Monday, October 04, 2010

Self regulation of Police complaints in the frame as applications to Police Complaints Commissioner jump 19%

DISATTISFACTION with complaints against Scottish Police Forces for the year ending 31 March 2010 has prompted nearly 1 in 5 of those who made complaints to apply to the Police Complaints Commissioner to review the way the Police handled their complaint, according to figures issued today in the Annual Report of Professor John McNeill, the Police Complaints Commissioner for Scotland.

Download the Annual Report here : PCCS ANNUAL REPORT 0910 (pdf)

Applications from the public asking for their complaint to be reviewed by Professor John McNeill, the Police Complaints Commissioner for Scotland, rose by almost one fifth to 133 for the year ending 31 March 2010. During the same period, he finalised 69 independent reports, known as complaint handling reviews, involving over 300 individual complaints from the public. He found that in two out of three cases, the complaints had been handled reasonably by the police.

Professor McNeill said: “The role of the Police Complaints Commissioner is to consider and review the way police organisations handle complaints from the public. The Annual Report provides an excellent platform to set out, for our stakeholders and other interested parties, the range of work we are undertaking in this area.”

As well as a scrutiny role in relation to how individual complaints are handled, the Commissioner’s role provides assurance to Scottish Ministers that police bodies operating in Scotland have “efficient and effective” police complaint handling procedures in place and that they are subject to continuous improvement and modernisation.

In his foreword to the Annual Report, Professor McNeill considers his role in modernising police complaints handling and calls for a fundamental shift in the way complaints are handled by the police.

Professor McNeill wrote : “One of the major pieces of work for next year will be to the publication of Statutory Guidance to Scotland’s police that will help to create a police complaints system that embraces learning rather than blame.”

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