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Compliments and complaints

Complaints and Compliments

Making a Complaint

We appreciate that the police complaints process can seem complex and it is important to understand what we can – and what we can’t do, to resolve your concerns.  The following information is intended to help guide you through that process to make sure your complaint is directed to the right place, first time.

A complaint can only be dealt with by the Appropriate Authority who has powers and responsibility specifically conferred by legislation and it’s important to understand that the Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner (PCVC) is not permitted to operate outside this framework.  Legislation does not allow the PCVC to become involved in complaints for which the Chief Constable is the Appropriate Authority, which includes complaints about the Force.   

To avoid frustration and unnecessary delays in resolving your concerns, the first question to ask is –what is the nature of your complaint?   

Eligibility Criteria: In order to make a police complaint, you must be eligible to be a complainant. This is defined by the legislation as someone who has directly witnessed the incident or who is directly affected by it.

Complaints can be raised by other people on their behalf, but only with their written consent.

Therefore, if you are not directly affected or were not present at the incident that you have concerns about, you cannot use the police complaints system to make your concerns known. For example, complaints arising from what you have seen on social media or in the news or heard about from another person.

You can still make your concerns known to Durham Constabulary as part of general feedback.

 

Who or what is your complaint about and where should you send it?

 

Useful information and next steps:

Complaints about the Chief Constable

The Appropriate Authority for a complaint against the Chief Constable is the Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner (PCVC).

 

Please put your complaint in writing to:

Chief Executive 

Office of the Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner

Police Headquarters

Aykley Heads

Durham

DH1 5TT

 

Or email general.enquiries@durham.pcc.pnn.gov.uk

Tel 0191 3752001 

It is important that we fully understand the nature of your complaint in order to make a recording decision and where appropriate, proceed with an investigation.  To help us do this, we will need the following information:

 

  • What are the specific actions of the Chief Constable that you are unhappy with?
  • When did this happen?
  • How have you been affected?
  • What outcome would you like to see?

 

A complaint against the Chief Constable cannot be used as a mechanism to escalate an existing complaint about the Force, or to have a previously concluded complaint about the Force reviewed.

 

We will take reasonable and proportionate steps to resolve and where appropriate, investigate your complaint.  When that is concluded, you will be informed of the outcome, along with a clear rationale as to how and why that decision has been reached.  You will also be advised of your Right of Review (formerly known as Appeal) to the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) if appropriate. 

 

Complaints about Durham Constabulary

The Appropriate Authority for a complaint against Durham Constabulary is the Chief Constable.

 

For more information or to submit your complaint online, please visit the Force website here:

https://www.durham.police.uk/About-Us/Our-commitment-to-you/Pages/Complaints.aspx

 

Email complaints@durham.pnn.police.uk

Tel: 101

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is important to understand that legislation not permit the Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner to become involved in complaints for which the Chief Constable is the Appropriate Authority. 

This includes expressions of dissatisfaction about policing matters including but not limited to:

 

  • service you have received
  • standard of an investigation
  • direction and control of resources
  • concern about Force policies
  • conduct of officers or staff

(excluding the Chief Constable)

 

Complaints about the Force will be passed to the Appropriate Authority in line with Statutory Guidance from the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).   We will of course get in touch to let you know when this happens.

 

Right of Review (formerly known as Appeal)

 

At the conclusion of your complaint you have the right to apply for a review of the outcome, should you disagree with the Force’s outcome decision.

 

The Relevant Review Body will be either the PCVC or the IOPC, which will be clarified in your outcome letter.

Complaints about the Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner for Durham

 

Please put your complaint in writing to:

 

Durham Police and Crime Panel

Durham County Council

County Hall

Durham Constabulary

DH1 5UL

 

Email durhampoliceandcrimepanel@durham.gov.uk

 

 

 

 

Complaints about ODPCVC Staff

 

Please put your complaint in writing to:

The Chief Executive

Office of the Durham Police, Crime and Victim’s Commissioner

Police Headquarters

Aykley Heads

Durham

DH1 5TT

Or email to:

general.enquiries@durham.pcc.pnn.gov.uk

 

If your complaint is about the Chief Executive, please put your complaint in writing to:

The Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner at the above address.

It is important to fully understand the nature of your complaint in order that we can resolve it for you, learn from mistakes and improve our practices.  Please provide us with the following information:

 

  • What were the circumstances?
  • Who was involved?
  • When did this occur?
  • How have you been affected?
  • What outcome would you like to see?

 

We will take steps to resolve your complaint and at its’ conclusion, inform you of the outcome, along with an explanation of how and why that decision has been reached.  

 

Before submitting your complaint it may be helpful to view the PCVC staff Code of Conduct.

 

The PCVC’s role in relation to the Police Complaints System

Holding the Chief Constable to account

The PCVC has a statutory responsibility to hold the Chief Constable to account for the performance of the complaints system locally, and for ensuring there are processes in place to scrutinise, support and challenge the overall performance of the Force, to monitor complaints and to hold the Chief Constable to account for the performance of officers and staff.  The police complaints system has recently been the subject of significant reform which sets out principles of accessibility, reasonable and proportionate handling and learning and improvement; all vital factors in ensuring both public confidence and the ongoing development of a robust, effective and efficient complaints system. 

Complaints against the Chief Constable

The PCVC is the Appropriate Authority to deal with complaints about the Chief Constable only, as outlined above.   

Relevant Review Body for Review of Complaint Outcomes (formerly known as Appeals).

At the conclusion of a complaint against Durham Constabulary for which the Chief Constable is Appropriate Authority, you have the right to apply for a Review of the outcome, should you disagree with the Force’s outcome decision. 

The Relevant Review Body (RRB) will be either the PCVC or the IOPC, depending on the circumstances of your original complaint.  The RRB will be clarified in your outcome letter. 

As a result of changes made to the police complaints system by the Policing and Crime Act 2017, Police and Crime Commissioners became responsible for carrying out Reviews (formerly Appeals) of most complaints recorded since 1 February 2020 and handled by their police forces under Schedule 3 of the Police Reform Act 2002.

The purpose of the Review will be to consider whether the outcome of the handling of your complaint was reasonable and proportionate. It will not be to reinvestigate your complaint.

All Reviews for Durham Constabulary have been delegated by the Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner to an Independent Complaints Review Adjudicator. To assist with this Review, Durham Constabulary will give access to all documents and correspondence it holds concerning your complaint, including relevant information from police computer systems.

Durham Constabulary will inform you of your right to apply for a Review and direct you to this page on the OPCVC website in their communication with you. The application for Review must be made within 28 days starting the day after you received the outcome.

If your complaint to Durham Constabulary qualifies for an OPCVC review the following information must be sent to:

General.Enquiries@durham.pcc.pnn.gov.uk or in writing to Office of the Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, Police Headquarters, Aykley Heads, Durham, DH1 5TT.

Please include:

* The details of the complaint.  * The date on which the complaint was made.  * The name of the force who decision is the subject of the application and the date on which the complainant was provided with the outcome.  * The details about their right of review at the conclusion of the investigation or other handling of their complaint * Please explain would you would like to happen.

Alternatively, please download and complete the review form

Only the complainant or someone acting on their behalf can make an application for a review.

What you can expect from us - 

Within seven working days of receiving the application for a review, we will acknowledge your correspondence and inform you when you can expect to hear about the review and what will happen next.  You will also be given a point of contact for any queries. Decisions will be reached as soon as practicable, however, the OPCVC will provide an update every 28 days.

The role of the OPCVC will be to offer the opportunity to consider whether the complaint outcome is reasonable and proportionate and, if not, to put things right.  

Compliments: 

Durham Constabulary officers and staff work hard to serve the communities of Durham and Darlington and often go above and beyond what is expected of them.  If you wish to compliment a member of staff or team who has assisted you, please email: General.EnquiriesPCVC@durham.pnn.police.uk

Your contact with our office will be acknowledged and feedback will be forwarded on to the Chief Constable.

Other Useful Contacts:

Independent Office for Police Conduct www.policeconduct.gov.uk

 

Durham Police https://www.durham.police.uk/About-Us/Our-commitment-to-you/Pages/Complaints.aspx

To date, there have been ten complaints or conduct matters brought to the attention of the Police and Crime Panel, during the following financial years:

  • 2012-13: 0
  • 2013-14: 0
  • 2014-15: 0
  • 2015-16: 1
  • 2016-17: 2
  • 2017-18: 0
  • 2018-19: 3
  • 2019-20: 0 
  • 2020-21: 4

 

 
 
 
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