon exemplary customer service.

Where complaints cannot be resolved by the OPFCC team, they will work in partnership with Professional Standards Department to ensure that such matters are properly referred into and recorded by North Yorkshire Police.

North Yorkshire Police will then process these in line with the new police complaints regulations, which now includes considering whether early resolution of the complaint can be achieved through reflective practice between officers or staff members and their supervisors, through supportive dialogue, using reflective learning and mentoring conversations to assist the officer or staff member, with the aim of helping to achieve sustained improvements in customer care, practice and contact over time with individuals, and across the organisation too.

The OPFCC team will also ensure that, where customers request it, continuous updates are provided so that the customer is kept up to date and furnished with all information that it is possible to provide, in a timely manner.

  • When is it going to happen?

The Police (Complaints and Misconduct) Regulations 2020 came into force on Saturday 1 February and on Monday 3 February, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire formally gave notice to North Yorkshire Police’s Chief Constable that she intended to enact the new legislation’s provisions in North Yorkshire.

In law, 28 days’ notice is required following this notice. This means that the changes to the complaints and compliments system will commence on Monday 2 March 2020. 

  • Why will it happen? 

Complaints and recognition are key markers of how well policing is being delivered to our public and in our diverse communities, and the legislation promotes a greater focus on both aspects being dealt with, and perceived to be handled, in a way that is transparent to the public, and that assures them that the public’s voice is being listened to and is contributing to continuous improvement in customer service delivery. 

  • Why does independence matter? 

At the moment, we know that many people feel the police are able to ‘mark their own homework’ by being the only place you can turn to complain or compliment the police. This will change. The focus will be on people rather than processes, with high quality customer services from a team recruited with this in mind. While they will be immersed in North Yorkshire Police, they will not be part of it, and nor will they be experts in policing. Their aim is to ensure fairness – to residents of North Yorkshire who feels their concerns, questions or compliments are taken seriously and acted upon, and to police themselves to ensure matters are resolved as quickly as possible and as fairly as possible. 

  • What will it mean for existing complaints? 

Any complaints or compliments made to North Yorkshire Police prior to the transfer to the Office of the North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner will remain in the current system. This means that any issue recorded before 00.01 on 1 March 2020 will proceed as now. Any issue presented from 00.01 on 1 March 2020 will proceed under the new scheme. It is also important to note that even though this is a new system, resolved matters cannot be re-opened. 

  • What if I dislike the idea of the new scheme? 

You will continue to have the right to ask for your case to be referred to North Yorkshire Police’s Professional Standards Department – the team who currently lead on complaints and recognition. However, once you have chosen to take this route, you cannot then return to the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner’s team. 

  • How do I make a compliment or complaint? 

From 09.00 on Monday, 2 March, anyone wishing to make a complaint or compliment about North Yorkshire Police should call 01609 643 339 or email customerservice@northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk. Our team will be available 08:30 – 17:00 Monday to Thursday and 08:30 – 16:30 on Friday.  Any issues raised outside of these hours will be dealt with as soon as possible.